Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Legacy
Arzviller Plan Incline

We are often asked what we plan to do after such and such.  Almost as often when we truthfully reply that we have no plans, that planning never works anyway and we make things up as we go along, we are usually greeted with something akin to a bemused stare, we have even experienced genuine speechlessness in response.

Last year, had a plan to complete a circuit of almost a thousand kilometres, and when we were within a few hundred kilometres of fulfilling that plan, a major breakdown just a few hours from our home base closed the canal system loop for the rest of the year and we found ourselves returning the way we had come.    The scene of that breakdown was a lifting tub of water, the Boat Lift at Arzviller and this morning we had planned for it to take us down it’s forty five metre drop and continue on our way to another of our favourite places, the village of Lutzelbourg.

With that simple objective in mind and the sun starting to sear even at an early hour, just below us, a large clump of trees with some dense shade below them seemed to be calling.  Even better, after referring to the mighty (now retro) iPhone’s compass, we determined that that patch of shade would move, if we were careful about where we moored, over the boat by mid afternoon.

So we spent all day despite our plan, at the foot of the Arzviller lift, lying on the grass, reading, catching up on a week’s worth of blog posts, making a pen or two, waving to the tour boats as they passed and doing anything but making a new plan.

Our plan for the entire year was to leave early and to be in the western battlefields about now, to watch the centenary events marking the commencement of the first world war, and perhaps the anniversary of the D-Day landings.   Clearly we didn’t get there in time, but we may later.

Today though amidst all of the lazing around, a tourist from a few kilometres south of here and unaware of our agenda, saw the flag on our boat.  He was about our age and spoke a little English, telling us that he’d been to Australia with his daughter and it is a wonderful place and the people are wonderful too.

Then he became very serious, and explained that many millions of people had died in Europe in the Wars, and Australia had sent many men to liberate his country without any other agenda.   He stood, looked me in the eye, and said:” We will never, ever forget.”


It was my turn to stand speechless.


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