Hide the coke

We were rudely awoken at 8am on the 4th as the luggage had turned up. After breakfast we asked the concierge about getting to the bird gardens. He advised against walking as this would involve going along the motorway. Instead we should get the train one stop from KL Sentral to Kuala Lumpur station.

We had to wait quite a while for a train as the service was infrequent. We soon noticed that in Malaysia they love having the red circle with a line through signs banning various things:

No smoking – par for the course

No jumping in front of trains – wasn’t planning to

No flying kites – I really have no idea how I would do this in an underground railway station!

The train finally turned up and we got on to find more prohibitions. Fortunately these had English translations. I’m not sure otherwise I would have guessed that ‘No 18th century silhouettes’ was actually ‘No indecent behaviour’

As we had waited for the train quite a while, it seemed a bit pointless only going one stop. The train was going to Batu Caves and we thought we would have an adventure and see what was there. 

Lots of people got off at the caves so it seemed like we made a good choice. We walked out of the station and there was a large limestone escarpment stretching along and above us and lots of lush vegetation. The first cave we came to was 5 Ringgit to go in (£1) it contained lots of Hindu sculptures and dioramas.

We then walked along to the next cave. There were several flights of wide wooden steps leading up to it and a giant gold statue at the bottom. Around the steps were a large number of monkeys. About halfway up the steps, one of the monkeys leapt on Kim and started climbing up his back until Kim shook it off. We soon realised the monkey was after Kim’s bottle of Coke. Further up we saw another monkey which had managed somehow to break off the top of a plastic bottle of Lipton Ice Tea. It was scooping the drink up with its paw and into its mouth. Kim had to stick his bottle down his shirt front to hide it from the monkeys.

 At the top of the stairs was a temple built in a collapsed cave. We next went halfway down the steps and along to the right to the Dark Cave. We did a 45 minute tour. The guide told us about all the wildlife of the cave such as the rare trapdoor spider which we couldn’t see and the bats which we weren’t allowed to point our torches at. She did show us another type of spider and a centipede.

After we left the cave we headed back to the train station. It was too late for the bird park so we headed back to the hotel. We had a brief rest before heading out again to the Petronas towers. These were for a while the tallest towers in the world but have now been relegated to 7th highest.

We went through the strict security which included having to deposit my selfie stick and then headed on up. We got 15 mins on the sky bridge between the two towers and 20 mins on the observation deck of one of the towers. The view consisted of lots of other tall towers but also large areas of green space. After we headed back down we went out the back to the fountains which were lit up in different colours. We ate at a restaurant very close by. It was very cheap £30 for 2 and I had alcoholic drink which was more expensive. Generally Malaysia is quite a cheap country. We then headed back.

On the 5th we were flying back in the evening so managed to get a late check out for 4pm. We headed out to the bird park by the train. We then had quite a long walk up a hill and all around the circumference of the bird park to get to the entrance (this seemed like pretty poor planning to me). At the entrance there were yet more prohibitions – no disturbing the birds, no pulling out feathers, no picking up feathers etc.

The park had different sections with some birds free roaming and others in cages. We saw amongst others: peacocks, ostriches, flamingos, owls and many local species whose names I can’t remember. We stayed about 1/1/2 hrs before taking a taxi back which was cheap and much easier.

We freshened up and packed all the clobber for the last time before storing it with the concierge. We headed back to the Petronas Towers so that Kim could go in the mall and buy a new phone from the Sony shop. We then headed to the main shopping street. What I expected was something like your British high street. Instead the area had a number of massive malls in them. We started off in the high end mall, moved across to the low end mall before ending up in the mid range malls.

Two things became apparent: firstly that there were large numbers of duplicate shops in these malls and secondly that most shops had lots of staff but few if any customers.

Generally it seemed that in Malaysia there was lots of overstaffing and people whose job it was to hang around. For example, going to the station there was an automated pedestrian crossing but also a traffic cop who ignored the lights and directed traffic. Going into the station there were 2 men in red berets and pulled up white socks, there was another man with a black beret sitting behind a desk and there was a woman in a fluorescent jerkin at the top of the escalator. Perhaps wages are low.

We then headed off to the airport for our midnight flight home.

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A very long night in Sydney

We had a relaxed day on the 30th and did very little. I helped Kim’s stepfather with his family tree, while Kim wrestled with the packing. The good news was that we had got rid of the presents we brought with us; the bad news was we now had the beers Simon bought me plus a large plastic deer head that Kim bought while I was in Nelson (it was 70% off (possibly for a reason)).

For our farewell dinner, Kim’s mum cooked a New Zealand lamb roast which was delicious.

We had an early start on the 31st to fly out to Sydney. It was a 3 hour flight but we gained 2 hours back, so it was still early morning when we arrived. We went to the hotel and surprisingly our room was already ready, which meant we got to have a sleep.

 In the afternoon we went to Woolworths (a supermarket) to stock up and bought some food, soft drinks and a rug. We then headed off to catch the 5pm ferry across the Harbour. There were already plenty of people camped out by the ferry port and there were billboards saying that popular free viewing points were now full.

The ferry ride was relatively short. Halfway across the ferry let off its horn very loudly and had to do an emergency stop. The reason for this was that a motorboat was towing a windsurfer across the ferry lane. A police motorlaunch rapidly appeared on the scene and presumably gave the driver of the motorboat a stern reprimand.

We got off the ferry and climbed a long hill. The site we had booked was next to the zoo. We showed our tickets and went through a bag search. The site consisted of a large lawn and it was about half full when we got there. We set out our picnic blanket and started to wait. Did I mention there was no alcohol allowed as it was a family site? I did a puzzle and Kim read until about 8 when it got dark. At 9 there were was a smaller fireworks show for kids. After this quite a few families left so we were able to relocate up the hill for a slightly better view. We didn’t have anything to do so we tried sleeping for a bit but it was uncomfortable and it felt like we were slipping down the slope.

At about 1140, we packed up our stuff and headed to the very top of the hill. We could now see the top of the Harbour Bridge as well as the Opera House. At 1259, there was no countdown visible but someone suddenly started at 5. 

The fireworks were pretty good. There was supposed to be a tribute to David Bowie but we couldn’t hear the music where we were.

Once the fireworks had finished we hurried down the hill to catch the ferry. I managed to trip over a kerb and grazed my knee.

We got off the ferry at the other end and it was complete chaos. There was rubbish everywhere, a woman was dry retching in her lap and the police were helping some unsteady grandmas. Some of the roads were closed so we had to go the long way round. We got to bed and crashed out.

We spent all of New Year’s Day in bed. In the evening, we headed over to nearby Darling Harbour and the casino. We had a meal which included having to pay a Public Holiday premium (which they charge all over Australia.) I played poker while Kim went on the fruit machines. The casino was quite cheeky as they charge an hourly fee as well as the rake. I played an hour and then we headed over to blackjack. You are not allowed to tip the dealers in Australia and it was pretty obvious as my dealer was SOUR! She shouted at a poor American who didn’t understand the rules and didn’t even bother calling out the totals. I lost 11$ on the poker but won 50$ on the blackjack.

On the 2nd, it still wasn’t beach weather so we went to the shops and then the aquarium. The aquarium was very busy. Someone used their flash on a poor octopus and it went and hid behind a rock. There were tunnels you could walk through with sharks and manta rays swimming above.

One of the star exhibits was a dugong, which is a type of sea elephant. The dugong eats sea grass in the wild but this is hard to harvest and endangered so the keepers fed them lettuce instead. The dungong seemed happy enough.

In the evening, it was time to pack again.The good news was the beers had now been drunk but unfortunately we still had the deer head plus some clothes we bought.

We had another early start for a 840 flight to Hong Kong. We went to the Qantas lounge which was very nice and had breakfast there.Our flight was slightly delayed as the other flight was still unloading. This was not great as we only had an hour connection in Hong Kong.

When we arrived we were met by a man who came to escort us to our new gate. Kim was unhappy as he was hoping to nip out for a cigarette. We had a long trek across the airport and when we nearly got to our gate he decided he was going to the loo. He seemed a bit more cheerful when he came out. It turned out there was a smoking room next to the loo which he went in instead. We actually made the flight with plenty of time.

We got to KL and it turns out that while we made it, the luggage didn’t. We had to fill out some forms and it was put on the next flight. We took the express train to the city and our hotel was very close by. We were pretty tired and went straight to bed.

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Windy Wellington

On the 27th we had a lie in before a pretty lazy day. We got to watch some New Zealand TV which looked an awful lot like British TV with programmes like The Chase and The Tipping Point. One exception was the Maori news, which was in the Maori language. They had a bit on that Winston Reid had scored a goal for West Ham (he is a Maori). In the evening, we took Kim’s mother and stepfather for a meal at a very pleasant restaurant by the seashore.

On the 28th, we headed off around lunchtime in Kim’s mum’s car for Wellington. We first went up Victoria Peak which gave great views of the city and the harbour. We then went to the national museum Te Papa. They had a very popular exhibition on Gallipoli with giant sculptures by Peter Jackson. We went to a geology exhibition which had an ‘earthquake house’ and also looked at a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi.

We then had lunch by the waterfront before checking into our hotel. We had a little rest before heading to the ‘cable car’ (this is actually a funicular railway). At the top we had more good views and a chance to walk through the botanic gardens. Kim pointed out a house he used to rent nearby. In the evening we had a quick bite in a local restaurant, which was middling.

The next day Kim took me to the airport for the short hop over to Nelson. I still find it amazing that you can turn up 30 mins before your flight and there is no security check. I guess NZ is not seen as having a terrorist threat.

Robyn and Aidan met me at Nelson. Aidan ran up and hugged my leg. He has lots of energy. We headed back to their place where Dave was now awake. Aidan was very pleased with the lightsaber I bought him. Dave was less pleased.

We first went to a place called Gardens of the World before heading to Wakefield where we climbed a small hill and ate a famous local pie each. We then headed back to base where I helped Aidan build a truck out of Lego. We then headed to nearby Rabbit Island for a BBQ. I had a text from Kim to say there had been a 5.5 earthquake and had I felt it. I didn’t although being on sand didn’t help.

In late afternoon I headed back to the airport. Going back I had a window seat and a good view of Picton. Kim booked me up and we had dinner with his brother and family before heading back late to Paraparaumu.


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Christmas in the country

We finally got into Wellington around midnight and were met at the airport by Kim’s mother and stepfather. It was about an hour’s drive to Paraparaumu beach.

The next morning was Christmas Eve and we got up fairly early as Kim wanted to go to the bank. Kim took his mum’s car and we went into town. Kim’s bank was closed but annoyingly a different bank was open (no good). We went to the supermarket and stocked up before heading back.

For dinner, we had a salad with ham and boiled potatoes, along with some New Zealand white wine.

We woke up fairly early on Christmas Day. We got our stuff ready as we were heading to Kim’s sister in Masterton. We opened presents before we went.

It probably wasn’t that far to Masterton as the crow flies but there was a range of mountains in the way so we had to head south back towards Wellington and then NE through the Hutt Valley.

Kim’s sister has a good sized piece of land on a rural road out of town. You can get building companies in NZ who will build you a house based on a choice of blueprints and they had done this. When we got there everyone else had already arrived. This consisted of Kim’s sister, husband and 2 boys, Kim’s brother, pregnant wife and son and some friends and their 3 boys. The friends’ children had a reputation for being badly behaved. One of them asked me if I was an adult and then tried to hit me in the nuts. Charming child!

For Xmas lunch, we had a BBQ with salad, followed by the traditional Xmas dessert in New Zealand – pavlova.

After dinner, presents were open. Kim’s brother Simon bought me some craft ales which was nice as I wasn’t expecting anything. I gave Kim’s nephews a Bristol City hat each – I’ll see if I can try to convert them.

We then had an adults vs. kids football match. The kids were pretty good and had more stamina. The final score was 2-2.

Around teatime some of the family started heading off. Kim and I were staying overnight and we took the dog out for a walk.

The next day, we expected to be woken up early but got to lie in until around 930. Kim’s sister drove us to Mount Holdsworth nearby where we went for a very pleasant walk through the forest. This was a little challenging at times as the dog was not keen on other dogs and there were lots of other dogs.

In the afternoon, we headed off and stopped off for a few hours with Kim’s Dad in the Hutt Valley.

When we got back to Paraparaumu, it was fairly late so we stopped off at KFC. Somewhat surprisingly they had somehow managed to run out of chicken. Fortunately, there was a MacDonalds nearby. While there I saw a teenager who was walking around barefoot and had the dirtiest feet I had ever seen. Kim says this can be quite common in New Zealand!


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A very very long day in Sydney

It started with a night flight from Heathrow on the 21st Dec. We were going for Xmas with Kim’s family in New Zealand.

We had a 13 hour flight to Singapore, then half an hour for Kim to rush to the smoking room, before reboarding for another 8 hours to Sydney. We arrived about 730am on the 23rd (where did the 22nd go?) We had 9 hours in Sydney and our luggage was being sent on through so we headed straight out to arrivals.

We caught the metro to St James and emerged into the early morning sun. We headed towards the Botanic Gardens and found a quiet spot to change into shorts. The Gardens were mostly still closed so we headed on up to Mrs Mcquarie’s point which had great views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

We headed down and walked around the waterfront to the Opera House. They ran tours in several different languages and we got on the 10:00 English tour. Our guide was mic’ed up and we had headset receivers. He forgot we could hear every word he said as he swore under his breath when some doors were locked and also when he couldn’t get a video to work. All in all it wasn’t a bad tour though.

Next we headed round the Harbour to the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibits weren’t particularly good but they had free WIFI!

I had a look at Trip Advisor and we had already done most of the top things to do apart from the beaches, and it was only 11:30! One thing we hadn’t done was the historic Rocks neighbourhood which had some older buildings so we went there next.

Soon I was looking at my phone every 5 mins. How could it still be morning? There was only one thing for it – it was time to hit the shops.

The shopping area proved an old adage that however far around the world you travel, there are 2 things you can never escape – chuggers and people who play the pan pipes. In fairness, the guy with the pan pipes was playing “when a child is born” adding a rare bit of Xmas cheer to the meagre decorations. We stopped to sit down and a brass band gamely had a go at jingle bells.

In the mall, I was not really up for shopping but found a seat while Kim tried on various shirts (didn’t buy any). We still had a ridiculous amount of time to kill and I suggested heading back to the airport early. In the end we just went and sat in the park for an hour listening to a boring busker and watching children blowing giant bubbles. We then spent some time searching for a bookshop that had closed down and then pottered around one that was open before finally heading back to the airport.


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From piste to crutch Pt II

The journey to the hospital took about 45 minutes and was fairly uneventful.

They pushed me into the entrance and said I might have to wait a while.  This turned out to be more like 3 hours at least.

Actually it wasn’t so bad.  What they had was a long room either side of the hospital entrance and lined up along each wall were lots and lots of trolleys.  It wasn’t so bad as at least there were people to talk to and things to look at.  On my right was a teenager who had a broken finger playing basketball; on my left a white haired lady about 80 odd with a son and daughter-in-law (or daughter and son-in-law).  Opposite another British skiier and his guilty snowboarder friend who had taken him out (he just had a sprain though so was probably alright).

After 3 hours or so I was taken out of the long room and put in a corridor to wait for a scan.  This was actually much more boring as there was less to see.  There was a clock and it was 5:40pm. There was another woman across the corridor who looked just as bored so I asked her to help me remember the declensions of some of the French irregular verbs – je dois, tu dois, il doit etc

Eventually I went off for my scan and then was left in the treatment room alone for a while.  Now I was really bored as there was nothing to see at all.  It wasn’t too long before some nurses came in.  They asked me some questions (in French) and did some tests. After a while they gave me an oxygen mask and asked me  to breathe.  I thought they were just testing my breathing so took it off, when suddenly they yanked my leg up and started taking the bandage off.  They quickly told me to put it back on.  Perhaps the mask had some soothing gas in it or perhaps they just didn’t want to hear me screaming.  If it wasn’t for the pain, I’d probably be screaming at my 100 Euro bandages going in the bin.

After this it was a little hazy.  I think a doctor may have visited and then it was off to the surgery ward.  I had the doorside bed in a 2 person room.  There was another guy already in there, a Welshman living in the Isle of Man called Rob.  He had a broken ankle and had to be transferred to the hospital by helicopter as his ankle had broken inside his skiboot in 2 places.  He blames it on the fact his skis didn’t detach as they should have.

Kim drove down to visit me in the evening and brought me some stuff like my kindle and change of clothes.  He had spent most of the day sorting out stuff like taking my skis back and probably talking more with the insurance.  We had also told my boss at some point so she was up to speed.

I told Kim that he should go skiing the next day (Friday) as I would probably be having my operation and he could come and see me in the evening.  I was on nil by mouth overnight so it all looked promising.

Now earlier I mentioned about the French irregular verbs.  It turned out that I didn’t need devoir or any of that. There’s only 2 verbs you need in a French hospital:

  1. Faire le pipi – to do a wee
  2. avoir – to have as in “avoir doleur” – to have pain. Also useful for making the past tense of faire le pipi

As you may have guessed the staff were quite keen on me having a wee.  The problem is you can’t get up to go to the toilet so they give you a small plastic bottle to go in.  Now this is much harder than you might think.  It’s really unnatural and I spent quite a lot of time trying to produce the desired wee.

Finally in the middle of the night I was successful in my endeavours.  I rang the call button for the nurse.  “J’AI FAIT LE PIPI!!” I exclaimed triumphantly.  She picked up my bottle of amber nectar and I wondered what complicated scientific tests they were going to run on it. Instead she went in the adjoining bathroom and poured it down the toilet.  NO!!!

Still it could have been worse.  Poor Rob got to find out what happened when pipi was not produced.  It sounded very painful 😦

Friday morning arrived and all seemed set fair.  The nurses brought round a wash bowl, flannel and I guess carbolic soap so as to be nice and clean for the op.  I had a visit from the anaesthetist who asked some questions and he said he hoped the op would be that day.  And then there was the sound of a helicopter.  Our room was quite near the helipad so we could see it landing.  This was bad news as it meant someone was seriously hurt and not only that but I was bumped down the queue.  At some point they came and told us that it wasn’t happening.  On the plus side we could at least eat dinner.

In the evening Kim came in with Dave and Andrea.  They had at least had a nice day skiing in Chamonix.  Kim had booked a cheap hotel near by and so they dropped him off with our stuff at this hotel as they had to drive back to Geneva in the other direction on Saturday.

Saturday is normally quiet on the slopes as it’s changeover day but this Saturday unfortunately the helicopter arrived several times from 9:30am.  While we were both back on nil by mouth I wasn’t holding any hopes out.  This was a real low point.  At the medical centre they had said the operation would be done in France on the Thursday or Friday.  They had also said if I went back to England it had to be done within 5 days.  The 5 days thing meant that I could keep being pushed down the list and could still be waiting come Tuesday.  Kim and I talked and decided to see if we could be repatriated back to England instead.

I should say a word about my travel insurance at this point. I had annual travel insurance with Debenhams for some reason.  Fortunately, claiming didn’t mean speaking to Mr Brown in the Menswear department.  They had outsourced this to a company called Global response or Global Assist.  Between Kim and I we spoke to about 15 different people there at one time or another.  We rang them up to discuss the repatriation and they said they would talk to BA.   After a while they rang back and said BA wouldn’t accept me as I didn’t have clearance to fly.  So I was stuck.  There was also the matter of Kim’s hotel.  He found a better hotel nearer the hospital but the travel insurance co said it was full booked.  On the plus side he got to upgrade to a better room with a bathroom door (the first one just had a curtain)

Late Saturday afternoon rolled around and suddenly something happened.  They came to take Rob away for his op.  I texted Kim to let Rob’s wife Jane know.

Now  I should mention a bit about Rob and Jane.  They were both living on the Isle of Man and Jane was a nurse in the hospital there. Jane was staying in the same budget hotel as Kim so they went out for dinner together and kept each other company.  I was helping translate for Rob with some of the nurses who didn’t speak much English.

Now, earlier I explained about “faire le pipi”.  Now there was the matter of “faire le caca” to consider.  With Rob off at his operation it seemed like the perfect moment.  I pressed the call button for the nurse who told me that I had to wait until 8am.  I wasn’t very impressed. I should also mention that due to the delay in my operation they gave me an anticoagulant injection to prevent getting a blood clot.

Rob came back from his operation and it had gone well.  He had had an epidural and they put a screen over his waist so he couldn’t see what was happening.  They had headphones so he could listen to music but unfortunately the batteries were flat so he had to listen to it all.

The next morning they came in at 7am with the bowl of water and the carbolic soap.  This seemed very promising. The other good news was that there was a complete white out up on the mountain.

No visibility=no skiing=no accidents=no helicopter

No way was I going to jeopardise my op by trying to “faire le caca”

I had a visit from the doctor at about 8:30 to tell me my op was happening in about an hour.  Rob had good news that the doctor said he could go home on Thursday, which was promising and a hopeful sign for me too.

At about the time promised they came to wheel me away.  It was finally happening…




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From piste to crutch Pt I

It’s been a while since I last blogged but thought my recent adventures were worth writing about.

So skiing trip as usual. This year Kim and I and Dave got an apartment in Flaine, France and then Andrea came over for the second half of the week.

We drove to LHR and parked the car. The flight was pretty short and at the other end, we picked up a hire car. We had a small issue trying to change the language to English but then we were on the road. After a stop at the supermarket, we made it to Flaine in time to get our skis.

The apartment was a bit oddly designed. The room was quite small but had a king size bed which was unnecessarily large. This meant to open or close the door you had it push it past the corner of the bed.

On the first night, Kim and I ate at the restaurant, while Dave cooked pasta.

The next day we got up fairly early and headed out. The apartments were ski in ski out. We got our lift pass and sliced locally. Didn’t take too long to find our feet. In the afternoon we went over to the connected Grand Massif ski area.

We stopped to take photos and then Kim realised he had lost his lift pass. We are not sure how this could have happened as he had to have had it to get on the lift and it wasn’t on the ground anywhere. We decided the best thing to do was to ski down to Samoens 1600 and go to the lift pass office. By the time we got there it was coming on for 3:30. It was 3 lifts back so I told Dave to head back so he could come and pick us up in the car if we were stuck.

A few minutes later, Kim came back to say he had found the lift pass office and it was shut. I suggested we went down the gondola so it would be less distance for Dave to pick us up.

When we got down, there was a bus stop with a navette connecting the grand massif villages but not flaine as this was in a different valley. We got the bus to morillon which was a bigger village and nearer flaine. When we got there we found there were no buses to flaine but at least the lift pass office was open for Kim to get a replacement boss. It would take about an hour for Dave to get to us and I was happy to sit in the pub but Kim insisted we get a taxi as it was his fault for losing the pass.

The taxi was slightly hairy. We got to the bottom of the main road and there was a jam so he veered off onto a ‘locals’ one way route through small villages and past a farm.

He didn’t take us to Flaine but dropped us in Carroz where he said there was a bus to Flaine. Another bus came along and we enquired about the Flaine bus and he said there wasn’t one but after about 10 mins. It surprisingly turned up and dropped us very near our apartment. Went to the same restaurant.

The next day we got up early while Dave was a bit slower. Kim and I headed out and up the chairlift.  The snow was really good and the slopes were quiet which gave us a chance to get some speed up.  I managed a top speed of 95kmh and was skiing really well.  We met up with Dave and then the slopes were getting a bit busier so we just skiied normally.  In the evening, Kim cooked some pasta, while Dave and I had a go on his Wii (which he’d brought with him).  In the evening I uploaded my skitracks with my top speed and wondered if I was tempting fate a bit.

The next day we got up and Dave drove us to a different resort Avoriaz.  We got there about 10:30 and found a multistorey car park.  We then went to the lift pass office to get a day pass office.

Avoriaz is part of a large ski area that carries on into Switzerland.  We decided to head there first and followed the signs until we came to the top of a run called the Swiss Wall.  This had signs warning it was a 90 degree drop and mogully.  We edged along and peered over the edge before deciding not to do it.  It didn’t stop us posing for some photos in front of the sign though.  Fortunately, there was another way into Switzerland but when we got there the snow was fairly soft anyway so we headed back to France.

We ended up skiing around a place called Chatel for quite a while.

At the end of the day, we drove down from Avoriaz to Morzine, which was further down and supposed to be a bit livelier.  We walked past several restaurants, which Dave didn’t like.  We then found one he liked but it was completely full so I insisted we pick one of the one’s he had rejected.  We went in and I could see that neither Kim or Dave liked it so I agreed with them we could try Les Gets instead.  Fortunately on the way back to the car, we spotted a little bistro up an alley which turned out to be a great place with some excellent food.  Kim drove us back to the apartment, which was slightly hairy for me at first as he didn’t want to go too close to the centre line, which meant we were a little bit too close to the edge on some of the roads for my liking!  He soon got the hang of it though

The next day Wednesday, we went skiing locally as Dave was collecting Andrea from the airport.  We skiied around the Flaine area and tried to stay high as the snow was not as good.In the evening we had a ready meal from the supermarket, while Dave went to the airport.  They were back fairly late but we said hello before going to bed.

On Thursday, Kim and I went out early on our own as Andrea had to go and get skiis and a liftpass.  We skiied locally and the snow conditions were still not that wonderful. At around 11, we started heading back to the resort to meet Dave and Andrea.  We headed back down the Blue Serpentine run.  We went down the top of the run and near the bottom it appeared to flatten out back to the resort.

I started to speed up but then realised it was steeper than I realised and slowed down again.  I’m not sure what happened next, maybe I hit an unexpected bump but I lost my balance and fell forward.  My skis came off but my left leg was bent under my body and it felt like I was snowboarding on my leg.  The slope wasn’t very steep at the bottom I rolled a little.

Kim was behind me and said he was nearly hit by my skis flying off.  He stopped and put my skis in a cross to indicate an accident and stop someone else running in to me.

My leg hurt but everything else was alright.  I tried to see if I could walk down the slope but my leg hurt too much and I couldn’t do it.

A guy stopped and Kim asked him to call the ski patrol.  Fortunately, he was the ski patrol.  He had a look at my leg but there didn’t seem to be anything obviously wrong.  I was hoping it might be a sprain.  he asked me if I definitely wanted to be rescued and called a colleague.  They strapped leg and then put me in a sled.

We set off at a modest pace going down the mountain head first.  It was slightly weird as I was looking up but could see things like chair lifts passing overhead.

We stopped at the skipatrol station at the bottom and I then had to wait a little while before a short ambulance ride to Flaine Medical centre.  I checked my speed on ski tracks and it came out at 25mph so not too fast.

In the medical centre, I was transferred to a trolley.  They then took all my winter clothes off so they could look at the leg.  I had an x-ray.  The results were that I had a fracture at the top of my tibia.

We rang my insurance company and there were 2 options – have the op in France or be repatriated.The medical centre doctor thought I could have the op that day or the next if we went for French option.  The problem with the UK option was that they take you back and dump you at A&E.  I was concerned that if we went back on the Friday I wouldn’t be able to have the op over the weekend and would have to wait until Monday.  So went went for the op in France.

Kim stayed behind to take my skis and helmet back, while I went in the ambulance.  We had to pay them 300 Euros on my credit card before they would take me (the ski patrol was 400 Euros but this could be paid later).  Kim also paid 100 Euros for bandages.  I was glad for travel insurance!

We set off Sallanches Hospital
















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