A Breton “pardon” in western Brittany ( France) July 25, 2009
A Breton pardon is usually attached to a chapel or a a church in Brittany. Each chapel is under the protection of a saint who mostly came from Ireland or Britain in the fifth century A.D.
The statue of the saint is taken out of the chapel every year and shown to the public. Here, in this village of Loc-Ildut ( Sizun), the saint is called Ildut. This religious and secular festival takes place each year on the last sunday of July. Lots of people will wear their traditional costumes which is specific of the area: headresses, embroidered shawls and aprons for women and a specific hat for men ( “Le chapeau à guides”)
Ildut was born in south Wales, in the old medieval kingdom of Glamorgan.
As many saints crossing the Channel from Ireland or Britain in the Vth century of our era, he is supposed to have come to Brittany to prevent its population from starving.
As many young men of his time crossing the Channel, he was of royal lineage or at least a knight who fought in King Arthur ‘s armies. Not only was he a soldier but also a learned man: He studied the old and new testaments, geometry, philosophy, sciences, rhetoric, arithmetic and was at the head of his monastry in Glamorgan too.
Some other source says that he didn’t come to Brittany himself but sent some disciples to evangelize the Breton people. Who really knows?
Whetever history is, the people of the village above mentionned pay the saint a tribute every year and mix happily religion with traditional dancing and games. A big meal is served at the end of the day too. In fact this “pardon” is a large get-together where you can meet elderly people as well as the younger generations. What a great excuse to be all together!
* note: A place on the northern western shore of Brittany has borrowed the saint’s name and is called Aber-Ildut where Saint Ildut or his disciplices set foot after sailing across the Channel. That place is a “ria” or “aber”: a river invaded by the sea twice a day at high tide.
Our Visit To The City of Manchester Stadium July 14, 2009
Where do your children go on day trips from school ? On Monday 13th July Class 4 had a trip to see a stadium preparing for the new Premier League soccer season.
The stadium was built for the purpose of England staging the Commonwealth Games in 2002. The Commonwealth is a group of countries which used to be part of the British Empire . (Almost all those nations who speak English, for example : Canada , India , South Africa , Australia , Hong Kong , Pakistan , Jamaica , Kenya , New Zealand and many others)
The stadium is interesting in that, at first, it had just 2 tiers of seating but when the Games were over they dug deep into the ground where the pitch is now so that a third tier of seats could also be added. The bottom third is therefore below ground level.
The Queen opened the Games in 2002 along with David Beckham and her leather chair is still in position. Some people feel that because the Manchester Games of 2002 were a success, it increased London ’s chances of being selected as the Olympics venue for 2012.
There are air vents high up in the stadium which allow air to circulate during the week to help dry the pitch ( Manchester is a rainy city) but these are closed during games so the fans are not too cold ! There is a road underneath the stadium which ambulances use as well as the away team bus so it can enter the basement of the stadium.
The stadium holds 48,000 fans – it is the fourth largest League ground in England . (only Manchester United, Arsenal and Sunderland are bigger)
Sportcity is the name of this area of East Manchester where all the Games were held. The national squash and cycling centres are here and we visited the Velodrome where the British cycling team (including Chris Hoy) are based half of the year. Some of the team were arriving for training when we were there. In Sportcity there is also an athletics track and a tennis centre.
After the games, Manchester City F.C. reached an agreement to take over the stadium and leave their home in South Manchester where they had been for over 100 years. They are the only major English club to have been started by a woman – she believed the local men in the 1870’s needed something to occupy them to stop their habit of drinking and getting into trouble !
The exits are circular tubes, similar to the San Siro stadium in Milan , Italy . Our tour guide explained that this was because the ground can be emptied in 8 minutes in an emergency.
Regular fans are the boxer Ricky Hatton and Liam and Noel Gallagher of the band, Oasis. In our photographs you will see us outside one of the executive boxes where wealthy fans have a 4 course meal before matches, us sitting in the directors’ leather chairs and also by the side of the pitch.
Philip and the class 4 – Churchfields Primary Schoo l- Chesterton, Newcastle-under Lyme- UK
Fête du 14 juillet : Fête nationale française.
Today is our National Day ( July 14th) which celebrates the French Revolution which ended up by the King’s death ( he was beheaded in 1793, 3 years after “Bastille Day”)
A stronghold called “Bastille” in Paris was used as a prison for political opponents to the kings. It was also a place where amunitions were kept so when the Parisian people got angry with the king, they invaded the Bastille fortress to have enough amunitions for their upheaval!
The Republic was proclaimed 3 years later! Then began another scary episode! Lots of people were beheaded and a dreadful machine called “the guillotine” ( =the gallows) was excessively used in public. The condemned people would come to specific places where the gallows were and full loads of innocent people were transported in horse-drawn carriages to be beheaded. Those Days were called ” Terror”.
BUT! Those days also promoted the first universal chart for HUMAN RIGHTS. Incredible!!, Terror and “La Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, 1789” : every human being had the same rights which did not depend on the right of birth, religion or social status as it was the case previously.
Nowadays, we are a little bit more peacable people! We have fireworks and public dancing ( old-fashionned open air dances).
Tonight, Paris will be illuminated by fireworks fired from the Eiffel Tower which is 120 years old this year!
National School Sport Week 2009 July 6, 2009
Churchfields Primary School made a concerted effort to participate in this Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week by carrying out the following activities, in addition to normal P.E. lessons.
The Year 4’s were taken to Chesterton High School ’s Sports Centre for basketball and five-a-side football.
Later that day Year 5’s, in association with numerous schools in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent , took part in the Guinness Book of World Records attempt at skipping. There were two independent witnesses who joined us to sign that they had seen 12 of our children pass the specified amount of time required to continuously skip.
Year 5’s used the High School’s tennis courts to play various sets of mixed doubles which provided an added dimension to the skills they had been practising back at school.An inter-school rounders tournament took place at the High School. We also invited Friarswood Primary School to join us for an extra-curricular basketball game.
There was a lunchtime intra-school soccer competition which the ‘Yellow Tigers’ won.
There was aerobic activity for Year 3’s presented by former pupil Fay Braxton.
An inter-school swimming gala was organised by Sarah Jackson (Chesterton Primary) and Sarah Beech, attended by three schools.
Key stage One would be targeted the following week with the following sessions :
multi-skills session for Year 2’s
a streetdance session for Years 1 and 2
a family ‘mothers and toddlers’ swim for Reception children.
The scheme definitely raised the profile of sport in our school and gave some children the opportunity to ‘try out’ some sports they might not normally be exposed to. There ought to be one more often !!
Phil and the Class 4 – Churchfields Primary School – Chesterton, Newcastle-under- Lyme – UK
A French game: “La pétanque” July 2, 2009
On our last day of school, we took the bus to go to the local botanical garden to have a game of “pétanque” which is a very popular game played by lots of people in Fance , especially during the summer.
18 of us chose that activity to spend our last day of the school year together. No exams for us this year so we could enjoy our day out with our teachers. We had our picnic with us so we could spend the whole day outdoors and we had a lot of fun playing “pétanque”. We can’t traslate this word in English because it is a specific French game.
Each one of us was in a team of 3, so there were 7 teams icluding the teachers! We all had two “boules” and the aim was to get as many points as possible. A game is won if your team gets 13 points. We had to get our “boules” as close as possble to a smaller one called “cochonnet”
At times, we had to measure very precisely who got the nearest to the “cochonnet” and we use a rule (metre) to make sure who had the point. “Pétanque” is a very serious game, you see!
We had a loooooot of fuuuun and we won against the teachers who disputed each point!!
When we came back to school we were given our trophies. The first team had a big mug each to drink chocolate in the morning, the second team a smaller mug each for tea and everybody had a token for participating ( a rocket balloon).
A good day indeed and to top it all the weather was great and warm!
Marie-France & kids ( 6émes 1 & 2) wish you a good holiday.