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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Days gone by - Memories of Montendre, France

Days gone by – Memories of Montendre, Western France

One of the first times I went abroad was a family road trip to a small town called Montendre in Western France; It sticks vividly in my mind and felt like an adventure – I think it was the first time I had travelled on a ferry, and also the first time I had visited a foreign country outside of the United Kingdom. We travelled with a group of friends down to Dover and then drove to our converted farm house for a week experiencing the French lifestyle.

1996 saw Germany winning the UEFA European Football Championship against the Czech Republic

As I type this I have just spent some time looking through the old photos from this holiday - It was in 1996! Over 20 years ago, I can't believe how young I look, and how poor quality and low resolution the photos are, I think we must have been using a potato haha! I see faces that are no longer with us, and faces of people that I haven't seen or spoken too for years - Time is a strange thing and it can be sad to see the people who come and go in your life. But on the flip side its memories like this holiday that make it all worth while.

The grounds of our holiday home in Western France

The town was Montendre - I had never heard of this place before and I am not sure to this day why it was the chosen destination (I should ask my parents really!), it is about 30 miles to the north of Bordeaux and I remember it being a long trek from the Ferry port in Calais (nearly 8 hours according to Google Maps!).

We stayed in an old building with quite a large amount of surrounding countryside - It was really beautiful as I remember and a typical small quaint French town. The building itself wasn't the best of quality, I don't think there was any air-conditioning and it had definitely seen better days, however I was 10 years old so didn't really care about that!

Outside our French Villa, my dad is the one wearing the offensive blue Speedos

The grounds of our holiday home were what made this such a fascinating place for me; there were acres of fields, some with beautiful golden sunflowers in, and also a small fishing lake. I remember learning how to fish with my parents friend Jim - It was such a rewarding feeling catching them and sitting basking in the sun (I apparently caught 21 fish, or so my mums writing states on the back of the below photo, pro!). We put the fish straight back in the water, but it was still great fun.

The fabled fishing lake where I caught 21 fish!

All in all I remember it being a fantastic holiday - We had BBQ's in the evening as the sun died (We had some beautiful square shaped burgers and sweet French finger cobs), went for days trips to the coast in our trusty Vauxhall Nova, tried our hand at Kayaking at a man-made beach and lake, and generally spent a very relaxing yet fun time with our family and friends.

Me and my older brother Rob Kayaking!

What more could a 10 year old want than to travel to a new country across the English Chanel, get to explore the French countryside and coast, spend time with his family, play Boule, eat burgers (probably horse thinking about it now!), play at the beach, and of course be off school? I have said it before, but I had a fortunate upbringing despite my health problems - My parents made sure me and my brother have some extremely fond memories to look back on and I am grateful for that - I doubt that I would have travelled to all the places I have today, If my intrigue had not been set alight by these early family trips to France and Spain.

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