Una Rose – Author

Putting the world to write!



LA VIE EN ROSE, is how we often refer to France and as is practically my namesake, it holds a special place in my heart. I hated French all through school until aged 16, when I went on holiday with my childhood friend Maryla to San Tropez (we were camping I might add!) and met some gorgeous French boys Lauren and Patrice who could barely string a sentence together in English. Suddenly out of nowhere we were chatting away in French! We returned to school to learn we had both failed our O’level French and yet convinced our teachers to let us study for the A’level. We did the re-sit for our O’level in the December and got straight A’s in both written and oral exams, and did pretty well in the A’levels also! I guess all we needed was a little incentive. The story continues, in that Lauren and Maryla married in their early 20s and now live on a farm in the south of France with 3 kids, 3 horses, and a menagerie of other animals. I went on to university to study languages (French and Russian), and was recently on holiday in the Loire Valley, reigniting my love for the language, food and wine.

There is also another reason I like France so much, and it is the respect they uphold for unions and journalists. Not a lot of people know this but if you flash your press card at the reception desk of a palace, gallery or event, the chance is most likely you will get complimentary entry. I used to be an National Union of Journalist member but since giving up most of my journalistic work, I found it too costly to remain a member. Instead I have joined the prestigious Society of Women Writers and Journalists, which has a 150 year history and whose president is the very talented comedienne Victoria Wood. I wasn’t sure if a less well known organisation would be recognized abroad. But the reception team at the 15th century Chateau du Rivau (www.chateaudurivau.com) were delighted to have a journalist visit and gave me complimentary entry.

I spent a wonderful day there with my two daughters and husband, exploring the fairytale castle and madly creative grounds which boasted giant sized wellies, mazes, secret ogre dens, hammocks and other objects far too whimsical to describe. The train of Rapunzel’s hair dangles out of the tower and you can imagine her prince climbing up to meet her. But there is a real life heroine, far removed from the sickly sweet Disney character, who makes this castle famous. None other than Joan of Arc, who in 1429 came to request stallions for her campaign in Orleans and to raise funds for her role in the 100 years war which brought Charles VII to the throne. Sadly she was duped and burnt at the stake for heresy aged just 19. The Loire Valley is a treasure trove of chateaux, mercifully not destroyed by the revolution, as well as acres of vineyards and armies of sunflowers, and a wonderful place to chill out in August. And I can give you another trade secret, go to France in the last two weeks of August, as that is when the French school children are back in class and the roads are quieter and restaurants are back open. As they say in France: A Votre Sante!


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This entry was posted on September 12, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

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