[(I met Jenny Rhodes for the first time in 2008, in their deliciously cosy cottage in the heart of Les Angles, just a five minute walk from the ski slopes. Rosy, fun and delightfully chatty, she explained to me that she was in the middle of pickling everything that moved. I stood very still…. and asked her whether she would be interested in providing a ‘gossip in the mountains’ type of column for Anglophone-direct readers. She has never looked back!)]

February 16th 2011

Yesterday was a real treat for me. We went down to Perpignan to look at motor homes again, although as yet we haven’t actually found anything that makes either of us go WOW. But we did manage to have lunch in Collioure and sat by the sea over looking the harbour. It was lovely. There were two rather weird looking chaps selling bunches of Mimosa and it looked so lovely after spending five months without seeing the colour of flowers, so being a little deprived of colour I asked Mike to go and buy me a bunch. I thought, seeing he had ignored Valentine’s Day he would have jumped at the chance but no. He said he wasn’t going to fuel “their” habits. Arghhhh. My romantic moment was shot to bits. Never mind they probably had pinched it anyway. I have to say that the Mimosa trees looked fantastic and the frail pale blossoms of other shrubs just looked exquisite.

Now I have waxed all wafty about flowers. I would like to say [I’m not political] that the UK is in a worse state than I had first thought. Last year I applied for my pension, I thought I may as well as I was at the right age and as I have worked nearly all of my life with a little time off when the children were small. So when I received a letter from the pensions office a couple of days ago I thought…..how exciting. What shall I spend the extra money on? Should I put it towards a holiday? Maybe buy a greenhouse, the anticipation was nearly too much. I opened the envelope, hands sweaty and shaking with excitement and WOW….what did it say?………. No it couldn’t be that much………….. How was I going to spend that? “TWELVE PENCE” Yes twelve whole pence a week. I must be reading it wrong. No ,they are going to pay me once every twelve months. I have now within two days received nine sheets of paper, two large brown envelopes and a booklet on the widows pension. Plus postage. I do feel they are being way too extravagant and thought I may send it all back as it looks as though their need is much greater than mine. So much for being advised to pay married woman’s stamp. I wonder what I get for that.?

Last week Mike was walking Lil down by the lake, when the local musher came along with his dogs and sled. Now Lil is usually on the lead as she tends to be a bit of a minx when she is let off it and refuses to come back. She thinks it is a huge joke to come up to within ten feet and then skips off with a glance over her shoulder with a look of, “got you again” But Mike is braver than I am and had let her go thinking there was noone else around. Out of nowhere came the musher…….Lil pricked up her ears and ran…..not away but with the team of dogs. The musher kept going, keeping Lil to the side, he looped round the headland and headed back to Mike who was wondering how on earth he was going to get her back. The team ,with an exhausted Lil drew up next to Mike and she was firmly put back on her leash. With the mushers experience, he had given Lil the rare pleasure of running with a pack and all was well. On her return home Lili slept like a log.

This week is the first week of the proper holiday season and so we have regular Thursday night torch light descents and fireworks. Hot chocolate and mulled wine are proved at the bottom of the piste and is a great family evening out.

Yesterday was a momentous day for us and for a young couple staying in the barn. They announced last night that they had got engaged at the top of the mountain that morning. Jessica had not had hint of what was going to happen. So when Stewart asked her to step out of the way of the other skiers, and she had complained it was a bit icy, I think he thought his plan may be in danger of misfiring. But all went well and the ring was slipped on her finger. He must be one of the worlds romantics as the ring has an engraving of “Les Angles 15th February 2011” Thank goodness she said yes. I don’t think anything can top that, except that he think the slopes here are much better groomed than some places in the Alps. But we know that our Pisteurs are second to none.
‘Til the next time.

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