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Day 19 Dunkirk

We rose early to catch the shipping forecast for Dover: Wind North or Northeast 4 or 5, occasionally 6 Sea state: moderate occasionally rough, weather: fair, visibility moderate or good. Well the visibility may be good, but the rest wasn’t good enough for us to leave Dunkirk! We were now more than just a little frustrated with the weather. Martin now had to think about contacting some of his regular clients, and I was trying to keep my boss updated with my whereabouts, and my work patterns. Thankfully I can at least do some of my work via the internet.

We amused ourselves with a game of ‘how many of the shipping areas can you write down without looking at the list on the Met. Office website’ (there are 31 areas altogether by the way). After that we decided to go into town to the Orange shop for us to top up our mobile internet, and pick up some food basics from the supermarket.

As we wandered into the centre of Dunkirk, we saw police blocking some of the roads, and police barricades around one of the squares. It also seemed quite desolate except for the distant sound of a brass band. As we got nearer to the sound of the band we could see people gathered around a memorial outside a church. We stopped and asked one of the policemen what was happening, was this a special day in France?

It turned out that tomorrow was the day that France was liberated at the end of World War II.  We also noticed that there didn’t seem to be any shops open except for a patisserie, and a very expensive clothes shop. “Is this a holiday?” I asked, “yes, it is a holiday in Dunkirk, and people celebrate for four days” said the policeman.  Our hearts sank at the thought of everything being shut for four days (we later found out from the tourist office that the official holiday was only one day, and that everything would be open as normal tomorrow). We stood in the rain with our redundant shopping trolley watching the celebration. We would not be shopping today, once again it seemed France was closed.

Celebrations of Dunkirk’s liberation after WWII

We picked up two Mille Feuille from the patisserie, and then walked over to the only museum that was open (probably in the whole of France!), Le Musee Libre, so we went there, and saw lots of exhibits of model ships, and paintings of the English fighting the French (we kept a low profile). It was also interesting to see the development of Dunkirk as a Port through the ages.

After that, it was back to the boat.  There was some swell in the harbour, which was making the boat roll a little. I found that although it did not make me feel sick, I did have a slight ‘swimmy’ feeling (a bit like when you have had a little too much to drink but before the fully drunk stage) that I didn’t find very pleasant. I wasn’t sure whether it was because I was hungry, the swell of the water, or perhaps the very large Mille Feuille that I had eaten. Anyway, I needed to do some work on the computer, so I went to the ‘, laundry office’ where things were much more stable, and a bit warmer too. I also took the opportunity to do some washing, this time using a modern contraption called a washing machine! Meanwhile, Martin was trying his hand at fishing again. This time he was in luck, the fish were biting, and he managed to catch enough sardines for dinner. I picked some nettles as an accompaniment, and after our ‘the,’ afternoon we enjoyed both with the compulsory glass of French red wine.

A lot more luck with the fishing today!
Fresh fish for dinner this evening.

The weather seems to be improving, but it is frustrating that often after a windy rainy day, the clouds disappear and the wind dies down to result in a much more pleasant evening. If only it would be like that for the whole day!

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