Monday, November 28, 2005

Facades from the past

There's a nice feature in the online version of the French telephone directory that, for some towns and cities, throws up a picture of the front of the building you're looking for: PagesJaunes : Photos de Villes Here is the first building I lived in in Bordeaux:



We lived in a one-bedroom flat on the second floor with a view of the synagogue right across the road. This was the mid-eighties and everyone was pretty jumpy around synagogues, so on a Friday evening the whole street was blocked off and policemen strutted up and down in front of the building, machine guns at the ready. The inside of the building was nicer than the outside : we even had carpeted stairs. The flat itself was entirely decorated in brown — chocolate brown carpets and chocolate brown hessian on the walls but since we didn't have any furniture colour co-ordination was no problem. The girl next door was a prostitute. P. spent the first few months believing she was some sort of community social worker.

After about five years we moved here.



This time it was little two-bedroom house with a courtyard at the front and a garden at the back. I know it doesn't look like a house — you had to go in that green door and, walk through this building and straight out the back to our tiny house. It had a lovely feel about it, lots of different levels and a very private little garden but it must have been the dampest place in the whole of France. In winter, water seeped in through the blocked up chimney breast in the bedroom leaving huge damp patches that quickly turned black. After about a week, all of our clothes smelled of mildew. Looking back, I wonder how we managed to stick it out for seven years.

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6 comments:

Sarah Mackenzie said...

P is really sweet. He is sort of right in a way - she was a community social worker of sorts. She certainly made people feel better. Or did she. Confused about that one. Anyway, A is right now looking at the tiny Paris apartment he lived in in 1991.

deborah said...

Yes, I remember all that brown opposite the synagogue and loved your parties.
It was wonderful to hole up in your second house one Christmas when you were away. I managed to escape all the festivities.
You can't see the attic flat where we first lived at 36 cours du Chapeau Rouge because we only had a minute sky light, or 'vasistdas'
However the ground floor is now an oyster restaurant.
I used to cry every day when D went off to work so have happier memories of rue de Rivière and rue Bouquière which followed.
I think it is an amazing site

deborah said...

I meant an amazing thingummy 'photos de la ville'

Great excitement, Lesley, this is from my laptop with no wires attached, hooray
I can look at every street in Bordeaux while swigging wine in bed now

Lesley said...

Deborah, Weee heeee for the Wifi.
I was looking at the privacy clauses for those photos and you being the sole occupant of your house could ask them to remove the photo if you wanted. I know you wouldn't want to, probably, but it's interesting that they offer that possibility isn't it?
Ah, parties in that first flat rue du Grand Rabbin Joseph Cohen, I remember them well.

deborah said...

I never thought about privacy because the front of the houses anyone can go past anyway and take their own photos. I wonder why living alone should be any different, I must have a look! Perhaps I would have to prove I don't have a live-in lover?
I left a few comments on someones blog which I came across quite by chance clicking on the top right of your blog ...... is there a system of some sort as to which bloggers appear?
After making a few puerile comments he asked me 'Deborah, why don't you have your own blog'? So will spend the day trying to come up with a decent answer. Any ideas anyone?!

Lesley said...

Hear, hear, that man. Why doesn't Deborah have her own blog?

(There doesn't seem to be any real system for the blogs yoou are sent to when you clikc the "next blog" button at the top. But people only seem to get sent here in the first hour after I've updated.)