Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Year in Review 2015 (May/June)

(This was supposed to have been finished at the beginning of the year rather than Easter - but better late than never!)

May and June 2015 were a little less hectic mainly focussing on work issues so I was mainly based in DXB. I did however have a business trip to Seoul in May and a trip on business to London where I managed to tag on a trip down to Maidstone to see the family. E., M and I were also busy finalising plans for the Summer extravaganza for my big birthday which was to include a party/BBQ in Maidstone and also in Ireland – a week apart which obviously made the logistics quite interesting. I had also expressed a wish to take a motorhome trip in France so trying to get everything to fit together was quite a challenge!

At the end of June the kids broke up from school and both A. and V. had very successful years on the whole – A. managed to complete his first year at “Big School” without mishap and V. had a really good year at her school – very much one of the stars in her class room. A. also took – and passed his Grade 2 piano. This was a much greater achievement than it might appear as in the middle of May it became clear that whilst he was very confident on his three pieces, he had not done very much at all on his scales/sight reading and other exercises. Some extremely intensive sessions in the three weeks before the exam made show that he passed with aplomb – even managing to fit in a public recital in front of all the parents of the exam candidates at his school.

Piste Bashing

As mentioned in an earlier post, A. and I went on our first holiday together when E. and V. had to bow out at the last minute due to illness. I suspect both A and I were wondering quite what to expect but it was a lovely holiday and whilst we missed the girls, we took full advantage of the facilities in Wengen.

We did another Club Med holiday at the same hotel (the Palace) and so knew pretty much what to expect. The journey out was very smooth (and I was able to take A into the lounge with me so we stocked up on breakfast and tea bags at Dxb) although the transfer from Zurich to Wengen was as eye-wateringly expensive (E300 one way) as it was last year. However, the ski-hire was a lot less painful than last year and we were ready for some food at 7pm having set off at around 6.30am that morning.

The food was, as ever, excellent, and although I had given up (variously), chocolate, desserts and coffee for Lent, the sheer range of dishes more than made up for it. A. pretty much lived off cheeseburger and chips for lunch but was more adventurous during the evening meals. We also got into a routine of making a nice cup of tea in the morning and in the afternoon after we had returned with milk "borrowed" from the Dining area - nothing beats a good cup of tea!

There was plenty of snow – in fact it snowed pretty much every day which meant that we had no problem in skiing although it was a bit murky on some days. Although starting in separate ski groups, by the end of the week we had migrated to the same group as A. skiing improved (it was only his second proper holiday) and by the end we were skiing together which was brilliant fun. He really came on leaps and bounds and thrived in the adults class that he found himself in half way through the week. By the end of the week he was carving parallel turns confidently which was great to see. My own skiing seems to have plateaued somewhat. As usual I was not as fit as I could have been but nevertheless managed to skiing morning and afternoon on most days – although I must admit to a certain amount of fatigue at the end of each day. We had a couple of days of sunshine but mostly it was cloudy with some very heavy snow – one morning it had been snowing pretty much all night so it was hard to see our skis when we got going but we were not complaining.

We also managed to go curling (although A. managed to slip over at a crucial stage and nearly crack the ice with his head!) and on the final day we managed to combine a morning’s skiing, an afternoon’s tobogganing, a snow ball fight and making a snowman!

In the evenings (in addition to making sure we were first in line for the delicious food!), A and I played cards or chess and also met some teachers were good fun so it was a really packed programme. I also caught up with Simon who was my guide from last year although unfortunately we did not manage to coincide for a drink.

All in all it was a terrific holiday. The journey back was fine and we cannot wait for next year although hopefully t will be with everybody!