Posts Tagged ‘Parade’

Good Old George

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Today is apparently St George’s Day in England. As I don’t really know what that means, I have conducted a quick search where I have discovered:

  1. St George is Patron Saint of England
  2. For awhile St George’s day was a day of feasting and national holiday until England joined with Scotland and that stopped
  3. You’re supposed to fly the St George’s flag and wear a red rose.
  4. Since Shakespeare died on this day, it is now National Book Day.

Ok that is the strangest explanation for a ‘day’ that I have ever read on one webpage but that’s what I found on www.stgeorgesday.com

Manchester celebrated early with a weekend of ‘activities’. This was mostly the installation of a large drinking tent and three carnival rides outside the Town Hall. Sunday morning there was also the St George’s Day parade, which I decided I should attend so that I could learn more about the important national event.

It was the worst parade that I have ever seen. Ever. I waited for over an hour in the cold (the sun from the day before had disappeared) to eventually witness some belly dancers, a few trucks filled with children wearing red and white and waving flags, and two stretched hummers that are clearly normally used for hen’s nights and with slightly inappropriate words written on the side, go past down the street. It lasted approximately six minutes and I didn’t see one dragon.

The most relevant float in the entire parade.

The most relevant float in the entire parade.

I left feeling a little bit confused about what St George’s Day is actually about and it would appear that most British people are too. Poor George and his dragon. Hopefully one day I will find out the true meaning of his celebration and I will hold my own parade in his honour.

Bastille Celebrations

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Thursday was 14 July or Bastille Day to all English speakers. The previous evening (the 13th) I organised for a group of interested people from Les Récollets to head down to one of the local fire stations. At fire stations throughout Paris (and France, I believe) on the evenings of the 13th and 14th of July they hold balls that are open to the public. Being Australian and not fashionably late like the French, I organised for our group to get there right on the starting time – 9pm. It was practically empty when we arrived. But things soon heated up and by midnight the place was packed and there was a huge queue of people outside wanting to come in.

Fireman ball

There were half-naked firemen for a ladies and scantily clad ladies dancing on the stage for the men! Everyone was a winner.

The firestation had been turned into a dance hall with bars selling drinks and food and a stage set up for the AWESOME COVER BAND!!! to play on. I don’t know why the French have such terrible taste in music, but they do. Most of the songs were 70s/80s American pop tunes, there was a whole three-song segment of Michael Jackson impersonations, and then they started singing English songs in French. It was so bad it was great; the only option we had was to laugh and dance. The ball was run by the firemen and every now and then one of them would stand up on the bar and do the obligatory strip tease. I’m not really sure why firemen have to be strippers as well, but the girls in the room enjoyed it. But with only five toilets for a ball of 300-odd people, it was easier and faster for us to walk home and use our own facilities rather than wait in line. So that was the end of the night.

The following morning Tom and I attempted to get to the Champs Elysee to see the military parade but the metro wasn’t stopping on the Champs Elysee that day and they had then blocked off a lot of streets so it took forever for us to get anywhere close to the parade. This was a bit disappointing as I had hoped to be in the midst of the action but we managed to see a bit of it. I was amazed at the lack of French-flag paraphernalia. Australians can’t get enough of sticking plastic flags to their cars and fake tattoos on their bodies. There was none of that junk in Paris. I even went down to the Bastille in the afternoon and there were no flags flying! Where was the patriotism? Terrible.

Place de la Bastille

Place de la Bastille

To end the Bastille festivities, I also organised a party at Les Récollets for the evening of the 14th. There was a good turn out of about 20 people and at 10.30pm when the fireworks were due to start at the Eiffel Tower we headed to the highest point in the building (the roof) and discovered an amazing view over Paris. It was potentially dangerous (wine + ladders + standing on the roof = probably stupid) but WOW! I spent the evening of Bastille Day standing on the roof of a 13th century convent looking over Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower and the golden arches of McDonalds. Once in a life time, folks.

Roof top

This was one of the best moments of my life. Absolutely amazing.

Over the past few weeks I have really gotten to know people at Les Récollets and it is becoming increasingly more obvious about how extremely sad I am going to be to leave. I have been having discussions about Christmas with my family and today I realised that I just don’t want to think about it at the moment because once Christmas is over then I will be close to having to leave. I don’t want this AT ALL. I need to find a way to stay.

Photo Selection

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Yesterday Tom and I went to the Bastille Day Parade. Well… we tried to. They had blocked off so many roads and the metro wasn’t stopping in the middle of the Champs Elysee so we had to walk a long way and didn’t get very far with the masses of people doing the same thing. We managed to see a bit of the parade, including the Foreign Legion which was the bit I wanted to see anyway. My photo of the bearded axe-men has been selected by the U.S. Yahoo Editorial to appear in their Bastille Day collection. Considering they only selected 17 images from all of Flickr, I’m rather pleased! Here’s the photo for your own enjoyment:

Bastille Day Parade

Look at those impressive beards!