Fresh from Instagram: this was far less messy than I thought it would be

In honour of Prince, my daughter has opted for a purple cast.

Having watched the plasterers apply this, it was with a mixture of guilt and gloom that I viewed the second x-ray. It’s a stubborn break, and still isn’t lined up. Poor girl! ☹️

You should have seen the colours she rejected.

By the time we were done, having spent more than a half-day pinging back and forth within the A&E department (aka emergency room), we’d been checked by two doctors, one consultant paediatrician, three radiologists, three nurses, two specialist plaster-casters (though it’s not plaster anymore) and two porters: a service available to any citizen, on demand. This was also the hospital where my purple-legged daughter was born, delivered by another large team of medics.

Meet the new leg, same as the old leg.

I won’t gush, but it brought home yet again what a precious thing our health system is.

It might have seemed odd to outsiders that the UK’s health infrastructure had a prominent role in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, but to those whose lives it has touched it would have appeared perfectly understandable.

#brokenleg #ouch #london #borovets #ski #skiing #nhs

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Fresh from Instagram: the obligatory skiing holiday X-ray drama

I had to wince when I saw this. It was a difficult sight for a parent: a visceral lurch, almost painful.


But I’m glad we came in: the tibia 🦴 is not set straight and will need some gentle persuasion. Very gentle, I hope. 😳

The hospital was very wise to answer my voicemail with an immediate summons to present my daughter at the accident and emergency ward.

If I didn’t have health insurance (also known as the National Health Service – aka (in the US) a devious Communist experiment ) I’d be sweating bullets by now.

The picture appeared less rosy still once I saw the second X-ray scan from the side. If you imagine someone pitching forward in skis that don’t release, you can imagine the forces at work:-

The unfortunate consequence of travelling downhill at a different speed to your skis.

My wee one is now sofa-bound, resplendent in her new cast, so heavy that she can barely move her leg.

#brokenleg #ouch #ski #skiing #borovets #london

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Fresh from Instagram: try getting across a border with these…

So this is what our baggage allowance went towards…

The tinies packed their own rucksacks for skiing this year. A unicorn snow globe, a Lego skidoo and sparkle lip gloss were clearly essential items.

#priorities #skiing #ski #children #kids

Should I try paying for lunch with the lip gloss or the unicorn?
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Fresh from Instagram: a little something to feed my signage addiction

In the days before health & safety a few pedestrians would topple over the high wall every day.

It always helps to know where you stand. This area is full of roads that change their identity in odd places. #urbanwalls #urban #photooftheday #photography #london

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Being a global jetsetter has its perks. Travelling via Thameslink is just one of them

Saturday: prodigious snowfall and flight delays. Sunday: it’s spring! Even the train was on time. Though neither phenomenon can be relied on for long. 😉 #london #southwark #weather #fancythat

Quick, enjoy it while it lasts.
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EasyJet, the limb-friendly airline…

My boarding passes have arrived for the flight that takes me and my ski-injured daughter (tl:dr she picked an argument with a snow blower and lost, breaking her left leg in the process) back to the U.K.

A cash-intensive solution to limited legroom.

Instead of getting two tickets I got four, to cover me, my daughter and both her legs.

I’m a little concerned that my paperwork might not be in order, as I don’t have the passports for my daughter’s legs on me. UK border officers might impound her legs until I can come up with the documentation. #1

Might as well crank up the podcast engine.

This is a work in progress so the format and duration are all likely to change as I get my head around the podcast plugins at my disposal. The delivery mechanism is more of a challenge than the cinematography! Cross-posts in particular like to modify their format as they transition to another platform. Bear with me.

Fresh from Instagram: a long sequence of black runs would be preferable to this

Today’s top challenge: getting a fractured leg from #Borovets #bulgaria to #london.

Every step of the journey has been fixed but it’s a temporary leg brace and, well, movement = pain.

Just your average skiing trip!

My small 7-year-old already has her Purple Heart medal (pictured) for injuries sustained in downhill combat. #ski #skiing #health #whoops

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Fresh from Instagram: the phantom cafe where the Europop never stops

Ah, perhaps not. The runs up here are at the level above black. We’ll stick to the only run that’s open up here, that winds it’s way down the mountain to Borovets.

The odd thing is, I can still hear pumping pop music coming from the phantom cafe. #ski #skiing #borovets #bulgaria #winter #highaltitude

The cafe owner must be wondering why there are no customers today.
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Fresh from Instagram: hard to see where the piste stops and the steep drop begins

White our! Freezing wind is howling through the crack in the door. These might not be ideal conditions. #ski #skiing #borovets #bulgaria #winter #highaltitude

One of those days when there are more people coming down than going up.
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Fresh from Instagram: the EU-approved snack for elevenses**

Now, a biscuit to go with your single currency, foreign policy and army!

Standardised flavour wherever you are: a bit bland and middle-of-the-road!

You will eat these biscuits and you will enjoy them. That is all.

** subject to local time differences

#food #foodporn #borovets #bulgaria

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This town ain’t big enough for the 10,094 of us

Okay, so here’s the deal: is kicking back and relaxing (if masochism is your idea of leisure) in the Bulgarian village of Borovets, some 50-odd miles (75km) south of the capital Sofia.

The can of Coke was how much? Give me a moment: I just need to remortgage my house.

You have my full understanding if the name draws a blank in your lexicon of famous winter resorts. Even though it’s the St Moritz (or Chamonix, or Garmisch) of Bulgarian snow sport, Bulgaria isn’t that big a country, so there not much competition for the top spot. Put another way, Borovets is to St Moritz what Brighton is to Monaco.

I likened it in an earlier post to the Wild West. It’s a hamlet, a bend in the road, which geography has blessed with a rich touristic seam of gold.

Borovets sits on the northern approaches to Bulgaria’s highest mountain, Musala. At a rounding error short of 3000m it casts a long shadow over its northern flank, gifting it a microclimate that leaves it frigid and snowbound in winter. Drive a mile out of town and there’s no more snow, no more gold rush.

The first time I made the journey here in the winter I thought climate change had cancelled the holiday. A chill wind whipped across the bleak forecourt outside Sofia airport, but that was it. This didn’t faze me: Sofia is a pretty big city, and such cities are often smothered in a grimy insulating fug. Aboard the shuttle bus the urban bleakness gave way to rural bleakness but the weather remained the same.

Even after unofficial road signs popped up, pointing the way to this or that hotel or restaurant, it could have been one of those days in London when sporadic 2cm patches of snow bring the transport infrastructure to its knees. We kept on trucking down the forest road at Bulgarian speeds as though it were midsummer.

A glorified shed in alpine style appeared: a restaurant. Then another, then an unbroken line of them. Some horses stood on the right, bored, chewing and ejecting their feed.

We had arrived.

As I said earlier, Borovets is on a bend in the road. In between the haphazard collection of lean-tos, mega sheds and mini villas are several low-rise hotels, punctuated opposite the main cabin lift by a hotel of astonishing architectural brutality.

Welcome to the Hotel Samokov. You’ll never leave!

This is the Hotel Samokov, giving a socialist middle finger to the puny capitalist sheds thrown up around it post-’89. I imagine it hosted commissars and ministers in its glory days, but now looks almost embarrassed still to be standing. I can bet the local government would dearly love to knock it down and start again, but a makeover will be all they can manage: there’s so much reinforced concrete in this building it will surely be a landmark in the desert once climate change puts a stop to the alpine fun.

Just a few reasons why indigenous folk are a little thin on the ground.

I’ll end with a nod to the title. A 2013 census put the population of Borovets at 94. Estimates from around the same time put the hotel capacity at 10,000. Since this place is currently heaving I suspect the natives are outnumbered 100 to 1.