L’Armistice Day Novembre 11th

Remembrance Day always at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month which is recognised when hostilities of World War I ended on that date in 1918 not to be mistaken with Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday nearest to 11th) in the UK and across the commonwealth when it is officially commemorated with parades church service and the laying of wreaths. I first recall watching it as a small girl with my grandma Polly the day after we watched on TV the Festival of Remembrance in the Albert Hall. Both of which did and still do bring a sense of pride for our soldiers that survived and the victims that suffered loss of limbs and tears as we watched then after she died I’d watch with my Mam with the same effects and for the past 14 years I have marched with my son and daughter as part of the Scouts, Cubs and Guide movement as a parent and Scouting  assistant leader for 6 years of it, 4 year as a member of public alongside the Scouting movement with my old troop, 3 years supporting my partners daughter parade in the ATC…

IMG_0567.JPG & this year stood on my feet behind the sofa in my French Gite we are renting, that was Rememberance Sunday more on what happened 11/11/16 later.

Armistice of Compiègne as its also known after the location ( somewhere nord of Paris) in which it was signed was signed there that day that morning in that hour of 1918 in Paris time.

The First World War officially ended with the signing of the treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

Forget but don’t forget the Forget-Me-Knots from yesterdays post and remember, but forget the Poppy for remembrance day, Ici dans France, we commemorate in a sombre tone with the help/use of the Cornflower called Le Bleuet.

Like we do with the Commonwealth of Nations and the Poppy. And in the same way the fields during the Great War were filled with the blue flowers in Flanders, the Somme and Picardy.

As we know the British Legion makes various flowers and collects donations from the sales of the red paper poppy in the same way, the origin of Le Bleuet as a badge dates back to 1916 when a widow of a colonial Captain, Suzanne Lenhardt a senior nurse at Hôtel des Invalides and Charlotte Malleterre the sœur of Général Gustave Léon Niox et la femme of Général Gabriel Malleterre witnessed first hand the suffering of the maimed and mutilated they started workshop so the wounded soldiers could make a small income and have and activity from the tissue made flowers that were sold to the public at various times. It was proposed as the eternal symbol of ‘those that died for France’ in 1921  and recognised by FIDAC ( Federation Interalliee des Anciens Combattants) In 1928 the French President gave his patronage and the sales of le Bleuet gradually spread across the country and by the time it was made official by the French Government in 1935 128,000 flowers were now sold.

It not recognised or so well supported as it is in Britain but sales are improving. in 2013 sales of flowers raised €1,120,000 – one of the best ever results, though not comparable to the €50million or so raised by the British Legion’s poppies.

Most of its income usually comes from collections on November 11 which is a fixed public holiday.And now is run on behalf of the Office National des Anciens Combattants et Victimes de Guerre and supports families of service-people or police officers who died or were injured in service, as well as victims of terrorism. Going back to its root as to why the campaign was started.  It is also available for sale on 8th May.

I did lost of research to find out where and what happened in France and if we could manage to get to see something, we did our two minutes silence in the car, and tried to get to the service inthe city  of Toulouse straight from collecting the girls at the Blangnac Airport.

Sadly due to route barree (road closure) for the event and a lack of knowledge of the city and the battery dying in the Garmin GPS and no data on our phones we gave up walking and looking at 12:20 figuring what ever was happening we had missed and stopped for a quick coffee.

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or the Liver birds? Not a Costa in sight! Mais we would have loved a bigger full mug!

We continued on after coffee, everyone still disputing over which direction was correct, and a few more streets on,  passing medal and Bleuet wearing veterans as we explored, we arrived. These photos from the news online as an example.

Everything was being packed away but better late than never.

 

In two of the collective of Gites where we are staying one is called Coquelicot (Poppy) and another is called Bleuet.

More on the other Bleuets to follow…

 

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Midi Canal Peek

tarn-et-garonne_et_provinces-svgSo after a weekend avec une visitor, that we dropped at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport on a whim, we or maybe it was I made the decision to make the most of being so far west from home proche Pamplonne that we needed to head a bit more west and north to Montauban. SO we got out the Michelin Map ( ooo I do love a map) and plotted to travel on past to Valence d’Agen where as always everything was closed Monday morning but we did find an agent that was open  she was called Sophie Bizard , Bourse de l’immoblier, and she taught us how to pronounce Bordeaux correctly amongst other things ( I guess local accent  changes here too! Martin being Martin took the opportunity to say it as many times as possible until Sophie asked him if he was moque her… of course he was but luckily she was laughing with us, any way she rang around her colleagues in neighbouring towns and registered our interest so that SHE is our agent within that company so if the right property comes up she gets the commission, very Dynamic and pleased us that she seemed on the ball. We then went on to Moissac and Castelsarrasin where all in all we registered with another half a dozen agents.

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During our 400km day trip we crossed the Tarn the Garonne back and forth over the Canal du Midi a place Martin has always wanted to be, on his yacht crossing from one Ocean to the other…

Grand Old Duke of York at Cordes Sur Ciel

Today (Saturday) we collected our first visitor and drove straight to Cordes bit of a mad dash from Toulouse, as the flight was slightly delayed and so we only just made it to lunch in time ( more on that on a separate post) through the constant rain. The photos speak for themselves although lashing down and donned with rain coats and a chill, in the rain it was still beautiful to walk carefully, even if out of breath and heart in aerobic beating fashion from the restaurant at the bottom through the winding cobbled & artisanal filled streets to the top and as soon as we reached the summit with ‘The Duke’ whose idea it had been to visit despite the weather marched us, back down again, as he was cold and wet and his shoes were letting in water… not even a pause for coffee at the top.

 

Just one of the Artisinal boutiques… amazing hand painted fabric…amonsgt many other treasures.

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Strange girl behaviour from Essex

for the cat lovers

 

 

 

 

La Toussaint -All Saints day

Many Christians remember the lives of their mort relatives and all the saints on this day 1st November (Fixed). They visit special church services, place Fleurs on family graves. Here in France, it is also a popular period for a short autumn vacances to visit or be close to famille members.

The streets have been lined with flowers for sale at the florists. Chrysanthemums are an important symbol of grief and funerals and can be seen in abundance. Hence, they are often laid on graves, turns out they are for this day NOT to for giving as gifts.

I walked along with the dog ‘Fidget’ this evening to the local church and its tiny cemetery to see for myself, they are well-kept places although I did have a bit of a chuckle at the small collection of empty laundry liquid bouteilles et other plastic bottles disregarded but for communal use to top up the flowers and plants with eau.  Wish I’d taken that photo now! However, I was being discreet incase it was disrespectful.  I’m told, inside this dull appearance church, its beautiful, and a surprise. Peut-Etre I’ll be brave and venture in some day when the doors are open.

 

Sauveterre de Rouergue meets Kentwell Hall’s great unwashed!

Ici nous avons acheté et mangé a newspaper cone of 2€50 of handroasted chestnuts, in the smaller photos (click on them to enlarge) vous can see le feux being prepared for the Association La Fête de la Châtaigne et du Cidre Doux Sauveterre de Rouergue more mass-produced roasted Châtaigne. In the bingo style roasting cages you can see the rest stacked up waiting for the crowds with cinq plus feu, served in a cardboard pop up chip cup sadly I didn’t ask le prix.

As we were leaving we saw this barrel arrive on the trailer (the French do love a trailer) the Guy hammering in the tap, So I said to Martin shall we buy a bottle (as I was driving) and test it tonight and if its good we can by some more tomorrow, he said no, lets just buy un verre, in case we don’t like it… so he bought one for himself…turns out it was jus de pomme ( and very nice it was too) disappointingly for Martin not cidre (pomme doux) as the name of the fête suggested so I drank the plastic cup as Martin does not like apple or apple juice but he likes apple pie/tarte/crumble and cidre… funny that dont you think? Lets hope the pommes doux has arrived by the time the real fête on Dimanche 30 octobre gets under way.

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The artisans were all flogging their wares, handcrafted clothes, soaps, jewelry, hair braids, chimes made from empty glass bottles with the bottoms chopped off.

Drummers drumming, extremely relaxed men :-s and women, banging their own portable drums in an echo fashion, coming and going in the tents, passers-by having a petit danse, under the table of the crowded alfresco diners of the great unwashed, was an Albino Dog sleeping as I left so I couldn’t get a photo.

http://www.softr2rootsergue.com/ is the music festival that was on the built stage Friday & Saturday.

On a separate note but as I took the photo in the square floating in the air above the buildings which are about 5 levels but not quite into the beautiful blue ciel, see below a mass of cobwebs, also the hedgerows had them blowing into the road like ribbons. Amazing amounts of web confirming the dense population of spiders one sort or the other and that you are always within 3 feet of a spider!

Daily Prompt: Ancient

via Daily Prompt: Ancient

How old does something have to be to be labelled Ancient?

As a youngster the word ancient came into my slang vocabulary to describe anything more than a few weeks if it wasnt current it was ancient. Here we are in antiquated France asking to voir avec l’agence immobliere old stone houses using the french equivalent word ancienne pierre maison out in the countryside. Yet instead of 200 year old buildings like this house we viewed at Monesties, we have called it the ‘Yellow House’ for some unknown reason.

but for some unknown and bizarre reason they take us to see a village house like this nouvelle sous-sol.

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HabiTarn – Language knowledge

So we got up early on 21 Octobre (remember we are an hour in front here and less daylight I think) to travel down to Albi Expo Parc SSW of Albi centre for an exhibition which was a cross between a Place in the Sun Exhibition, the French House Exhibition & The London Homebuilding & Renovating Show not quite the ideal home exhibition. We decided to go to ‘hit’ the ‘immoblieres‘ in one place in one day without having to trawl the towns cities and arrondissements seeking out the shop fronts, that hide in the strangest of places, some of which only do city and modern houses.

The exhibition boasts neuf agents immobiers,  in two halls spread out in 180 other vendors.

Anyway we walked the halls looking at roofing, air con, sofa extending tables, piscines, insulation, heating systems, solar everything,  gates, ride on lawn mowers, tools, ferriers windows & wood burning fires and stoves amongst other things. We went on the Friday the first day to avoid the rush that may have been on the Sat & Sun and miss any ‘ideal’ houses for sale. atone of the stalls we meet and agent who we had already exchanged details with in her office in Albi. I spotted her as she turned around to pick up a pamphlet for the couple she was serving as we had started talking to her colleague,  she remembered who we were and what exactly were our requirements which both shocked and impressed us. The reason for this surprise of ours is that we never seem to get any follow-up with marketing touches like you do in england with the British agents, so we tried in our Fraglish to stop and explain to her collegue that we had already registered…. NO they don’t put you on a central database or pass on your details to other agents in other areas as they are all independent and if they dont sell they dont get paid that’s how come they get such a commission.

Language – we have learned so many words to do with houses buildings and their features its great but it’s also embarrassing as we can real them off with the correct pronunciation trouble is you sound like you know  the language and they reply back at you with full speed and local accents thrown in for good measure and we look back at them like we don’t even recognise the language… which sometimes we just dont!

I’ve just done a quick count of business cards – vingt quatre and that just the ones I organised. They  claim they are all so busy we have to wait a week for an appointment viewing yet they say the market is quiet… hmm closed on Sundays all day and Monday mornings, some of them all day and some halfday Wednesday and Saturday and every working day has the two-hour lunch… you got to love it!

 

 

Naucelle – Port des Anglais

Aujourd’hui  (Samedi) nous drove to the commune de Naucelle, 15 mins 17km away crossing over the Tarn/Aveyron border seulment 200m as the crow flies. Predomenantly we were going to find the only immobilier in the village named Noelle ( recommended by our cake-baking, translating voisine Mandy) which we did and as she parlait n’Anglais her ami Maurice tried to help with our compréhension aussi to seek out any Notaires(of which we found one!) and view any properties AV( á vendre) in their window. Noelle has trois peut-être quatre properties for us to voir on Jeudi. Deux corps de ferme, une Maison de Maître et un autre… could we be this lucky even this soon?

As we walk through this ‘English Gate’ which is all that remains of 15eme century fortifications, which was erected by the inhabitants of Naucelle during the 100 years war to protect themselves against the roving bands of brigands who were pillaging the area.(We could smell the delicious Boeuf Bourguignon cooking in a restaurant aptly called l’Aromatique to the right) To the immediate left is a memorial called Place Marcellin Cazals. A square created in 2000 on the site of a house in which a jewish family took refuge. they were rounded up one morning in August 1942 and sent to death camps. And so the square pays homage to Marcellin Cazels, a native of Quins (6km nord), named as “Righteous among the Nations” for having saved the lives of many Jews.

There stood a slightly older than us lady (we didnt get her name) reading the names on the wall of a family of six the were killed, tuns out she was English from Chichester. Her husband Nigel who wandered around the corner to join us mid conversation had come on a school trip some 55+ years ago, having stayed in the hotel there which he said had not changed much! They have been on a 3.5 week holiday down in the more southern area fo France and had stopped off en-route to the Loire She told us that they had not seen any English in those past three and a half weeks, till now that is… made me feel a little sad having spoiled that for them by responding when she said out loud “Oh where has he gone now?” looking for her Nigel, however it reminded me of the Monty Python movie “The Life of Brian” where Brian falls in the pit and stands on the old guys foot making him speak, having took an 18 year vow of silence. We exchanged our reason for being there, with them at their enquiring requests, they were so positive for us and envious wishing they had done the same many many moons ago.

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Hôtel de Ville – Town hall. this building dates from the 17eme siécle and has sucessfully been home to some dix familles. At the end of the 20th century it underwent extensive renovation work, both inside and out to become the picuresque building it is. the municipality moved in, in 1970.