It was Armistice Day and we observed 2 minutes silence at 11 o clock (well, as silent as you can get with two little ones!) We saw several groups of people gathering to lay wreaths in numerous villages in memory of those lives lost in World War I and to commemorate the ‘armistice’ signed by the Allies and Germany in 1918. I am delighted that France still do it properly and actually have November 11th as an official public holiday.
No poppies though, it seems they don’t even know about the significance of the poppy and that it is worn by the British, which is strange considering they bloomed across some of the worst battlefields in Flanders in World War I. I heard that some English person had brought a crate load of poppies over and was selling them at Carhaix market in the week to Expats (I hope all proceeds were passed to the British Legion). The French Blue Cornflower (Bleuet) is more significant to the France, which can also be found along side poppies in the wheat fields of Northern France with the white ox-daisy which makes nature’s own tricolour.
At noon, we met with Sally, the LBV owner at the Jardins d’Eau in Mael Carhaix, it was great to finally meet with the lady I’d been emailing and chatting to for some time now. We seemed to hit it off really well and although regularly distracted by Mimi (Sally’s excited Weimerarmer) and our two little ones, we did actually manage to discuss the history of LBV and find out a little bit about each other. We stopped in the play park by the lake and while the children played we discussed possible locations we could consider. The meeting went really well and we felt very comfortable with Sally, we were both sold on LBV. Although Sally is a successful businesswoman, we didn’t feel as though she was pushing or selling and we didn’t feel as though we were being interviewed. We parted feeling very relaxed, excited and at ease with what we’d learned, looking forward to taking the next steps which would, I guess be when our house in the UK has sold.
We spent the afternoon exploring an area of Finistere where we may like to live. I’m not sure if it was a God thing, but we entered an area of France that just became rather odd and unappealing. We were in the middle of a heavy storm, in the middle of nowhere, the land was flat, ugly and vast, there were no cars or people to be seen, in fact there was no civilisation and to top it all off our fuel tank advised us we only had 45 miles left, oh sorry; 35 miles, then 30 miles. We could not have been in a worse area, we calculated how long it would take us to reach the next village, the next town but we knew that French filling stations are few and far between and often don’t appear where you’d like them too.
To our delight we approached a filling station, but because it was a public holiday it was closed, so was the next and the one after that. We were not enjoying our journey around the Reserve Naturelle du Venec, wondering if we could camp out in the car for the night with no food and fuel and two lively infants. Time to pray, funny how we often leave it to the final and most desperate moment, then there in the distance in the middle of nowhere, like a mirage there was an Esso filling station, which was open and run by two English speaking Chinese women. How bizarre, how amazing – thanks God! Once our tank was full we headed back to the gite tout de suite! We couldn’t leave the area quick enough.