Jul 25, 2012
A few months back I woke up early one morning feeling so utterly disgusted and disappointed at something that the only option was get out of the country, and fast. So I did. Dramatic, huh?! I am lucky – I have this option in my life. The matriarch (aka the Auntie Christ to my cousins) has lived in France since the late 80s and unless one of her children gives her a reason to come back, I very much doubt she ever will.
By 9.00am I had booked a one way ticket to Nice. By 10.00am I was on the train with 4 tops and only one pair of knickers and of course, no toothbrush. A quick, honourable, mention to Southampton Airport: regular readers of my blog will know that Fleur and I enjoyed a 3 hour stint at passport control when going to Italy in April; complete with Italians queue jumping like it was a cultural badge of honour. Chez Scum airport, from train to plane took 30 minutes, and retuning was even quicker. You literally walk down the gangway, through one door and you are back on the train platform. In your face London. Anyway, I digress. I landed in Nice in the middle of a summer storm. Ma scooped me up, bundled me into a car and drove off just as large globules off downpour descended from both the sky and my face.
The reason I am blogging about this is not to share my grief; that would be giving it too much undue attention. No, I want to share what I discovered that inspired me so much everything fell back into place, quite nicely.
The historic village of Contes is where I found myself. You have to say it with a bit of a French accent, and strong emphasis on the ‘o’ otherwise it just sounds rude. My mother’s current abode is a 1920s house located just above France’s last Communist stronghold. No nonsense, no tourists and very proud of their heritage. I had never been, and the novelty distracted my wandering mind.
The pictures below were mostly taken in the main village, perched prettily upon a hill top, as is very common in the South of France. It was Delicatessen in technicolour. Doors that didn’t fit the frames, staircases that led to nowhere and an abundance of cats roaming around. There was even a tree growing out of a house. There may not be the glitz and glamour of the Riviera but this is the real deal: Province working, living and producing. The walk up to the village is lined with vines and olive trees between which a glittering ribbon of irrigated stream water runs. If you ever need to get away from it all to a place where time stands still; where you can sit on a swing, eat cherries and watch the mist swirl around the mountain tops then give my mama a call and say I sent you.