Monday, March 17, 2008

A last despairing fling down a snowy slope

To sunny Geneva with old chum Tricky for a late ski weekend with Elaine&Roy at their lovely home near Annecy. Navigation is a recurring theme of these jaunts, largely because Tricky and I are unable to agree on anything as simple as "this road" or "that one".

In my defence I have
to say that my (intractable) position on this matter is based upon Tricky's unquestioning faith in his archaic hand-held satnav ("Mr Garmin's excellent and ingenious locationing and directioning calculation engine") which is so old that asking it for directions often involves the use of rune-stones, the I-Ching or the entrails of a small expendable mammal.
This year our
orienteering incompetence exceeded even our own very high expectation.
No doubt the Swiss customs folk have an event-filled life but I suspect it's rare for them to see the same vehicle pass the border five times in ten minutes and in 3 (yes really) different directions. I knew we were
in trouble when we saw them looking for the car-stopping attachment on their official penknives. Still, we must not grumble, Geneva is a large and interesting city and few travelers can afford the time to explore it fully, as we did.

Since we were celebrating Roy's birthday on our arrival we had, in addition to smuggling chocolate cake into Switzerland (how very coals-to-newcastle) developed a cunning present plan.

Roy is a major wine buff and we were both aware of the folly of trying to impress with our own selection of beverages, we therefore resolved to discover and acquire the cheapest bottle of wine we each could and see how well they delighted his finely tuned nose and palate. Tricky sourced a £2.25 Spanish red called, if my translation is accurate, "fetid blood of the rotting scorpion", my own effort was the minimalist charm of Tesco £2.49 French vin de table. Astonishingly a blind* tasting identified that:-

  1. The extra 24p is worth the investment and the Tesco red was drinkable and not at all unpleasant.
  2. The Spanish contender was:-
    • the first wine we'd ever seen that frothed when opened
    • and
    • absolutely revolting

So, another win for Tricky.

*technically more of a blind drunk tasting

With the notable exception of these two bottles the weekend contained many other food and drink related high points, great company, some fun skiing and a thoroughly well-deserved two days of splendid snow and perfect sunshine, much to the surprise of the meteorologists and the delight of your humble correspondent.

Another highlight, of course, was the comprehensive thrashing of the French by the Welsh rugby team.
ugh we were watching the game in France, due to the miracle that is Sky+ and my slightly extended shower routine, (a little stiffness making it hard to reach some of those out-of-the-way places) we actually watched the game some 5 minutes out of synch. This meant that I was forewarned of every moment of Welsh brilliance or French fumbling by a series of increasingly depressed text messages from another long time ski chum Fredi El-Ribo who was watching the game a few valleys away in Val D'isere.

And so, back to Blighty, our Sunday morning drive back to Geneva involving only three major detours, two as a result of the sat-nav and one for me to commit an anachronistic piece of 17th century directional technology to the nearest ravine, thus saving Tricky the problem of whether to store it next to his Betamax video, his 8-track stereo or in the garage with his Sinclair C5.

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At 2:29 am, Blogger IzinSing said...

I'm gutted! I thought I was the worst navigator(trix?) of your acquaintance, but it seems that my place has been usurped by another. Off to eat worms now.....

At 2:23 pm, Anonymous Tricky Dicky said...

You'll be please to know that I'm now the proud owner of the very latest Tom Tom portable device that promises to be far more user friendly that my old' retired' Garmin.


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