Our Life in Burgundy

Version française

The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

April 13, 2018

Farmers at War

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Village Life — Tags: , — Mary @ 21:40

This morning we were surprised to see on entering Cortambert that the nameplate  had been wrapped in plastic film and sprayed with the words “A VENDRE”. It was part of an ongoing protest by farmers who say that our local villages will soon die if the government goes ahead with its plans.

Protest on entering Bray (photo JSL)

Trouble has been brewing for some time. The government want to reduce the number of agricultural areas that qualify for subsidies from the EU to support agricultural activity in areas of low potential. There was mayhem in February in the southwest when the motorways around Toulouse were blocked with burning tyres and straw, and Montauban was completely cut off. The situation was likened to a civil war.

It seems that the government will not listen to people unless they resort to force. Farmers are especially well equipped with tractors to block motorways and tons of manure mixed with dead rats to dump in the centre of Paris. Also potatoes to block the streets, and rotten apples to throw at the police. Last September there was a protest about the proposed ban of glyphosate weedkillers and the farmers blocked the Champs-Elysée with hay. In a protest about food labelling the farmers paraded around Carrefour releasing scores of pigeons. These shows of strength are relatively frequent in France.

The president of the Young Farmers Union said that Mr Macron wants to be the World’s Mr Clean but he is the gravedigger of agriculture. These words were repeated this morning by our mayor, Pierre-Jean Bardin, who has threatened to resign if this reassessment goes ahead. With him would go Jean-Luc Delpeuch the president of the community of communes of Clunisois, and the mayors of Berzé-le-Châtel and Bray.  “We do not do it cheerfully but this is the last card in our possession to denounce an absurdity”. The mayors of the other five communes affected will give their support and will press the Prefect of Saône-et-Loire to come to see for himself the difficulties in farming this area.

From the left the mayor of Blanot, Pierre-Jean Bardin mayor of Cortambert, Jean-Luc Delpeuch and the mayors of Donzy and Chissey (photo JSL)

The final decision will be taken in May. We sincerely hope that the proposed declassification will be dropped and that Pierre-Jean remains our mayor.

March 25, 2018

Catching up

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Village Life — Tags: , , — Mary @ 21:17


I’ve been away to Glasgow for a couple of weeks and seem to have missed lots going on at home. Glasgow was just as cold as anywhere else with an icy wind, rain and snow. I was thoroughly frozen. With lots of fleeces I went about looking like Michelin Man even in the flat. My catchphrase became ” But Grandma lives in France”, chanted by the girls every time I put the heating on.


Waiting for the school bell to ring, the children play in the remnants of the snow

The first week was interesting as it was Children’s Book Week. On the Friday the girls went to school as a character out of one of the books they had read.

Dress up Friday

Meanwhile I kept getting reports from home. Chris was busy rehearsing for the St Patrick’s Dance. Cluny Dreams gave three demonstrations of Irish line dances and all went well. Chris even had his nails painted green.

At the St Patrick’s Ball

Country Dreams did not hang their dancing boots up as they gave a demonstration the following Saturday afternoon during the Carnival parade in Cluny -

After dancing on the street in Cluny

I didn’t miss everything though as there was a good dance yesterday at Pont de Vaux with Lily West, a girl with six foot long legs and an impeccable English accent who sang for a couple of hours without a break.

At Pont de Vaux with Lily West

Chris with Françine and Marie-Claude

I mustn’t forget the mention the main event at Cortambert while I was away. Despite the horrible weather the Trail du Mont Saint Romain went well with as many runners as last year. It was all hands to the deck as a tremendous number of people were needed to make it a success.

Preparing vegetables for the soup (photo Michel)

Teams went out to mark up the circuits (photo Michel)

 Chris was out in the snow next day collecting them in (photo Chris)

So all in all I missed a very busy time at home but it couldn’t be helped. Maybe I’ll be around for all these events next year.

September 23, 2017

Notre Dame des Roches

View over the Grosne Valley from Notre Dame des Roches


The statue of Notre Dame des Roches can be seen high on the hill overlooking Varanges. She was erected after the war to give thanks that the local villages had not been bombed as had Cluny in June 1944.  She had been restored at least once since the 1950s but she was looking rather forlorn, especially as her nose had been used for target practice.

Fortunately Marianne and Peter from Switzerland have come to stay in Cortambert. They are sculptors and painters who specialise in restorations. They took over the old mill at Merzé and have spent several years renovating it. Marianne is a member of the society Cortambert, notre patrimoine, and she and Peter with the other members were keen to take on this local project.

First things first, the scaffolding was borrowed from Yves at the château of Boutavent.

Yves supervising the erection of the scaffolding

Just finished!

Not everything went to plan as there was not enough water power to use the pressure washer and the statue had to be scrubbed by hand. The left hand had been badly repaired before and looked like it should belong to a boxer, but Peter did what he could to make it more elegant. The nose was rebuilt and now the madonna looks quite beautiful.


and after

David, chief co-ordinator, with Peter and Marianne giving a toast to a job well done

and some of the other volunteers

There was a little celebration this afternoon on completion of the work. The scaffolding will be taken down next week, and sometime soon there will be an official gathering of dedication for the newly restored Notre Dame des Roches.


September 9, 2017

Summer holidays

Filed under: Village Life — Tags: — Mary @ 22:27

It’s the rentrée and I realise I haven’t blogged all summer. So tonight it’s like going back to primary school, writing an account of what I did in the summer holidays. Thankfully with no corrections in red pen these days.

I fetched Maggie and Jo from Glasgow and they stayed with us for the whole six weeks of their holidays. Here are some photos to show how we kept them occupied.


The girls spent a great deal of time in the water - here’s a mermaid in our pool

Sometimes we were invited to swim in our neighbours’ pool

When it was too hot we stayed in and Grandpa helped the girls make baskets

Another successful project was making Lego trains with electric motors

One weekend there was a medieval festival at Brançion

Jo dressed up in chain mail

The Brançion event led to an interest in making ‘medieval’ dresses and dancing

Help was always welcome in the garden

and we all looked after Gwendy

Maggie & Jo liked having a ride on the ponies

Adventurous days out included going to Lugny Acro

and the zoo at Touroparc

We watched jumping competitions in Cluny

and jousting on the river

We bet on the winners at Cluny races

and the donkey got some petting

Some days we went out for a bike ride

Having a break on the voie verte near Cluny

There’s a good place for offroad biking at St Gengoux

We went for walks in the woods

In the fairy den our neighbour made this sign – Jojo’s Hollow

We met more fairies at the Pays des Fees in Ameugny

Our friend Ruth gave the girls a lesson in baking

The girls prepared snails for eating. However the snails were persuaded to escape in the nick of time!

Even on a hot day the girls enjoyed the exercise circuit at the park in Mâcon

It was a good summer and we hope the girls will want to come and stay again next summer. Meanwhile we are planning new things to do with them.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress