With my coffee this morning I began reading another of Ann’s books, ‘Dear Dodie’, being Valerie Grove’s biography of the writer Dodie Smith.

I was grateful for the cool breeze offering relief from the strong sun occupying a clear blue sky as I began the long ascent up to Pomport to walk the loop that offers a much steeper descent from the plateau surrounding the village via a winding road past fields and through woods and back into Sigoules. Garden rue de La Mayade I passed the ornamental garden in rue de La Mayade at 10.20 a.m. and arrived at number 6 on the stroke of midday when my outside thermometer read 24 degrees.

Siron et Lamy memorialThe landscape sparkled.  An intrepid cyclist laboured past me up the slope.  As always I spared a prayer for two Frenchmen when I passed their roadside monument. Pomport war memorial extract This time I scanned the village war memorial seeking their Christian names.  There they were: Robert Siron and Gabriel Lamy, who had been shot by Germans, presumably at that spot, when I was just 21 months old.  I had been more fortunate in the land and time of my birth.  My own father survived his time in the British Army in France.  Could these two men have otherwise been alive today?

The only other pedestrian I met was a woman pushing a buggy in which, dummy firmly esconced, lay a sleeping toddler.  A light aircraft chugged and droned overhead.  Butterflies fluttered by.  A small rodent scuttled across last autumns dried fallen leaves.  Dandelions and marigolds among the vinesSweetly sonorous birdsong accompanied the ubiquitous golden symphony of spring flowers, not yet eclipsed either by tall grasses and sprouting nettles or by the still knotty heavily pruned vines.  Far off in the woods the melody was interrupted by a discordant clamour no doubt set up by parent birds to deter an egg-collecting magpie and drown its warning clatter.Fruit trees in blossom  Fruit trees blossomed.

Ditch streamThe now shallower streams glittered temptingly as I began to look forward to the refreshing glass of water I would extract from the kitchen tap on my return.

Having put Chris and Gay, two ardent genealogists, in touch with each other, I am now copied into their exchanges of e-mails.  Gay, in Australia, has managed to provide my brother with documentation about the Knights that he did not have, and to discover that her daughter Holly and my son Sam each have antecedents hailing from villages four miles apart in Devon.  I was delighted to be able to tell Sam’s mother-in-law, seeking information about Jean Knight, nee Hunter, that my nonagenarian mother is still very much alive.  She will be able to answer any questions herself.

Today’s poem was ‘Ballade Des Dames Du Temps Jadis’ by Francois Villon (1431 -1465).  It presented no problems.

Lunch was last week’s sausage casserole accompanied by a final glass of Sofiene’s gift of a superb Groupe Austoni Bariolees 2010 that Bill and I hadn’t finished a couple of nights ago after we’d polished off his Cotes du Rhone.  Lemon sorbet was for afters.

Sunday in Sigoules offers a day without straining to hear and speak French.  The birds were today’s relaxing companions.

9 responses to “Genealogy”

  1. […] on, up the hill towards Pomport, by the roadside on the edge of a wood, is a memorial embossed: IN MEMORY OF SIRON AND LAMY SHOT BY GERMANS 23.4.1944.  In front of the stone is a pot containing geraniums and sweet peas.  I reflected that almost 70 […]

  2. It is really quite amazing how memorials can pique one’s interest. When I was in France about 45 years ago I was quite overcome by memorials et al. Particularly the Resistance Memorial in St Malo.

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