Archive for February, 2006

Had a great dinner with Joanne and my parents at an Italian restaurant in Bethesda, MD. The highlight of the evening, though, was when my father pulled an article, clipped from the conservative Washington Times, out of his pocket and handed it to Joanne. More astonishing was the fact that she agreed with it. (Edited to note that I was mistaken. Under no circumstances did Joanne ever agree with the content of the birdcage lining Washington Times)

She was halfway through reading when she noticed that the clipping came from The Times. Then all the colour drained from her face in horror at the realisation! It’s moments like these that I’m glad I always carry a camera! I suspect that this isn’t a moment that will repeat itself soon!

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This picture is just to make Maria Grazia drool.

Chevy Chase

Tiffany, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Bulgari all in one photograph? It’s almost too much to take!

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Alexandria, Virginia

Spent today in Old Town Alexandria, hoping to find a little present to bring back to Aude. I thought I’d try my luck at the Torpedo Factory.

While I didn’t find anything for her, I did find a picture painted by one of the studio artists that I really fell in love with and am considering purchasing:

Watching Him, by Matthew Johnston

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It’s been a while since I’ve been through O’Hare, but it feels just like home. Thinking back on it, I must have passed through this airport hundreds of times in my travels over the years. So this time, for a change, I snapped a few photographs. Just in case I get old and forgetful and want to remember what Chicago O’Hare used to look like…

Chicago O'Hare

Concourse B of Terminal 1 at Chicago O’Hare, where United’s flights are based

Chicago O'Hare

The weird, wonderful underground walkway between Concourses B & C. Sadly, they no longer pipe in Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ like they used to…

Chicago O'Hare Red Carpet Club

The Red Carpet Club at Concourse C. How many hours of my life have been spent in here?

United UA144

The United Airbus 320 that’s about to become UA144 from ORD-BWI, taking me to see my parents

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After a lot of hard work, it’s finally time for a vacation! We decided to spend five days in France skiing at Font Romeu, followed by another five days in Washington visiting my parents.

We arrived in France on Friday, greeted by weather that was 10° warmer than London! That changed quickly as we climbed into the mountains, where we found excellent snow conditions. When we woke up one Saturday morning, the skies were blue and clear, the temperature was just above freezing, and the skiing conditions were ideal. We had a great day of skiing, and went back to the hotel in the evening to enjoy the sauna and jacuzzi.

Overnight that night, we were kept awake by the sound of howling wind. We woke up the next morning to find that we had had four or five inches of new snow overnight, with continuing snowfall through the day. Obviously, this was good for skiing in the long term, but the cold, foggy, frosty conditions meant that skiing was difficult on our second day, with several of the runs closed due to poor visibility. Our third day, however, was perfect, with warm temperatures, great snow coverage, and slopes that weren’t too busy.

Aude skiing

Aude skiing!

Aude on lift

Somehow we managed to get onto separate lifts…

Matt skiing

Quite a view!

Matt's ski outfit

Quite an outfit!

Aude eating stew

Venison stew and red wine at the bottom of the piste.

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I’ve been talked into going skiing in two weeks, something I haven’t done in ten years. I’m really looking forward to it. I just spoke to my boss, who is away skiing this week, and he tells me the conditions are really great. I checked the resort’s website and they’re reporting 1.20m of snow coverage, with more snow expected in the next few days.

One small glitch. Since I haven’t been skiing in ten years, I haven’t got any clothing or equipment. It’s not really worth spending a fortune, because I’m not sure how much more use I’ll get out of it. Silly to spend several hundred pounds on new kit only to wear it once, right?

No problem, I think. E-bay will provide a bargain. And it did — of sorts. I managed to pick up a parka, salopettes, and gloves for £15 (that’s about $25 for you Americans following along). It’s good-quality stuff, warm and in good condition, and the jacket even has built-in avalanche rescue device. Quality stuff.

It’s just the colour. You know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well here, have three thousand:

Ski Jacket

(Yes, okay, this photograph was taken in my bathroom. Sorry, but it’s the biggest mirror I have in the house!)

Ski Jacket

Ski Jacket

Aude helpfully pointed out that “at least she wouldn’t lose me on the slopes.

And I’ve got a sense of humour to match the best of them. I don’t mind looking like a tit. At least everyone will be watching as I wipe out.

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