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December 2008

It's hard to know what became of December, although the 5th-13th was spent very enjoyably in France, ski-ing with friends and neighbours Aileen and Malcolm Johnson at Val Claret, just above Tignes. We had both the best conditions I can remember, and almost the worst, with two whole days out of seven when I didn't ski at all. However, it was so brilliant when we could that this hardly mattered. Now that the apartments at Val Claret have wi-fi, I routinely take my laptop and regard bad weather as an opportunity to work, rather than a challenge to ski regardless of wisdom. This has had a good effect on my broken bone tally: after three years out of five with successively a serious back and head injury, then broken clavicle, finally just a scaphoid, I was beginning to feel defensive when asked if I wasn't getting past it. Nowadays when blizzards loom, I just get out the laptop. Just as well, too, as a kind fellow skier spotted a mistake in our new Everest guidebook (on the back cover too) that had somehow slipped through all proofreading. Thanks to the magic of email, this was fixed, proofs rechecked and the whole book put to bed just as fast as if I'd been at home.

After the return from Val Claret, there wasn't long before Christmas and I must say that this was the most peaceful, amiable and enjoyable Christmas Day I can remember. I think Amy was partly the cause, but my wonderful family must take some credit too. Probably we were all seeing the event through two-year old eyes this time. Certainly she got super presents: Uncle Sandy provided a music centre with karaoke, and you can see how popular that was:


My pre-Christmas trip to the Early Learning Centre for the grandparent present had started badly, because I naively answered the assistant's questions about age and gender truthfully: this led to my being steered toward a toy ironing station! Once I told them she liked transport, we refocused on one of those garages with lifts, ramps and a helicopter pad and about 20 diecast cars of the right scale to go with it. Sandy and I had a wonderful time "helping" Amy (i.e. preventing her) sticking on the transfers and we all had a great time playing with her toys. Pure magic!



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