Beki Grinter

Assumption Day, a day for consumption and adventure

In European Union, France on August 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Today is assumption day.

It is also a beautiful Saturday. Imagine the scene. We are sat at the kitchen table, it is a farmhouse style one, seats six. The windows are wide open, and the windows are at least 5ft high. There’s a cool, refreshing breeze drifting in, and in the distance we can hear bell peels, perhaps reminding folk that it is assumption day. We also hear voices of our neighbours engaged in conversations.

In France this day is celebrated on August 15th. Unfortunately it is a Saturday this year, otherwise we would have gotten a holiday. But of course for most people here that’s likely not a problem since all of August is a holiday!

And apparently the thing to do is to head into the country for a picnic, a feast, to celebrate. So how fortunate, we’ve only been here a week, and we’ve already got an excuse to eat even more bread, cheese, ham, fruits, etc… but instead Keith and I went to Nancy, the next big town south of Metz. We would later learn that when Stanislaus the former King of Poland, whose daughter married the King of France so consequently he became the Duke of Lorraine (and Bar I think) Stanislaus decided that he would make Nancy into a city, so it received a Cathedral.

We went on the train. We decided that we needed to master our train skills. Actually we’ve taken quite a few trains in France, but there’s always an adventure. The adventure on the way there was that we couldn’t find a machine that would stamp our tickets. But the conductor didn’t seem to mind, he was busy dealing with a customer who had a military ticket (very very cheap) but no military ID. When we arrived in Nancy, he was greeted by two armed policemen who weren’t smiling.

Nancy is beautiful. This Stanislaus person really put some money into building. It also has a beaux arts thing going on with lots of attractive buildings. But it was hot, and that made it tiring. So we walked around the square through the cathedral and then settled into a cafe for a white wine and Perrier. Then back to Metz. That was where we encountered an official who asked us about our unstamped ticket. He quickly started asking for our passports. He wasn’t happy when we had neither a stamped ticket or a passport, but eventually I think he decided that we should go on, and we were grateful. But, it took the edge off. In Nancy I had managed to crack my first French joke, nothing terribly brilliant, but it did the job, and then I was plunged back again into a world of “not being from here” and “getting it wrong.” There will be more of those, many more I am sure, but it is a bit dis-spriting in all honesty.

Ah well, back home, where dinner awaits. And then the Camembert taste off, which one will win, what will the criteria even be. All those questions and more, and alas dear reader, this is where I depart.


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