Sarah’s Blog

14th August 2010

The poor team think that once they’re completed shut down, packed up in Meribel and are safely back in the UK that they’ll hear the last from us.  Oh no, the task masters that we are then try to make them write a blog to sum up their season although this is proving easier said than done and they all seem to be avoiding me for some strange reason!  Sarah’s is the first and it’s an epic one at that.

Thank you Sarah for this and also for being such a superb asset to our team this year in Chalet Aurigny, you were invaluable.  Thank you also for putting up with Kev in the morning, sorry for the corruption when it came to beer drinking and getting a taste for Mutzig, and well done for your perseverance in the powder! Have a fantastic summer and we wish you all the very best for the future and in your new Brixton residence.  xxx

Here’s Sarah’s Blog, Meribel 2009-2010….

We’ve been in Meribel for a week. It’s the second week of December 2009, the lifts have been open for only a few days and it’s our first chance to get out on the mountains and ski. After a week of deep cleaning the chalets, moving logs, and learning how to be the perfect hostess, the chance to get out on the mountain is met with much excitement – after all, whatever anyone tries to tell you, this is why you do a ski season – five months in the Alps, being able to ski every day apart from changeover day equates to more skiing than most people do in a whole lifetime. By April, I will be a skiing goddess, I thought…

Back to day one. I have never been so out-of breath in my whole life. I can feel my face burning and my legs are so tired they are barely able to keep me upright. I have just had my first experience of off-piste skiing. I fell over a lot. It wasn’t particularly difficult off-piste I am told. In fact, I had just skied down the un-pisted Blanchot run, the green beginners run that leads back to Meribel Village and the Fish and Pips chalets. GREEN! Surely it was a black??!!

So maybe it was not quite the start I had hoped for. But I was so proud of myself that day, and thanks to all the encouragement from my new Fish and Pips friends, I realised that while a ski season was not going to turn me into a professional skier, it would be the best five months of my life, full of new experiences and never-ending fun shared with lovely people.

Trying to sum up my season is so difficult; it was a complete whirlwind of amazing adventures all packed into five short months that seemed to fly by. Writing this three months after leaving France, sitting in a hot London office, I am feeling somewhat nostalgic and wishing I was sat in a deckchair in the sun at the top of the mountain with a glass of rosé in hand! Because that is pretty much what I was doing EVERY afternoon while I was in Meribel! It’s a tough life being a chalet host with Fish and Pips!

Of course, there was a bit of work involved! But thanks to our wonderful guests, I never felt like I was really working at all. It was more like having guests to stay in your own home, and I took pride in doing my job well. I loved welcoming our new guests each week and hadn’t expected that in turn, Kev and I were often treated as part of the family for the week, which was wonderful. Particular mention to our Aussie guests from Perth, which left me rather outnumbered for the two weeks they were staying with us, but who were brilliant fun and who let us throw a traditional Aussie BBQ, albeit in the snow, to celebrate Australia Day. Also to Mark Palmer who came with his family to write an article for the Daily Mail. Initially worried about what they would make of us and wanting everything to be perfect, we were treated to a week with an utterly lovely family, who always made sure Kev and I had a drink and a canapé too, and even invited us along with them to the Altitude Festival, which was happening in Meribel that week. I was truly sad to see them leave, but promises to stay in touch have been kept, and I have gained some very good friends.

As well as the guests, working in the chalet alongside your chef helped make the job much easier and much more fun. I cannot imagine having to run a chalet on my own, and think that Holly and Philippa’s focus on working as a team is what makes Fish and Pips so special. Paired with Kev, I’m not sure he quite knew what to make of me at first, but we found mutual understanding in our shared need for silence in the mornings! Having worked for Fish and Pips last year, he very much guided me through our first week of guests. By the end of that week, having survived badly-timed illness, and achieving the impossible feat of producing an entire Christmas dinner in two hours, we felt like a proper team. Throughout the season Kev taught me to love beer (well, Mutzig!), introduced me to depressive Australian music and fed me the most delicious food every day! It wouldn’t have been the same without him.

In fact the whole Fish and Pips team were wonderful and I loved not only working but skiing, drinking, dancing, laughing and living with you all. I have so many great memories. Highlights include our posh picnic in Chamonix, Vinnie’s dancing on stage during La Tania Day, the debauchery of Ladies Night at LDV, numerous girly lunches with a bottle of wine, skidoos and the Refuge, and pretty much every super Sunday.

Thank you Holly and Philippa for inviting me to be part of the Fish and Pips 2009/10. It is five months that I will never forget. Not only did I have more fun than I have ever had, but I have learnt so much and have done so many things I am proud of. It was an absolute pleasure to work for you, and although I am sad I will not be coming back next year, I am looking forward to coming to stay as a guest sometime soon!

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