We’re packing up and moving on, leaving the mountains and France with mixed emotions. We’ve had an amazing winter an incredible experience living in the Alps for a few months, a dream come true. There’s been a few bumps and bangs along the way – some literal. But it’s time to head home, to our home, our family and friends, the garden and the allotment, life and new work.

Time to take a personal look back.

Big blue skies, the incredible and the fantastical, the rush of energy and the slumps of deep sleep

Wooden farmhouses and new build chalets, opened and shuttered, glass glinting and reflecting, wood piles and wood smoke

The backdrop sound of rushing water and melting snow in the gullies below you, of fallen trees and opened pinecones


Big blue skies, fat snowflakes drifting down, clouds creeping through the valleys, of clouds enveloping you and the mountains, misting the views

Of life in the Savoie when the clump thump of ski boots and skiers is long gone


Quiet yogic movements and controlled breathe, stretches and pauses

Stomping feet, tired eyes, rosy cheeks, weary legs, wind-chapped lips and cold hands clapped

Rich mountain food, the chink of glasses and the sound of celebrations

Rebelchon, France

Hospitals, x-rays, physio, stinging pain and frustration, reminder of the bodies fragility, it’s recovery

Doggies, wags and woofs

Ski resort life – the build up and wind down, the rush and the wait


The noise and bustle of travel, the movement and the static

Deep powder, snow laden trees and the drip drip of icicles


Seeing the spectacular, of dizzying heights and highs, views down the valleys to distant lakes, of crevices, cracks and fissures of rock

Standing still, noticing the minutiae, Spring emerging


Snaking ski schools, the red of ESF, of instructions called out, admonishment and encouragement given, to the whooping and whizzing through powder

The scents of home cooking – freshly chopped ginger, garlic and chillies, of baking cakes, homegrown food and simple salads


The brights and synthetics of ski clothing, of hats in every shape, colour and texture, of fake fur and real fur, of tiny dogs wrapped up against the cold and curious puppies

Digs, France

Smiles and sharing, discovering the new and remembering old favourites

Deep dark forests, woodland clearings, open pistes and standing on top of the world


Heavily perfumed vin chaud, jazz in the bar, refreshing mint teas and cool beers


The sound of your skis running on freshly pisted runs, the crunch of snow underfoot and the stillness that early morning snow brings

The mechanics and machinery of skiing – the snow ploughs, the piste bashers, the ski chairs and drag lifts, of lorries laden with snow, of gritters and shovels, brushes and scrapers


The smell and taste of the Savoie – tartiflette and fondue, nips of génépi and the sweet-sour of myrtlle tarts

Hot coffees, bitter chocolate and wonderful company


Sunsets and pink mountains, mounds upon mounds of snow, frosted trees and the pale blue of frozen waterfalls

Overnight animal tracks, morning birdsong, chattering Magpies, darting robins, flitting blue tits and the tracks of skidoos

The quiet reflective light of snowy nights, of full moons, owls hooting in the woods and the deep dark

The playful paws of a kitten to deep purrs and crashing sleeps

Frenetic school holidays, excitable tired kids, hopeful parents, the gathering of family groups, bumper to bumper traffic

Crisp whites and fruity reds, greetings and nods of recognition


Solitary walks, distant friends, visitors and a few giggles


Wonderous sights, sounds and dreams


Steamy cafes, bustling markets and supermarket bright lights

Thin mountain air, the hit of cold on your lungs and of clouds of breath

Patterns in the snow, of ski tracks and muddy paws

Window shopping, people watching and warm lights in the distance


Tall stories and high jinx, the silly and funny

To the faintly ridiculous


Stopping and staring, wondering and wandering, feeling the warmth of the sun break through the cold

Of Christmas morning on the piste, pink champagne, new hopes and dreams

Exploring and sampling, tasting and nibbling, of new finds and old favourites


From under the eaves our morning, afternoon and evening view

Of a winter spent with my love.


  • That was beautiful! Am sitting here sighing happily. What a wonderful experience…it will change you in some way…I know my first long visit to Spain did! And now although you feel a little sad and nostalgic, you will head home and who knows what fun you will have in the year ahead with your garden, your home, your loved ones….

      • My Molly’s had a tough week. The battery in the CO2 detector went dead in the middle of the night, and it kept chirping an ear-piercing sound hours while we slept. She was all shaky and frightened in the morning, and she still has to be coaxed into the house in the morning because she thinks that chirpy thingie is still in the kitchen. Poor little baby. 😦

  • Amazing post, Claire…a wonderful way to wrap up your Winter Life, and launch into the next adventure. It’s been so much fun tagging along with you!
    Now, on with the show!

  • Fantastis post!
    I will be re-visiting here to look again at the beautiful (and sometimes funny) photos and also to read the few words with which you describe and evoke so much.
    You really are very good at this you know!
    Safe journey home matey

  • Amazing – I bet you will miss it but now you can get on with planting spuds, onions and sowing seeds for your allotment. One thing you will miss is the weather, here its wet cold and very windy and probably at the moment not to much sun about but you may still have the snow albeit not very white maybe slush, but your experience will stay with you for life, have fun with your sowing of seeds etc. Ive also enjoyed your travels.

    • We left in snow and made it home to rain. But I have to say, as frustrating as rain is, it’ smuch needed in this part of the south east.
      And thanks for the compliments and thumbs up 🙂

    • It’s strange isn’t it, in some ways it feels like I’ve been in snowyland for a lifetime and yet it’s only a few months of my life. And thanks for popping in and commenting, it’s lovely to hear from you 🙂

  • I love viewing your life through the lens of your camera. Such a lovely perspective, you really have a great talent. Take Care, BAM

  • A lovely look back, Claire. Winter just flew by, like much of Time does, but I imagine your stay in the Alps seems like but a few seconds. Thank you for sharing so much of your Alpine adventure with us. 🙂

    • Thank you John. There have been times when time seemed to tick by slowly and others simply rushed by! It’s been greta fun to have you along for the trip 🙂

  • This was a wonderful post, to see all of them together again… Like a book! This is amazing experience… Your photographs so beautiful, some of them are more than so beautiful 🙂 you can guess which ones… Thank you dear Claire, have a nice journey and welcome back home… Spring waits for you… Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

    • Hi Nia, and thank you! It’s been lovely to share my world with my friends, but as you say Spring waits for me, and the garden needs a lot of work!! Busy, busy, busy 🙂

  • I’m charmed! A joyful ode to change from winter to spring, from the Alps to England. Thank you sharing your journey. I’m honored to tag long.

  • I really enjoyed this! I think I “signed on” well after your accident…there were references, but i didn’t completely know the chronology, I had a lot of catching up to do! So now I get to follow you and see what the other half of your year looks like! I’m eager to find out. Lovely photos of an incredible season. Debra

    • Thanks Debra, it’s sometimes a bit confusing isn’t it when you jump in on a “new to you” blog!! But it’s been fab to have you along and now I’m looking forward to our respective and hopefully sunny summers 🙂

    • Thanks Shimon, I think the happy times outweight the problems, just a few tweaks to remind me every now and then what it feels like to come crashing down. But the big snow and bright blue skies, mountain views, great food and wonderful company more than make up for any small losses

  • I loved going through your memories.. I remember most of these photos as well, so it was like reminiscing right along-side you! Can’t wait to see what’s in store once you’re home:)

  • LIke the chica, I’m happily sighing after looking at all of those and wondering, how do I arrange a winter like that?

    • he, he, he – I hope you manage to work out a way to spend a winter or indeed a summer doing something a bit special ! It certainly was very special for us 🙂

  • Absolutely gorgeous post, Claire. Breathtaking and heartwarming and so full of your wonderful wit and marvelous musings. xoxoxo!

  • Claire, what a beautiful and bittersweet post. As sad as I am to see you leave France, I’m excited to continue reading about your life, your garden, and your adventures in England. Happy and safe travels!

    • Thanks Kevin, I think it was an important post for me – to look back and think about all I had seen and experienced. And like you I’m looking forward to the summer in our respective gardens and all that it will bring 🙂

  • I know your experience was wonderful with memories to last for many years. It is hard to end something we love but life offers so many new adventures yet to be discovered.

    • Hi Karen, I like the idea of “new adventures yet to be discovered” so I’ll happily take that while having a look back at our amazing winter 🙂

  • Wonderful pictures. I am doing the opposite of you, having arrived in The Alps just after you left. There were still a few snowy days left though. I am beginning my plantings in our rented chalet’s little potager that has been warmed by the warmth of the sun over the last few days. It will be a big experiment as the growing season will be shorter than the west country that I have been used to but I am looking forward to seeing what happens. That is if the multitude of cats in the neighbourhood leave the patch alone for long enough, even a feisty jack russel doesn’t phase them. They breed them hard in these mountains!

    • Thank you 🙂 Oh the Alps in Spring how wonderful, a lovely time of year. And I want to wish you lots of luck with the gardening. I know a few friends do a bit of growing and gardening, but as you say the season is so short. I’ve often wondered if I could do the same, but I guess it depends on the altitude you are at, if you have a sunny southerly garden etc. I’d love to hear how you get on, and I’m a bit curious as to where you are too 🙂
      I love Jack Russells, but cats, well they are clever so and sos and know how to tease doggies!

  • This visual wrap-up is the best way EVER to document time away from home. Years from now, when you scroll through the photos, unexpected “memory moments” will surface–a conversation on the little train, the strange “blue” of dusky snow, the scent of the orange cake—>the little things revealed by reflection are always so wonderful!
    I’m so glad you shared this retrospective this with us!
    (ps. I noticed you transposed a few letters in your post title, and thought you might want to know)

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you 🙂 I did want to take a look back and what with all the photos and experiences this did seem a great place for them! IIt’s been a treat to have so many good friends along for the journey, it’s made it even more special
    You know I hadn’t noticed about the title! What am I like 😉 So thank you again 🙂

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