This is where we left off at the end of the first part of the Normandy Notes 1:
We’d missed the morning’s parachute drop re-enactment after an exciting and exhausting drive in. I was thinking wistfully about the stained glass windows of the church in Ste Mere Eglise. One of our regular readers had read Normandy Notes 1 and had written in to say how sorry he was that we didn’t get to see the parachute drop. < You can read about that here >
As luck would have it, we discovered that a second re-enactment was to be held at 3pm, over across the village out into the open field. As you will know by now, I think, my Beloved Bangalan is as resourceful and quick thinking as I can never hope to be. So we jumped into the blue Puegeot 308 and drove out of the village away from the field, she interpolating our position on the GPS with the rough, not-to-scale map of the village of Ste Mere Eglise. Very soon we came upon some parking guides who helpfully flagged us into a field, gave us instructions in Francaise. Since I only understand written Franglais, it sounded pretty French to me, but his general arm waving seemed to be enough. We parked the car and walked down a picturesque, shady, tree lined lane. There I took a picture for you to see.
At the end of the lane we came upon an open field. A little stream ran through it and over on the other side was a huge open area. In the distance we could see the village of Ste Mere Eglise and all the people gathered there to observe the parachute drop. We were effectively behind the drop area.
Then we waited. We waited till 3pm, then 3:30pm. I was growing restless because time was running out to visit Omaha beach. We were due back in Paris, 3.5 hours away, that night. The Colleville cemetery, the one the others hadn’t been so keen on, was a goner already and the museum too. Then we heard an aero engine and our hopes grew but out flew this helicopter.
It flew over out from the front left and disappeared to our right. We were then left alone with a few thousand people and some cows.
Suddenly, as Spike Milligan would have said, nothing happened.
Then a multi-prop engine could be heard and our hopes rose again as a lone plane flew from our left to our right.
This was followed a few minutes by a flight of planes which that flew towards us and disappeared over to our right. Our hopes, raised again, were lowered once again.
Then the flight which seemed to have flown around in a circle appeared again. Just when he had given up expecting too much, a little speck dropped from one of the planes, then another and another and another. Yay!
This concluded our trip to Ste Mere Eglise. We ran back to the car and drove off trying to beat the rush. We drove first this way and then that way, meeting the same cars over and over again. Finally, we gave up and found the only restaurant in the little village we knew not the name of and we settled down to have some beer and fries. French fries, you know. Really, French fries. We were in France.
Next stop: Omaha beach. Join us – same blog channel as we visit a sobering beach.