There's two definitions of going off-piste. One is used to refer to skiing that is done on areas of snow that have not been specially prepared for skiing on. Another meaning is to do something different to what is normal or expected. Actually before used in skiing a piste (pronounced ‘peest’) was originally the path beaten by a horse or mule. (It's all French to me).
I’m not particularly interested in the paths beaten by animals. I’m not particularly interested in skiing although I have done a miniscule amount. Mostly I’m interested in doing something different to what’s normal or expected.
I think it stems from my childhood.
I remember in the 60s there being a torchlight carnival in Bugle. Lots of villages had similar events. If you know Bugle, the little carnival, if my memory serves me, started in the park in Bugle. It wound it’s way down Charles Street, along Roche Road until it met Fore Street (High Street in most of the country). At Fore Street it turned to the left and proceeded down through the village to Molinnis Road where after turning right it eventually ended at the football pitch. At this point there was a bonfire and fireworks and probably lashings of tea, well it was the 60s. It was probably a health and safety nightmare with people careering around the streets with burning tins of paraffin soaked rags nailed to broom handles. I think we could refer to it by using that apparently dying word community.
There was one particular year that I remember; our mum was a great knitter, so much so that she had a shop in the village selling knitting paraphernalia amongst a myriad of other non food items. Mum had knitted matching patterned pullovers (sweaters or jumpers to you but pullovers to us). There was me and my 4 brothers , 2 older and 2 younger sporting our pullovers, same pattern, different colour combos. We must have looked “cute" I remember hating it.
We were, I think, a fairly close family, well we’ve never fallen out if that counts as close. My older brothers did a lot together as did my younger brothers, I was definitely the ‘one in the middle’. I was the one most likely to go off-piste.
And now my life is really going off-piste and to be honest it’s piste me off.
In 1984 (not the book) the Americans set up something called The Strategic Defence Initiative, nicknamed the "Star Wars program", (apologies for the spelling) a proposed satellite based missile defence system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons. 16 years later these satellites were enabled to be used to develop The Global Positioning System, originally Navstar GPS, a satellite-based radio navigation system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Space Force. An early use of GPS was in sat navs. I acquired myself an early sat nav. I’ve been a loyal TomTom user ever since although my mobile has recently usurped it’s position.
I can read a map like most people, road maps are especially easy. Map in hand you can go anywhere. I go walking, I take a map. The motorhome has a bundle of both English and French maps of different scales. While we are travelling Tricia is the map queen, she usually knows exactly where we are. They’re not used for navigation though, they’re specifically used for going off-piste. The sat nav tells us how to get there. The map opens up a host of possibilities. It’s not unusual for us to take the less well trodden route.
I think I’ve lived my life a bit like that.
There are some who simply know where their internal sat navs are taking them. Take a lot of professions, people who decide when they're young what they want to do/be, study, work hard, learn their trade, earn a living etc etc etc. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. Even this week I mentioned to Tricia as we drove past a minibus on a garage forecourt. “remember? I thought about doing minibus tours of Cornwall“.
See still don’t know.
What I do know is my opportunities to go off-piste, like you, are not only limited but probably illegal! Just today some friends who were out walking in the rain popped by for a shout through the window and to bring the gift of socks. Like the criminals we are we pressed the button to open our garage door. They stood, rain swept and bedraggled just in the entrance. Tricia and I stood easily 2+ meters away. I was still in my PJs and dressing gown, fortunately I wasn’t too cold. We were actually engaged in a criminal activity or am I being too harsh?
What’s not a criminal activity is joining in with the Coffee Club on Tuesday
Time: Feb 2, 2021 10:00 AM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 788 3947 9875