Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A novel and a rock star

It’s been almost a month now since my short vacation in Deal and Kingsdown and yet I’ve only written on what we did on the first full day of my stay. I guess it shows just how intense, moving and interesting it was to be back there after all these years. Sorry, if I'm spinning it out ...

After our lunch at the Rising Sun, it was almost four o’clock and we decided to call it a day. We drove back to Deal, where we said goodbye to Teresa, who invited us to come to her house the next day for a fish and chips supper. We agreed to meet her and her husband Sandy around 5.30 p.m. at The Ship, a local pub, for an aperitif.

Deal - Timeball tower.
If you want to know more about its purpose,
click here.

Mats returned to his room at the B and B to make some more business calls and to work on his business plan (he’s self-employed) while I set out on a shopping expedition. But first I wrote my postcards and had quick change of foot gear. It was till sunny and warm and the walk along the seafront was very pleasant. I had a look at the Maritime museum which is located in the Timeball tower, but found it closed. So was the Regent, a former cinema, which by the looks of it is closed for good.

Looking very fifties-sixties and... deserted!

Next I turned into High Street and went looking for the WHS bookstore. I was glad to see that it still exists, although it has been moved into much smaller premises across the road from its former location. I found the interior rather messy, with books piled up upon the floor. And the assortment was a lot smaller than I remembered it being in the seventies. I searched, in vain, for a novel called ‘Die for me’, written by Amy Plum. Amy is an American, living in the Loire Valley with her French husband Laurent and her two small children.

My friend and I met Amy in 2009, after I had been reading her blog for a while. In one post she had mentioned using Grimbergen beer in a recipe. She wrongly assumed that it was a German, while it is Belgian. Teasingly I had commented that I would leave a six pack of Grimbergen on her doorstep the next time I was visiting the Touraine. You can read all about our surprise visit here.

When I asked a WHS’ saleslady for the book, she looked it up in the computer and said that they had one copy of it. We both went looking in the section where it was supposed to be. We failed to find it though and the saleslady kindly suggested that I’d come back the next day, thus giving her the time to look for it in the storage room of the shop. I accepted her offer and left the bookshop empty handed.

Of course, I couldn’t stop myself from walking into a clothes shop and buying four different summer tops for a grand total of (a mere) 70 pounds. I walked past Boots, Marks and ‘Sparks’ Spencer and several antique shops, that hadn’t been there in the seventies. Finally I arrived on the corner of New Street, where Rowena and her family used to live in 1977 and 1978. In its own way, this house too is one I’ll never forget staying at.

This is were I was when I learned
that the King of Rock and Roll had 'left the building' for good.

Even today I have no trouble answering the question “When did Elvis Presley die and where were you when you learned the news? The answer: “It was Augustus 16th, 1977 in the drawing room at New Street number 10 in Deal.” I vividly remember being alone in the house – Rowena was out shopping – watching television, when they interrupted the program for a special bulletin. The news came as a complete shock, and I was still sitting there, stunned, when Rowena came in. When I told her the news, she too was shocked. Later that night, we went to The Ship, the pub in Middle Street, where the rock legend’s sudden death was THE conversation topic of the day.And you, do you remember where you were when Elvis died?


GaynorB said...

Hi Martine,
When you were on your shopping trip did you notice lots of 'charity shops' on the high street? In the small town close to where I live there must be about 12!

August 1977 I was travelling around Scotland with a rail pass and staying at Youth Hostels. I saw the news on a billboard at Edinburgh Waverley Station ....

Mark said...

In my living room at my parent's house. I saw it and ran to tell my Mom who cried her eyes out for the next week. m.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't remember when Elvis died but I remember vividly when John Lennon was killed. Isn't it funny how those memories stick with us forever?

Craig said...

Clive and I heard it in our flat in SE London and were both quite shocked.
Oddly enough, our local WHS is very messy too. I think that their managers need a bit of corporate direction regarding store organization and cleanliness!

Nadege said...

I can't remember either about the death of Elvis.

ladybird said...

Gaynor, I saw one or two shops selling seconf hand clothes, but that was about it. I have no recollection seeing charity shops. Maybe I was too busy window shopping :))

Mark, Your mother was an Elvis fan then?! I only learned to appreciate him after his death ... and than not even all of his songs.

Dedene, Our brain has a mind of its own, hasn't it?

Craig, I was really disappointed by WHS. It was so different from the shop it used to be. Maybe it's because reading books is no longer 'fashionable' now that we have internet?!

Nadege, Maybe you were on vacation at the time. It was high summer after all?! Where you already living in the US at the time?

Nadege said...

I came to the US in October 1978. Elvis was not of my generation. I think I remember him looking weird with his hair, glasses and flashy outfits. Of course now, I feel differently, as he was talented and have met people who worked with him. He was a very nice man.