1970: May 31, Natters

Weather much better this morning, thank heaven, and able to eat out of doors again and see the surrounding peaks. The people in the next tent came for coffee and chat – theirs is a Tentomatic and very big (no longer made in fact, David thinks it is rather heavy for the roof rack). Anyway, it makes an enormous tent, with useful spaces to tuck suitcases, anoraks, etc. Relieved to see someone else takes a potty on holiday – and their children, Andrew and Ian are 8 and 6. They’d been visiting friends in Czechoslovakia and had had quite a time, what with juniper brandy, shivovitz and other powerful drinks. Offered us some of the juniper brandy – very breath-taking stuff at 9.45am! Said the Russian had is everywhere there, they passed a vast air base packed with MiGs and guarded by a control tower and notices warning against photography. Several Czechs anxious to obtain English £s at fantastically generous rates of exchange, but they didn’t dare take advantage. Also said the country terribly drab and everything shabby and dusty, camp sites O.K. but lots of organised matey-ness.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, all the children having a lovely time playing together and right out of our way. Gareth and Ian got on tremendously well and played for hours, the rest had our car-box out and doing complicated things up and down the slopes and getting filthy in the process.

We went to see the ten Canvas Holidays were letting. It’s marvellous, a Raclet, costing around £150, with 3 bedrooms, large kitchen (with separate entrance), wardrobe and living area. It’s one of the white-roofed variety, they are experimenting with them and hope to standardise their equipment. You can choose airbeds or campbeds, they provide sleeping bags, table, chairs, cooker, camp kitchen, bowl, bucket, pots and pants, light and crockery. No ground sheet in the living area which seemed odd. It was interesting to see it all, and afterwards bought a gaz for our light from them – they only last 2 nights and ours like to run out before we could get a replacement.

Had our lunch (exotic stuff – fish fingers and potatoes!) outside, and then went to Igls for a walk. It’s a most attractive village, and the church is lovely, plain, yellow painted and with a slender spire; inside like a jewel box, with painted ceiling, ornate marble ornaments, richly decorated alters and a statue of the Virgin on a kind of handcart. Went on up to the Cable Station from which the railway runs well up the mountain – Gareth fascinated of course – then back to camp, after patting and adorable baby foal.

Children carried on with their game, getting even dirtier, while I sorted out all the clothes, etc. David and Colin Mead played badminton and rugby and demonstrated how unfit they both were. (“He was worse than I was” said David with satisfaction).


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