643 Home, sweet home – part 3

Bordeaux

Somewhere in these pages I have probably mentioned a student exchange between the universities of Bristol and Bordeaux; research has revealed this happened in 1966.

Being in Bordeaux for six months entailed living somewhere; in my case, a family home in the rue Peyreblanque, no. 22, on the north side of the city. (the name Peyreblanque is Provençal, meaning “white stone”; there are several villages of that name, such as one about halfway between Montauban and Albi; but the street name may have nothing to do with this).

I have no idea how these lodgings were allocated, presumably just from names on a list. This was my first year at university, so I still hadn’t quite got the hang of living in other people’s houses, but the landlord was a pretty easy-going chap. I can’t remember his wife; perhaps I didn’t see her much.

If you’ve ever been inside a traditional home in France (or northern Italy for that matter), anything built before about 1950, you’ll know the kind of place. If you don’t, I probably wouldn’t make a very good job of describing it. Not only that, but I only ever really saw the hallway and my own room. The photograph may give you some idea.

These months in Bordeaux were immediately followed by the Great Bike Ride (which will appear somewhere) and the 1966 Esperanto Congress in Budapest, described in “Esperanto in my life”.

And after that, something of an anti-climax, it was back to Enfield, where I stayed for another six mostly uneventful years. The next move was more dramatic. Just as I was getting used to the arrival of decimal currency, I left the country, though these events are not connected.

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