10 February 2019

Arvigna

A view of Arvigna parish church
Arvigna is a cluster of hamlets, a couple of miles from Robin and Susie's place. Together they boast a population of just 232. Yesterday I parked Pierre near the commune's "mairie" or mayor's office and set off on another walk that was explained in "L'Ariège à pied".

The walk covered almost ten kilometres and the route was fairly easy to follow though at times my progress was slowed by muddy tracks and as I have said before French mud is exceedingly slippery. In comparison,English mud is far less treacherous.
 See above. This sign was at the top of a particularly awful path that led down an embankment. "Troupeaux" means herds and it was obvious that the path was regularly churned by cattle. I had a devil of a job getting down it.
When the circle was complete I drove up to the church shown in the top picture. With reverence, I observed the commune's war memorial and noticed that a plaque was attached to it for three local victims of the dreaded Gestapo. Jean Naudy and his son Antoine Naudy were slain with Francois Soler on July 29th 1944. I know nothing of the circumstances. Perhaps they were members of the French resistance or maybe they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. So many French civilians were summarily eliminated by The Gestapo.

Today I was quite proud of myself for driving up to Toulouse , navigating the traffic, the toll road and finding a free place to park near the football stadium that is home to Toulouse F.C.. The final score was Toulouse 1 Stade de Reims 1 in the French first division. Before the game commenced there were two minutes applause for Emiliano Sala - the Argentinian footballer who died two weeks ago in a tragic air accident. Whatever happened to respectful silences?

This is my last night here. Tomorrow I will give the cats extra food before setting off to the airport at Carcassonne. Robin and Susie are due to get home on Tuesday afternoon. There'll be a furry welcoming committee waiting for them. Certainement.

18 comments:

  1. So many reminders throughout France of atrocities carried out by the Nazis.

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    1. Just scratch the surface and it's there.

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  2. It is so hard to believe that the Nazis were invading and killing and exterminating so recently. Probably less easy to feel that way if one is reminded by markers like that. There are probably still relatives of those who were killed in that area. Sometimes I just despair for lack of hope in what we call "humanity."

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    1. I's not getting any better is it Mary?

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  3. When I was in Arras in the 60s with a school party, there were many more people who remembered the occupation. Some memories no doubt went back to the earlier conflict. One member of our group, by no means an intellectual, habitually wore a black leather jacket adorned with iron crosses and swastikas. This did not endear him to the older inhabitants. One day he approached me in the town centre, near the market. “Nah then Tyke,” he said, “do I look like a pouf in this jacket?” I replied, carefully, that I did not think that anyone would think he was homosexual, dressed as he was. “Kids keep grabbing my jacket and saying ‘Queer? queer?’” he said. I tried to explain that I thought they were asking if his jacket was made of leather. He expressed disbelief, until I demonstrated by the use of my small blue Collins French-English English-French dictionary, that the word for leather in French was cuir, pronounced kweer. “F’ck’n ‘ell,” he said, “I’ve thumped three kids today already!” Thus are Anglo-French relationships established.

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    1. A salutary tale Monsieur Steve. I guess you wrote this after a Sunday night trip to ye olde inn. Was it thronging with locals as usual - quaffing pints of foaming ale and making merry?

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    2. Early closing again I fear.

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  4. So English soil is sandy and French soil has more clay. It makes a big difference in traveling.

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    1. I think that he French mud is made more slippery by the passage of frogs and snails.

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  5. I hope you were able to avoid the "Troupeaux" and did not get trampled! Bid all your furry roommates a fond farewell and have a safe and pleasant journey home.

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    1. Thank you Bonnie... or should I say merci bien!

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  6. Your stint as a cat caretaker and house sitter was over unbelievable quickly! Have a safe flight home.
    Did you encounter the troupeaux at all that day?

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    1. Non Madame. Je n'ai pas vu le bétail.

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  7. I notice that the Gestapo executions were after D-Day. The Gestapo seemed to take a lot of lives thereafter. I'm thinking particularly of Oradour-sur-Glane. I've been there several times. One of the most dreadful of places. Everyone everywhere should be made to go there at least once. Who committed the atrocities is, to an extent, irrelevant. It's the fact that human beings could do that to one another is something we should all learn from.

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    1. Even the name Oradour sounds unpleasant. I know of the place but have never been there. It's marvellous that the authorities left it as a monument and as a reminder of unspeakable crimes against humanity.

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  8. It's interesting that you say French mud is more slippery than English mud -- because I find English mud VERY slippery! (Probably depends on the region of England, too.)

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  9. I'm sure it will be great to have your feet back on home soil, once again.

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