Tag Archives: Normandy Invasion

keep turning the handle!


That’s what it feels like now…keep turning the handle, don’t let go now!

In actual fact everything is going really well, but we are tiring slightly…Mike is on a mission saving the original fireplace in the main bedroom…so kind soul has slapped on 2 or 3 coats of what is called ‘crepe’ almost like artex but harder!! 2 electric sanders so far have been burnt out…but as you can see he is half way, when we paint it and get it looking something it will set off the room.Image

Meanwhile downstairs the kitchen has had plasterboard & insulation put in place, the new window, door and a wall blocked up

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We had to lose a window on the left as I want to put in an American Fridge so there is on tap filtered water & ice, no need to buy bottled water!

The electrician plumber is back next week to do 2nd fix, the shower tray is in place, take no notice of the toilet placing here…it’s just out the way!! But between us we’ve designed a great big Italian shower…

 

 

twon house phase 2    a (1 of 1)

So tomorrow, off to choose tiles for the bathroom & kitchen plus the kitchen units, I’ve already bought the cooker which I’m thrilled with!

May is wonderful in Normandy this year the blossom is unreal…the scent is heady – just to give you an idea here is the view from the bedroom now the trees have opened up a bit more … the candles on the chestnut tree are huge!

twon house phase 2   c (1 of 1)

 

We’re also starting to see the folk arrive for the 70th anniversary…look what was parked outside the house yesterday! Jeeps all sorts are starting to congregate!

twon house phase 2  g (1 of 1)

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We’ve had a brain storm! Another vacation rental coming on line…


Mike, did you notice that stone cottage opposite the church in Sainte Marie du Mont for sale?   I heard myself ask a couple of weeks ago

…funnily enough I did he replied, do you think we should look at it?

I’ll phone Stefan The Notary, I  said…so I did and 2 weeks later we’re ready to complete the purchase!

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56 Place de l’Eglise 50480 Sainte Marie du Mont

 

Now the bad news…no one has done any work inside since 1944!! The floor is a beautiful example of the floors laid just after the war in haste to get everyone back into the land of the living as it were! I don’t think it’s been decorated since then!! Holes in the roof and around the chimneys…well take a look and then tell us we’re mad!! We may give it a shot to be ready for the 6th June week – we’ll see, but certainly it will be ready for July this year – I think it will make a great vacation rental…you can’t beat the location and next door are fresh oysters straight from Utah Beach the other neighbours are 2 restaurants, a butchers across the road, 2 boulangeries and a mini supermarket, 2 museums, hairdresser, post office and 3 miles from Utah Beach!

We’re the one with the red sign in the windowImage

The view from the master bedroomImage

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6th June d- day celebrations in Normandy


I know it is the 13th June but we have only just started to recover… so goodness knows how the stars are – the veterans! I have heard all the serving parachutists and Army boys were complaining of being tired too!

What a week we’ve had!

Muir, Harry & Harry2

Harry Kulkowitz came and stayed with us in our home for the 7th year… he landed on Utah Beach 6th June 1944 and went right through to the Battle of the Bulge, lied about his age and joined up with a whole host of other New York Jews who all joined up enmasse. Harry was a radio interceptor, trained in England and came across the channel by boat.

We were asked by our Mayor when we first bought our house in this village if we would take a veteran in as English speakers so obviously we were delighted – Harry was billeted with us and as we tease him we can’t get rid of him! I think over the 7 visits we’ve had all 3 grand children, his sister, his 2 daughters and each time his son Mark who owns and runs the Mad Batter & Carroll Villa in Cape May NJ. see this link http://www.philly.com/philly/green/96201444.html

He came this year with his son Mark and his youngest daughter Tessa.

Harry is rather frail now – he’s having memory problems but quite frankly when he is stimulated he is a lot better, but there were a couple of occasions when he was completely exhausted so we had to help him stand on parade and one time in a wheelchair… but take into account jet lag as well he did remarkably well!

For this post I’m mainly going to add photos so you can all see for yourselves the respect and the love that is shown to the veterans. This year we had 600 paratroopers come down over Ste Mere Eglise – French, German, US, British, Belgium and Canadian. 10 planes. The men all here for a week to see for themselves the 6th June celebrations… it was just wonderful to sit on a table with Americans and Germans side by side bantering and showing huge respect to the old boys.

Our weeks was as follows:

Harry arrived 3rd June – slept 15 hours and then on the 4th June it all kicked off…

4 p.m. ceremony in Carentan to be awarded the Order of the Senate – effectively as he is already a knight of France holding The Legion d’Honneur this senate is equivalent to being made a Lord!

6 p.m. Houesville for ceremony to mark the passing of Reg Alexander a Screaming Eagle that came to Houesville for over 25 years died in January. followed by Vin du honneur in the Salle du Fete

8 p.m. Banquet with 2 star general and 200 or so serving soldiers – we left around 1 a.m.

5th June the 600 parachutists, big event in La Fiere followed by a birthday celebration here for a little boy born on 6th June (cake & champagne) followed by another banquet this time in Ste Mere Eglise – 600+ people to include soldiers and local people – huge firework display at the end – got home around 1 a.m. again.

6th June we tried to keep it calm – so it was just a visit to Utah Beach and the museum there – dinner at The Mayors house, 5 course meal – home for around 2 a.m.

7th June Went to Grandcamp Maisy for lunch and met the 2 star General in the same restaurant then on to Coleville sur Mer where Harry was invited to fold the flag at taps. Got home for 7 p.m. and straight out to dinner with a local French Army Officer – another 2 a.m.

8th June party for Harry at our house 35 for 4 course dinner – very late night – 2 a.m. with Harry, Mark & Tessa due to leave at 6 a.m. – luckily Mike woke up!! They got off OK we’re left with a mountain of washing up!

We also had a British Veteran staying at our Utah Beach house – he was a Scots Guard and came through Normandy in a Churchill Tank… delightful chap and with his son researched one of the battles he was in – traced a house that he almost demolished, returned to the spot and apologized to the owners… still the same family to this day!

We met another British Veteran – another Harry – Royal Navy his job during the invasion was dropping off the lads as close to the land as could get… he was escorted by 3 ex Royal Marines that all served together one of whom was the first 4 British Legion chaps to pay respects to the fallen coming through Wootton Bassett from Afghanistan. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/5771032/Wootton-Bassett-A-very-British-way-of-mourning.html

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photographs © Mike Forster

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Llamas together at last and fox attacks…


The big day arrived yesterday, Esme was allowed into Fernando’s field. For the past week I have let Esme into the other big field with the goats so she and Fernando could touch noses, (in fact Fernando could get half his body through the rails and nuzzle her neck), so with it 6 weeks to the day since the big boy had his snip we opened the gates… as you can see we had a little bit of chase me chase me for a while – we did have to separate them again as it all got a little shall we say raunchy! But today when we let her in again they sort of said hello and when I went up to check a few hours later they were at opposite ends of the field with their backs turned!! We must have taken away the mystique now they are together!! Tonight will be the first night in the field together so should be interesting to see where they are at dawn.

Llama's meeting

©Mike Forster Meeting up!

closest they've been

© Mike Forster just a thin line!

electric fence coming down

©Mike Forster Taking down the electric fence

taking down the divider

© Mike Forster taking down the electric fence... with help!

merry dance

© Mike Forster you can't catch me!

galloping Llamas

©Mike Forster galloping Llamas

So whilst all of this hankey pankey is going on Clarie Chops the lamb is still on her bottle – fat as a barrel and confused as to whether she is a goat, a Llama (albeit a small one) a dog or perhaps even a chicken… she is very funny and looks to play with the dogs, unfortunately she doesn’t realise her size or strength … poor Rudi the poodle got butted and was tossed into the air… he is a baby so we did all know about it for ages after-wards! Mr Willerby though just takes it in his stride!

Lamb & poodle

© Lamb & poodle

lamb bullies poodle!

©Mike Forster Lamb head butts poodle

Jack Russell & Lamb

© Jack & Lamb playing

The week has been a bit of a disappointing one in the chicken department – my eggs are not selling so I have a glut of them, for some unknown reason I’m losing loads of chicks… I had 4 mummy hens insisting on sitting on the same eggs and arguing over them, (2 muscled in after 2 had been sat for 15/16 days) then chicks started to hatch under the wrong hen – the new comers timing programmes were for a further 20 days to sit so I got squashed dead chicks and then when 2 did eventually get down with 5 live chicks they have managed to lose 2 – so at last count down to 3 there. I had another Mummy hen who had 5 chicks – she lost 4 and had just the one following her round – grew into a pullet, was quite a handsome black bird with feathers on the legs and was just becoming ready to be independent, only went & fell into a bucket of water – I found it drowned – same morning I went up to the Llama shelter where there was a mummy hen with 3 quite sizeable chicks – all I found was a bundle of feathers… the Llama is sleeping out in the field so the fox came and helped him/herself… plus a couple of other piles of feathers this week – the fox is coming during the day as well… so this week I think I have lost 4 pullets, 5 or 6 chicks and 3 really very good silkie girls… it sometimes makes one feel quite despondent when you have a run like this

Goosey Goose is very bad tempered at the moment and her feathers look quite spaced out… I think she is about to go into full moult – she’ll stop laying and then the garden starts to look as if someone has gone completely mad with pillow fights every night for the next 4 or 5 weeks!

We’ve a wicked cold East wind at the moment … I’m hoping that this means the weather pattern will follow the very good summers we have had in the past… when the wind stopped in May one year we had the best summer ever… can only be positive!

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Poodle Parlour & blood test


Rudi has had his spring cut… 1st day of Spring and he’s all spruced up!! Poor boy was getting terrible hot under his Bob Marley look a like get up… his coat was starting to get dreadlocks! He has Toilette 1st day Spring… always for 6th June week (his appointment is 2nd June this year) so he looks his best for all our American visitors especially Harry the veteran, possibly again end of August and dependent on weather his final cut of the year in November… but this year the weather closed in so he’s gone quite a time… looked like some little shaggy unwanted scruff!

Rudi before

Rudi being finished off in the poodle parlour

The funny part of it all was is this was the 1st time Mr Willerby the Jack Russell pup saw Rudi as a clipped poodle! As well as the new look there was the the smell of all the powders and skin lotions for his nose to get by. Willerby seems to spend a long part of the day tormenting Rudi and swinging from his ears, Rudi seems to actually like it – however we were concerned that without all that shaggy fur would the pup hurt him… if anything the game seems to be more controlled with Rudi more the boss! It was amusing to watch the double take by all 3 dogs when Rudi was reintroduced to them… Madge had a sneezing fit, whilst Monty challenged him, Willerby just though better ears to swing from! Dear Rudi just takes it all in his stride… he’s a great dog!

Mr Willerby had to have a blood test for his passport today, but because he is so small the vet had to give him a general. It was all a bit stressful as it really hit home how much this little creature has wormed his way into my heart and has the power to squeeze it hard!

Now we wait for the results (83€) if the anti bodies are high enough the countdown starts for his passport which will be issued in 6 months to the day of the blood test results…. then he and Madge can come to England with us if they want. We haven’t had passports done for Rudi & Monty as they are quite elderly dogs now, Monty is 16 we think (I found him at the side of the road with his teeth kicked in waiting to die 6 years ago)

Monty

and Rudi a millennium pup is now 10 – he also a rescue – I intervened with the old man that had him as the dog looked so dreadful – ‘vous voulez’ and the leash handed to me is how Rudi joined us! They have all their rabies injections up to date but as they only speak French we don’t think they want to go to England… as Madge is from Derbyshire and Willerby is Irish they’ll quite like visiting!

Monty we think may have been a gypsy dog. We have quite few camps in the area. The real Gypsies pass through here with their horse drawn caravans on the way to various horse markets to buy & sell the Norman Cobs they breed… these guys treat their animals well… but we think Monty came from the travelling trader side of things, white transit van pulling a Fendt with a trailer on the back for the dishwasher, washing machine & tumble drier… lets just plug into any power we can find attitude and leave a great pile of rubbish when we leave. We think he was tied up possibly under a caravan or in a kennel, offered food and the kicked when he took the food. It’s taken almost 6 years for him to take anything from our hand and then he is still hesitant. Every evening we have a routine, ham time. A slice of ham is shared out between the 4 dogs (Tommy the cat joins in too now!), we put any medication that is needed into this treat plus gradually Monty is getting confident enough to take a treat… only takes 2 minutes for him to pluck the courage up now… he used to retreat under the table and hide – if you tried to get him out he’d bite – we have moved on big time as he used to hide under the table at meal time and amuse himself by biting unsuspecting visitors feet… unfortunately he did it once to Jean-Louis and bit through his 200€ kid leather Italian moccasins – he was not amused!

We live opposite the church (built in 1743) the bell tower is almost level with our bedroom,probably 50 meters away) if anything goes wrong with the bells I am the 1st to the Mayor to report them… they are a way of life now – a rhythm in our day, Easter they fall silent I can’t wait for them to start up again. They’ve just struck 7 a.m. d’angelis  so time for me to get on with waking the household up, making up Claries’ bottle, letting everyone out and feeding everybody… now takes me an hour in the morning and the same in the evening – plus a midday feed for Clarie – I’ll be glad when she’s weaned! We’re only half way through as well!!

To show how close we are the the church – here are some photos – the 1st one actually of this village being liberated 8th June 1944 our bedroom window is the very small window set back slightly – the tree opposite is the yew tree in front of the church door

All photos I use in this blog are by my husband Mike Forster unless otherwise mentioned… so really this is a joint blog! The original war photo is held in Caen museum.

liberation of Houesville June 8th 1944

60th anniversary Liberation of Houesville

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