I had it all planned.
The kids were booked into childcare today and DH was off doing some adventure trail involving ladders and rope bridges. My knee would never forgive me for that sort of carry on, so I had a blissful day of solo geocaching planned.
We don’t take geocaching terribly seriously; we’d never make a special trip to find a cache. But if we are going somewhere anyhow then we usually check to see if there is anything interesting nearby. Caches in the Alps sometimes involve trails heading into the middle of nowhere, but there are a fair number hidden close to lift stations or local villages and over the last week I’d noted a few that wouldn’t take too much effort.
I was planning to use today to try and find 5 so spent half an hour loading co ordinates onto my cheap-but-accurate GPS unit.
Then off I went, with my backpack, lunch and poles expecting to spend the next 3-4 hours pootling around the resort.
The first cache was at the top of Spielboden which is famous for it’s friendly marmots ( or ‘marmites’ as our kids now call them.)
They are a distant relative of the squirrel, but live in burrows in the ground. They usually live on grasses and insects but are often hand fed other stuff by well-meaning tourists. Apples and peanuts do them no harm but cake and bread can make them too fat to fit in their burrows and if winter descends suddenly they can freeze to death before they get the chance to hibernate safely.
I sat and watched a family group wrestle over bits of the pear from my lunch, then headed down to the cafe and located the first cache on my list without a problem.
As I signed the log sheet, I gazed down the valley at the village far below and the lake we had strolled around yesterday.
It was the childcare leader back at the hotel saying DD3 had ‘bad diarrhoea’ and could I come and get her. It took me 20 minutes to get down the mountain in the bubble-lift, and walk back and in the meantime I tried to contact DH to let him know what was happening.
I expected a large proportion of my day was going to be spent nursing a poorly child and wanted DH to come and take over as soon as he’d finished his guided walk. It was at this point I got a text from him on a different number saying he’d left his phone behind and I could text him on that number if there was an emergency. I sent him a message telling him DD3 was ‘unwell’ and got no reply which left me a little grumpy.
Then when I went down to the childcare room, I found a perfectly well child who had waited too long to use the toilet and had dirtied her knickers by farting at the wrong time. We know, because we have to wash her underclothes, that this kind of thing is not unusual for her. But Childcare decreed this was ‘diarrhoea’ and despite her feeling fine, having no temperature, still eating and drinking and having no repeat performance I was asked to remove her from the Alpies club.
This also meant she was unable to take part in the Alpies show tonight, or go to the evening Cocoa club childcare. However she is allowed to take part in the evening BBQ and run around with the other children then. I can understand their point of view when the child is actually unwell or having repeated incidences of loose bowel movements but for a one off it seems a bit extreme.
When DH finally got back from his walk, he too tried to talk to the childcare manager about the situation but they were sticking to their rigid principles and saying because she had dirtied her knickers, she had diarrhoea.
Up until now, I would have not had a bad word to say about the Childcare provided by the Esprit staff in Saas Fee but I have to say I’ve been extremely disappointed by this incident.
Obviously it’s mucked up my carefully planned day of caching but more importantly I have a very upset daughter. She can’t understand why she’s not allowed to be with her friends and thinks she is being punished for not getting to the toilet on time.
As an adult I know that sh*t happens but it’s hard to explain this to a 5 year old without creating a toilet anxiety and any associated problems.
On a positive note, I did manage to leave DD bouncing off the walls with DH and found one more cache at the top of Hannig. The clue that came with it was ‘Look between some rocks’ and given the abundance of such objects on the mountain side, I was truly grateful for the accuracy of my Etrex.