Today, my thoughts are of mountains. Mountains are my soul, they are where I am most at home. They also provide the best viewing point for what I love even more than mountains and that’s the sky. The sky never looks as wonderful as it does in the mountains. The sharp contrast of their sculpted lines highlights the infinite blue of a sunny sky, like the one here which I was lucky enough to experience very recently.
I’ve loved mountains for as long as I can remember. In my family you were either a mountain or a sea person, a bit like being a cat or dog person. My mother is a sea person whereas my late father was definitely mountain. Although I loved the sea which I first saw when I was just a baby, I discovered I was a mountain person at the tender age of three when my parents took me to the Tatras in Poland. I loved them at first sight. After that, no year felt complete unless I’d spent at least some of it in the mountains.
I’ve written about mountains a lot and when I’m not in them, I keep them with me by surrounding myself with pictures of them, reading about them in books and never missing a film or novel in which they feature. It’s no coincidence that I set my first screenplay in the mountains.
Earlier this month, I went to Chamonix. I stayed, as I often do, with my friends, in their chalet in Les Houches. I’ve known them for as long as I’ve known Chamonix. It was they who first introduced my twenty one year old self to what fast became my favourite place on earth.
Chamonix lies in a wonderful valley surrounded on all sides by the highest and most awe inspiring mountains in Europe. Like a hidden Shangri-La, it is protected by its peaks from the outside world. Although I love the mountains at any time of year, I love them most in winter when everything is covered in snow. The world turned into a magical, crystalline snow globe where I can ski to my heart’s content.
My husband, Sing, loved Chamonix and its mountains as much as me. In 2007 his life was brutally cut short when he was still only thirty six. We scattered his ashes, just as he wished, on Chamonix’s Le Brevent.
We chose a spot hidden from the pistes which looks across the valley at Mont Blanc. One day I’ll join him there, but for now as I look at Mont Blanc, it’s easy to feel his smile in its radiance. Our children feel it too. It’s a very special place for us. We always visit what we now call ‘Sing’s Corner’ to share the view with him. We took a picnic with us this time and sat there for a while, enjoying the beauty of his chosen spot.