Acknowledgements: I suppose it's strictly necessary to acknowledge that although we're obviously amazing and talented and, you know, built this place from the ground up with our bare hands (practically), we did have *some* help along the way. Some. Not loads.
Ok, totally loads.
This is a roll call, much like the rolling credits at the end of a film. A cast list of supporting actors of sorts. And in every movie - the good ones anyway - there are goodies and baddies. And there were certainly both sorts of characters during this process. I don't want to make this awkward or start a total bitch fest - even though it's potentially cathartic to acknowledge the really tough parts and what is was that made them so tough. So I have chosen to focus on only the Goodies here. Those other various nightmares are now fading into distant memory - the 'one day we'll look back at this and laugh' moments, that felt deeply unfunny at the time, and there's no need to go over old ground. Maybe later...
So this is a cast credit list and acknowledgment of people, without whose help we genuinely couldn't have finished this huge project (and infinite patience). I'm just hoping it's not a low budget haunted house film we've made here...
Main Cast (in order of appearance):
Morzine Immobilier: We bought the chalet through this brilliant, professional estate agency. It was a great buying experience for us from start to finish - yes, we don't have anything to compare it too, but it was distinctly stress free all things considered. And they were fantastically helpful and generous with advice and good local contacts and suppliers along the way too. Above and beyond the call of duty springs to mind here...
Darren's uncle Mark and cousins Benjamin and Nicholas: For this reason. But also this reason. They (with Ollie as well) drove through the night for a weekend in a *basic* chalet, which was FREEZING and essentially little more than camping in an enormous tent. Their hard work and long hours meant that we had running water to the middle level - meaning we didn't have to dash outside in our PJs to use the toilet, brush teeth and do the washing up all on the bottom level (in those days there wasn't an inside staircase). They also built the table we ate off for 5 happy months. There was memorable duck a l'orange with experimental potato dauphinoise during this trip, but also homemade caramel lava puddings during this trip, and many other brilliant meals eaten off that table in between. I was actually sad to see it go...
Janis and his building team at Alpine Renovation: Clearly. They've done the most *incredible* job renovating this chalet and turning it into the best possible version of itself. I genuinely don't think anyone else could/ would have produced such a fantastic result. It would have only ever been less well executed. The process was (relatively) painless. The finish is flawless. There literally isn't a single thing we would change - apart from potentially a few different decisions that we would make, knowing what we know now. And nothing to do with the perfect execution. This team are the hardest working, most professional team around, and I would defy anyone to have a better experience in Morzine, or even in the UK.
Pals Jamie (and Alice): For a key part of why we can get the internet in the chalet now - the trench Jamie built with Darren, and the pipework laid down, means that our heating works (controlled wirelessly), we have music (via Sonos) and TV/ films (Apple TV), as well as the more basic web connectivity.
Neighbours Charlie, Tim and Tom: Who have appeared on here more than a few times in the past - the bottom line is though, we genuinely could not have done this without their help/ spare bedroom/ barn (for storage)/ patience/ advice/ wine (not for Tom)/ food (mainly when we realised too late that all shops were shut and no chance of finding any dinner in town out of season. This happened far too often.)/ and general good humour and sound-boarding.
Neighbours Jane and Steve: AKA Grand Cru Ski: For amazing food/ a social life/ advice/ help/ shared panicking/ a sense of camaraderie. And a FANTASTIC sofa. Did I mention the amazing food?
Neighbour Lisa, AKA Challenge Activ: For patiently and generously storing our appliances for a few weeks in her garage. We are extremely grateful. Also for showing us the light on home Raclette making! And excellent hugs...
Neighbours Nick and Judith: Who own the beautiful chalet right next door. Thank you so much for letting us use it. And for letting us gatecrash a neighbourly BBQ.
Darren's parents, Karen and Robert: For allowing us to take up all their garage with all the chalet furniture, ahead of van pick ups. Weeks of storage. Couldn't have done that in our flat in London. Also for allowing the chalet dining table and bunk bed to be built in that same garage. Very disruptive. Also for taking delivery of so many innumerable vital packages. Also for dog sitting over those weekends. But mainly for driving us to Luton Airport every Friday morning (and for a good few months) at 5am. Very much beyond the call of duty.
My parents, Michael and Jackie: For DYI extravanganza-ing during Christmas holiday, as well as bunk bed assembly. And extensive vital tool kit. As well as the many many offers of actual help in the run up to the finish line - which we didn't accept mainly due to bloody mindedness and singularity (probably).
Darren's brother, Ollie: More of the DIY extravaganza-ing during Christmas/ NY holiday - so much hard work. That enormous never ending To Do List dwindled due to systematic tick offs every morning and night. Thank you. Also the sounding board thing here applies in a big BIG way. All the way through this process - including at design and layout planning stage. Also these chairs wouldn't exist without him sourcing them when we couldn't find them anywhere. Think of that when sitting and enjoying that view with a glass of red. That's one tiny snapshot helpful detail amongst an unnumerable list of many many others.
Jack Hunt: Jack has appeared on here before as he built our wonderful dining table, and he also built the brilliant bunk bed in the mural room. The bunk bed has already had testimony that it's the most comfortable bed of all time, which is a heck of a testament for a bunk bed - usually the bottom rung in bed choices. In addition to these clearly MASSIVE and vital contributions, Jack has also been a year long sounding board and source of vital and fantastic advice across this build, as well as giving us great advice on the lighting, tiling and many many other key aspects. Sincere and grateful thanks.
My sister and brother in law: for regular, calibrating Sunday pub lunches and movie nights (as and when we could make them). As well as taking in and signing for some of those frequent deliveries. Also for dog walking, lots of dog walking. And lots of dog sitting during the many late nights working. As well as spreading the word and doing their own supportive PR campaign for us - thank you.
Claire and her crack team at Urbanara: For the incredible photos for our website, and for being patient during a pretty chaotic and stressful weekend. We are very grateful, and delighted to see our chalet popping up all over their site.
Our friends: For allowing us to have one topic of conversation only for a full year, and for being patient with last minute cancelled plans, which I know has happened a lot. Sorry, and thank you. Onto new topics now...
Unlike at the end of a film, this isn't the credit roll call that signals the end though - it signals the middle…?