Gra Nomad Wanderings

Sunday, October 14, 2012


This has been quite a week. 

Mon 8 Oct:
Drove to Peronne (enroute to Amiens) and checked out war museums and war cemeteries around there. At one I asked a lovely young lady if there was a way I could find where OSCAR KEAST’s grave was located. I knew it was near Ypres in Belgium. She was very helpful and wrote down for me:
Oscar Keast
Service No.: 5768
Messines Ridge British Cemetery
Near Ypres, Belgium
We drove on, after a cuppa or drink at La Melbourne bar, arriving at our Amiens destination (proudly) at about 5 pm.  What we didn’t know was that our hosts, who were waiting for us elsewhere, had moved several km a couple of years earlier. Too long a story for here – ask me later. An hour later we were greeted by Jason and later Anne and Annick.

What’d we do in Amiens? Visit the cathedral, a couple of coffee shops, cake shops and found a lovely walk beside a canal. [Same procedure as last year?]

Our day on 10 Oct was a very special one. Drove from Amiens to Lille via Calais. Here we visited with Michele. We immediately found common ground: she’s a retired teacher, she’s our age (nearly) and she has been to Wagga! What a lovely lunch! What a great cook! She was to come to our rescue later in the week when she picked us up from Lille airport (we’d just dropped off our car) and drove us back to Brugge!  It was great to be able to repay her a bit by taking her to lunch in Brugge and having Flemish stew (beautiful.)

Some of Michele's artwork
In Lille, Fay and I stayed with a delightful family of …  about 7; mum, dad, Jean, François, grandma, Claire and Maeliss. Oh, there’s also Ophelie too. And Billy the begging dog. Their farmhouse (in Bachy) dates back to around 1670! Yep, pre 1700. Unreal. They’ve got room for you if you wanna visit. About 25 km from Lille.
 Xavier and Catherine's farmhouse - pre 1700

Catherine, Grandma and Maeliss at Bachy
On Thurs Fay went shopping in Lille! [End of story.] For lunch I had falluche with chicken (volaille) and Fay had Northern Tartiflette (potato, smoked bacon, braised onions and melted maroilles.)

The highlight on Friday was that I went looking for the grave of Oscar Keast, my grandfather’s brother, killed in WW I. Like looking for a needle in a haystack. Yes, I was looking for W.J.Keast’s younger brother’s grave. The grave of my great uncle. He put his age up to go to war and died at age 20 according to the records, but most probably about 18.
The short story; we found his grave (a very stirring moment.)
On his gravestone it reads:

11TH AUGUST 1917, AGE 20


 The grave of my great uncle, Oscar Keast
 The graves of 1,003 British soldiers and airmen were there, plus 1 Canadian, 342 Australians, 128 New Zealanders, 57 South African and 1 unidentified soldier.

So, finally to Brugge in Belgium – the home of Belgium pastries, chocolate, beer, waffles and Flemish stew. (There are no doubt other things too.)
Sunday we set off on ELODIE, our barge, which will carry us to Amsterdam over the next week. Seeya next weekend!  


Post a Comment

<< Home