Normandy 2018 Day 1 – Deja-vu all over again

Day 1 – our customary start

Beer and brewpubs

Yes, our annual trip to Normandy started in it’s usual fashion directed by the good words of CamRA’s Good Beer Guide – though this time, it was easier to plan as we’d previously arranged to try to meet up with one of the chaps from CamRA in Aylesbury where we’d arranged to meet at the Hop Pole Brewpub – regular readers of this blog will know that pub quite well!

Unfortunately, Alexander was double booked, so we were forced to drink alone… apart from a South African chap who started talking to us & explaining that his country was worse than the Wild West… and parts even worse than that…

Then it was off to our “Purple Palace” (no sign of Lenny Henry, ‘though) for our accomodation

More research

Next to our Premier Inn, there’s the “onsite” pub, so we called in for a swift beer & then Glyn went for the coffee & Colin for the homemade lemonade & whilst there we spent a couple of hours reviewing the information that we have on some of the men – which ranges from quite full stories (Blunt & Caldwell) to others with still very little (Bird, Brunt & Chapman). Bird is intriguing in that the National Archives have digitised some of their POW records, but his is still secure until 2025… no idea why…

Rain, rain, go away

Over the past few days, in the UK, we’ve had some terrible thunderstorms with a month’s worth of rainfall in just over an hour, so as we set out to walk into town to meet up with Stuart Hadaway (again, regular readers will be aware of the support that he’s been to this site) the clouds grew dark & a gentle rain began to fall… so a detour to a bus stop & the realisation that we were protected by a number of large bushes & that a bus was due in a few minutes seemed like a good idea… especially when, two minutes after boarding the bus, the heavens opened!

Even more beer & research

Then it was to the King’s Head in the centre of town – Brewery Tap of the Chiltern Brewery – to meet up with Stuart & a discussion of the latest book that he’s working on as well as a general historical chat… which, on more than one occasion dissolved into laughter.

Stuart then offered us a lift back to the hotel & on the way to his car pointed out the statue that the people of Aylesbury erected to commemorate the coronation of King George V – this is of John Hampden who has two key points of fame… first he was one of the 5 Parliamentarians that helped (with Charles I)  kick off the English Civil War (great idea for a statue for a new king’s coronation!) and secondly the Handley Page Hampden bomber was named after him (as are a number of American towns, apparently).


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