We're out at six. The mercury set to touch ninety today. The mountains already masked in heat haze. In the little market town they've started on a major restoration of the war memorial. Every commune in France has been told to spruce their memorials up before the WW1 centenary commemorations on August 3rd. The memorial is surrounded by red and white roses. There is also a solitary orange rose. An intentional contrast?
A beautiful morning for the D-Day ceremonies. Probably the last to be held on this scale. We watch the grand American ceremony then the intimate Commonwealth one. Outside the village hall the mayor has set up the wide screen television. We wander over in time to hear the French President give a long speech. Then a group of gentlemen in black donkey jackets re-enact the storming of the beaches through mime and dance. This is very French. It also takes an hour. While the ballet troopers perform a number of pre-schoolers, aided by a zealous Jack Russell, perform their own creative dance routine . Bob and Sophie settle down and fall asleep. A vin d'honneur and a rather charming, and heartfelt, toast to absent friends. Life in deepest, deepest France profonde.
Here is this mornings write up on yesterdays French ceremony http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/10882909/Amid-the-French-theatrics-a-simple-pipers-lament.html