On Staturday Katherine arranges for a ride on a ski-doo up to Kofflers Hut. The driver kept asking me if I was OK and I resisted the temptation to tell him that in my time I had driven a 50 ton Leopard tank over a creek gap at 80 km/hr and this little toy was unlikely to scare me. I enjoyed it though, and he was only being responsible. Katherine and I shared an apple struddle and coffee while watching and snapping pics of the intense activity. The weather closes in (read approaching blizzard) and we catch a chair back to the village. Sleet driven by gusts introduces me to the cold and I’m glad to get inside.
Later, Tom, the radiographer, and his delightfull wife Leanne play host as she prepares dinner. Leanne had once owned a Chinese Resturant and it showed. Mmmm…special fried rice, chinese chicken and more……so good. The village priest, Father Frank Bellet, donates a leg of pork in exchange for a dinner invitation and the already great company is enriched by his wit. Kerryn, nurse, wife and mother prepares the best sticky date pudding I’ve tasted and tells of her young son Luke sking black slopes while I think ‘Wow! – and I was concerned being near the slopes taking happy snaps’. Younger son Morgan is heading the same way. She is obviously proud of them and should be.
Later that night we went to the Whittaker Clubhouse of the Victorian Ski Club for drinks. Whereas I’m not a skier, I had slipped over on my arse earlier in the day and maybe that qualified me for entrance. The club was full of young people playing the mating game, a great spectator sport for those like myself whose marriage vows precludes running on the field. Eddie, prospective son-in-law, has to drink ten Tooheys New pots to qualify for another cap
and is busy doing that while Kerrin and Katherine, my daughter, talk of men and how to mold them. Good Luck! I think. I don’t see much maleability around here. Trainability? Maybe.
To stop me slipping on the ice, Katherine had borrowed shoe chains from one of the doctors. I proceeded to put them on backwards but even then they worked a treat and the cost of $70.00 per pair was after all only equal to one visit to the Physio or an XRay or a percentage of a broken limb repair cost, so good value.
The second bottle of red I shared with Kerryn set the standard (as low) and I slept that night in what the Medical Centre staff call the Ops Room. I think after my visit they may take my suggestion and call it the ICU.
The medical Centre handles up to 80 cases per day of ski junkies injured with broken limbs and other traumas – all frantic about the fact they have paid big money to sit on the sidelines with plastered limbs.
Sunday evening we dined at Pension Grimus
, a very Austrian resturant run by a very Austrian Hans There was a Porsche 4WD parked outside and we asked how much does it cost? $240,000 and the guy pays $400.00 to have it cleaned before he leaves the mountain. Earlier that day, standing back and observing the crowds, all I could see was serious money. A young mother of three with Nanny in tow, instructing the Nanny, in the manner born, to get the kids into the Merc for the trip home. I figured the clothes and gear adorning this small group would have cost more than my car let alone what a Mercedes 4WD would have cost.
The dinner was good, the red wine better and later Hans came around and offered snuff. Yes, the stuff the Poms used and now I know how they colonised the world. Man, that snuff clears the sinuses and helps concentrate the mind.
It is peak season and on Monday 4,000 kids were due from Melbourne private schools. Tom, the Radiographer told me the state school kids come up much later in the season when the resort operators do deals for children of lesser gods. Don’t get me wrong, I subscribe to elitism but when my children went to private schools it was a struggle and my wife and I worked three jobs to do it. No ski holidays then! Maybe I noticed it more because I have seldom had time or money to pursue hedonism. Good to look around though and good luck to all of them.
On Monday morning, I depart appreciating the company I had kept over the two days and also the priveledges of no-cost accommodation and free parking I had been accorded. Others have to settle for parking miles below the village and shuttle up by bus. I, for whatever reason, was issued a VIP pass, allowing access and parking in the village with all the monied folk. The VIP pass
surpised my daughter who had orgainised free access only, but me, Hey! maybe the lady at the gate thought I looked distinguished (grey hair does that) or, more likely, thought I was a visiting Medico. I had said ‘Visiting the Medical Centre’ in my best “visiting proffessor” voice.
I worry about the Disco – will it start with a frozen block but she kicks in and I start to de-ice/snow the body. The Ambo driver tells me to scrape off the 6 inches of snow/ice off the top of the vehicle as police have been known to book vehicles so adorned for having an unsecured load! This amuses me but on reflection, makes sense. The trip down the mountain was slow but once we were below the snow line all was OK. I had to ask my passenger to turn on the heater in the car as living in the tropics I had never had to heat the car. The heater had never been used.
Breakfast, point the car north and hit the tow!