Monday, 6 February 2012
Aix en Provence
If you look at the blogs that I am a follower of, you will note that quite a few of them are french based or biased.. this is because at heart I am always at home in France. At the fall of France at the beginning of the 1940's my father's family lived in Aix en Provence, and when the Germans were approaching the town, my grandfather decided to leave France and go to live in England. As he had originally come from India with his family in the twenties, and owned English passports he decided the safest place for his family was England, especially as they were of mixed race., him having married an Anglo Indian.. So they managed to get on the last train leaving Marseilles, before the troops arrived to stop the exodus.. they made their way to the port of St Jean de Luz and managed to get on board and arrive safe and sound in England. My grandparents had raised 12 children, some of them already in England working, but the rest accompanied them on this ship voyage which was very dangerous as ships of course were still being sunk by the Germans.. On arrival they were given a place to stay by friends, and eventually ended up in Hampton Court where they ended their days.. So my father regaled us with stories of living in Aix during his childhood and youth and we visited Northern France every year and Paris from time to time.. Then when I was 18 he accepted a post teaching in a school near where he had been educated, and finally he made his way back to his lovely home town.. For the first month, we met people, some of whom approached him in the street to kiss him and say welcome back, where did you go?? We dined out for a whole month every night catching up on all the news of friends of the family and his school friends, so getting to live there was most unusual, as we had a ready made pile of people willing to be friends to us and their children to show us around,. I loved living in Aix, because of all the stories it felt like home immediately. My father was so happy too, and my mother was in her element. The whole ambiance suited us all. Then I came home for a visit to a friend and had a blind date where I met my husband to be, then next thing I was living in England, and never lived again in Aix.. I miss France so much, but my life never gave me the chance to live there again, so I love to read all these blogs and fill my soul and senses with the sights and visions of France.. Magical indeed....Fascinating to think that next year will be the 50th anniversary of my starting to live there, will I manage to get back to start living there again!?