Bella & Mulberry Harbour @ Arromanches

On the beach at Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy, there were gigantic remnants of WWII.

A huge chunk belonged to the once harbour could be reached on foot during the tide was out…

During last September, Hubbie, Bella and I visited Normandy with our friends.

Our two days’ itinerary included a visit to the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer and Arromanches which was famous for the Mulberry Harbour B, aka “Port Winston”.

For anyone who is not familiar with Operation Mulberry, I advise you to watch this documentary…


It explains about this phenomenal military project from the conception to the execution.

We parked the car in a car park, facing Gold Beach, one of the five areas of Normandy coast which was assigned to the British Army to take on D-Day…

– a map by Daily Mail
Today, Arromanches was a quiet seaside town with a museum, souvenirs shops and cozy family-run hotels and B&Bs.

Reminders of the history, serenely resting on the beach…

Can you make out where these parts belong to?

An aerial view over the Mulberry Harbour in action…

– an image by the Imperial War Museum.
The photograph shows the enormity of the project.

My girl Bella enjoyed an unhindered run on the beach…

‘Yipee!’

And inspected the harbour…

She had never been to the seaside in her life, therefore, those limpets must have smelt very weird for her. She was absolutely obsessed with them.

And played with a newly found four-legged friend…

 

She was running around like a maniac!

If there were such a thing like a Yorkie brigade, she would most definitely volunteer.

I am a commando!!

As we walked towards one of the towering concrete blocks on the beach, she followed us and we came to a pool of the leftover sea water around the foot of the structure. She seemed to be very intrigued by the water and stared at it for a while. Then next moment, she dived into it! It was not particularly a warm day and the water must have been pretty cold. In the water, she looked rather sheepish and I had to drag her out by her harness.

How did she react after the plunge? She became totally jubilant and euphoric! While I hollered ‘Noooo, Beeeeelllaaaa!!’, she rolled on her back, rubbing her wet coat into the sand. On our way back, we came across another puddle and she stopped in front of it. And before I could stop her, she dived into it again. There was a group of French tourists and they were laughing their heads off, ‘Oh la la!’

Bella the Brave is definitely in favour of amphibious landing, I sighed and picked her up in my arms. By then, she was completely soaked and dripping with the smelly stale sea water and she resembled a rat, not a Yorkie…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Mum & The Abbey (& Churchill)…

16th October
We were off to Westminster Abbey. The weather had improved from the previous day but decided to take umbrellas anyway. From Old Street to London Bridge then changed to Jubilee Line for Westminster.

Mum & Westminster tube station…

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After paying for the tickets, we retrieved audio guides, a Japanese one for mum & an English for me. Despite a normal weekday, the place was busy with tourists. How much more crowded could this place be during the summer, couldn’t help wondering. Hours of queuing at the ticket office and then wriggling through the crowds to catch a glimpse of the tombs, hardly a fanciful prospect?
The audio guide was brilliant. A very thorough explanation was given at each spot. And we were even given a chance to participate in their noon prayer.

Mum at North cloister…

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A stained glass window at Chapter House…

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& their beautiful ceiling…

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Mum with their beautifully restored painted wall…

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Then, we made a beeline to the abbey’s cafe for lunch. On the menu, there was afternoon tea so opted for it. It was a usual affair – 2 scones with jam & clotted cream, 3 slices of finger sandwiches & 3 small cakes…

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For someone like us who weren’t particularly sweet tooth, those pastries were more than enough and, as the result, ended up leaving a scone each on the plate intact. Upon leaving our table, a middle age women at the next table asked us if we were to ask for a doggie bag for the leftover scones. Explained to her that we had enough of baked treats for the day, and, therefore, wouldn’t want to see the sight of it for sometimes. Then she said with a huge grin, ‘Can we have them then? It’s such a shame to waste it!’ Fair enough, handed over our scones to her while a waiter looked on our transaction gingerly. It was my business alone what I did with the scones I paid for, I reasoned. After browsing the abbey’s gift shop, moved on to the Cabinet War Room exhibition on King Charles Street off Whitehall.

Mum at Parliament Square…

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Amongst numerous exhibits, we saw the jacket worn by Winston Churchill himself which sported a noticeably wide girth. He must have been a portly man, we giggled. Upon emerging from the underground bunker, noticed the rain was stopped finally and we made our way home. At Old Street station concourse, we bought pies & salad for dinner…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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