I don’t want to harp on about the war, but having spent close to three weeks in Normandy I can’t just ignore it. I’ve already written about our visit to the landing beaches, but you will note from the calendar that we were also there on the 11th day of the 11th month, Armistice Day.
I’ve never been to a remembrance service or lain a wreath at the foot of a memorial, but I was surprised that this leaning toward apathy seemed to be the norm in Normandy. Sorry, just realised what I did there, but can’t think of another way to phrase it.
Anyway, on this most sombre of days we decided to do what the Normans do. We went to an agricultural fair. Yes, with tractors, lots of tractors and mullets, lots of mullets. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not being judgmental or maybe I am, but I was expecting some kind of minute’s silence or something at 11am. In truth, we were handing €2 to a car park attendant at that moment so it may have happened that way, but I’m not sure it did.
Basically, a massive street market had been erected in the smallish town of Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët. There was even a funfair with ’la barbe à papa’ (candyfloss) and everything. There were stalls selling all kinds of things, from mobile phone covers to fruit and veg. I did try to buy something resembling a massive jaffa cake, but panicked and ran off when I was asked to part with €6, too rich for my blood and I’m fairly sure it was just some kind of burned brioche. If anybody wants to make me a giant jaffa cake by the way here’s how. Pretty sure I wouldn’t be allowed on the bouncy castle slide thing after eating one though.
The strangest bit about the fair and the bit I wasn’t allowed to go to for obvious reasons was the dog market. It seems from a quick search that this is a quite normal way to purchase an animal in France. Sorry Normandy, I really did love the fair, but it was all just a bit of a culture shock.