Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Three Bertha's

These last few days life has been all about Bertha. While most people have only one Bertha on their mind - the ex-hurricane that is moving in and promising some severe weather conditions later today - I have three Bertha's to 'face'.

Bertha's opening scene?

The second Bertha is just as nasty. Exactly a 100 years ago, at the outbreak of WWI, the German army brought in the Big Bertha's, killer guns that fired 420 mm projectiles that brought death and devastation to many Belgians. Since last week, August 4th to be more precise, there are commemorations all over the place and many newspapers give a day-to-day report of what happened 100 years ago. Today, on August 10th the first Big Bertha's were brought to the advancing front. 

As for the third Bertha ... unlike the hurricane and the heavy artillery gun ... she's not dangerous at all, although she can occasionally be a bit whimsical. But, if it hadn't been for her, I wouldn't be typing this. Because the third Bertha is none other than my mother. She celebrated her 86th birthday last Thursday, and today we are having a special lunch to mark the occasion. I've bought a small bottle of Champagne 'Rosé Sauvage'. We'll have that as an aperitif with some nibbles on the side. The main course is her favourite. Nothing fancy, but something she really enjoys and never makes herself because it takes too long to prepare. Anyway, for the last 18 months she has been having 'meal-on-wheels'- four days a week. On Friday she makes her own lunch and on Saturday and Sunday I provide the catering.

I know that my mother never liked her name, and now I understand why. My father used to call her 'Bert' which she enjoyed immensely. I just call her 'Ma' (mum) and I hope I will have the opportunity to call her that many more years. Happy Birthday Ma, and many happy returns of the day ... in good health!


Anonymous said...

Please wish your mother many happy returns of the day. I hope today's celebrations go well and that your mother enjoys the day. I think the remnants of Bertha have just blown over the south coast of the UK now. Not too bad and nowhere near as bad as last winter's storms, thank goodness. I hope you enjoy the celebrations as well, even though you will be head chef.

The Beaver said...


Bonne anniversaire à votre "Ma".
Hope both of you have a very very good time today.

Carolyn said...

Happy birthday to your dear mother. I hope it's a great day. I know that your meal will be especially good!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Happy birthday to you your ma, I think you had a lovely lunch together to celebrate,

We had storms today but I think "Bertha" had lost a lot of steam by the time she got to Oxfordshire :-)

I know my mother in law does not like her name either Vera, so she calls herself Vee ,, I don't like mine much either , but I am called Annie a lot ,, so maybe a bit better, take care,

Louise said...

Martine, I hope you and your mother have had a lovely day fortunate you are to have her with you. Happy Birthday to your special Bertha. We have had a number of "Bertha" style storms this winter here in Perth...fortunately no damage for me, but I am so looking forward to the official start of spring on 1 September...

chm said...

Happy belated birthday to your mother. Wish her the best.

VirginiaC said...

Happy belated Birthday greetings to your Mum, the best Bertha in the group of Berthas.
It's nice to hear that she is doing well and you two are still enjoying meals together on weekends.
May she live to see many more birthdays.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I call my mother Ma also -- her name is Mary Allen, so M.A. works. I hope your Ma had a happy birthday. And I hope your weather is better than ours...

ladybird said...

Veronica, My mother says 'thank you'. She really enjoyed meeting you and Sue in April and appreciates you kind wishes.

TB, 'Ma' told me to say: 'Merci au castor' :) She enjoys the attention she's getting from my blog friends all over the world.

Carolyn, Thank you. The meal was nothing fancy but we both enjoyed it very much and the Champagne and nibbles just added that extra festive touch.

Anne, Thank you. Naming a child can be a tricky business. 'Anne' is back in fashion in Belgium. So much better than 'Apples, 'Poppy' or 'Largo'.

Louise, Merci! While you are looking forward to spring, we are undergoing the first signs of autumn. Hope you'll have a lovely spring and summer!

Chm, Belated wishes make the birthday fun and festive mood last longer :). So a warm thank you from my mum and me.

Virginia, You are right, she's really the best Bertha in the lot. I like catering on weekends for her ... even if I don't always know what to make ;)

Ken, Merci. 'Ma' sounds so much nicer than 'mother', doesn't it? We had a lovely time, despite the somewhat capricious weather and occasional really bad showers. Temperatures are down to 20°C, but we still get a lot of sun too. I'm not complaining (yet).