Bridget Jones's Diary

Explained that skiing is dicing with death. `But this is the nursery slope. It's practically horizontal,' said Mark
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The Independent Online
Sunday 22 December

8st 12 (vg); alcohol units 2 (marvellous); cigarettes 5 (excellent, saint or deaconess).

8am Hurrah am going skiing today with Mark Darcy. V excited, will be v romantic in Christmas card village among twinkling lights etc. sashaying down slopes hand in hand like Snow King and Queen. Jude has lent me ski outfit: black all-in-one in manner of Michelle Pfeiffer, catwoman or similar.

Monday 23 December

12st (feels like giant inflatable ball full of fondue, hot dogs, hot chocolate etc.); alcohol units 15; cigarettes 32; calories 8,257.

10am Edge of precipice. Aargh. Aargh. Cannot believe terror situation am in. When got to top of mountain felt paralysed by fear so encouraged Mark Darcy to go ahead, while I put skis on watching him going "whoosh, fzzzzzz, fzzzz" down slope in manner of Exocet Missile, banned killer firework or similar. Whilst v much grateful for being brought skiing, could not believe nightmare of getting on to stupid hill in first place, baffled by what was supposed to be nice about clunking through giant concrete edifices full of grills and chains like something out of concentration camp, with half bent knees and equivalent of plaster casts on each foot, carrying unwieldy skis which kept coming separate, being shoved through automated turnstile in manner of sheep heading for sheep dip when could have been in bed asleep. Worst of it is hair has gone mad in altitude, forming itself into weird peaks and horns like bag of Cadbury's misshapes, and Catwoman suit is designed exclusively for long thin people like Jude with result that look like golliwog, or pantomime ant with mad hair. Also three- year-olds keep whizzing by without using any poles, standing on one leg performing somersaults, etc. Oh God. Skiing really is v dangerous sport. People get paralysed, buried by avalanches etc. Shazzer told me where friend of hers had gone on very scary off-piste skiing mission and lost nerve so pisteurs had to come and take him down on a stretcher then let go of the stretcher. Oh God. Oh God. Am going to die.

10.30am Mountain cafe. Mark came whizzing up "whooosh fzzzzzz" and asked me if I was ready to come down now.

Explained in whisper, had made mistake by coming on slope as skiing actually is v dangerous sport - not imagining it - so much so that holiday insurance won't even insure it. Is one thing having accident which you could not foresee: quite another willingly putting yourself in an extremely dangerous situation, knowingly dicing with death or maiming, like doing bungee jumping, climbing Everest, letting people shoot apples off head, etc.

Mark listened quietly and thoughtfully. "I take your point Bridget," he said gently. "But this is the nursery slope. It's practically horizontal."

Told Mark I wanted to go back down on the lift thing but he said it was a button lift and you can't go downhill on a button. Forty-five minutes later Mark had got me down slope by pushing me along a bit then running round to catch me. When got to bottom thought fit to broach question of perhaps popping down cabler car back to village again in order to have cappuccino. "The thing is, Bridget," he said. "Skiing is like everything else in life. It's just a question of confidence."

It is all very well for him to say that but what happens if you haven't got any confidence?

"There there," said Mark gently. "Why don't you just come into the mountain cafe and have a nice glass of grappa."

Mmm. Love the delicious grappa.

11am Grappa is really vg top beverage. Mark is right. Am probably marvellous natural at skiing. Only thing need to get blurry confidence up.

11.15am Top of nursery slope. Argor. This blurry easy-peasy. Offgo. Wheeeee!

Noon Am marvellous, am fantastic skiier. Just came down slope perfect: whoosh fzzzzzz, whole body swaying, moving in perfect harmony as if instinctive. Wild elation! Have discovered whole new lease of life. Am sportswoman in manner of Princess Anne! Filled with new vigour and positive thought! Confidence! Hurrah! New year, new life ahead! Grappa! Hurrah!

6pm Have never been so humiliated in life. Had lunch on balcony of mountain cafe with all Mark's scary lawyer friends, making amusing conversational gambits sitting lightly on top of obvious huge areas of legal and zeitgeisty knowledge, bellowing with laughter and trying to outdo each other: "How do you know if you're addicted to the Internet?"

"You realise you don't know the gender of your three best friends." Haaar Waagh. harharhar.

"You can't write full stops any more without adding com. Uk."

"You do all your work assignments in HMTL Protocol." Blaaaaagh harhar. Braaaah. Hahah.

Eventually could stand it no longer, so whispered to Mark that was just going to have another little go on the nursery slope. Got self in queue for button lift much easier than usual, everything going perfect: effect of grappa marvellous. Missed first couple of buttons through inaccurate grabbing but managed to get next one. Trouble was once set off, nothing seemed to be quite right, all bumpy and non-smooth almost as if was scampering. Suddenly was aware of child waving at me from sidelines and yelling something in French. Looked across in horror to cafe balcony across at cafe to see all Mark's friends shouting and waving as well. What going on? Next thing saw Mark running towards me frantically from direction of cafe "Bridget," yelled as he got within earshot. "You've forgotten to put your skis on." Never mind. As Mark said, sort of thing that could happen to anyone. Just time for another little grappa in bath before dinner. Merry Christmasn

Phil Hammond appears on page 6.

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