Le Cottage, Talloires, Annecy, France
One of my first clients this morning told me that she's going to Annecy in France for a holiday next week. How wonderful I thought, remembering the times I've been to Annecy, beside its lake of the same name near the Alps. She explained that the hotel wasn't actually in Annecy itself, but in Talloires, nearby. "You're not staying at Le Cottage, Talloires, by any chance, are you?" I asked. "Why yes, actually we are!"
Sometimes the world seems very small, very small indeed. My first visit to Talloires was in 1965 when I was a spotty adolescent. We went as a family of four; my brother and I, Mum and Dad. We swam in the lake, fished for the small local poisons, made rafts out of old timber logs and went walking in the mountains behind. In those days Le Cottage was a humble house of no grandeur or finesse, whereas now it is a very smart lakeside hotel and more expensive than we would have afforded in 1965.
We'd had the most amazing three week holiday touring France by car, taking a week to drive down to the Cote D'Azur staying at small Relais Routiers en route. We'd had a week of Mediterranean sun, sea, sand and fun. The return to the UK was gentle drive north again via the French Alps and one of the places we stopped for a couple of nights was Talloires, so we could have fun on the lake and visit the neighbouring town of Annecy with its pretty riverside houses with flower baskets and its stunning castle on the hill. Roads in those days were quiet D or N roads as it was before Autoroutes had been thought of, so pottering around by car was a great adventure.
I returned to this region of France just a few years ago when doing small tour with my partner; 5 days in the Ardeche further south where shrubs and trees are stunted and the ground is bleached ochre by the sun, then a week in Le Chartreuse, a mountainous region where the Maquis resistance fighters hid from the Germans during the second world war which now is a National Park and wonderful walking country (not to mention the delicious green Chartreuse liqueur produced at the secluded monastery....a beguiling tipple capable of blowing your head off). And finally we had a week in the lower reaches of the Alps, just above Talloires and Annecy. We drove specially to Talloires as I remembered the name of the guest house that my family had stayed at almost 40 years before and I wanted to renew the memory. And there it was; grander, larger, but still in the same location. My raft had disappeared and there are now more sun loungers and waiters around, but it's the same place. On this return, I pictured my Mum and Dad there, sitting beside the water as my brother and I played. How strange it seems to revisit a place where memories and history tell you that events have occured and lives lived, and here we are again....living the same life, but now moved on. That was then. Now is now.
And here I am today, now in my Alexander Technique teaching practice giving an Alexander Technique lesson to a client who will be at Le Cottage, Talloires, next week. Memories are fun. Planning and looking forward to future events is also fun. But really there is only one time to be in and that is 'Now'. And 'now' is fun too..... That's the place to be. The more we are 'present' the more fun and enjoyment and depth of experience we get at this moment, which in turn will provide stronger memories for some future time when we press the pause button on the 'present' to remember an occasion once more. Ah, Talloires, I remember it well....