My European Side

I discovered today the whole film of Le Silence de la Mer is available on You Tube.

France is quite literally part of my DNA. Almost every year we had French visitors of one sort or another – distant relatives, students etc etc. I even spent one Summer teaching French students English. It always struck me how effortlessly chic they all seemed. I was looking at Louis Vuitton handbags the other day and a long forgotten memory reached up from my subconscious. I remembered how a French lodger who had once stayed with us for a while, had owned a Louis Vuitton handbag. I was little more than a toddler at the time but somehow a vision of that handbag had found its way into my brain.

Almost every year growing up we had either had a French visitor or had actually visited France.

My first solo trip to France was in July 1978. As usual the girls had given me grief.

Dad had even taken us to a French war cemetery. One French visitor whom I had found particularly fascinating. had given me a silver charm bracelet, complete with an Eiffel Tower and an Arc de Triomphe among other things. He had also me a given me a huge book entitled ‘This is Paris‘, which I had adored. I had known F was vaguely related but none of us had known how. I had been told how F had been imprisoned and had almost faced the firing squad during WW2, as he had been part of The Resistance.

I have not been able to trace any of my French relatives in my adult life.

Listen very carefully, I will say zis only once … 😆

My Father’s Favourite Show : Allo Allo

I sadly recall The Arc de Triomphe had fallen off my bracelet even before he had left. This memory had resurfaced when my daughter had also lost one of the charms, as I have now passed my bracelet on to her.

My aunt had introduced me to French culture and Edith Piaf.My French was reasonably fluent so I have taught both English to French students and in my last job in the UK I taught English students French.

Edith Piaf Sings No Regrets – I wish I could say the same. Still as I understand it Edith Piaf had serious issues with drugs & alcohol. Perhaps she would have found more peace, if she had faced her pain.

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy

It was interesting to take my Australian youngsters to France and to realise they did not seem to have that same connection. My daughter did however, appear to develop French mannerisms, while we were there. We had stayed in a beautiful old flat and I had remembered the film Sarah’s Key and had wondered what dramas the flat may have seen.

Jacques Chirac Accepts Responsibility for France’s Deportation of Jews

I love French literature. One book in particular stays with me.

Le Silence de La Mer or The Silence of the Sea.

by Vercors.

Warning Spoiler Alert!!!

Bach 8th Prelude & Fugue – Le Silence de la Mer (2004)

I think it is one of the most passionate books I have ever read and yet Jeanne only fleetingly acknowledges the German officer upon his departure. The German soldier persists and tells them ( Jeanne and her father) about himself. Meanwhile Jeanne quietly falls in love with him. He eventually heads off to the Russian Front totally disillusioned with the cause for which he is fighting. I found the book absolutely heart-wrenching. At one point the German officer in the book speaks of the greatness of French literature and German classical music. When I have talked of Europe to my youngsters, I have talked in similar terms. We may be very diverse but we Europeans are all inextricably linked by our struggles.

Brexit may seek to take Britain out of the European Union but you will never take the European out of this particular woman. As you can see every Brit had a thorough understanding of Brexit :

⚠️ Caution Sarcasm in Use

Hayley Learns About Brexit / Most Iconic Moments/Love Island

My fantastic French teacher ( Yes he was. I just haven’t spoken much French in twenty years. ) had an imaginary student who would ask all the questions we were too scared to ask. There he has had his five minutes.(We used to have to do 5 minutes of vocabulary practice every day. My teacher would be pleased that my son has been pretty dedicated to learning French since I told him, “Tais Toi ” means “Shut up!” in French.

My youngsters have both French and Germanic ancestry.

A somewhat cynical view of the EU. (I always felt it was better we all argued over things like butter mountains, than actually going to war with each other. Oh and here I have to mention The Eurovision Song Contest, which has also served as a bit of an outlet for national frustrations and rivalries.

Yes Minister-Why British Joined The European Union I was reminded that the official þerm for my former flatmate round here is “The Brexit guy.”

We should celebrate all that is British!

Brexit Song – John Oliver

My daughter excitedly told me that this year (2022) France actually gave the UK some points. Alleluia-Milk & Honey. By the way I found the key to getting on with Israelis seems to be accepting there is no filter. They will give it to you straight. I normally respect that.

Oh yes 🍯 honey sandwiches and chicken nuggets sustained my son in his first few years .of life. I just let him have what he wanted. He went through that phase quite quickly though, nowadays he will eat almost anything. I had loads of frozen spinach which I would sneak into things including icy poles. I don’t think I ever had a problem getting him to eat fruit. So I would maybe make a fruit salad or just give him some fruit.

I have been Lost in France. I also think it was the first time a guy had ever asked me to dance. I had a crush on him for ages after that. The only time I ever did things like putting hearts and initials over my schoolbooks. ❤

Now That We Found Love -Third World

We were all introduced to Bob Dylan too. The French papers had all declared, “Le Pape est mort. First test tube baby Louise Brown was also all over the headlines.

Hey Mr Tamborine Man – Bob Dylan

One of my friends who stayed in touch the longest was on the trip too. He was in Kiev, when Chernobyl happened. I had been quite concerned about him.

(My grandparents had a real elephant’s foot. My mother had been so glad to get rid of it. It had turned our stomachs but it was a sign of the era they had lived through.I wonder what possessions of ours, our dependents will gladly jettison.)

He also helped me struggle through Ceasar’s Gallic Wars. He is likely the reason I had managed to get a qualification in Latin. He is a priest now I see. I am happy for him. He was a real joker while we were away. Although I can see a dark side to some of his jokes these days.👎 Perhaps he was being led astray.Stray Cat Strut

I will now express my displeasure in the Australian way.

I guess he was secretly a bit of an enfant terrible or perhaps to use a teacher’s phrase,

“Too easily influenced

I learn a lot from my links that stop working as well as from the links which do work.

God’s Great Banana Skin

My roots might be British but I am also European!



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