I have actually been back from France for a few days now but such has been the frantic pace of life that there has been far too little time to string together a few words worth posting on the blog. There is still plenty that I should be doing, but what the heck.
We don't use curtains in France. We do have curtains, but those in the bedrooms are really only there for show, as decorations. They are flimsy gauze and would be absolutely useless at shutting out any light at all. But we do have solid, wooden shutters and they do the job most admirably. Most of the time. The shutters are mounted on the outside of the windows and close into the recess. This means that there are narrow gaps between the window surround and the shutters on both sides and at the top and bottom. It just so happened that when I got into bed one night last week, the full (or all but full) moon was in a clear sky and was at exactly the right height to shine through the gap at the top of the shutters and onto my pillow. It brought to my mind a night in 1953.
I was then away from home at school in Ventnor, a small town on the south coast of the Isle of Wight. Ventnor is built on a hill and the school was almost at the top. My dormitory windows provided a view across the town and out over the sea. The windows were uncurtained and for some reason I no longer know, there was a time when I would lie in bed trying to keep awake as long as possible. I could measure the time by the striking of the church clock, which was both visible and audible from my bed. The night I particularly remember must have been in June that year, after the naval review in Spithead held to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The Chilean navy had been represented by a three-masted sail training ship and it was that ship I recall seeing as it sailed across a moonlit sea in the early hours one morning, a sight I have never forgotten.