Monday, 26 December 2011

Joyeux Noel/The Art of War

“No plan,” wrote Sun Tzu, “survives engagement with the enemy.”

Snowboarding on Christmas Day.
Is that Jesus' light shining on me?
In this case the enemy takes the form of a French youth wearing a baggy patterned ski jacket that would have embarrassed the cast of Miami Vice. He’s skiing backward, doing a jump – a not-quite-in-control jump – off a crest, heading towards Emma. She catches him in the corner of her eye, loses concentration, her lower ski accelerates away and back up the slope, and the result is a twisting crash she doesn’t get up from.

The youth? The youth skis on.

That evening is spent yo-yoing between the Cabinet Médicale and the X-ray clinic, finally to find that the doctor can’t get the X-ray results up on screen. He hands back our €70 and asks Emma to ring him tomorrow morning – which is Christmas Day – at 9.00, by when he’ll have worked out the problem.

Emma, meantime, is determined that injury is no reason to abandon glamour, and encamps on the sofa wearing her favourite Audrey Hepburn sunglasses.

Roll the clock forward 24 hours. Diagnosis: a strain or possible tear to the knee ligaments. A brace and crutches initially, walk a bit each day, should be walking around fine in 10 days. Skiing again? A month. Sounds bad, but we have good friends with worse health worries at the moment.

The next day, I see someone from last week's Christmas drinks party being stretchered down from the exact-same spot where Emma crashed. Her friends are in the pharmacy on Boxing Day: torn calf muscles, a dislocated shoulder, and a broken collarbone.

Today, the New Year crowds have descended in earnest, and the snow's thinned out by about the same degree.

There’s only one run open at Seignus, and it looks a bit like the Tamworth Snowdome on its busiest night of the year. The slopes are crowded with men who make the drunken-English-stockbroker, let’s-go-straight-downhill Val d’Isere crowd look like models of consideration and caution. 

I decide discretion is the better part of valour, and stick my nose into The Singapore Grip.

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