As hobbies go, skiing is as time-consuming and expensive as smoking and heroin, although an addiction to hard drugs is probably more gentle on the knees.
Daughter #1 has been bitten by the skiing bug, thanks in no small part to a week spent skidding down a mountain in Italy in February with her friends on a ruinously expensive school trip.
There’s no point letting a skill like that get rusty and go to waste, so last Saturday we had a trip out to Chill Factore, the indoor ski place across the road from the Trafford Centre. We booked the ski pass and suit hire through their website and turned up, amazingly for us, 45 minutes early without getting lost once on the way.
But once daughter #1 was literally suited and booted in the waiting area she took one look through a window at the enormous slope, looked at me with big, watery, puppy dog eyes and said: “I’m scared. What if I can’t work the ski lift?”
Oh dear. I thought we had a refusal on our hands. I told her to watch what everyone else does first and she didn’t need to go all the way to the top and just to give it a go. So she did.
On her first few attempts she went halfway up and serenely snow ploughed her way back down.
After that there was no stopping her.
I froze myself half to death on the viewing platform (duh! Snow’s cold) as she disappeared up the hill until she was the size of an ant at the very top.
Then she skied her way down and punched the air in delight when she reached the bottom and rinsed and repeated it for the next 90 minutes.
My knees ached just watching, although that might have been the freezing temperatures.
Finally this week, we have worked out why the fatter of our two cats is obsessed with chasing shadows. He’s been licking toads and having a psychedelic experience.
He sits there, with his ears pricked up, for hours on end moving his head from side to side like a tennis fan on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
I can’t imagine what visions he’s seeing but judging by his glazed expression they’re pretty far out man.