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Showing posts from September, 2008

Stuff Happens. The End.

Shellfish Tale

Reflections on a Normandy Beach
By A Plumber


Who would be a little cockle
Hiding on a beach,
Where furtive fingers hunt you down
And pluck you like a peach?

Perhaps you’d be a razor clam
Waiting for the tide?
‘Til someone tugs you from your hole
and takes you for a ride!

They rake the sands
They dig with forks
They rip the mussels off their stalks
And when you think you’re safe – oh f*ck it!
You’re rudely flung into a bucket.

Monday 15 September
I insist that we visit the Cathedrale Notre Dame at Coutances and very fine it is too. Beautiful slender stone towers and spires, gorgeous medieval stained glass and the most amazing and awe-inspiring lantern. We have a wander round Coutances and enjoy the window boxes and floral displays before following the coast road back. A stop to enjoy the view proves that not only is the sun shining but it’s hot as well so we go home, change and spend the rest of the day on the beach. Lovely.

Tuesday 16 September
Another run – really enjoyable with some…

Stuff Happens 2/3

Wednesday 10 September
Begin with a local and very small market at Hayes Pesnel. ‘Rubbish!’ sniffs Ma. An open church is more rewarding with wonderful contrasts between huge mosaics of biblical scenes and amazing modern abstract stained glass. The long roll of honour to the war dead shows the loss to this small town made even more poignant by a stained glass window dedicated to some of the deceased, their faces forever young.

In Avranches Ma buys postcards but the tabac doesn’t have enough stamps so I queue in the post office along with half of Avranches. My schoolgirl French is pushed to the limit when my neighbour in the queue strikes up a rather one-sided conversation with me. From there to the Scriptorial D’Avranches, home of the Mont St-Michel manuscripts and, more importantly so far as I’m concerned, an exhibition of work by Marc Chagall.

Far from being an appetiser for the main course, the manuscript themselves are dramatically displayed and utterly breathtaking. The sense …

Stuff Happens. What We Did On Our Hols. 1/3

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Friday 5 September
Leaving aside the minor irritation that, due to an overcorrection at the salon, my hair colour is vintage Elvis, the holiday does not get off to a good start. The day before we are due to depart Ma, Tom and I go to visit Auntie Joanie hanging on in there despite being given only days to live. On our way we learn that Uncle Sid (he of the Cutty Sark fame, husband of Auntie Joanie) is himself very ill. Auntie Joanie is not looking too bad in the circumstances and we leave feeling quite reassured about her at least.

I’m just about to get out of the car to follow Ma into her flat when I get a call to say that my Uncle Billy in Australia has died. I rush in after Ma before she can pick up her answer phone messages and break the news to her. Ma folds up with grief but won’t cry and shrugs me off when I try to hug her. It’s her way of coping.

Saturday 6 September
2pm. Arrive Portsmouth in pouring rain. Normandy Express not due to board until 3pm but we are in pole po…

En Vacances

The pound is falling faster than you can say ‘Thanks, Chancellor!’ there are early warnings of gales in the Channel this weekend and I’m developing a cold. Yes, it can only mean one thing; we’re off on our hols!

We booked this break earlier in the year when Ma was staying with us. Ma adores France but the last time we were there was just after my dad died and it was a bittersweet time for us as we struggled to find our feet again. Our holiday is tinged with sadness once more as we depart with the knowledge that Ma’s beloved elder sister and now her brother, on the other side of the world, are both desperately ill.

It’s been a very sad and painful time, especially for Ma, but come rain, shine or recession I’m determined that the next couple of weeks will bring some light relief.

And finally…
My Ace Gang are having more than their fair share of woes, too. Here’s to you, my lovely girls, and treasured memories of laughter and sunshine to keep us going until we meet again.