I'm in love! With an 81-year-old!

Location Hotel with WIFI access down the road from our apartment | Mood Euphoric | Date 14 December 2005
Author (full name): 
Franny Armstrong
Hotel with WIFI access down the road from our apartment
Still on Craig David, annoying though he is
Bad knee reminding me never to take it for granted
14 December 2005
Current crisis: 
Current silver lining: 
I'm in love! With an 81-year-old!

Who could help but fall in love with Fernand?Who could help but fall in love with Fernand?

Realised this morning, as Lizzie and I were sitting on a ski lift heading up the mountain to practise our skiing in preparation for ski-filming tomorrow, that this is probably as good as it gets, work- wise. I'm making exactly the film I want to make, at the height of the golden era of documentary, with a crack team all around, about the most important subject the world has ever known (probably), with money given by people who believe in what I'm doing, in a gorgeous mountain setting... and today's job is to go skiing.

Even more so, because we met Fernand Pareau yesterday. Sometimes I forget what a fantastic excuse documentary making is to scathe through the small talk undergrowth and spend time with some of the most interesting people on the planet. He's 81, surrounded by four generations of his family, has climbed Mont Blanc more than 150 times - including last summer - spends his spare time planting a forest of 800 baby trees to hide the new motorway and protect the valley from the pollution of 5000 trucks a day taking French apples to Switzerland and Swiss apples to France.

He showed us a video his friend had made about him and - other than being male, 81, French and a mountain guide - I'd swear it was me up on the screen. It's increable, as Fernand would say, how we can have 50 years and a continent between us and still come to the same conclusions about life.

Needless to say, we signed him up for Crude. Tomorrow we're filming him skiing with his son Gilbert (aged 60ish), grandson Yannick (aged 40ish) and great-grandsons Rudy (12) and Jean (8). Ever since I first thought of using the ski industry for our climate change story, I've pictured our lead character sitting in a chairlift talking to his family. And tomorrow is the day we're going to film it.