Thursday, 22 March 2012


My mother, Simone, Adele, Bremond ( Simmy ) aged 16, was married to Edward Joseph Launay ( Eddy ) aged 27, in August 1921 at the church of Notre Dame in Nice.
 It was not a happy union.
 After the ceremony, Eddy whisked Simmy off from the sunny summery Cote d’Azur to grey, rainy London where they were to live with his humourless parents ( Swiss mother, French father ) in a suburban villa in Finchley.
 Simmy very soon missed the company of her fun friends, swimming in the blue Mediterranean and the beach parties, but she did manage to delay becoming pregnant for five years though Eddy was very keen to have a son and heir as soon as possible.
 When she finally delivered him a child it turned out to be a girl and he was very disappointed. But four years later, I was born, which should have put things right.
 Eddy was over the moon and immediately started making plans for my education and apprenticeship in the catering business as it was never put in question that I would not follow in his footsteps.
 But then things went wrong.
 On a bright April morning in 1931,  the trained nanny hired to look after me, wheeled my pram out into the back garden of the family house so that I could benefit from a little fresh air. She was a trifle annoyed when my mother followed right behind, thinking she was going to be reprimanded as the day was decidedly chilly, but all my loving mummy wanted to do was marvel at what nature had helped her produce.     
 'He really is quite well made,' my mother said, smiling proudly down at me as I kicked my little fat legs in the air discovering the joys of life.
 ' I've seen better,' the dour Scottish nanny replied, then added, 'and in my opinion he looks remarkably like that foreign gentleman friend of yours who lived next door.'   

The wedding

Simone and baby Andre

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