Verre de mer

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It seems like I have let the last few days slip away in France without reflecting on where I have been. I am currently in Paris and will be flying to the Seaham area tomorrow night for what I am hoping to be a sea glass extravaganza!

I began this week with with 2 days in Saint Malo in the Brittany region of France. Saint Malo has a very well loved and well preserved old town complete with castle and ramparts that surround the medieval part of the city. The coast here is dotted with lots of little islands, mostly fortified with some sort of military structure on it. In WW II it was part of German occupied France. The city has an interior harbor that is protected by the ramparts and old town. When the Germans realized the U.S. army was preparing to invade they destroyed most of the locks, quays, breakwaters and machinery in the harbor to prevent handing over a functioning harbor.

It is true that the beaches, as I have found most French beaches to be, are flat and sandy, good for summer sun bathers and windsurfing. This particular area had just enough gravel to gather some nice pieces of sea glass. Not a surprise that most of the sea glass I found happened to be some shade of wine bottle color! I love the olive greens personally and was tickled to find a bunch of citron colored glass which I have not seen anywhere else. I did find some real beauties but most of the glass is not jewelry grade.

Next on the agenda was 2 days in Ouistreham in the Normandy region. Ouistreham sits on Sword Beach on the eastern end of the D-Day beaches. Although this particular beach was invaded by 29,000 British troops, the people who live here fly French, British, American and Canadian flags.

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I spent the entire day walking along Sword Beach and part of Juno Beach and felt it appropriate that it was a grey, dreary day. It felt like sacred space. As I walked the beaches looking at the older houses along it, I couldn’t help but wonder what people 70 years ago might be thinking or seeing as they looked out their windows at the sea, at the sky. Most of the sea glass I found is more recent, although I did find one piece that might be traced back to the WW II era, I was a little relieved that the sea glass findings were few.

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I do have to share a funny thing that did happen while beach combing here. Several years ago back at home on Lopez Island, my best friend and I were heading to the beach when he happened to grab a bag of marbles he wanted to “seed” the beach with. He hates it because he never finds any and I find lots. I always joke that most people lose their marbles, whilst I am the finder of marbles! Anyway, we threw out about a dozen marbles, some of which were very distinct in their detail, a year later I found one of them on our beach and nothing since. Combing Sword Beach I happened to find a marble JUST like one of the ones we threw out! I had to laugh out loud because I had now found one of Guy’s marbles…in France!!!

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