Three days in Saintes was not too long but it was perfect to spend quality time with Papi Jacques and Mamie Ese, and catch up with Marie-Odile, Jean-Pierre and Benoit.
Firstly I'll show off the house where I was born. It is very reassuring that in spite of never living in one place, I still get to come back to the bedroom which was mine till 7. I have few memories about the house ; like all those naughty things that kids do: drawing on the new wallpaper; getting my head stuck in the stair railings, setting fire in the waste paper basket of the bedroom, cycling in circles around the tree on the terrace and the hours spent playing in the garden.
For history buffs out there, this garden used to be a vegetable patch; during the wars (first and second world war) the people living in the house were growing their own food supplies including making their own wine; the picture shows a very old grape vine; we do not treat it anymore so it is not producing sweet grapes and would probably make an horrible wine; however it is beautiful to see the old vine and it shades the alley down to the garden.
Papi Jacques and Marie-Odile came to spend the afternoon of Sunday with us. Doesn't my Papi still look great at the age of 91? He has been living in his own past since Mamie Suzanne past away; only remembering the days of his engagement to my grandma; so I was very pleased when over the three days he was able to tell me a bit more about his past than yet again how he met my grandma. He told Alex about his year as a soldier (March '39-July '40) and how a British caporal saved him and his best friend from being taken prisoner on the 3rd of June 1940 when Dunkerque was taken over by the Germans. British boats came accross the channel to rescue French soldiers in Dunkerque and there were thousands of soldiers and only a few boats; my grandpa and his friend (also called Jacques) and the British caporal's boat was full, but he said ten more soldiers can come on board, my grandpa and he friend were the 9 and 10th to get on board and off to Ramsgate. He also told me a bit more about his involvement with the Church and that he was part of the orchestra of Rouems, playing the flute.