And so it begins! Franz has dusted off his Lycra ski racing pants, shaved his head to reduce the wind resistance, and is so exhausted from such a busy term that he is actually looking forward to 18 hours on the coach. Mrs Franz is not! Children have all stopped crying having kissed parents goodbye, I hope parents have too. On route to Dover! Some children sleeping, most are eating. Martin and Simon are the Irish drivers who are taking us to Pila. Martin sounds like Dara O’Brian or is it Mrs Brown! Regular updates throughout the rest of the day (and probably the night as Franz rarely gets any sleep)!

On the ferry very smoothly. MA/RG managed to navigate the group to a sensible seating area- unlike LC last year! A ladies football team on a hen trip are causing much amusement as they drink prosecco  and sing. Fortunately they are keeping things clean!! However, the more they drink the louder they get!! KM needs to buy a toothbrush. LC patrolling the shop.

All counted safely back on the coach and the long drive through France begins. No incidents of note on the ferry, unlike last year when the crossing was rough!!!! Watching “Cars 3” to get the drivers on the mood! Franz trying to nod off – dreaming of beautiful blue skies, lovely powder snow, and vast deserted pistes!

Good morning … Franz had nightmares! Dreamt that we had left a child at the services and drove off. The nightmare was trying to decide which child!!!! Actually all the children were remarkably good and most managed to get some sleep. It is easy when you have enforcers like MA and RG patrolling the back of the coach. We have just had our breakfast stop. Franz disappointed that there was no full English, but when in France …. Snow on the top of the mountains so some children excited. The rest are still plugged in or eating rubbish. No sickies yet!

Safely through the Mont Blanc tunnel – lots of snow in Italy! Franz spoke too soon as we have just had our first sickie and we are only 20 minutes away! All good now – bagged and binned. DVD player has also stopped halfway through Moana – I hope these are not signs of things to come!! DVD player just needed a rest and is back on now. Franz knows how it feels – he needs a rest too!

All smoothly through ski hire, and now enjoying pasta for lunch. Even basic pasta with tomato sauce tastes lovely in Italy. Hotel is lovely. Some children showered and changed. Some have showered and put the same clothes on! Some not showered at all yet.  Franz has showered, shaved and changed his clothes. Lead by example and all that. Found Mrs Franz, LJ, LC and NA downstairs for the first team meeting. MA sorting out the bank.

Your intrepid skiing correspondent Franz (alias CJ or HM) forgets that he is getting older and many youthful parents will not remember  the great Franz Klammer who skis a little like the HM! Tired children all tucked up in bed before 9,00pm and  Franz not far behind them. Supper was soup of spaghetti pasta to start, followed by pork and sauté potatoes ( with an alternative for those who don’t eat pork) and panacotta  for desert! Children remarkably well behaved as there were real people also dining on the hotel. Children tucked up in bed, many cuddling teddies, with ski clothes ready for the morning al laid out neatly at the foot of the bed. Wake up at 0715, breakfast from 0730 and departure at 0830. All looking good for blue skies in the morning. Now, where is Franz’s teddy! Goodnight all – to be continued on the morning!