Forgive me blogsite, for I have sinned. It has been one month since my last blogging.
Actually, there wasn’t all that much to say about most of that time. “Ouch” would just about cover it all. My injured foot continued to plague me and make training if not actually impossible, at least very difficult. At the beginning of September, I was down to race three times in a day at the Final competition of the SCVAC Masters Leagues. Bit optimistic, but as team manager, I couldn’t really say no. Probably needless to say, my foot failed in the first race, and I spent the rest of the day as a spectator. A noisy one, mind. And we won the match, so I don’t feel too bad about asking a colleague to stand in for me at very little notice.
I left for Chamonix, in the French Alps, the very next day. Part of me couldn’t wait to leave the country. Another part of me wondered whether this trip was going to be a good idea – nearly 6 weeks in one place (not my style) and loads of temptation to do further damage to my foot while walking in the mountains. I took it very easy travelling out. Two overnight stops was overkill, but as I slept 12 hours both nights while travelling, I think it was a good idea. Both days were pretty similar to the first two days of my trip out to Italy this time last year – one day basically blatting down motorways, and one seeing France from the back-roads. I reached Chamonix on a glorious afternoon – a complete change to the rather indifferent weather I’d had here a year back, on the homeward leg of my 3,500 mile journey to celebrate leaving “proper work”.
So, as I write, I am firmly installed in a rather nice apartment in a pleasant and very quiet block, about four minutes walk from the centre of the town, 30 seconds away from the Aiguille du Midi lift system, and so on. My other half is here at the moment, staying for a fortnight in all. But what is really good is the weather.
Septembers in the Alps can be very good indeed. In my time, I’ve spent many happy weeks in the Dolomites between August and October, and my brief visit there again last year reminded me how great it can be. I’ve been far less fortunate with Chamonix up to now. I’ve often arrived and left in bad weather, and remember not a great deal else in between. It was that feeling that I had “unfinished business” with the place that brought me back here, and a persuasion that being here for a decent length of time might give me at least one weather break.
I wasn’t prepared for the sheer brilliance of my first few days, though. No way was I going to watch that weather from the valleys. I had three days out, armed with an over-heavy rucsac full of camera gear, convincing myself that it hurt because I was acclimatising. Of course, it really hurt because I was being a prat with a bad foot and I was carrying far too much. But oh, the weather. Chamonix at its best, even if its best often is several hours walk above the valley floor. Forgove me if I immediately felt sort of “vindicated” in making this my destination.
The weather stayed fine for my first week here, then became seriously “orageuse”, as the excellent local weather forecasts have it, for 36 very wet and stormy hours. They’ve done a lot in the Alps to harness water power and the wind. Surely someone can do something with the lightning? Then, it cleared up overnight, and the sun came out again. The scenery was even better, because the storms had brought the first of the autumn snow everywhere above 2,300 metres high. We spent several days walking at around the new snow-line while I pigged out with the camera. I’ve posted some of the best on my gallery at the wonderful 500px photosharing site
And for now, that’s the shape of it. Might be more words soon. Certainly going to be more photos, so keep an eye on that site.