Sunday, 7 April 2013

After 45 your get up and go gets up and goes

So my cuz and I survived a week’s skiing in Les Arcs, with our daughters but husband-free.  There was an unspoken pact to let our hair down and have a jolly good time.
          ‘Shall I pack the Scrabble?’ I asked Anita.
          ‘Certainly not.  There’s a big après ski scene in Les Arcs and we are going to check it out.’
          ‘Right-oh,’ I warbled, and the Scrabble board remained at home.
          We arrived in Les Arcs with a sense of anticipation.  We might be middle-aged...very middle-aged on my part due to being the eldest by five years...but hey!  Age is just a number and it’s all about mental attitude.  They say you are as young as the man you feel.  So when we took a coffee break after a morning’s skiing and had a couple of French guys making eyes at us, we were secretly thrilled to bits.  The fact that the chaps in question were older than us and dressed as women were neither here or there.
          After coffee, we returned to the slopes – and oh what slopes they were!  To put those skis together and just hurtle off...except...hang on...why was I being left behind?  Why were my legs constantly braking every time speed kicked in?
          ‘Stop it!’ I mentally cussed my leg muscles.
          ‘Bugger off!’ they answered back, ‘you think we’re letting you bust one of us?  I don’t think so!’
          And so a pattern was set.  The others would whizz off with me lagging further and further behind.  Since when had I become so cautious?  Was it an age thing?  A sense of self preservation?  And what was going on with my co-ordination?  My body was covered in bruises, but not from falls.  Instead from rows with turnstiles, chairlifts, metal poles and bars.  Never mind, a different sort of bar was awaiting and offering consolation.
          ‘Try a mojito,’ said Anita, ‘it will loosen you up.’  It certainly loosened my tongue up.  I couldn’t stop talking.  And as I gazed up at the mountains from our prime time view on the wooden veranda, I silently declared war on those peaks.  Tomorrow I will ski you like a devil possessed.
          The following day I stood at the top of what looked like a lumpy sheer drop and tried to ignore my heart beating in my throat.  Anita furtively produced a hip flask.
          ‘A drop of Dutch Courage?’
          When I’d consumed more drops of Dutch Courage than was probably sensible, I set off.  Oh yes!  This was the way to ski!  Easy Peasy Jack Daniels Squeezy.  Thrilled to bits, when we later stopped for coffee I instructed the waiter to stick in a shot of rum.
          Anita looked slightly alarmed.  ‘You don’t want to lose control of your legs Debbie.’
          ‘Nothing wrong with my legs,’ I assured.  Until the following morning when I tried to get out of bed.  The legs were as stiff as a couple of ironing boards.  I unfolded them and gingerly stood up.
          ‘Perhaps we’ll have an easy day today,’ I suggested to Anita as I creaked over to my skis.
          ‘Good idea.  And we’ll focus on après ski instead.’
          Ah yes.  The après ski.  So far it had been a bit of a wash out – on account of my cuz and I being strangely knackered you understand.  On the other hand our daughters had no such problem keeping their eyes open throughout an evening.  Anita and I found ourselves walking into a bar, gamely ordering a drink, and five minutes later yawning into our glasses.  What was wrong with us?  Surely it wasn’t because we were a certain age was it?
          ‘Oh look!’ Anita pointed to a games corner in the hotel we were sitting in.  ‘A Scrabble board!’
          We fell upon it like dehydrated nomads in a desert.  So while our daughters listened to the thumpity thump of party music, my cuz and I argued whether EUOI was actually a word and, if so, what the heck did it mean?  Not exactly painting the town red.
          By Day Five we were so pooped from the skiing we didn’t even attempt to do the après ski thing.  We left our daughters holed up with their iPads, mobile phones and music and took ourselves off to bed.  Just as I was snuggling under the duvet, Mr V rang.
          ‘How are you?’ he asked.
          ‘Good,’ I replied, stifling a yawn.
          ‘So what are you up to this evening?  Bar crawl?  Night club?’
          ‘Er, neither.  I’m in bed.’
          ‘In bed?  But it’s only a quarter to eight!’
          So there you have it.  Footloose and fancy free for a week and in bed at silly o’clock.  So much for middle-aged rebellion.  Which reminds me.  Somebody once told me that the good thing about middle-age is that your glass is half full.  The not-so-good-thing is that in a few more years your teeth will be floating in it...

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