There’s a working eleventh century mill in Dormans that has been our our must see list for a while. To date, for reason or another it's not been working when we have cruised by, but this time we thought we’d sneak up on it when it was least expecting us. On a Sunday, every museum in France is open, so what were the chances that when we arrived we’d be greeted with a sign which said “Open every day in summer, but closed until this afternoon while the town does other things this morning”.
So we gave the tour of the mill a bit of a swerve and headed for the Chateau and the memorial/tomb/chapel in its grounds, where we discovered the town had had the good grace to hold a small parade in our honour as something of a consolation.
We discovered with only mild disappointment that it wasn’t actually in our honour, but in that of all who had fallen in the destruction of the town on a night almost a hundred years ago. The memorial houses the remains of 1500 people of both sides in the conflict, much of the town was reduced to rubble, and we were reduced once again to give thanks for the luck we had been given to have been born to parents living in a country which hasn’t experienced this sort of destruction.
On the other hand, these constant reminders of the temporary nature, the insignificance if you will, of life and possessions, have produced a nation for which living in the present is quite important and worthy of celebration. This can be expressed in no better way than in the consumption of fine pastry products, so we fell out of step with the band, and found something creamy with strawberries as an accompaniment during our move just a little bit further upstream in the afternoon, while we reflected on all that is, all that was and all that could have been.