More musings from Marseille


See what I mean?

Twenty eight years ago today we had a new arrival in the family: our first baby –  a week early -a beautiful little girl. As I looked into her bright blue, all- knowing, all-seeing eyes ( they are still just as blue even now), I fell madly and deeply in love.  The rest of the world ceased to exist. So it was with a lump in my throat that I woke up this morning with the realisation that yet again, I would not be able to hand over her birthday gifts in person. Mothers get a bit sentimental about things like this.  Not to worry, she is coming out to visit next month and we will kick off our shoes and have lots of fun.   The 20/8/1988 was a very good day indeed, so happy birthday Loulou….xxx

Around the 1880’s (feel free to admire the link), the building I  live in used to be dormitory  for the nuns of a local convent. I’m not quite sure which one but until relatively recently much of the city belonged to the Catholic Church.  This discovery rather intrigued me and it made me think about the motley crew that are currently within these walls.  They couldn’t be more different!


Next door to us, is a very pleasant lady of Sardinian descent who was widowed young.  I don’t know her story but there are always wonderful smells of cooking wafting out of her flat.  Opposite we have some young Rumanian people packed in like sardines, even a baby or two.  We never hear a peep out of any of them and are only aware of their presence by the dirty trail left by builders’ boots that set me a-tutting . I don’t know their story either but the smells that permeate our hallway are an aquired taste. Next door to them,  is a family of maybe three or four people from I don’t where.  Very polite and very quiet.  Let’s just skip any description of their cooking odours, suffice to say it might well be broth made from old goat or donkey bones.  Entirely  possible, as I see no evidence of either creature in Marseille.


Frog’s brother lives upstairs with his partner and teenage son.  We  see quite a lot of them.  Opposite there is a lady of around my age (but she seems so much older)   Madame Bonbon to me.  I call her that as the first time I saw her, she accidentally dropped a sweet  from up above and it fell onto my head giving me quite a start.  I have never been into her flat but she does have a large poster of Betty Boop just inside her door and a peacock feather. Her shutters are never open and I suspect that housework is not her forte.  How could she have time when she is clearly busy tying little bows into her hair and applying sequins to her chest?  I lie not.  I will find a way to take a photo one day.  At Christmas, she likes to stick a (tacky) Christmas card,  addressed to all the neighbours on the wall in the main entrance. And there it stays along with her  previous ones and postcards from holidays. No one dares remove them for fear of causing offense.  Although, I do believe that the sticky-tape from some of the older ones has peeled away with the damp and whoops-a-daisy, they have found their way into the bin! This year she excelled herself by decorating all the mail boxes and the stairwell with cutsie Christmas stickers.  They have not remained. Perhaps peeled off and stored away for next time. Rumour has it that she was married to a violent man who died suddenly a while back.

More stickers for all seasons. I desperately wanted to go upstairs and take a photo but thought it might be tricky to explain if caught!



 Finally there is Madame P, the doyenne of the building.  Very frail and pale she is rarely seen.  She too is a widow.  Are you beginning to sense a theme?  I cannot comment on the cooking smells from upstairs.

Goodness knows what they make of us  Frog and the strange half English/Italian woman who arrived one day and stayed!

Chez nous

The only new arrival today was the oven two weeks past its due date!



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