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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

April 15, 2018

Music in Blanot

Filed under: Events,People — Tags: , — Mary @ 22:46

We spent a very enjoyable afternoon at a private concert in Blanot. Two old friends from their days at the Conservatoire at Dijon have recently formed a duo, David Aubret on accordion and Bertrand Di Leone on saxophone. Readers of the blog will know that David used to be the choirmaster for Cant’Azé. They call themselves Parole d’anches. David showed us where the anches were on the accordion, and how the sound is produced, and Bertrand explained about the reed on his sax. There was plenty of discussion about the music they played, some from classic films.


Parole d’Anches (www.facebook.com/paroledanches)

As is usual here everybody took along a dish to share and we had apéros. We enjoyed the company of a group of Africans from Benin who we were renting the house next door. In the pause between the savouries and the sweets they treated us to an impromptu concert.

Olaitan (www.znproduction.fr/fr/artistes/olaitan)

Apparently they arrived earlier in the year during the freezing cold weather in just their cotton shirts so they were enjoying the heat of the sun this afternoon. They are performing in various local venues and we will look forward to seeing them again in May.

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.

April 8, 2018

Spring has sprung

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 15:29

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.

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.

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