Thursday, 11 November 2010

Rememberance Day

I have just read last year's blog about Rememberance Day and it made me think that perhaps we have progressed a little socially. In very small steps.

Just the sort of weather today that makes me think of The Somme and the trenches. Cold, wet and miserable. Went up to the memorial in the car although it is only a short walk up the hill. Lots more nods of welcome. The mayor was there in his sash and Bernard - his right hand man - was there in his kepi, (left over from military service he said later) holding the commune flag. There was another man who obviously owned the portable CD player and microphone - hastily covered in plastic bags - rather officiously checking stuff.

The ceremony set off after a wait - not for 11 o'clock ,or the bells from the town, or the man that everyone said 'here's someone else coming' - with the french equivalent of The Last Post on the CD player. Bernard duly lowered his flag. CD owner then grabbed the microphone and said that there would be a minute's silence............................. Shortly followed by the beginning of the Marseillaise - oops - panic stations.

Lots of fumbling and button pushing which took up most of the minute.

(Interruption for car that wanted to get by.)

Then a transfer of microphone to the lad that reads the names on the memorial. After momentary tangle of wire and flag, each name was announced with a murmur of 'mort pour la France' after each one as we all stood with umbrellas dripping and heads bowed.

Then a continuation of the Marseillaise, a few words from the mayor and off to the Mairie for an apero.

CD player man then stood up and told the gathering a story which I think was about the first and last french soldier killed in the first world war. Definitely something about a french soldier that died at a quarter to eleven on 11th November 1918. But, as usual, in full dramatic flow a lot of it went over my head.

Nice to see the old boy that does the potager up the road out and about (His potager has been uncultivated this year). Spoke to the skeletal guy who we haven't met but wave at most times we go to the shops, who had obviously heard that we had had the trailer stolen 2 years ago. At last managed to continue a conversation with a lady that had mentioned to me before that she wanted to learn English. Still not sure what has prompted this interest, something to do with a DVD she wants to understand. But hey. She also had her friend who is the lady from the place where Him Outdoors buys sand/cememt and between them they were brave enough to talk. The sand lady is used to all the guys coming in who can't speak french so we all managed very well. (Helped along by a couple of glasses of Sangria!)

We are gradually getting less scarey, more familiar...........................


  1. Rosie, it sounds like a memorable ceremony. How awful about the soldier who died at 10.45 though :-(

    I'm glad you are recognising steps forward, sometimes you don't notice it every day, until you have something like this to compare with.

    J x

  2. Its nice to do things again and realise that you're that much more included in community and the way of life...

  3. Sounds like giant strides to me. Well done!

  4. Have a great Christmas with your family and friends, Rosie.