Spring-ing onto the Heath

By nature, I’m an obsessive planner. He often finds my overwhelming desire to plan ahead highly irritating and so I’m trying a new mantra: to plan less and live a little more…to avoid over-scheduling our hyper-planned lives!

So… with some time off work this morning and no school run, I (eventually) managed to persuade the Smalls out of their pjs and onto the Heath to see the sun rise (almost).


Spring has definitely sprung and the light was amazing for a little early morning snapping.






which door would you live behind? we voted for the RED one…




a little watering at Euphorium Bakery


On the way back a little voice (who’s been watching too much Night at the Museum) muttered: “We’re American, we don’t plan, we DO.

I presume they’re getting the message then.

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mountain trek

It all starts with a …. I wonder if… it’s possible… and how hard it would be….


And then the fixation kicks off and it is ALL I talk about until the plan is hatched.


He knows me only too well and sees these mad ideas coming a mile off. Knowing better than to agree with my monologue, He just nods absentmindedly.


This morning I took one look out of our bedroom window (another overwhelming white-out as we are mid-alpine snow storm here in Solden) and knew today was the day.


But luckily for Him, I had designs on my PHD-mate. She has been holed up in her hotel room on a paper deadline and yesterday hated her mini-ski in an aggressive blizzard.   Easy prey for an alternative adventure I calculated.


So the dads headed off with Smalls and skis in tow and we got similarly dressed for our hike up the mountain. The plan was to walk 1000 meters up to a fantastic cabin restaurant called Löplealm from Solden village where we would meet the rest of our gang for a slap up lunch.

We got a little lost towards the end of our mission, resulting in a pretty intensive 2 hour climb up and covering a little over 16k round trip.

The snow fell heavily during both our ascent and decent. It was astoundingly beautiful and deathly silent as backdrop to two friends properly catching up on life, kids, marriage and everything else in between. My mission was to approach the mountain from a completely different angle. Whizzing past on skis you can’t appreciate the deep blanket of snow and those heavily laden trees.

Tonight I can hardly put one foot in front on the other …


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The Ski Carrier


If you’re not a skier, you’ll just have to bear with me here. And, if you do ski and fail to see the tree I’m about to bark up, then perhaps just smile sweetly and move on. Because with ample mountain air and feet buckled firmly into those weighty boots, I’ve been doing a little thinking…

First let’s start with the basics; there is no dispute that carrying skis is unavoidable for anyone who chooses to pursue this frosty sport. And, let’s face it, these long, heavily laminated planks of wood are, at the very least, cumbersome to carry while trekking to and up any mountain.

The smallest of these foot accessories belong to the 4-year-old who can ski but, of course, can’t bear the weight of her equipment. And so her father carries the burden, until she is deemed strong enough. Then follows only a few years of independent ski carrying before any unsuspecting boyfriends pick up the mantle in their bid to show manliness.

Predictably, the husband follows suit too, until… inevitably… two pairs becomes four. And with the increase in skis comes the juggle of carrying while sharing the burden. Because (and this is the crucial bit) ski-carrying means much more than the mere physical act – there is the burden, the responsibility and the unconditional support.

Of course, there will one day come a time where we can no longer carry any skis. And, at his point, the meaning is completely lost.

So, here we have it. My equivalent of The Giving Tree (if you haven’t read it – please promise me to do so) is The Ski Carrier. Put simply, it’s the stages of life with and without skis on our shoulders.



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life journey

The Angelina Jolie effect continued today as the glamorous actress and peace ambassador released news that, in a risk reducing operation last week, she had had her ovaries removed. And in a BRCA1 gene mutation type of way, she and I are now on a par.

Now more than 4 years since I had my pre-emptive double mastectomy and a year less since my oophorectomy, I do finally feel that that part of my life is dusted. It’s just something that happened in the past. Not because it was such a dreadful journey, but simply because that was me then and this is me now.

The whole point about a life journey is that we are constantly moving. A close friend recently lost her father. It was a hideous time for her and yet now, a few weeks on, she is moving closer towards a happier moment in her life.

Angelina and all those other risk adverse girls are brave but you too would do the same. We take what life throws at us and try to gain any control possible over our destinies. And – when we’re not journeying through troubled waters – we slip back into the daily joys, trials and tribulations of ‘normal life’.

Unfortunately though Jolie’s operation did not remain the first item on today’s news agenda. Just a few hours ago, a plane carrying 150 people crashed in the French Alps. Sixteen of the dead include children from a German school exchange trip. And so there we have it. The very worst sort of journey imaginable.





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