Saturday, May 9, 2009

Liberation Day and the Normandie Markets

Happy Liberation Day Guernsey!

Guernsey celebrated its liberation from the Nazis in style today. We missed the big march through Town, ballet and piano lessons got in the way; but we will give those a miss next year and take the children to the march. I think it is important for them to realise that freedom comes at a cost and that we should forever be grateful to those who fought for it as without their sacrifices we would not have the free lifestyle we do today.

It is strange for me to think of the Nazis occupying Guernsey. In Australia you think of the Nazis as the enemy in the war but they were a distant threat as they never set foot on Australian soil. At a children's party I met the Great Grandmother of the birthday girl and she told me her story of evacuation. It was truly amazing to speak to someone who had lived through it.

The markets came over from Normandie for the occasion. I think the French stall holders always wish they could fit more produce in their shipping containers and trucks as by Sunday afternoon they are completely sold out.

There was something for everybody at today's celebrations:

Vintage wartime vehicles,

vintage cars,

more vintage cars,

a large helicopter (do not ask me what type - no clue there),

which did several low passes much to B1's excitement,

lots and lots of people (I think half of Guernsey were here today),

traditional Normadie dancers,

baskets and bags,

delicious French biscuits (we got caught last year as they are sold by the 100 gram weight and 100 grams of biscuits it not that much as we found out when our bag was weighed- we struggle through and managed to eat them all though :),

fabulous air dried sausages,

more biscuity goodness,

cheese, cheese and more cheese (not that we were complaining),

hot sausages in baguette bread (the smoke is from the BBQ they were cooking more sausages on. Mr Bee was really looking forward to these little numbers),

cider and calavados (apple brandy- I would have bought some but we deliberately limited our budget otherwise we do tend to go a little bit crazy and buy everything we lay eyes on as it is all so wonderful. The Markets only come three timer per year so we do tend to make the most of it. The stall holders do not worry about converting the prices into Pounds from Euro they just change the sign at the front of the price. Expensive but still so hard to resist; fortunately for our wallets they do only come three times a year!).

Ah yes the sweet stall. B1, B2 and B3 had all brought their own pocket money so they could buy as much as they liked but the sweet stall operates the same as the biscuit stall; 100 grams for £1.50. We worked our way along all the sweets and I put a few of each variety they wanted in their bag in the hope of ensuring that they wouldn't spend all their money. The little boy in front of us had just been grabbing things willy nilly and when his bag was weighed it cost £14.95!!! (Just try converting that into Aussie dollars - yikes) I'm glad I was there to control their enthusiasm a little.

I realise this photo is out focus but I had to include it. Can you see what it is? It is Papa Smurf in jelly form!!! I love the Smurfs (sad but true - we own, or should I say I own, three DVDs of the TV series). I suppose it makes sense that the French would make him into a sweet as the original show was French after all.

More fabulous sweets,

B1's bag (please note the white mouse with the stripy jelly tail; he was very pleased with that one),

pickled garlic and sun dried tomatoes,

so many olives and so little time and moola,

fresh garlic (our budget couldn't stretch to include some of this but next time the Markets come it will),


tomatoes (as you can see they were very popular, I hope they kept a few for the people who are coming tomorrow).
The crowd stretched off into the distance. The entire 'front' was closed for the day.
I just had to include this photo, not of the backs of people's heads but the menu board. CHIPS AND CHEESE! I do not know if this a peculiarity of Guernsey or if the UK embraces this cheesy concoction as well. For double the price of plain chips you would expect an entire block of cheese grated on there me thinks. Mmmm heart stoppingly good :) (not that I am inclined to partake of this particular delicacy myself).

This was a fabulous idea. They partitioned off a section of the road and let the kids go crazy with chalk.

Good to see a few patriots had a go; lots of Guernsey flags were evident.

As we walked back to the car after two hours of wandering and munching our parting view was of Castle Cornet across the Harbour. What a lovely day.

Now home to a dinner of mixed antipasto and

three types of French cheese, fresh ripe tomato and garlic sausage.
I hope your dinner is as tasty ;)


  1. Thank you! That was a wonderful post. I left my rainy mountainside for a few minutes and almost ate all your cheese!

  2. Hi Gill, loved the post, it bought back great memories of when the French markets came to Richmond, my sister and I dined on fabulous cheese that night. We also spent an Easter in Normandie and bought some wonderful Calvados. I have a fantastic recipie for French Apple Cake, which uses Calvados, if you are interested let me know and I will email it to you. Love Michele

  3. When is the next market because I want to come and visit you then:) It all looks so delicious especially all the cheese. I know your children had fun eating all those colorful and fun tasting candies. Thanks for the wonderful photos and great captions to go with them.

  4. Beautiful photos! I have some of that garlic in my fridge right now!