Carlos, Sylvie, Laurita, Luis Laurita, Sylvie, Carlos and me
For CS SS LI
I am not sporty. Never have been, never will be. Everyone knows that I move slowly, reluctantly, doing my bit for the planet by conserving energy whenever I can. Thus I am an asset to humanity. Of course, there are those who think I would be more of an asset if I moved faster, but the jury is out.
So today, when I was looking through some old photo albums, trying to find some nice pictures of my father (I did, plenty) I came across these pictures of me holding a pair of skis. And I began to laugh. Because here is the living proof that I was once a winter sport enthusiast. Perhaps not up to Olympic standards – but yet …
Christmas 1973. I was spending the holiday in Madrid with a delightful elderly couple in order to perfect my Spanish. They were very aware of our age gap and so they introduced me to their niece’s friends (Ana was in America at the time} to entertain me. These friends were delightful – very solicitous, great fun and included me in all their activities. One of them was very unusual in that he used to invite me to his house. This was almost unheard of in Spain at the time as I was not a novia or girlfriend. But the family accepted me as did Sylvie, his actual girlfriend (she was French so again had a different world view).
So one day when we met he told me that he and his friends would come for me by car the next day and that I should wear trousers as we were going for a walk. I was a bit surprised as normally we sat around in bars and cafes. Intrigued, however, the following day I put on the only pair of trousers I had, a thick jumper and a long coat. Laurita, who was also staying with her aunt for the holiday, wore her trousers too and we waited to be collected. Carlos, Sylvie and Luis duly came. We were bundled into the car and set off for a longish drive into the mountains. I was getting a bit worried by now because mountain walking I had not bargained for. The weather was very cold but luckily sunny.
Eventually it was time to get out of the car. In the middle of a ski resort. I thought I was going to die. Before I knew it they had taken me out of my coat, more or less lifted me into a pair of ski boots, clipped on some skis and then came the turning point. There was no way I would get into a chair lift. So they made me trudge up the hill wearing the skis. You can imagine what fun that was for everyone – (they all came with me!) And then at the top I had to turn so that I was facing the right way. That took a lot of manoeuvring.
And then they said I had to go down by myself. I had no option. So I did. I think I got a little push from behind. And to my great surprise I loved it! The sensation of (slow) flying was incredible. We got to the bottom of the slope and then started all over again. I can’t actually remember how many times we did this – probably not many – but I do remember thinking how incredible it was and how no one at home would ever believe me.
And now I’ve found the photos. Proof indeed!