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Silver Travel Book Club - Book of the Month - June 2019

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Sorry to be slow on the uptake here. I have been hosting a 3-day family party in the hot sunshine of France! My inspiration for the book came from several sources: I was too young and politically unaware in the 60s to have been part of the student movement in Paris in 68 but I like to think that, if I was young again and that opportunity came my way, I would jump at the opportunity to be young and carefree in Paris at such an age and time. The “House” of the title came to me as an idea when my husband and I went on a short visit to Les Calanques, the Creeks, near Marseille. It is such a stupendously beautiful region with some of the highest maritime cliffs in Europe that I knew immediately it would make the prefect setting for a story that is full of mystery and buried secrets. The “house” itself is imagined. It sits high o a cliffside in what is a national parkland. I returned to the area on several occasions and walked the beaches, the rocky inlets, took boats out onto the water and climbed the cliffsides. The area was a revelation and a wonderful experience. I wish all locations offered so many writing opportunities! Thank you everyone for taking part in this fun post and competition.Thank you, Andrew for hosting me. To the winners: I sincerely hope you enjoy the book. To all those who took part, thank you. I hope you might read the book anyway. Carol x

Thanks everyone for the latest comments on this month’s Silver Travel Book Club choice, The House on the Edge of the Cliff by Carol Drinkwater. We’ve loved reading your own fabulous holiday memories from the 1960s, and two lucky soon-to-be-announced members will each win a copy of the book.

I’ve really enjoyed reading Carol’s book. It transports the reader between Paris in 1968, where the lead character Grace gets caught up in the student riots, and the beautiful House on the Edge of the Cliff – in 1968 and the present day – in intoxicating Provence, in the south of France and just a short hop along the coast to Marseilles.

Here’s the moment when Grace first arrives at the House on the Edge of the Cliff…..

‘Heron Heights, pale pink, two storeys, with a funny peaked turret to the right side, was set on a bluff beneath a soaring precipice shaped like an upside-down ice-cream cone. The house, in its unique position, was planted upon jagged rose-red rock. It overlooked miles of sandy or shingle beaches, each divided by giant boulders into coves and creeks. To the right, some distance from where Agnes had stopped the car, towered a series of stone palisades, carved by history and time into what looked like the flue pipes of a giant organ.’

I wonder how much this captivating description is based on Carol’s own house in the south of France? We’ve been so lucky to have @Carol-OliveFarm engage with us on this Forum already, but I wonder if she could wrap up this month’s Book Club by giving us some special insight into the inspiration for her House on the Edge of the Cliff…

Last Edited by AndrewMorris at 30 Jun 10:59

My first holiday abroad was in 1968 to Ostend,with my parents.Their only trip abroad. We visited Knocke and the evening colourful water fountains were magic to a 10 year old. My mum loved the cakes so each morning we had coffee and cake at a very expensive£3.


My favourite holiday was spending 6 weeks in French Guyana with a friend whose husband was working out there. We travelled on canoes down the Amazon to our “camp” – shooting the rapids en route. We slept in hammocks in the Amazon Forest – didn’t sleep a wink because of all the animals scuttling underneath me and howling monkeys making a terrible racket all night long. To see so many different animals, plants, insects, birds, etc. was amazing. I only wish that digital cameras had been available when I was there. We also visited the space station at Kourou and saw Ariane in situ – weeks before it took off. I tasted some amazing food, saw enormous snakes – one lying across the road which was as wide as a man’s thigh and had to be moved before we could continue our way along the road – well, track really. A really incredible holiday which I will always remember.


What wonderful memories people have. I never had holidays as a child. I was dumped on a step grandmother in Eire for weeks who thought reading the Judy(donated by a kindly neighbour)was a sin worthy of confession. My first travel experience was in 1969 when following enlisting in the British Army ,and a stint in London, I flew to Singapore. The heat when the plane doors opened gave me a warm embrace as I stepped into paradise.

My first holiday abroad was in the 60’s (1969), a belated – 2 years after – honeymoon to Mallorca,
and brought a love of everything ‘foreign’. Since that auspicious beginning, I have visited a total
of 132 countries/islands, and hopefully more to come.

Albox, Costa Almeria, Spain

Most of my holiday memories from the sixties are of visiting my father’s family in northern France, staying with his uncle and aunt on a farm, collecting eggs from the barn, running around the fields and playing with my French cousins, who I still visit 50 – 60 years later. Carefree childhood days.

I remember my holiday to Blanes in Spain in the 1966 just before I had my third child. We travelled through France in a very small Fiat (my husband did all the driving) and crossing the border into Spain 2 days later was magical. We set up at a campsite opposite the beach and we’re soon befriended by a family who were on holiday from Barcelona – Pedro and Josephina who were with their grown up children and grandchildren. Their tent was well equipped whilst we had a single burner and a kettle. Life was simpler then- the children played all day and although they couldn’t speak the same language – it didn’t matter. My now 58 year old daughter still talks about it sometime. So nice to remember the happy times.

Whilst technically alive in the 1960s, I’m too young to personally remember the decade. However I loved my parents and siblings stories on holidaying during the 60s and adore the evocative family holiday photos from the said decade. I do remember a later trip to France and my Mum commenting on seeing the Eiffel Tower that it looked rusty!

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