|Advent day fifteen, Bordeaux Merlot and Biere Ambrée|
Advent day fifteen
A quick calculation informs me that here in France we have spent 101 days in confinement this year, living life under strict rules where every time we left the house, we had to complete an official document to prove the validity of our journey. Going out today with no paperwork, twice, just because we could, felt great. Our bike ride wasn’t subject to a specific time, or distance from home, the only constraints being the time we had to fit the ride in. The rain even held off for us and the temperature was mild too, which was nice, even if the main reason for the ride was to road test the extra warm socks and waterproof boots we’d bought yesterday. There is no such thing as the wrong weather for cycling, just having the wrong clothing. Mum and Dad have sent us some money to buy our Christmas gifts, so we treated ourselves yesterday.
For the first time my advent calendar has given me a duplicate wine today, a Bordeaux Merlot (same as day eleven, if you remember). I’ll be looking forward to opening it later, to go with my post-yoga lasagne. By the time my yoga class is over this evening, I will have done four classes in the last twenty-four hours, which is a bit of a yoga marathon, even by my standards, but it makes me happy.
France Trivia advent calendar, day fifteen, Simone Veil
There are a few names that crop up a lot when you look at any town centre map in France. Général de Gaulle, Marechal Leclerc, Léon Gambetta and Jean Moulin, to name just the ones that spring to mind. The things they all have in common is that they are all dead (you can’t have a place or road named after you until you are dead), they were all important political figures and they are were all male. What you don’t see too often in France is roads or places named after females, although our village has done its best to redress the balance. The pretty little park behind the church has either been known as ‘le square’ (by the French) or ‘the park’ (by the Brits), until last year when it became known as Square Simone Veil. While many people have heard of Charles de Gaulle, Simone Veil is maybe a little less well known. Simone was born in 1927 to a Jewish family, who were all sent to Auschwitz during the Occupation. Simone and her sister were the only two of the family to survive and on her return, she studied law and became a magistrate. In 1974 she became the French minister for health and successfully campaigned for greater access to contraception and the legalising of abortions in 1975. She died in 2017, her coffin lies in the Panthéon and a small village in south west France remembers her forever.