Army manoeuvres

The soldiers move on

This week I have had to move next door into La Maison Blanche as it needed redecorating in order to be ready for next Spring’s bookings.

Yesterday morning, I had just finished repainting the ground floor when I noticed I was missing the gloss paint for the stairs, so I popped out to my car to fetch it… aaahhh!

I came face to face with an army man in full camouflage gear, face painted in green and brown, carrying a huge gun.

He grinned. I looked around. La Ville Hatte was swarming with military personnel. I looked across the road… there were at least 30 soldiers lying in the ditch on their stomachs, guns positioned.

There was a full-on military exercise taking place and La Maison Blanche was in the middle of it! These army manoeuvres had obviously been planned but with no pre-warning. None of the residents had been advised. Perhaps this is normal practice in France, but for an unsuspecting British ex-pat, it could seriously cause a heart attack!

Indeed, not everybody was as shocked as I was: the three sisters next door (3 old ladies who happen to be the only inhabitants of La Ville Hatte), were delighted. They were sitting on the kitchen chairs by the side of the road, watching the whole thing and enjoying the show.

Some of the soldiers even said a quiet ‘Bonjour Mesdames’ to them as they passed, which delighted them still further. We don’t get many visitors or much excitement at La Ville Hatte, so to them, this was a great way to pass the day.

Before long, 5 army jeeps and a fully camouflaged lorry arrived with more soldiers, and then soldiers with dogs followed.

OK. Enough is enough… as much as I would like to, I can’t afford to take time and sit with the sisters to enjoy the show: back to the gloss paint!

The manoeuvres took four hours in total, after which time they moved out. This definitely made the day of the sisters, and quite possibly their week if not their month!

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