Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Location: Snug and warm at home
Mood: Smug and warm. Also tired.
Listening to: The Story (can't seem to get enough of Leddra at the moment)
Reading: Look, Taste is quite a long book, orright?
Playing: 3D monopoly.

Today I went skiing. The last time I went was last year, when the sun shone o-so brightly. The sun, alas, was not shining at all today and it was very cold. I think a -17C wind chill is cold in anyone's book. Horizontal snow that cut the eyelids completes the picture - although, to be fair, this was only at the end of the day.

Epona gave me a lift up to Glenshee as Keith the Land Rover had a flat tyre - again. We met up with Phid and scooted down merrily down Sunnyside - the green run just above the café. I say merrily, but it really wasn't, for me. Much to my disgust and disappointment, I seem to suffer from excruciating pain in my Achilles tendons when I ski. My feet also feel like the bones are being crushed and wrung like an old dishcloth. This happened last year, and I thought it might be my boots so I went back to the wonderful Banks in Perth and got them lengthened. Unfortunately, it appears there's nothing wrong with the boots at all. It's just my feet. My Achilles tendons are pretty short, my calves are enooooormous, I'm not skiing fit, and my feet naturally turn outwards, which means they don't like being straightened. I get terrible pins and needles when doing the elliptical machine at the gym, so it's no wonder they don't like ski boots. Anyway, despite all this I managed to work out a way of enjoying my skiing. It meant poor Phid and Epona had to wait for me a few times, but, basically, I'd just do a run, take my boots off and stretch out, then re-boot and off I'd go. A faff, but much better than causing myself agony. And it really is painful. Basically, it feels like crap. Cramp, I mean. Crap cramp. Even now, at 11pm, my Achilles tendons are still sore to the touch.

But enough. There's always something wrong with me, physically, and either you let it stop you or you suck it up, make the best of it and carry on. I hate having anything that affects me cause issues with others, but Phid and Epona were very patient. Also, Phid helped me out a lot by falling off a button lift 4 times, giving me loads of time to de-boot and stretch as I waited at the top. Very decent of her.*

I had 2 falls. The first was just due to poor visibility, my carelessness and my ski hitting something under the snow (which, I have a suspicion, was more snow). No big deal. The second was more fun. Epona went over a little jump, landed, then fell over. I decided it would be one hell of a coup if I managed to land the jump and no shame if I fell like she had - so over I went. Yeeee-eeeees ... I didn't exactly land it. And I discovered my knees are nearly as flexible as they were when I was 21. Ouch.

It was a fun day. In total we did about 3 hours skiing, which was just about perfect for me. I'm hoping to do more skiing this year than last. My Achilleses definitely eased up a bit after I'd been skiing for a while, suggesting it's more a case of tight and shortened tendons than a boot issue, so the more I do it the better.

Back at home, Fisher had a mug of tea ready for Epona and me. I had a wonderful hot bath, then she cooked me penne and cheese with pancetta and peas (serious lack of veg in my diet today!), which was exactly what I wanted. She is great. So is Baffie, who is curled up at my feet right now.

Happy today.

*The lift was a bastard. It shot out of the trap, down a steep hill, dragging you out like Ben Hur behind a runaway chariot. Then it stopped at the bottom, so you sailed into the pole face first. Then it shot off again, lifting you clear off the ground (if you're Epona's size) or causing you to wobble violently and fall down. This happened to me, but I managed to snow plough adequately on my second attempt. Credit to Phid for plugging away. I'm not sure I would have tried it 4 times.