Plates vs Cresta Run

“Are you still sorting plates and things?”

This is my friend Emma. She’s got a load of stuff and she’s working from home. She would prefer to have the space, but all the charity shops are shut for the foreseeable future. “Fuck it, why not,” I think, and drive over.

This day has been shocking in its beauty. I bet you last year there were days like this, but I didn’t notice. I was running around helping organise race shows and literally not stopping. It was terrific fun but all consuming. I rather like having too much to do, as it helps me shut my brain off. The shouting starts when it’s quiet. But today I was busy enough for no shouting, and calm enough to see the sky.

I noticed the weather. It made me happy. I was in memories of the times and the places of the past – those endless winters in St Moritz when dad was training and I was pelting down the mountainside in the sharp morning air, or trying to stop my legs shaking before I threw myself at 70 down an ice chute on a tea tray with runners. The bright winter sun and the sharp cold air. Alpine weather. It isn’t quite so welcome when it doesn’t come with the thought “Best get an early run in, the ice’ll be good and hard. I could beat my best time.” One day soon I’ll go back to those mountains and fling a heavier and perhaps more cautious version of myself down that ice chute again. They’ve built it once more, despite Covid. Not this year I think. But next year? I’m gonna start planning. Dad is in a plot up there, near Suvretta House. It’s time I visited.

Yesterday The Gallant Captain died – a powerful figure from my memories of those swiss days – a fixture at the Cresta. We were friendly. Gods. It seems like another life. I’m sad I’ll never see him again. Another fixture lost. Another figure of my youth. Time is cruel.

Much of my childhood and my first job was in Switzerland working for a tobogganing club. Essentially luge but with cut corners. I got very good at it. I haven’t been for a decade. It’s in season now. Dammit. I want to be there. I wish we still had a flat

Instead of hurtling head first on hard ice, I opened a box of plates. Scotts of Stow, hand painted chicken plates. A few bob. No more. I’m counting them and daydreaming of going very fast on the edge of control when I get a message from another friend. Marie. It’s a picture of another plate. “What’s this?” Oof.

My plate karma is definitely more active than my speedsports karma right now. The problem is, as I get better at plates I have to do it more frequently.

It’s a 1960’s – 1970’s Soviet era Konakovo (Zik) plate. Maybe £15 if you wait. Fiver to get rid of it. Plates, plates, plates. I enjoy learning things. But if only there was a plate I could sit on that would just … float me way way over the seas and fields and mountains to that little pocket of winter sun nestled in the Graubünden at 6000 feet. I’d like to find that plate. I could try not to break my neck, have barley soup and raclette and Rivella and a bullshot and go fast fast so fast in the shocking cold sunshine.

The run is open. I could be doing junction practice. Grrr

Back to the plates. Look – a chicken! Screw you, Covid.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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