I've lived .. I mean, really 'lived' not just stayed, in quite an array of places in my seventy-plus years. Wellington, New Zealand from one to ten, Nelson, NZ from 10 to 16, Christchurch, NZ through University days, then off to Britain for a couple of years until ...
Monaco. The Principality of. It was just starting to 'go off'. Rainier and Grace, it was said, took backhanders to allow the local building entrepreneur, whose name I have now momentarily forgotten, to build that ghastly tall building (seen on TV every year at Grand Prix time) on his 'yard' near the Casino ... The beautiful old buildings of the Monte Carlo heyday were being replaced by tax-haven high-rises .. but the Condamines still had a bit of real-life flavour and shopping in the market at Beausoleil (where I, aged 24, became the chouchou of the market ladies and learned my impeccable French :-) ) was a joy.
Ah, well. All that's a very jolly old story, which I suppose I'll tell one day, if and when I finally stop saying 'no' to an autobiography. My mother kept every weekly letter that I wrote home for twenty years ... chuckle, I could iron out the euphemisms?
The point of this wee post was to say that fifty years later where am I living? Lord forbid it should be 21st century Monaco. Although I could renew my 'friendship' with young Albert, who used to chat to me over the wall of the Royal Box at the football in those days. He looked as if he would grow up to be a grand Prince: and he has.
OK. Where am I living? Summer: back in my native land. Gerolstein, Wendy .. well, you know all that stuff. Winter? Bah-boom! Yamba
And well, Max Bell posted this great picture from his aerial device yesterday.
That's my place. The smaller beach in the middle.
OK our hill isn't quite as lumpy as Monaco's 'Rocher', and it hasn't got a Prince and a Castle on top. Just the run-down Pacific Hotel. And, of course, it isn't tax free. But, there are similarities. And, tell you what, I like here better.
So, Prince Albert, my little pal from 1970ish, come and visit! But I supposed you're a reigning monarch now ...