28 November 2007
Whilst looking through some papers, I found this old photograph of my ancestral home, Montherlant. From birth I occupied several rooms on the top floor. My nanny's quarters were downstairs. I recall playing tennis in the halls and keeping a family of ducks in a spare room. Amongst the fine paintings and threadbare Persian rugs, I enacted elaborate battles using a collection of toy soldiers. Built in 1702, the estate featured a spacious network of gardens and fish ponds, which, for me, were by far the principal attraction of the place. I have fond memories of exploring the stands of oak trees and flower beds with my pet Greek tortoise, Toby. But it was not to last. When I was still quite young, due to a set of adverse circumstances, as I have previously related here, I was sent away from Montherlant to live with my mother's relative. Montherlant, however, continues to play a significant role in my recollections of the past. In my reveries I imagine my toy soldiers are still in formation and Toby is still keeping watch amongst the oaks, awaiting my return.