The Ski Lodge
eBook (PDF), 436 Pages
The third book in The Shed Trilogy sees the dynamic duo attempt a foolhardy expedition to the French Alps to learn to snowboard. Straight from the off, it all goes horribly wrong, yet Bullock and De’Ath are determined to freestyle the pistes and to return to Blighty as masters of the mountains.
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May 4, 2011Peter Tanner, April 2011.
May 4, 2011A Five Star Alpine Misadventure Long awaited, The Ski Lodge completes MM’s Shed Trilogy, following The Shed (2003) and The Pavilion (2005). The Shed introduced the very northern Ron Bullock and the very southern Thomas De’Ath, two sixty-something newly retired loafers. Bored and under their wives’ feet, they meet on an allotment garden and share the use of a dilapidated shed. By the following summer the now firm friends unwisely decide to make a cricketing comeback for a village Second Eleven, beneath the creaking eaves of The Pavilion. In their latest caper, MM’s hapless homunculi become The Alp’s least likely snowboarders, as a result of a mistake at a charity auction of promises by Bullock’s wife Bella. As would be expected in an MM comic caper, the central character is not human, but edifice. The Ski Lodge is the semi-derelict shambles Enchantement, a once quaint Alpine chalet now groaning of old age and neglect; the cover drawing is another masterpiece by Kit Summerfield.... More > Most of the locals in Val Claret assume that paying guests are no longer received; in the words of the disaffected taxi driver on the arrival of Bullock and De’Ath: “Enchantement? Quoi? Non, c’est abandonné, hein?” Matters get worse when owner and chalet (old) maid Ingvor Hagstegt not so much greets the weary travellers as accosts them, though Bullock, as a result of his regrettable involvement in drunken mayhem on the overnight Ski Train, is in no fit state to argue. The Ski Lodge introduces a cast of vignette characters who sparkle and appal. Some old friends return, among them the charming Tilletson from The Shed, and Colonel Sykes and his Labrador from The Pavilion. And some new ones: the unfortunate Maurice leaves us wanting more of his tales of woe, the eccentric zoo-keeper Hughie Whale is a surviving relic from another age; The Philminator nobody can get away from faster…though he proves to have his uses. I suspect, and hope, that we have not heard the last of the deranged Mr. Sellars. More accessible than the previous books, The Ski Lodge contains much else besides winter sports, and the wives Bella and Dot are less peripheral, though they are left behind as their husbands head to France, for the main event action. One of the epigraphs, quoting the Duke of Wellington, sets the tone from the outset (“We always have been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be, detested in France”), leaving us to worry how les Anglais will behave…especially Bullock. And if the French aren’t enough to cope with, there are also Germans, Swedes, and Australians to further test their mettle. The comedy is often physical and bawdy, but there are more subtle tones, and even a little Gothic romance. James Ross-White’s moody monochrome illustrations work well with MM’s prose, adding foreboding mystery to the slapstick and the subtle satire. Whilst MM is as ever mischievous with the strings of his ageing puppets, he is also affectionate, and ultimately this is an uplifting story. But lest it should encourage a wave of sexagenarian snowboarding, my advice is very firm. Do not tread in these men’s footsteps. And keep away from charity auctions.< Less
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- Standard Copyright License
- Kit&Kel Press
- September 27, 2011
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- File Size
- 4.09 MB
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