Normandy July 4th

I have stayed indoors today because I am knackered. How the extent to which I am knackered is related to the fact that I know today is July 4th, is irrelevant. Two years ago to the day I was at Coors Field in Denver waiting for the fireworks. A year later was In deep trauma in Oslo. I do not think the two events are related. Otheriwse I associate July 4th, as I associate any national day, with chauvinism. I think one of the reasons I syated indoors was that I did not want to experience any form of chauvinism here in Normandie on this day. I remember the movie by that name with the scientology freak Cruise, which was OK, but just don’t want to take any chances. I just want the day to pass by as though it never happened and so far it is living up to my expectations. I stayed indoors because I wanted to avoid Omaha Beach today. Just a bit tooo much.

So I am eating foei gras, asparagus with sparklng water on my balcony seeing stretches of Gold Beach in the distance. Today it is just a beach. Kids are playing on it, a blazing summer sun is keeping everyone’s heads down. Its not teeming with life in my imagination as materiel pours through Arromanche to the troops heading towards Paris and then Berlin. The small streets are quiet and the restaurants low-key. Arromanche is not the culinery centre of France. It does well by itself, but the demand of the tourists defines what’s available. Oysters are great here but Hamburgers and chips have also arrived, in vastly greater quantities. The place is so small that there is no defining factor which meets the tourist. Its all a jumble America and Britain and Canada with France as the bond.

Even though its monday it feels like a sunday. In fact, now that I come to think of it, every day here feels like a sunday. The farmers go about their thing the cows theirs, the tourists theirs and the French theirs. In almost total silence. The girls who do the five rooms in my liitle hotel waited patiently until I popped off to buy some more water way after room-doing time and when I got back, my chaos was restored to order. THey kind of like me here. I suppose its because I’m not passing through like everyone else but will be here for three weeks. Unheard of. The mad Norwegian who sits in his room half the day writing.

My half-eaten bottle of foie gras is in the chefs fridge. He insisted. He thre away the crackers I had bought and supplied me with the correct variety. He is amazed that I do not drink alcohol. In the land of Calvados. So I shared a small calvados with him and he sighed with relief. Gave me the rest of the bottle. I wonder who will inherit that?

What to do, what to do? INtermezzo. Gathering energy for the next round. Reading, dozing. The British Cemetery next? Carentan? Tomorrow will tell. Franch children playing outside my window. What a lovely sound. I shall go and listen and be very careful not to disturb.

Howard Gamble

Arromanches, 4th July 2011.

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