We have just had our First Ever skiing holiday en famille.
A holiday we have been saving up for, for what seems like a life time. The children had thought about how to make some dosh, and then sold leeks, flowers, raspberries, and all sorts, at the end of the drive.
Kind locals had bought vast amounts of Complete Rubbish to fund our holiday which was frightfully kind of them. Might have to buy them a drink to make up for it.
The children managed to make about £200 by selling this Stuff. How brilliant is that. Every penny was counted and put into a jar. Which slowly filled up over the summer.
We arranged a savings account. That built up slowly over the months. And filled with the pennies from the Selling At The Gate. And Husband decided that we would use some money he had invested ages ago.
'Because you can't take it with you,' he said, over a large whisky, in front of the fire.
The children got quite sick with excitement as the weeks passed, counting down the days. I became more and more thrilled with the idea that I could show my darling husband and children the skiing venue of my childhood. Lech. In Austria.
It even SOUNDS idyllic, doesn't it.
Well, it is.
And so I took them there, finally, on 21st March.
Flying into the magnificence of Innsbruck, the plane ducking and diving round the considerable mountains, and finally coming to rest on the tarmac. My children gazing out of the tiny windows, seeing the Alps, heavy with snow, for the first time.
We piled onto the coach, with our considerable extended family, my sister and one of her sons, my brother and sister in law, and four of their children. And us. (My parents were staying there too, and had arrived a day or two earlier.)
And then we were nearly there.
I went quiet, looking down the road ahead of us, knowing that at any moment I would see the twinkling lights of Lech as we turned that final corner.
And then we did. And there was Lech. Just the same. A cosy cluster of houses nestled in the most beautiful valley in the world.
Can you imagine the fun I had showing my family the village, the ski slopes, my favourite places for lunch, the church, the school, the people.
IMAGINE how wonderful to ski down the Rufikopf, the loveliest mountain of all, and to look back at the crocodile of children and adults, my family, skiing together. Youngest steaming down like a train. Daughter and Middle Son bent like real skiiers, zooming down like pros. And the white of the snow and the blue of the sky dazzling us all.
And then at lunch. A long table of happy and tired family, chatting and giggling together. Huge glasses of beer and wine, juice and water. Plates filled with hearty, delicious food. The sun beating down. Mountains rearing up on each side, white as white. The sky the deepest blue. And me. Smiles from ear to ear. Happy as bloody Larry, whoever the hell he was.
Quietly and stealthily, Lech worked its magic on all my family. They started to remember the names of mountains and lifts and people. They spoke german when asking for their drinks and food. They swaggered up the main street with their skis slung over their shoulders, just like any hardened skier. They tumbled down the 1.5 km long toboggan run, beside themselves with giggles, all the way down.
They bloody loved it.
Youngest cried as we left. The others were quiet as we made our way back up the windy road out of Lech on that final day.
And Husband, who had never really wanted to come in the first place, turned his sun and windburned face to me, eyes shining, and said, 'We'll come back, I promise.'
I so, so look forward to it.