Days 84 & 85 – Melancholy mutterings and automated irritants

Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th October 2018

Today, Saturday 6th October, is a sad day. Not only are we departing the hospitality of good friends but today, we also leave behind the big, snowy mountains, the glaciers and deep valleys where we have had some great summer alpine adventures.

We are waving goodbye to these as we head towards the flatlands

The Alps, within a few short hours, will be nothing more than a distant view in our rear view mirror and a cache of marvellous memories. As we drive away a somewhat disconsolate air descends on our usually happy band. Predominantly only silence emanates from the passenger seat, though occasionally Mrs P says, “I feel funny. Do you feel funny?” whilst gazing wistfully over her shoulder.

You’d think that with a degree in English literature from Oxford University Mrs P would be able to come up with a more eloquent way to describe her melancholy such as;

What is it that has contrived

And tricked the mind to make me feel

That all around is bleak and ill?

David Taylor 1956


“I hold the world but as the world, [Mr P],

A stage where every man [and woman] must play a part,

And mine a sad one.”

Mr. Bill Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice (I, i, 77-79) (with minor edit)

But alas, all that expensive education has come to naught and the best she can come up with is, “I feel funny. Do you feel funny?”

Her parents could’ve saved the money they spent on her education and gone to Blackpool for a weekend instead (no fees in those halcyon days).

Mrs P demonstrates her degree in English Literature by reading a book

In response to Mrs P’s question I concur and attempt to lighten the mood by dialling up some tunes on the iPod. Hmmm, Sylvia’s Mother by Dr. Hook. Voted number 20 in the top 21 most depressing songs ever. So much for my attempt at improving the ambience. Now Mr P is driving and crying. Proving at least that he can multi-task.

I’d say it was an uneventful drive and, I suppose it was apart from:

1. Stopping at multiple supermarkets until we eventually find the ingredients (read: jar) for a curry. After all, what Mrs P wants, Mrs P gets.

2. Trying to find a fuel station that employs real human type people to talk so we can pay for said fuel. The stupid automated stupid machines will not (stupid) accept our UK (not stupid) bank card. (I blame stupid Brexit. But, I blame Brexit if the weather is slightly below par and if I get a splinter).

We finally find a fuel station that utilises the power of human emotion and intervention just as the fuel warning light comes on and after 2 whole hours of searching. During which time, I should point out, we pulled into every petrol station we passed only to find Marvin the Paranoid Androids grumpy cousin in charge and flatly refusing to accept our bank card. Bl**dy Sirius Cybernetics Corporation! Bl**dy Brexit!

Anyway, by late afternoon we had arrived at and were greatly cheered by the staff of the Domaine de la Vallée Heureuse (literally translates as Happy Valley) campsite where, even after a whole season of dealing with idiot tourists, they greet us like long lost relatives. Happily plying us with tourist info and beer (admittedly we had to pay for the latter but boy were we happy to do so). Great campsite. Splendid staff. Surrounded by great climbing, all in walking distance, as well as a plethora of tourist attractions to delight the pickiest of visitors. Highly recommended to climbers and non-climbers alike.

Looking down on the Happy Valley campsite surrounded by climbing
Some of the climbing areas from the campsite

We could stay here for at least a week but, unfortunately the weather forecast is poor so we will stay but a day, do some more washing and move on on Monday.

Massive storm during the night with claps of thunder that shake the van and torrential rain. Glad we have Gandalf to shelter in.

Gandalf once again acts as a washing line

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