Tag Archives: World War II

My trip to France – beginning in Port-En-Bessin

The purpose of my recent trip to France was to visit Nantes where I painted a group of actors as they rehearsed for a production (more about that in my next blog)

However, my good friends Bonnie and Dave Dutton were visiting Normandy from the States,  and so  I made a detour which led me to the enchanting town of Port-En-Bessin where they were staying.

Famous for its integral part in World War II, and more specifically The Battle of Port-En-Bessin, which took place from 6-8th June 1944, it is also an area well known for delicious apple cider, Calvados and seafood….hmmmmm.

A very peaceful setting today – Port-En-Bessin.port-en-bessin-vue-g-n-raleSurrounded by beautiful Normandy countryside….the town and area are a reminder of the close geographical and historical links between England and France.

Just outside of the town of Port-En-Bessin – a bucolic scene which are replicated in Devon and Cornwall across the Channel. 20-11-15 - 1 (256)    Dave and Bonnie had booked me into, Les Filles du Bord de Mer where they were staying. Located in the middle of the Town and within a minutes walk of everything one could ever need,  including the harbour, shops and numerous restaurants, it is a place I highly recommend.

Les Fille du Bord de Mer is just across the road from the Apple Cider shop…..how convenient is that?20-11-15 - 1 (268)These pictures show the apartment where Dave and Bonnie were staying…..filles1Part of the apartment where I stayed. filles-bord-de-mer-location-727x313Every detail was taken care of..124261_origMy accommodation was on the top floor of the three story house….these are the beautiful stairs leading down to the lovely tiles you can see on the  ground  floor. 20-11-15 - 1 (264)Dave and Bonnie as we enjoyed a delicious feast of Moules – fish stew and some of the best ice cream I have had in a while.   Ice cream being one of my favourite foods:)20-11-15 - 1 (259)I love arriving in a place that I know nothing about.     In this instance there was only time for an overview,  however, it is definitely a place I would return to and explore much more.

Dave was seeing the area through the eyes of an historian and Bonnie and I through those of artists.    On my next visit to Port-En-Bessin I will definitely paint and would hope to stay at Les Filles du Bord de Mer again.

Looking down onto the Town 3635766The flags were flying around the town in preparation for the many visitors who were about arrive to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the D Day Invasion and the vital part that Port-En-Bessin played in it. 20-11-15 - 1 (272)The next day, Dave and Bonnie drove me to Rennes where I caught the train to Nante.

Magical hummingbirds were definitely with us because although there was a petrol strike and a train strike – we had no problems.    Dave and Bonnie arrived at their destinations safely and are now home in S. Dakota.     I arrived safely in Nante where I was met by my dear friend Claudia.

Next week, I will write about the wonderful experience I had working with the theatre group in Nantes.

Enjoy a week filled with magical hummingbirds….

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A Bientôt.

When the mind leaves…….

Yesterday, I spent several hours with my 95 year old Aunt.     Up until thee years ago, she was enjoying excellent physical and mental well being….and then everything changed.

Aunt Peggy still looks physically very well for someone of 95, however what has changed is her complete memory loss.

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Two years ago, I went with her to a specialist, and after brain scans it was determined that disease had set in…..what is incredible to observe is how rapidly the memory has disappeared.

I found this quote, which so beautifully expresses what I sensed yesterday.

“Grandpa’s mind had left us, gone wild and wary.   When I walked with him I could feel how strange it was.   His thoughts swam between us, hidden under rocks, disappearing in weeds, and I was fishing for them, dangling my words like baits and lures.”   Louise Erdich 

I dangled my words like baits and lures.    I talked about when  my Aunt and my Mother were part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment VAD/Red Cross in World War II…..and how they were both present at Haslar Royal Naval Hospital, in Gosport  Portsmouth, on D Day.   I told her that the 70th anniversary of D Day is coming up.    However, my Aunt couldn’t  remember any of it and no longer understood what D Day even was…..

I am pleased that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my Aunt while her mind and memory were still alive and also to observe the full and active life she was able to enjoy for so long.

I was reminded once again of the importance of living each and every day to the full…

A Bientôt