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Posts Tagged ‘ski’

Some things will never change…….

The challenge came forth from way down south where the sun beats warmly on the African earth. Oh the memory of that warmth and clear sky, just the medicine to escape from the reality of our Canadian winter!  

We had been house bound for a few days and had clocked up a 25 centimetre drop of snow all in one day! The wind chill bit into the bones as we shoveled and cleared the driveway. It was a never ending job! We had hit the comfort foods and braved the streets to alleviate the cabin fever. Then ‘the dare’ came in and the spirits lifted. It was just too enticing a challenge to ignore and besides it would distract us from an otherwise dreary cold day.

 

The ramp takes shape....

The ramp takes shape….

But don’t you believe it……

The plan was put in motion. What equipment would be needed? It was obviously going to be a snow setting so all the ski paraphernalia was needed. Then the scene had to be set and this involved the building of a ramp. Some jumping technique would add a bit of flair to the short prescribed video footage. Thank goodness for the house full of engineers and our software ace. It was a case of all hands on deck. The snow shovels and extra garden ones were rounded up and the heaps of snow were reorganized into our very own Winter Olympic ramp. Sochi here we come! Bear in mind that at the bottom of the back garden there was an icy stream and a forest of mature elm trees that had to be avoided at all costs.

Think about it before you break the rules…..

We were finally set up, cameras were poised and the ramp glistened against the backdrop of trees. It was now close to minus 20 C and the breeze had picked up.  We proceeded to the top of the hill. Let’s do this! The thick ski jacket was pulled off to reveal the requirements for the challenge……a bathing costume!  Note this was not a baggy pair of bathing shorts but a speedo! I giggled uncontrollably and was banished to the side of the garden where I would not distract. I was reminded that this was a serious matter. I duly removed myself to a safer vantage point where I could safely chuckle into my coat. The skis were clicked into place, the ski poles dug in and a few warm up stretches were performed. Count down…..3…2….1 ….and my son was off. He slid down the track and flew up into the air over the ramp, twisted and landed perfectly. We all let out a whoop and I ululated from my banished position. He did it! He met the challenge!

 

Lights, camera, action.....

Lights, camera, action…..

It’s just the way it is……

The cold does strange things to you when you are cooped up for so long. It is similar to being stuck out in the bush for long periods of time. In South Africa it is known as being bosbev…k. So we survive the cold version of this malady by amusing ourselves with ‘many firsts.’  I am grateful that ‘the challenge’ took place in our back garden.  I am sure some of our neighbours might have called in the paramedics and had us rushed off to ‘groen dakkies’ if they had noticed our antics!

Groen dakkies: the asylum in Cape Town

bosbev…k:  bush mad.

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The thrill of the first snow flakes

It had been a long and tedious trip. I could not sleep and continuously searched for a position that felt comfortable. It was not to be and I just lay there with my eyes closed and reflected on the last 10 days that I had spent in South Africa.

I had only been away for a year but it seems like an eternity….. so much had happened during that time. I had managed to drive on the ‘wrong side’ of the road, stand up on my skis and actually wend my way down a slope. I had built up muscle in parts of my body that I never knew existed and all the yard work was surely keeping me limber! Every day was a challenge of learning, remembering and experiencing new things. Just to memorise my telephone number took a few months, as I have never bothered ‘my pretty little head’ with such trivial things. Who needs to remember when you can just enter the number in your cell phone? It also took a while to recognise the coins, as I only ever used them for parking meters!

Things are beginning to feel familiar. The ‘firsts’ are becoming seconds, thirds and fourths. I can now find my way around town without quivering in my boots and actually recognize a few landmarks. I greet my pharmacist by name and the cashiers at the supermarket smile when they recognize me. I am certainly in there frequently enough! The baker, who makes the most delicious seed loaf, always inquires about our life ‘back home.’ We continue the sequel each week as I stock up on my supply of freshly baked bread. I suppose I just don’t feel like a Barberton daisy that is trying to survive in a busy street anymore!

The wait in Amsterdam dragged and I was finally on my last leg of the trip. As I arrived at the gate I was informed that I had been bumped up to business class. Hoorah! They must have noticed this bedraggled passenger and taken pity on her. I spread myself out and sank into my soft leather seat. I stretched my legs out and wiggled my toes. I was in 7th heaven! Then I was plied with French champagne and served an elegant supper. I was absorbed by all the new delights and the array of movies that were on offer on the in-flight entertainment. I could not help notice my neighbour who was quite blasé about the whole experience. He was obviously one of the frequent business class flyers and I stood out like a sore thumb with my naivety and enthusiasm.

Over the past year I have certainly displayed my vulnerability with all the change that has occurred.  But I have also recognized the enthusiasm that exists deep inside me and the strength to cope with life’s challenges. I have felt the wind beneath my wings……  

One of ‘the firsts’…watching football.

 

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My stomach churned as I looked down at my feet. They were trussed up in gigantic ski boots! I opened the door and the cold air blasted across my face. I pulled my fur jacket up against my chin and gingerly ‘penguin walked’ down the stairs. Right, let’s do this!

 

So there I was, all fitted out in all the right equipment complete with helmet. We debated about the headgear as I had no intention of breaking any speed records. Then the vision of me careering off the side of a slope came to mind and ‘action girl’ thought that it was probably a good idea. My stomach lurched as I gazed up the steep slopes and contemplated my fate!

 

 My skiing instructor was a retired, gallant gentleman and he carefully guided me through the initial steps. I flew up in the air a few times and landed with ‘bene in die lug.’ Getting up after a fall was no easy feat either, as your skis were all tangled beneath you. I was all legs and skis! At one stage I hurtled off the course and was caught by a kind hand and brought back on track. Slowly I gained confidence and began to push my heels out and weave my way down the slope. My God, she has got it! I screamed with delight! There was no holding me back now. It was amazing to feel the snow slip beneath you and I just could not get enough. I raced up and down and even walked up the slope when the ski lift experienced mechanical problems.

 

Eventually I started experiencing some of my own mechanical problems! The body does not quite work as it used to, although it had surprised me with its endurance and agility on this particular day. An ankle bruise and a sore neck from a spectacular flip backwards made me submit and I made my way to the clubhouse.

 

 As I walked back I had a wonderful sense of achievement. I know that I had only played around on the bunny slopes, but I had walked through my fear and not given in to it. I had played like a kid again and screamed and shouted with joy. I am sure it will be a different story when I wake up tomorrow and feel the stiffness in the old bones!

 ‘Môre is nog ‘n dag.’

Action girl!

 

 

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Yeehaa! I was hurtling down a snow downhill slope tucked into a little rubber tyre. I twisted and whirled down the slippery slope and wondered why on earth I was subjecting myself to this… for the sheer exhilaration and the fun of it!

We had had our first reasonable snowfall and we headed out to see the countryside. The conifers were all touched with a soft cascade of white powder just like we see on a Christmas card and the bare deciduous trees had icicles hanging from their branches. The icy, grey shapes silhouetted against the bright sky like a scene from the movie ‘Twilight.’

We were glad to have some temporary respite in our warm car.

 

As we made our way to the ski slope, we spotted enthusiastic children who had made their first snowman of the season and others that had dusted off their snow kit and braved the outdoors for a bit of fresh air. We donned our newly acquired ‘snow pant’, ripped labels off thick gloves and beanies and headed out to the slopes. We were clearly the new kids on the block! Although the newbies, we soon got the hang of running up the slope and careering like a bat out of hell down the runway on our rubber chariots. We yelled out like kids as we whistled our way over the slippery surface, twirled over the bumps and finally came to a rest against the snow safety barrier. I looked around and realized that our time was up. We had been running up and down the slopes for nearly 2 hours! A cup of warm tea (or something stronger) and some relaxation were definitely called for.

 

So we need to preserve these happy recollections in our memory bank as they will need to be recalled when we are heaving snow off the driveway. According to local knowledge, it can become quite tedious. Thank goodness we are still the NEW KIDS on the block.

A second childhood

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