Just a short blog post today, because nothing I have to say today is of any importance, given the events overnight. However, I will mention just a couple of ordinary, mundane things that happened, just to show that the ordinary and mundane can stare down attempts at fear and terror and the ordinary, the mundane, the everyday, will prevail.
We woke this morning to the news of the awful attacks in Paris. We sat watching BBC World and left later than usual, so as to check updates. Thank you to all those people who contacted us to check we were OK and to ask about our onward plans. It’s lovely to know you are thinking of us and you care. Thank you so much.
Our journey will continue and continue it did, through the lovely countryside again and through beautiful little towns, such as Baune. This was such a charming little place and we both vowed to return one day to see it properly, rather than through the window of a van.
We pulled into a truck stop for elevenses, but this was a very nice truck stop, with picnic tables surrounded by green fields and trees in their autumn finery. While we were sitting there, we turned towards a truck that was parked nearby, just in time to see the back end of a pair of skimpy underpants emerge from the cab of the truck, attached to a man, slowly edging himself down to the ground, backwards. We turned away when we realised he was a tad under dressed. Poor fella, he must have just woken up and staggered somewhat bleary eyed, from his cramped, truck-style sleeping arrangement.
Now for the very mundane event of no importance, given the events occurring that are so significant…we stopped at an outlet mall to search for our winter shoes. Just as I thought, Steve had no problem and despite his size 15 feet, he was spoiled for choice and even tried on a pair that were too big for him! My choices were pretty limited, but I eventually found a pair that should do the job, so we can now retire our socks and sandals for a while and venture forth into the wet and cold British winter, with dry feet. While we were there, it struck me how life was going on. People were shopping, laughing, smiling, sitting in cafes and strolling around leisurely. It was hard to imagine the events in Paris were occurring, because the everyday lives of people were still going on, in their everyday way. Life was going on.
The rest of the drive continued to be lovely. We’ve decided that something which makes the scenery here so gorgeous, is the green. I commented the last time we were here, that the green seems so much more green than any other green I’ve seen in nature. It’s beautiful. We didn’t have that at all in Italy, so it’s striking here, to see the miles and miles of green, along with the gorgeous trees in their autumn colours or looking magical in their skeletal, pre-winter nakedness.
At times, the road was very quiet, eerily quiet. Despite being a main road, there were times it seemed like we were the only ones around, without a car to be seen in the distance ahead or behind us. It was a strange feeling. We also drove past a Gendarmerie with a flag flying at half mast.
We ended up retracing our steps towards the end of the day’s journey and have stopped in Saint Quentin. We stayed here on our first visit to France, when we were travelling through the Somme battlefields, and here we are again, before we continue on to Dunkerque tomorrow. That was our day and Paris was on my mind for most of it, as we drove through our peaceful and beautiful surroundings.
France, you have given us magical moments and wonderful experiences, each time we have been here. Paris, we loved you when we were there and we love you still. We are thinking of you. We hate to think of the streets of that wonderful city, being a place of fear or danger. You will overcome though. The beauty of your country, and the warmth and kindness of your people, give you a strength of spirit beyond measure. Your spirit will endure. You are strong. You will soar. Vive la France.