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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Forget me nots – November 10th

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The delicate alpine blue flowers used for many reasons, but the reason that I’m bringing it to your attention is whist looking for information about how the French celebrate or commemorate Armistice Day or Remembrance Day is exactly that…

A blooming flower which is often used a symbol for remembrance.

Created in 1921 to remember returning American Soldiers & of the sacrifices those made of life and limb, National Forget-Me-Not Day originally raised funds for services where there were none.

It was also created as a day to remember and get in touch with friends and family that you do not see on a regular basis, also for:

Grandparents day, that needs no explaining and hopefully does not correspond or double up to the previous sentence!

But I’ll get to the point, it is also the flower and day of Alzheimer’s Remembrance which is kinda cool that just before Remembrance/Poppy day on the 11th November when ‘lest we forget’, we remember both, grandparents and those that have lost the full or partial ability to remember for themselves that disease which only gets worse, and is very painful for those that can remember.

However now I have finally got round to write more about it, I can’t find my original research information. Desperate to get it posted, here it is raw, but to bring awareness, however painful it is to remember, we are non that forget those we treasure now and for always. TOGETHER we support one another, Time heals, but

FORGET WE NOT!

(HUG)

 

 

 

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

Une Plus Beaux village en France en Aveyron – the largest arcaded square in the Rouergue, a gem in architectureimg_1123

Timber framed and corbelled houses

Ornamental Carved Stone  – Gargoyles – Gargouilles img_1142img_1124

  Wrought Portes

Remains of historique merchants of various trades in commerce- knife makers, hat makers, forge and boutiques

Entrance gateways invite you in and draw you back to times of Kings, wars and plagues.

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.