Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The weighty issues of travel

Here’s an idea for a game show............you take 9 international travellers and set them up in a struggle of life and death (or at the very least a struggle for the contents of their wallets) with one rather grumpy check-in clerk. Now before you start  feeling sorry for the grumpy check-in clerk, as she may well have been out-numbered, she was, in fact, wielding the power of flight and thus holding all the cards. 

As all game shows need a hapless assistant, our grumpy check-in clerk can have the use of an elderly gentleman clearly suffering from Alzheimer’s (henceforth known as “The Goldfish” because of his magnificent memory retention)  whose role is to float up and down the line of travellers and greet them enthusiastically every few minutes and then act surprised when he is informed that he has already spoken to them just moments earlier….repeat ad infinitum.

The travellers aim  to get their somewhat over-loaded luggage (mainly because of the ridiculously small allowance provided – this is a ski holiday not a toothbrush and T-shirt affair) checked-in for as little extra cash as possible. 

The Goldfish's role is to bob up and down against the travellers and, under the guise of informing them about airport etiquette, actually attempt to put the travellers off their game by annoying them and creating tension for when they get to meet grumpy check-in clerk

The grumpy check-in clerk's sole purpose in life is to make the travellers' journey as miserable and expensive an experience as possible….

Despite the fact we had paid for a 10th seat on the flight (it was as cheap to purchase the holiday chalet for 10 as for 9 and we had always hoped that we might manage to fill the last space) grumpy check in-clerk refused to include the 10th person's* luggage allowance, probably because this would have removed most of the tension from the game and any chance of her fleecing us right royally.  


* The Goldfish was genuinely surprised that A.N.Other was a no show 

Most of the game was taken up with arguing that as we were one party we should be able to combine our individual allowances.  This tactic actually worked in our favour as the diversion allowed me to transfer 12 kilos into my hand luggage, taking it from the regulation 5 Kilos to over 17 (I may have mentioned before that the Beast does not travel light).  Fortunately grumpy check in-clerk was oblivious and didn’t demand to weigh my hand luggage.  Lisa did the old "wearing 7 layers" trick for travelling, which while effective makes for an uncomfortable journey when the weather turns warm, which of course it had….

After much haggling we ended up being charged only £15 extra between the 9 of us.  This was somewhat of a result when you consider we had been willing to pay £30 each before the holiday for extra luggage.  After initially being informed extra luggage was available, we were subsequently advised that the option had been withdrawn, in favour of charging people exorbitant amounts for each kilo over the allotted limit of a toothbrush and extra skimpy change of underwear…..I think we can count that as a moral victory. 

The magnificent nine 
Mrs B – A.K.A Penelope Pitstop,  because of her pink salopettes (which Mrs B regretted getting until they were voted the best salopettes of the holiday by the group and miraculously became a treasured possession), shapely black ski jacket and her equally treasured ski helmet with goggles.

Penelope Pitstop looking like a refugee
from HR Puff'n'stuff.

Lisa A.K.A the Tourettes Girl – at one point when the swearing got too much and Tourrettes Girl got stuck on a tricky narrow section,  a kind French lady came across and asked Lisa if she would like her to take her skis down to an easier section. Lisa readily agreed and watched the woman ski off into the distance, carrying her skis way beyond the tricky section and down to the  bottom of the slopes, leaving a, for once, speechless Lisa to trudge uncomfortably all the way down the slopes to retrieve them.  Just as well she walks faster than she skis….  


Tourettes girl trying desperately hard to avoid
any kindly French lady skiers.....

RichardA.K.A  Ron, after Ron Jeremy the porn star.  I’m not entirely sure how this nickname came about because I was not about at the time it was bestowed on him.  I'm 25% certain that Dickie is or has never been part of the porn industry. 
Ron building a new prop
for his latest porn epic....

Joe -  A.K.A Stunt Cock – named by Ron (OK make that 5% certain Ron is not part of the porn industry) and the co-star in the fictitious porn movie “Shoot my ride” taken from a sign-post outside a boarder park.  The name stuck because with all the jumping around that Joe does, at 23 he is young and energetic, and as the best skier in the group appears a little cocky to the rest of us mere ski mortals.

The Stunt Cock in action.

ChristianA.K.A Cannonball, due to the resolute crouch position that he adopts when skiing ….if only he had managed to knock over some people we could have called him bowling-ball…
Dr Cannonball Lecture I presume.

PhilipA.K.A Daddy Duck – After Tourettes Girl's habit of latching onto him and following him down the slope….
Daddy Duck gets a radical makeover in an attempt
to avoid being stalked by Tourettes Girl….   

KirstyA.K.A Jackie Stallone -  it was going to be the Queue Terrier because of Kirsty’s inability to stop at the back of lift queues and instead plough on through to the front, oblivious of the devastation left in her wake (very European) .  That was until we were playing around with the iPhone app “Celebrity look alike” and Kirsty was shown as 76% like Jackie Stallone. Very harsh, totally unfair but shockingly funny to the rest of us…..

Who would have guessed that Sly's mother
would do all her own stunts...

ShonaghA.K.A The invisible skier – during the entire week I did not see Shonagh once on skis.  My guess is that her pale Scottish complexion makes her blend into the snow.  

A rare shot of the invisible skier....

Me -  A.K.A Pushover after Stunt Cock sprayed me with snow and caused me to topple over – see “three falls and no submission” below.

It almost looks like I can ski... 

A.N.Other - Just like the holiday A.N.Other didn’t make the Blog, which is just as well for me as it would make this magnificent nine feature a bit of a fraud….   

Three falls and no submission
Fall 1 – second day – a very tired last journey down the rather tricky black run “La Face”…I got within about 50 metres of the end of the day and my rather tired legs just buckled.  Stunt Cock  tried to console me by saying he was also a little tired, bless his little cotton socks. I had to remind him that I was twice his age and had about a quarter of his ability….My one consolation is that I can still beat him in straight line speed.  My fastest clocked time of the holiday was 60mph (only 8 mph less than my personal best).     

Fall 2 – fourth day – A rather schoolboy error,  I went to spray Joe with snow as I came to a stop and completely misjudged the move and ended up missing the ground and leaping like a demented ninja and found myself in a sprawled heap about 10 feet beyond where Joe had come to a much more conventional halt…..

Fall 3 – fifth day -  Joe decided to get me back and sprayed me as I waited on an area between a blue and green run.   I thought nothing much of it until about 10 seconds later I went to ski off and toppled gracelessly onto the green run…..I’m putting it down to the power of the spray… 

There may have been more but if there were, like the average golfer miscounting shots, I've conveniently forgotten some of them.....

Hardcore party animals
The entertainment during our week consisted of a number of hard-core events including balloon bending, origami and wig wearing….I don’t think this was a match for the group the previous week,  whose main activities consisted of drinking (23 bottles** between 10 of them on one night) and fighting with the neighbours, other guests and eventually themselves, after they ran out of other people to argue with…The Chalet hosts Tom & Joe (who were non-residential) were forced to sleep on the sofas in the living room  for the last couple of nights, to stop the situation getting anymore out of hand.

** rather interestingly the chalet rules allow as much wine to be consumed as is physically possible but as a non-drinker, I had to battle hard to replace my wine quota with a couple of bottles of Pepsi max for the week. 

The drunken skier
One of the joys of Val D'Isere is La Folie Douce – a bar high on the slopes that from 3pm to 5pm bangs out loud thumping tunes, while plying its customers with copious amounts  of alcohol, before sending them off down the hill as much more relaxed and chilled out skiers. Sometimes the skiers are just too  chilled out........we had stopped in a bar below La Folie Douce, when the rest of the bar started singing, "Ollay, ollay, ollay, ollay" and making "ooooooohhhhhh!" noises, followed by big, raucous cheers.

We looked across to the slope and watched a rather wobbly skier making a very haphazard  way down the slope. He was giving big drunken waves to his appreciative audience in between  tortuous turns  (ooooooohhhhhh) and colossal crashes (massive cheers).  He was also gathering an impressive entourage of slope-side followers who were enjoying filming his travels….

La Folie Douce, the starting point for
many a skiers descent into hell...

The bad husband
I have to hold my hand up and admit to being a bad husband on this holiday, with Mrs B's birthday due while we were away I was running out of time to get her a card. My last opportunity was when we were in town the day before we went. I was struggling to slip away and the only opportunity I had was in Sainsbury’s the Supermarket.  Only, just as I slipped into the card aisle who should appear?

Mrs B – “You had better not be thinking what I think you are thinking”

Me – sidling away from the cards “No just cutting through to get to the err…err…vegetables…”

Mrs BHands on hips (a la the big Mama in a Tom & Jerry cartoon but without any stocking crinkling around her ankles) and a large unimpressed frown across her face, although I think I detected the merest hint of a smirk.

It didn’t get any better in the resort and I had to rely on the kindness of Lisa to slip out and cover my shame with a rather obviously French-bought card….Oh the shame

The French version of the luggage game
Not very exciting as the French check-in staff could not be bothered to even weigh our luggage, just put everything through, leaving the  only excitement at the airport a rather tired Mrs B who grumpily asked me why I had made the ski bag so heavy, as she dragged it from the transport bus to the check-in desk. I looked around and noticed Mrs B was dragging the ski bag from the wrong end i.e not using the wheels.

Appropriately after the battle of the cases the holiday ended with a battle over Taxis.  Having booked 2 taxis for 9 people and accompanying ski luggage the two buffoons that were our taxi drivers packed the vans so badly that there was only enough room for 8 passengers.

As a veteran of a ski holiday in which Mrs B and I drove across France in a convertible mini with 2 pairs of skis and full ski gear, I was not about to pay for an additional taxi and so forced them to  re-pack, which they did rather begrudgingly, cheeky buggers….

Blog of War
With just 4 people qualifying for the event (evidently tougher qualifying rules than I had intended…it can be tricky sending those emails), the competition has been put back until the 1st May, while I mourn the loss of my dignity.  So the competition will be a bit more bijou  then originally intended, never the less  please give a big hand to our brave contestants.

Penwasser Place

Talkative Taurus

Kitkat's Tales

and I guess me who only qualified because I live here.

It would be nice if you would go and pay your respects before association with the BlackLOG ends their credibility....
Show me the sunny
Monitoring our way to a fortune (or not) with our Solar Panels

KW Produced so far – 581

This has earned us approximately – £286 (Including savings estimated at £35 where we have used our own energy)

KW generated in the week – 116

Record of the week
Carry that weight - I could not get the Beatle version so I'm afriad you have to make do with the Cheap Trick version....

Tubthumping by Chumberwumba - In honour of our brave La Folie Douce skier "I get knocked down but I get up again You're never gonna keep me down".  I guess this also covers the Blog of War.....

Photo Finish
I make no apologies for ending this week with loads of photo's from our Val D'Isere trip.

From left to right Cannonball, Stunt Cock, Tourettes Girl,
Ron, Jackie Stallone, Daddy Duck, Penelope Pitstop,
Pushover, extra points if you can spot the Invisible Skier 
and A.N.Other..... 

Product placement without all the palaver
of that big embarrassing cheque….

Just as well I’m a Pepsi Max fan…..

Sometime later….

Damn, not even a free can.

Cannonball finally works out
why origami poker sucks.

It’s all the constant folding….

Mrs B celebrating at la Folie Douce, fingers
crossed it doesn't result in a ski of shame... 

Avalanche a sobering reminder how
dangerous skiing can be.

From my enquires the person caught
up in this fall was dug out alive. 

Tourettes girl trying to work out
 where the batteries should go….

Shonagh finally materialises....

An attempted arty shot....

 Is that Gandalf leading the way???

The view from the Chalet . 

Ron applies makeup before his big scene….  

Mrs B attempts the relaunch of shoulder pads from
the 80's....Crystal Carrington eat your heart out…

Stunt Cock, giving it large...

We checked the youngsters nappy afterwards and can
report - rather impressively -  it was clean….

Mrs B "Aaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh!!!"

Please note that is not an expression of fear on Mrs Bs face,
 that is the look after fear has taken one look at the
situation and done a runner….

 
As I make a rather wobbly exit
Stage left here’s to next
Years snow adventure...
Next week the joys of Kylie and the Pigeon Detectives


30 comments:

  1. If only the Farmer had taken the opportunity to be A N Other. Would have got him out of my way for a week.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. skipperthewonderhorse said...
    If only the Farmer had taken the opportunity to be A N Other. Would have got him out of my way for a week.....
    Now you tell us…I miss not skiing with the old crash test dummy

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the pics! haha "Mrs B aka penelope pitstop"lol
    i guess other bloggers were too chicken to compete against us :p

    ReplyDelete
  4. Brilliant post, and I'm jealous. However, I would be shunned. You see, I snowboard.

    ReplyDelete
  5. kitkat said...
    I love the pics! haha "Mrs B aka penelope pitstop"lol
    i guess other bloggers were too chicken to compete against us :p

    As you grow older kitkat you will realise that life has many disappointment in store for you….If you take just one thing from your BlackLOG experience let it be this “What does not kill you will probably leave you hideously scared for life….

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lost.in.Idaho said...
    Brilliant post, and I'm jealous. However, I would be shunned. You see, I snowboard.
    Don’t worry you would not be shunned at all but I can promise that we would not never give up trying to convert you….Oh and don’t expect us to wait for you on any flat sections…..

    ReplyDelete
  7. i just have to say, this cracked me up! i'd totally be the tourettes girl when i'm skiing...that is so me!!!! sounds like you had a brilliant time :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Krystal said...
    i just have to say, this cracked me up! i'd totally be the tourettes girl when i'm skiing...that is so me!!!! sounds like you had a brilliant time :)
    Are you sure you could keep up the level of filthy language that is required….? We are talking none stop verbal abuse from the moment you put on your ski boots in the morning , no rest bite for children the elderly and the infirm, until you finally remove your boots in the evening…. If yes, we are actually looking for an understudy tourettes girl ….

    ReplyDelete
  9. Inquiring minds want video of the leaping demented ninja! You almost made me spew my water when I read that line.

    Hey, we'll make the most of the Blog of War. We are the elite now! That makes us special, and not special ed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. ON a dare, I tried masturbating with a balloon animal once...it STILL hurts when I cough o.O

    ReplyDelete
  11. Everytime you take a ski trip I say I'm going to learn to ski. I still have not...but I do say it often.

    I would totally watch that show. I love airport tension.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Krissy said...
    Inquiring minds want video of the leaping demented ninja! You almost made me spew my water when I read that line.
    Sorry no footage*, I always carry around the recording equipment to make sure I don’t end up on one of those video shows….talking of which anyone catch you spewing the water.....

    * If my life ever gets made into a film I will make sure that scene is included….


    Hey, we'll make the most of the Blog of War. We are the elite now! That makes us special, and not special ed. :)
    I do like the cheery spin you guys are putting on the event, it sounds like you all have some English ancestry that floats up some chirpy “backs to the wall spirit” in times of national crisis….I have to face the facts, if the “Blog of War” was :-

    A ship – it would be the “Titanic”

    A Film – it would be “Ishtar”

    ReplyDelete
  13. THUNDERCAT said...
    ON a dare, I tried masturbating with a balloon animal once...it STILL hurts when I cough o.O

    That must have been one hell of a bang……

    I believe the term for this is Humparubberanimalitus and is illegal in a number of countries around the world

    Please tell me you got that static electricity you get sometimes with balloons and all your pubes stood to attention….now that would have been funny… oh, no I’m going into fits of giggles at the thought…..

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nikki said...
    Every time you take a ski trip I say I'm going to learn to ski. I still have not...but I do say it often.
    That exactly what I say every time I take a ski trip….This time I’m going to learn to Ski….
    With Mount Baker on your door step what excuse have you got for not taking a long weekend ….


    I would totally watch that show. I love airport tension.
    With you on the watching, not so sure on the taking part aspect….I’m at my best in airports when I just watch other people make idiots of themselves…I get so engrossed I forget to stress out

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, I want to be in the war. I'd be awesome. Because I'm pretty mean. Unless this is some kind of wussy war, in which case I would totally win, because I can't shut that shit off.

    Skiing looks far more entertaining than I would have thought. It's not for me, though, because of all the nature and balancing. But I would enjoy the bar.

    PS YES! Gwyneth should have just owned up to wanting to name all first-borns Apple in her quest to maintain relevance. And she was kind of a whore, wasn't she? And not in a good, fun-loving way. More in a calculated, who can I fuck because they're more famous than I kind of way.

    PPS YOU ARE BRILLIANT.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Suniverse said...
    Oh, I want to be in the war. I'd be awesome. Because I'm pretty mean. Unless this is some kind of wussy war, in which case I would totally win, because I can't shut that shit off.
    H’mmm please let me in because ‘m going to kill you….OK. sounds good to me, send in your request to my email address, see Tab above and you are in…..I’m already picking out my plot and coffin…

    Skiing looks far more entertaining than I would have thought. It's not for me, though, because of all the nature and balancing. But I would enjoy the bar.
    I can see unbalanced nature being a bit of a bitch….Still I’m sure we could lower the bar for you….

    PS YES! Gwyneth should have just owned up to wanting to name all first-borns Apple in her quest to maintain relevance. And she was kind of a whore, wasn't she? And not in a good, fun-loving way. More in a calculated, who can I fuck because they're more famous than I kind of way.
    I’m sensing no love for the Paltrow….

    PPS YOU ARE BRILLIANT.
    Wanting to be in the Tug of War and now this, I sense you like being part of minority groups…

    ReplyDelete
  17. Awesome. First time checking out your blog here. Following, can't wait for more posts

    ReplyDelete
  18. Moobeat said

    Awesome. First time checking out your blog here. Following, can't wait for more posts
    Than you Moobeat, you can always check out some of my older posts while you wait….

    ReplyDelete
  19. Life as a stunt cock.......ahhhhh, if only.........

    ReplyDelete
  20. It looks like it was a fabulously fun holiday! I love all the pics, especially the ones with the balloons. I'm partial to them for some reason. :D

    ReplyDelete
  21. New follower!
    gigglelaughcry.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Al Penwasser said...
    Life as a stunt cock.......ahhhhh, if only.........
    Why not live the dream....

    ReplyDelete
  23. Raven said...
    It looks like it was a fabulously fun holiday! I love all the pics, especially the ones with the balloons. I'm partial to them for some reason. :D
    I just hope you are not sharing the same balloons as Thundercat…..

    ReplyDelete
  24. Giggle, Laugh, Cry said...
    New follower!
    gigglelaughcry.blogspot.com


    No. 69 that’s quite a position you selected….

    ReplyDelete
  25. You all just have so much fun over there. =)
    I've seen time & time again with my best friend who lives there & now on this blog. Cheers to the residents of the UK, who know how to have a good time way more than all these uptight Americans!

    HOW stunning is that Mrs. B?!?! WOW! =) Lucky man all around! AWESOME pictures & stories. Very envious over here!!

    And I'd probably be hanging onto that Daddy Duck myself. Did I just say that out loud?

    ReplyDelete
  26. LilPixi said...
    You all just have so much fun over there. =)
    I've seen time & time again with my best friend who lives there & now on this blog. Cheers to the residents of the UK, who know how to have a good time way more than all these uptight Americans!

    Don’t worry we Brits can be just as uptight when given half the chance…..In fact unless I’ve personally imported them I generally hate meeting fellow Brits abroad…To be honest I’m not always happy about coming across them when in the UK…..

    HOW stunning is that Mrs. B?!?! WOW! =) Lucky man all around! AWESOME pictures & stories. Very envious over here!!
    She is way out of my league, and I often wonder how I managed to capture her heart, yet alone cling onto her for quarter of a century….I think it must be the high quality glue that I use….

    And I'd probably be hanging onto that Daddy Duck myself. Did I just say that out loud?
    You may well find yourself in a three way fight with TG and Cannonball (Daddy Ducks husband…..)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Just had a bit of a blacklog catch-up sesh!

    Very funny edition. The skiing was a real laugh and I know Kirsty and I had a great time.

    I do like the credit to power of my spray (stunt cock terminology there) although the moment of the fall was somewhat delayed... but I will not forget your apauling attempt to spray me ending in just about the most ungracious stop I've seen. Pity there wasn't more of a crowd!

    I think Alans friend Charles (A.K.A Crotch Hole) definitely deserved a mention...

    Joe (Stunt Cock)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow, husband. That was wild. Nothing wrong with that at ALL. Just unexpected.

    That's so cute what you said about Mrs. B. <3

    ReplyDelete
  29. Stunt Cock said...
    Just had a bit of a blacklog catch-up sesh!

    Very funny edition. The skiing was a real laugh and I know Kirsty and I had a great time.

    It is always a worry that after such a good holiday last year that it would fall flat, no such problem, so next years holiday is already under pressure…

    I do like the credit to power of my spray (stunt cock terminology there) although the moment of the fall was somewhat delayed... but I will not forget your apauling attempt to spray me ending in just about the most ungracious stop I've seen. Pity there wasn't more of a crowd!
    What do you mean pity…it was just as well it would have probably ended up in mass death and maiming of the onlookers

    I think Alans friend Charles (A.K.A Crotch Hole) definitely deserved a mention...
    I fear the BlackLOG would have had to have been rated XXX if it had gone anywhere near Charles….and frankly I was not sure where he had been….

    ReplyDelete
  30. LilPixi said...
    Wow, husband. That was wild. Nothing wrong with that at ALL. Just unexpected.

    That's so cute what you said about Mrs. B.


    Are you saying you didn’t see me as the last of the romantics….???

    ReplyDelete

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