Thursday, 11 November 2010


Le Col du Linge.  It did not look like this in May.
Today is the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  Thousands of bloggers will be posting this on this day and at this hour, but I don't care.  There is something a little comforting about knowing others are doing the same as you are on a particular day of the year.  I have already been to a remembrance ceremony locally,  as they do it here in France on 1st November, but today is a day to remember those who died.  Far more as a proportion of those serving than today of course, looking back at the war graves of the early 20th century. In May this year I visited a First World War battlefield in the Vosges, where some (not all could be identified) of the young men who were killed there are commemorated.  Eighteen, nineteen and twenty years old.  They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.

Interesting fact (to me) - that battlefield is at a place called Col du Linge.  Nothing to do with laundry or lingerie, "linge" is a Celtic word, with the same root as the first half of the place name Leinster.

Today is a public holiday here in France, for remembrance, and most people (including the entire organisation I work for) are making the bridge ("faire le pont") and are not working tomorrow either, so as to have a four-day weekend.  But children are going to school tomorrow, so it is a stay-at-home weekend, which suits me just fine.  Solemn images on TV this morning of the demonstrations by schoolchildren and young students on this day in 1940, against the German occupation.  Pity their leaders and military did not show the courage those "lyceens" did at the time.

Public holidays here are celebrated on the day on which they fall, and not on the following Monday as in the UK, which I greatly prefer.  Of course it means that we lose some when they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, but so what really.  We get plenty.

Poppies.  "Les coquelicots".  French people do not know why we wear them, and they often ask.  They usually like the answer.  But many, especially women, get a certain look on their face when they see a poppy worn as an emblem.  This is because "les coquelicots" is slang for "periods", for reasons which are easy to understand.  A thing you just have to know. 


Anonymous said...

RIP etc.

Anonymous said...

The piece from Purcell's Dido and Aneaus played on the Radio 4 Remembrance Service is fab and I want it at my funeral.

Who knows when the bell will toll - but it might as well toll to that.