my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

A Champery Christmas & New Year in the mountains

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Enjoying the glorious weather with cousin Diego Oyarzun Reyes, Dents Blanches in teh background

Christmas was Louise’s favourite time of year and, after my mother died, all four of us would decamp to the mountains to ski and enjoy ourselves. My main job – after cooking – has always been to ‘do’ the stocking for my three dependents…then in the early hours Santa delivers them to the foot of the respective beds.

Even now she is gone, eight Christmases later, we still give each other stockings, savouring the memories and revelling in the three of us comparing presents on Christmas morning.


My boys on Christmas morning, with the Dents du Midi in the background

Before Christmas, the boys had been brave and ventured out on skins into the pouring rain, hoping for snow on top; when I met them for lunch they were soaked through and in need of a stiff drink! A day or so later, with no prospect of better weather in sight I joined them but it was miserable.

On Christmas Day the sun shines for the first time so we head for the hills. Tradition dictates lunch in La Cremailleure, followed by a bird of some sort. This year it’s a chapon, stuffed, and served with choux Savoyard (no sprouts up here) followed by Christmas pudding. Tommy and I share the cooking honours

The weather holds good after Tommy leaves and we meet up with old friends; however with no new snow and minus conditions the pistes are rock hard and crowded. I am always wary of injury, especially this year with my broken toe manfully stuffed into a boot. Nevertheless I manage to pull my femoral flexor muscle (in compensation) and this makes life difficult – but is also a good excuse to exercise sparingly, and gingerly.


Mother and son

At New Year we always have a grand party, going from one house to another. This year we start at Annie and Tim’s, where chum Peter has bought a dispenser full of Caipiroska, while Huguette serves the customary foie gras. Then to ours for the traditional sit-down supper; this year I have made cou du porc‘Donnie Brassco’ – the one you ‘justfuggetabaat’ – and it is deemed delicious, after slow cooking for 6 hours or so. With gratin dauphinois on the side – yum! And on the stroke of midnight it is Diego’s birthday – so we always give him a toast!

This year we have guests: Mike and Penny have dropped in on their way back from Grindelwald. Luckily for me they don’t ski so I get a couple of days’ rest! We enjoy a refreshingly breezy lunch up at the Croix de Culet on New Year’s Eve and some general chilling out in the chalet. We love sharing our mountain idyll with friends, and they are first timers.

The tradition will have to go on hold in 2019/20 as this time next year we will be in the South Pacific! Happy New Year to all my followers – may you all have exciting things to look forward to.

Happy New Year!

Author: vickyunwin

I am a writer and traveller. Our darling daughter Louise died on 2 March 2011, aged 21 ( and I started writing as therapy. We never know how long we have on this earth, so I live for every November 2013 I was diagnosed and operated on for a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in the calf, followed by 6.5 weeks of radiotherapy, so am embarking on a different kind of journey which you can follow here. I also have another site with my blueprint for health and well-being.

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