Posted by: jameshensman | January 25, 2010

Welcome back…

It’s been a while. Enough said.

I thought I’d blog with an update of the things we’ve been up to since our last post… back in 2009! Tut tut.

First things first, thanks to Adam for his brilliant post – very comprehensive and entertaining. Not as entertaining as his skiing attempts, but close. By the way, Adam has put some videos of his skiing attempts on his own blog. Check them out… I’ll give at least a ‘B’ for effort. ;o)

December 2009

We had many lovely visitors in December which especially nice during the run-up to Christmas. Almost as good as being at home! I think it’s always hard being away from home around the festive season. That said, as you saw from our Christmas day photographs, James and I had a very lovely Christmas day and a ski-filled Boxing Day. Perfect!

We had lots of snow… though not a patch on the snow back in the land of UK…

Grom’s ice-cream flavour of the month was Panettone…

We enjoyed amazing fireworks in the largest square in the world (ahem) in the city centre on New Year’s Eve, together with music from Juliet Lewis and the Romantiques and Groove Armada. Juliet Lewis has certainly lost her way since she appeared in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. How did she think she would ever better that by starting a band and having a rock chick mid-life crisis? Oh dear, Juliet. Never mind.


We had a view from the top of the Mole on an almost clear day. This is momentous thing and I have included a photograph.

We also found some beautiful, beautiful hot chocolate on a trip out to the mountains. Evidence also pictured below.

January 2010

A brilliant start to 2010, the highlights being…

A visit from Adam and the chance to take him skiing. Oh yes, and the chance to walk around in the rain looking for the old Fiat factory in the wrong location. Only kidding.

Take-away Grom ice-cream in a box!.

A trip back to Sheffield and the chance to see much-missed family and friends. AND James’ graduation! You do now have to address him as Dr. James. Honestly, he insists. No exceptions.

More skiing ;o) In fact, on Saturday we were invited out to Briançon, just over the border in France, by one of James’ colleagues to join them for some skiing and dinner in the evening. And what a wonderful day we had! We met at their apartment, welcomed with tea (her husband is English after all!) and then joined her husband and one of their three daughters for some brilliant skiing. We went to Serre-Chevalier, a beautiful resort which links up to about three others, so it’s pretty huge, with amazing views and, on Saturday, some fabulous blue skies and sunshine! We enjoyed some skiing as a group for a few hours and then James and I went off together to explore further afield. As you can see from the photograph below, explore we did – that does appear to be me on top of the world! I don’t know if I’ve ever been so high!

Dinner in the evening was an absolute joy. Very homely surroundings, absolutely delicious food and wonderful company. The couple’s three daughters are all bi-lingual and were very excited to show us that they had the BBC television channels! One was very keen to know if I’d heard of a programme called ‘Hole in the Wall’; it was one of their very favourites. Once she had explained that there was a big polystyrene (or, poly-whatever, as she called it after checking with her Dad the correct word!) wall with a shape of a person cut out in a strange pose which the contestants had to replicate or fall in the pool of water behind them, I, shamefully, realised I did know the programme. The three then relayed with great joy the various challenges on the programme and we all watched it together whilst they recreated the necessary poses in the living room in front of the television. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed watching that programme so much!

In the vein of the title of the blog – we had some yummy cheese after dinner. Given that we were in France, there was Camembert, Tomme de Savoie (memories of Châtel!) and some Bleu d’Auvergne with pear. I particularly enjoyed tucking into the Camembert (I haven’t had any in ages!) and the Bleu d’Auvergne had a beautiful flavour (spicy and earthy) and a good amount of mould (set off to perfection by the flavour of the pear). Delizioso!

Low-lights of 2010 (includes a funny story for your enjoyment (NB: it was not funny at the time!))

There are only two, so don’t worry too much.

1. It has to be said that our return to Turin was marred somewhat by a small incident with the car in the airport car-park. I shall explain… We had a wonderful flight, the plane had only fifteen or so passengers on it and the crew were wonderful – only two announcements and only one trip down the plane with the trolley (a vast improvement on our flight out of Turin with an Irish budget airline who shall remain nameless). We had some amazing views of the Alps as it was lovely and clear and upon landing sailed through the baggage pick-up as we only had hand luggage. We were feeling pretty smug… even if it was minus 4 degrees when we walked out the doors.

So… the car. We found the car and James tried to open it with the clicky keyring… ah, the battery had gone. But never mind, we still had the key so we could get in. But, oooh, then a noise. Ouch – an ear-piercing alarm of a noise. And it was ours. And we couldn’t turn it off. The clicky keyring thing was needed to deactivate the alarm… Ah. We got in the car. It was minus 4 outside and it was a no win situation – outside it was well below freezing but the alarm was slightly less ear-piercing. In the car it was probably around zero degrees, maybe one or two, however, the alarm was deafening. So, we attempted to think. We could (a) split up, one of us return to the flat to retrieve the other clicky keyring in which there was a fully functioning battery on the airport shuttle service. A pricey and very time-consuming plan; or (b) drive home in the car… with the alarm going off. Any guesses which we went for?!

… Let me just say there were a few hairy moments as some police cars passed us on the motorway. I’d also just like to quote part of our conversation before we left the airport car-park –

James: “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Amy: “We could be stopped by the police because they think we have stolen the car and locked up in custody until our Italian improves to an extent that we can explain ourselves!” I think I made a fair point.

Needless to say, it didn’t happen and we got back to the flat safely and without (major) incidence.

2. … Oh yes, and Grom’s flavour of the month: coconut with chocolate chips. What a disappointment for us coconut-haters! Fingers crossed for February’s flavour.

In no particular order, please find the photographs to which I have made reference (be sure to hover over the photos for some hilarious captions):

Well, a whopper of a post there! Hope you enjoyed it.

Lots of love,

Amy xxx


  1. Good post, but no pictures…. x

    • All the photos are at the end of the post… I had some technical issues. x

      • Too many jokes (that result in skiing related abuse) x

        I do like the top of the world one!

  2. Good post – I like the sound of the new Grom, but to be honest any flavour would sound good. My car key has done that three times and I just wait for awhile and it works correctly. It is the car equivalent of switching off your computer when it goes wrong – a good trick that may come in useful Adam.

    In an Italian theme – just back from three days in London/Guildford included one visit to Italian restaurant (Bruschetta & Calzone), next to my second favourite London attraction and three, yes three, visits to my favourite London attraction – shock horror!!!)

  3. How many mugs should I order?

    • A set of six? Why mess about?! x

  4. Good post! 🙂 makes up for the lack of them… just…

    Excited about when you come home 🙂


  5. Ahhh – now I understand the ‘mug’ comment on my facebook photo!!!!! Congrats Doc James! xxx

  6. Thanks to Amy and Aln for thier lovely posts – yes Dad and I are in disgrace for not posting but life has been very busy although not too busy to attend Dr J’s graduation. Will ask Dad to send you some photos electronically (turin and graduation – lovely ones of you Amy) and email you a posting – hope that not cheating too much. hope your ears have recovered from the alarm!!
    Love M

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