Monday 11th April 2016
We were still at the Beauvais Town Aire today. Allan did the laundry in the automatic laverie across the road outside the SuperU and Dorothy stayed in the motorhome to work on the blog. The photos had been done but the words needed to be tidied up. Any punctuation and grammar is down to Dorothy as Allan is hopeless at that. The spelling is by an American Spellchecker so if there are any mistakes don't blame Allan.
All day it rained and rained. There were a few dry spells but we are so much looking forward to sitting outside on our folding chairs with a glass of beer and a sunhat. When will the summer start?
A special visit was planned for today.
After filling up with water at the
Aire on the top of the hill we travelled on to Compiegne. There, on the eastern
side of the city, there is a massive forest and in the middle of it is the
"Clairiere de l'Armistice". We have been here before but many years ago. As we were in the area we wanted to take a few photographs of the clearing for the blog.
This is an important site of the Great War. Apparently at that time the clearing did not exist and the full-grown trees were so thick that aerial observation was impossible.
It was here on the 11th day of the
11 month that the armistice was signed and signalled the end of the war.
The railway carriage from Tergnier,
with the German Plenipotentiaries pulled into the glade at daybreak on November
8th 1918, terms were agreed and the Armistice was signed.
This monument shows the position of the Allies' Carriage, in the second photo you can see the monument to the middle ground.
Beyond that you can just see the similar monument to where the German Plenipotentiaries had their carriage.
All of these monuments were so low
to the ground and as there was no vantage point, it made photographing them
The circle of peace...........
The monument dedicated to Marechal
There is a small but very interesting
museum here, which includes a similar railway carriage built at the same time
as the actual carriage used for the signing of the armistice. The original railway
carriage was used again on 22 June 1940, in the same place but his time with
Germany triumphant. Later, the actual carriage was taken to Germany and as the
carriage was the symbol of Germany's defeat in 1918 they had it burnt. The museum
also holds many photos and exhibits of the event and of the destruction caused
during the war.
As we have already seen it all we didn't visit the museum this time. We just took a few photos of the glade and monuments.
Outside the museum were a tank and
and monuments to more recent conflicts.........
Having collected our thoughts, we
made our way down the long avenue to the huge memorial to the Alsaciens et Lorrains
and we also found there was a geocache there!
The other Geocache that we did in
the area today was about half a mile away.
It was near a stone marker to Angelique Dumetz, a teenager who was raped and murdered here in 1996.
Her killer was never found until sixteen years after Angélique's murder when Police discovered that Angelique's murder was committed with the same weapon that was used by José-Mendes Furtado to kill his wife. He was found guilty for the murder of his wife and was convicted of the rape and murder of Angélique by his DNA, three months after his suicide on March 8th, 2011.
Then we travelled on northwards to Roye in the Somme where we were to spend the night. This evening we had a quick catch up phone call with Mum.
Roye has a borne for the water and everything else but the Aire is just in the car-park close to the town centre. We were woken up during the night to what at first sounded like The Great War had broken out all over again. Thunder and lightning raged around us and the rain was so heavy on our little roof that the noise of that eventually nearly blocked out the Thunder. At about 5 am Dorothy said that it was good to get it out of the way during the night hours and tomorrow may bring better weather.
When we got up in the morning the weather was still overcast and we are hoping that sometime the warm summer weather will start. We realise that we have come quite a way North but we did not expect it to be quite so cold.
During the afternoon we went out to the Hypermarket Intermarche to get in some shopping. The groceries here were a bit more expensive than other shops that we have been to. Allan insisted that we have a globe Aubergine because it looked so pretty and fennel because we have not had that recently. Then we retraced our way back to the carpark for lunch.
Later in the day
we went out for a few geocaches because they usually take us to places that
the tourists do not find. The first one was easy but the others were just impossible
A year ago today we were leaving England at the start of our retirement journey. And what a journey we have had so far!
This morning we moved on to Noyon. When we arrived we found that the Aire had been taken over by a travelling funfair. Fortunately we had heard we could park near the swimming pool and so this is what we did.
During the morning we received a phone call from our motorhome friends, Pete & June, back in Newhaven. They remembered what a special day this would be for us and phoned to say they were thinking of us. We were on our way to town to do some geocaching and this was a lovely surprise for us to know someone had remembered. Thankyou Pete & June.
Photos of our first day geocaching
around town in Noyon...............
In the evening, as we found we had a fairly good phone signal at last, we made some phone calls to Mum, Frankie, Jean in Plymouth and Allan's sister Sheila.
This morning we went geocaching again
but this time through another side of the town and down to the park by the Station
and "Transport Hub" in Noyon.
Perhaps Newhaven should take a look to see what a Transport Hub should look like !!!
Then, Dorothy found her own railway!
The cache is somewhere in the pictures!
We then made our way back up into
and visited the Cathedral, which had not been open yesterday. (Note, no photos!!!)
We managed to phone Mum and Tony in the evening for the latest news before we lost phone contact again.
We decided to stay in Noyon last night because the lady in the Tourist Information Office told us that it was Market Day today and that it was a very good market. We asked her where the market would be held and she said everywhere! We were not disappointed. It was a fabulous market !!
However, on the way back the heavens
opened and it started to pour down with rain and then hail stones!
Dorothy headed for one doorway (the cake shop) and was joined by an old lady who started to talk to Dorothy in French saying, in French, shit, shit, shit!
Allan just loved the glum expression on Dorothy's face that he had to try and enlarge it. She was not happy!!
Allan had headed to another doorway
and found himself in a shop selling guns and tasers. And we are not too sure
how you can go rabbit hunting with a €75 Taser.
The guns, ammunition and other stuff looks ready for a small war.
We left Noyon straight after returning from the market, to make our way to Ham to try to secure a parking place as we are intending to go to the Giants Festival in Ham tomorrow.
On arriving in Ham we made our way to the larger car park that we had found on the internet, only to be confronted with signs stating no overnight parking!
We searched for the Tourist Information Office at the address we had, to try to find out where to park but could not find it. So, we made or way to the Town Hall (always a good bet) but there was no mention of a TI there and anyway it was closed! Dorothy asked in an Estate Agents where the TI was and was given directions. We found ourselves back by the Town Hall which was still closed. We felt we were on a wild goose chase here so we made our way to the Salle des Fetes where we knew the Giants Festival would be centered around tomorrow.
We found people in the hall who were setting up for tomorrow and asked them where the Tourist Information Office was. A lady kindly came with us and showed us where it was - at the address we first looked at upon arriving - and yes, yet again we found nothing there!! Eventually a very helpful man came out and asked what our problem was. We explained we were trying to locate the TI to find out where we could park for the night as we were wishing to attend the Giants Festival tomorrow. No problem he said in very clear English. Just park over there and you will be fine! So, there we were with a prime parking spot ready for the entertainment tomorrow. This man, we found out afterwards, was Jean-Denis Faucquenoy and he is the President of the local group and Vice President of the Federation of Geants.
This is the day for the Geants (Giants) parade in Ham and also a geocache to be found (hope its easier to locate than the Tourist Information Office!).
The Geocache was easily found but there are so many giants photographs that you will have to click the button to go to the special pages if you wish to see them.
We thank the President of T'Chout Jaques Gayants d'Ham, Jean-Denis Faucquenoy (who is also Vice President of the Federation of Giants of the North) and all of the members of the Association for their hard work and dedication in providing this excellent festival. We were made to feel throroughly welcome by all and had a fantastic time.
We also thank the visiting Giants, supporters and bands who had travelled from du Nord, Pas de Calais, Picardie and Belgium for the day.
After all the walking and a very long and tiring day we decided that a take-away pizza was the only way to go this evening. It was smashing (but not as good as Domino's !!).