Thursday, 27 November 2008

A Vos Ordres!

Now that I have finally finished blogging Mum's stay and my selection of her many hundreds of photos, we can get back to current life!

Today we postponed our beach trip to go to Gosier and watch Bertie's nephew receive his gallons. He joined the army a month or two back in order to do a training programme (it is free in the army!) and today was celebrating his official welcome into the fold, having completed his initial training.

It was great fun and very interesting to watch the ceremony - outdoors, by the beach and open to full public viewing. The soldiers looked very impressive in their uniforms and I love watching them in action, perfect synchronisation, obedience, unity etc. Bertie was able to advise on some aspects from his year's military service in France, but there were many aspects we wondered at, such as the meaning behind their different uniforms and whilst some stood at "repos" whilst others didn't.
We were told to stand for La Marseillaise which I debated over, being a British citizen and all, but I did so in the end, though I nearly didn't as I didn't recognise the clip they played!

Four veterans were holding flags which had to be hoisted quite regularly. We were very concerned about one particularly frail looking one, and were quite relieved when he made it to the end without collapsing.

After the ceremony, which the girls managed to sit through, we watched them parade through the town then followed them to the Hotel de Ville where they enjoyed a drink (of coke mainly). We caught up with our Main Man and his mum kindly forwarded me these photos from the occasion.
He is the one with glasses in this photo. I was a bit concerned about being surrounded by all these guns, but Bertie assured me they weren't loaded!

We marched our way around the house in true military style this evening, singing Bertie's favourite army song, "Les oies sauvages".

This afternoon we were invited by an anglophile from our church, Fabienne, to come with her to the house of a Liverpudlian lady called Pauline (I am increasingly amazed at the number of Brits here!). We managed to get ourselves together and go, and were delighted to find she lives very close by, and has a beautiful huge house with a swimming pool! So we got our bathe in after all. Bertie chickened out so I went in with the girls and then a little bit with Baby JoJo and they all had a marvellous time. It was pretty cold (has been chilly all day today!) - only 27 degrees in the water, brr!

Afterwards we enjoyed Norman cider (her husband is from Le Havre) and delicious patisseries, whilst revelling in the beautiful sunset over the mountains from one of her terraces and view of Port Louis, sugar cane fields and mangrove from another of her balconies! Pauline has been here 14 years and couldn't imagine living in Britain again. With a house like that, I am not surprised!

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