|Rue in Surgeres|
For some time I have been planning to transfer the Sock family photo archives onto my computer. This is an enormous task as we travelled extensively around Europe when I was a child, my parents whisking us out of school for a month every year in order for my father to drive us to some far flung (by those days standards) destination like Dubrovnik. We saw a lot of Europe - but mainly from the back of the car, it was called 'touring'. I keep meaning to write about some of these adventures on my Fourth Plate blog but that means prompting my memories with the thousands of archived 35mm transparencies, each one taking an age to transfer and clean up in photoshop. I get too easily distracted every time I start this task, either by something else on the computer which demands my attention or, as in this case, a curiousity about some particular photographs.
These are dated 1965 and labelled 'Surgères (The Garden City)'. We were travelling from Sable D'Olonne down the Atlantic coast towards Biarritz (my first but by no means my last visit to the latter which became a favourite holiday haunt over the years). Surgères would be close to our route but I can find no record of there being a garden festival or garden city there at that time although it would appear to be somewhere we stopped at with a purpose so something must have drawn the Socks to this small French town.
The picture I find most haunting from a 'time gone by' is the one at the top of this blog, a road in Surgères. The complete lack of traffic or parked cars, the tortured trees forming rather attractive archways across the road, the very 'Frenchness' of it all.
At the Bedsock's suggestion I checked Surgères out on Google Earth, it's not a big place and although it has plenty of greenery there is no obvious Rue of tunnelled trees.
YoungMaSock (pictured below) had obviously found some horticultural delights for us to sample. I wonder if she nicked the oranges when no-one was looking - certainly I remember us eating foraged fruits on our holidays and knowing MaSock's liking for food for free it wouldn't surprise me.
BroSock and I don't look particularly impressed with the donkey!
This below was probably the height of horticultural sophistication at the time!
This last photo is of Bayonne further south down the coast - another of the Sock's favourite French places.
French municipal planting probably hasn't changed a great deal since then (although they often do a good roundabout, far more imaginative than the majority of British ones!) It's the sort of planting scheme that Anne Wareham must surely hate but personally I think it has just a hint of je ne sais quoi!
I remember the dress, YoungMaSock had made it as she did most of my clothes - many of them extremely pretty and remembered with great fondness until MaSock discovered the joys of drip-dry, no-iron crimplene and my wardrobe took a drastic turn for the worse. The Clarks, T bar sandals and white ankle socks were standard wear for little girls - I was still forced to wear them to school into my teens often changing into tights and slightly more sophisticated shoes when I was half way down the road and out of MaSock's sight.
You can see how I get distracted! There are another 90 photos to go on this holiday alone. Doesn't look like SockTowers will be cleaned any time soon!