Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, July 16, 2018

Of wars and other things.
Sunday 15th July - Vereux to Givet

From time to time we have wondered, truly beautiful though it is, if the River Meuse through the Ardennes is actually the very same valley of the shadow of death mentioned in the famous Psalm, such has been the amazing and awful impact of two thousand years of warfare on its history.    Today we arrived in Givet early enough to explore Charlemont, the fortress towering over the town. Built originally in the sixteenth century, and built again, destroyed, extended and captured several more times as history was writ, finally meeting it’s match as more destructive weapons were developed in the last century and again felt grateful that we were born where and when we were.

Even though “the match” was not due to start until five, the place was eerily deserted.  The food van guy left us to our own devices as soon as we’d bought our drinks, lest he should fail to make it to a television set in the four hours that remained before kick off, and a deathly silence descended on the country.

Four earth shaking cheers that threatened to rent the village asunder were the only signs of life in the late afternoon, each one accompanied by a goal from the home side.  It was difficult to decide when the match was over whether a war had started or world peace had been declared, as blaring horns and sirens consumed every molecule of air, and flares and fireworks erupted throughout the city for endless hours.  What a shame it is that all international battles couldn’t be fought on a football pitch.

It was twenty years almost to the day that France won its last world cup, and it’s not hard to believe that it will take at least that again for it to recover from this hangover.  


Jack said...

What luck to be there on such a momentous day for French sports fans. Love your photo and, as always, your puckish -- but this time reflective -- commentary.

bitingmidge said...

What luck to lead the life we do Jack - everything else is a bonus! 😁

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