Thursday, 16 August 2012

My Favourite place : the day I had to leave

When my parents moved from Paris to live in Normandy I was 8 and didn't want to leave our 6th floor appartment with its air that I deemed fresh enough for my needs, thank you very much.

But then I discovered the joy of living by the sea and one beach in particular. A little cove nestled between the harbour village of Barfleur and Gatteville-le-Phare.

Well, I already knew it as a holiday place but it quickly just became 'my' place. I loved the soft colours of dark blues, greens and greys, the often cloudy sky, the rocks, the lighthouse, the golden hour of sunset, the taste of salt, even the seaweeds and crabs!

Then 20 years later I fell in love and I had to make a choice. I chose to move away after 5 months of being some 800 miles apart with my love. Before I left I went to visit my favourite place and cried... I truly grieved for that place, and for living by the sea, in the following weeks.

I had placed one condition to my coming to live with O. : to leave Munich and move somewhere closer to the sea. O. found work in Basingstoke and we planned to live not far from the coast. We must have done 2 thousand miles in the first 3 weeks we spent in the UK looking for the right place. But the more we drove on UK's roads the more we thought it would be too much hard work for O. to commute on the busy motorway and would leave us too little time to nurture our still budding relationship.
We settled for Overton, a lovely Hampshire village, with a mind to go back to France in around 3 years.
I got pregnant and we lost our beautiful baby boy at 32 weeks of pregnancy.
That's when we really discovered Overton, when its people welcomed and comforted us like I honestly don't think we could have experienced in France. Our son was buried in the village's ground and of course it created a very strong bond between this place and our family...

That's how 11 years later we are still living there, my grief for the little beach I loved overcome by a greater sorrow. But things are changing again. What seemed impossible still a couple of years ago, leaving the village and our sons' grave (we lost another boy nearly 5 years ago) doesn't feel that unthinkable now. We've accepted that our family is missing two members but that they ARE still members of the family. They are not in the ground of our village but wherever our family is.

Life has had a way of putting out of my mind my favourite place. I have after all, in the last 11 years, being quite busy being pregnant and then nursing... or grieving.
Then last Easter, for my 40th birthday, DH offered me 4 days in a National Trust cottage in Cowes, on the seafront. It reminded me very much of just how deeply I love the sea and how I miss not living near the coast.

Now DH has much advanced in his career and could probably work several days a week from home. Our family has grown, grown enough (!), even outgrown our house. It would be nice to move within a couple of years if we can and we're thinking that maybe...

...the sea.


  1. gosh - this is really moving. I'm confident you will make it back to your little beach by the sea x

  2. Such a beautiful post and so moving. You touched upon thoughts that I have had and never voiced.
    I just love reading your post's.

    I also have a longing to live by the sea, it is thankfully a dream my husband shares too. He is from Gosport but moved to Salisbury to live with me. It's beautiful here but he misses being by the sea.
    I'm always on Right Move looking for bungalows by the sea in Alverstoke & surrounding area's. It's just a longing I have.
    Anyway it's a dream we just have to keep working towards for now as we can't afford to move at the moment, but maybe one day.

    I do hope you manage to move to a place by the sea and I'm certain your little one's will always be with you and part of your family wherever you go because they'll always be in all of your hearts xxx

  3. Thanks for that thoughtful comment Jo. I sometimes look at houses by the sea on RightMove too! xxx