The market in Cluny was very busy this morning and the fine weather seems to have brought out the protesters as well as the shoppers.
Our favourite stall in the market for plants
It was quite noisy as La Fanfarrosoir were parading round the market as part of a protest about Centre Parks. Two have been proposed in the forests of Rousset and Pologny, one not too far from Cluny and the other in the Jura. Environmentalists made a big fuss in a big public debate in 2015 and then it all went quiet.
Leaflets and dancing in front of the Hotel de Bougogne
And off they go to another venue
At the other end of town we met our friends from Benin who sang for us last weekend. This time they had their instruments with them and made a great deal more noise.
Olaitan from Benin
Rather overlooked in this cacophony were the Silent Protesters who are in Cluny most Saturdays in the summer. I don’t know what they are protesting about as they never say.
The Silent Protest
Of course the protests in France that affect most people are the train strikes. The trains were running today but the strikes are affecting two days in every five and continuing on Monday and Tuesday. Also various unions are protesting, Air France pilots, rubbish collectors, energy sector workers, students…
Good new though, it’s another big weekend for the Equivallée. It is the 40th anniversary of the Grand National. The best international show jumpers will be in Cluny, the grand final being tomorrow afternoon.
Show jumping this weekend in Cluny
Lovely weather, beautiful horses…nothing to protest about there.
After an interminable winter spring seems to be tentatively making an appearance. For the first time it is warmer outside than in. People are cutting the grass and the bats are flitting about. The cattle are out at pasture and new lambs are leaping around in the sunshine.
It’s the beginning of the school holidays so no classes for us during the next fortnight. It was nice to finish the spring term of line dancing with a ball at Charnay les Mâcon. These things go on so late, we hadn’t even got through half of the playlist by the time we left after midnight. But the company was good and we enjoyed some rather challenging dancing. Must do some revision during the holidays!
Our group from Country Dreams Cluny
Chris found a new friend
With the weather being better we’ve tried to get out on bikes every day this week. Lucky we had put in some practice as Denis took us out for a ride this morning.
Chris, Frédéric, Denis & Sophie
This jaunt took us along the voie verte past Cormatin, turning off to Malay and Ougy, and back via Lys.
View of the church at Malay from the voie verte
It was an easy and traffic free 37km. Hopefully this will be a regular second Sunday of the month event. Meanwhile let’s have a bit more warmth and sunshine. At least there won’t be a drought this summer.
Having been threatened with the removal of the blog unless I write something soon here’s a little about what’s changed lately.
Not the weather, that’s for sure. It’s still cold and wintry although the daffodils in the garden are putting in a brave appearance. We’ve had snow on and off this week but it hasn’t settled.
View from our back door yesterday
In Cluny we have a new carpark. As an election pledge the mayor, Henri Boniau (as in the ad for dog biscuits featuring the bloodhound?), promised to make Cluny more attractive for tourists.
Mr Boniau (R) and deputy in the new carpark (photo jsl)
Built on the site of the old perfectly adequate carpark it certainly is very pretty with 1000 shrubs planted between the rows. It cost 570,000 euros for 175 places. Until November it remained pretty well empty, the barriers and the complicated payment system scaring visitors off. Stories abounded that if you had a foreign number plate the system would not be able to read it and would not let you out! The students moved out to take over the free parking round the haras. It was only when a big sign went up saying it was 3 hours free and you could escape without using the scary payment kiosk that the numbers of cars parked there went into double figures. No doubt the tourists will be impressed but to me it’s a white elephant. Hopefully funds will be available for gardening as it is already looking neglected.
Meanwhile M. Boniau continues dragging us into the 21st century. Yesterday there was a ceremony in the carpark to inaugurate the first electric car recharging point in Cluny.
How many officials does it take to plug in a car?
Another change that is not for the better is the plan to reduce the speed limit from 90 to 80km/hr on departmental roads that are not dual carriageways. It is due to be rolled out this summer. Most people think it is just a way of raising extra money from fines. Thousands of motorists and bikers have been protesting on the roads, either by going slowly or blocking routes through towns. The biggest protest yet against the change took place last weekend in Paris by motorist opposition group, Fédération Française des Motards en Colère.
The protesting bikers last weekend
Reducing the speed limit is supposed to save lives, France having twice as many deaths on the roads as the UK. But it is quite difficult to keep a modern car cruising comfortably at 80km/hr, and goodness knows there is enough frustration now when someone in front is driving below 90 and you can’t get past. The way to make the roads less dangerous is to get rid of the priority to the right. A lot of junctions round here have been newly reorganised with give way or stop signs, but you still have to be wary of small sideroads where some old local is likely to come sailing out in front of you without even looking. As do Dutch people on bicycles. But that’s another topic….
A few photos from the penultimate weekend before Christmas.
On Friday there was a good turnout for the Christmas line dance at Bussières……
Francine, Marie-Claude, Christiane, Sami and Jean-Paul looking festive…
and we two
Yesterday the local communes put on a treat for the children at the foyer rural in Cortambert. Holà, l’eau là performed by Estelle Bernigal captivated young and old alike.
A packed hall enjoyed….
Estelle Bernigal doing all sorts of things with water
and the kids tucked into brioche and mandarins afterwards.
Being the third Sunday of the month we went walking this morning. It was rather cold and trying to snow so it was only the brave that turned out. We enjoyed a circuit through the vineyards and called in by Ruth & Joe’s to look at the creche. You don’t see many nativity scenes in France as cribs supposedly breach France’s strict 1905 laïcité law on the separation of church and state. They are not allowed in public buildings if they are for religious reasons. A rival of Macron, president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, was heavily criticised last year for putting one in his office hallway. This year the nativity scene is back, now in the guise of a cultural exhibit to celebrate the art of making santons, the traditional hand-coloured terracotta crib figurines.
Marie Antoinette, Sophie and Chris in Toury
The walk was useful in that we noted where we could get mistletoe. It’s on practically every tree but often it is too high and out of reach. The French don’t decorate with mistletoe at Christmas but gather it for New Year.
Mistletoe grows on most old trees
We won’t get a white Christmas this year. It’ll be quite mild with rainy intervals but hopefully we’ll get out for the traditional walk after dinner…