Seller at the Brocante
Another sign of spring is the return of the brocantes and the vide greniers. Most Sunday fairs are a mixture of both, the professional sellers and the families just trying to earn a few euros selling old books and the usual household stuff. Stalls are set up around the market place of villages, interspersed with buvettes where you can sit awhile and try the local wines.
This Sunday there was a large fair in Azé, which is a large wine village to the southeast of Cormatin. The sellers were having a hard time today as the weather has turned cold and rainy, but for the hardy buyer there was a treasure trove to discover. I rather wish I was setting up a country pub as there was an amazing collection of horse collars and farming tools.
Sometimes, though, you doubt that anyone sells anything all day because the prices asked are sometimes ridiculously high. Especially for the cracked plates and useless junk that you or I would have thrown away years ago. But, you never know, it’s worth looking as there just might be something you can’t live without.
But these fairs bring life to the village and become social events where friends and neighbours meet up and sit down round a table together (today to get out of the rain!). Some of the vendeurs are real characters. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this chap with his eclectic wares
Spring has sprung in sunny Burgundy and it is the time to seek out the jonquils. Jonquils are like tiny yellow daffodils and they appear in vast numbers in the woods to the northwest of Cormatin.
Going to pick jonquils seems to be a popular outing. Signposts direct you to the parking places in the woods where, at the weekends, little stalls or buvettes are set up in true Burgundy style. Visitors are offered wine and snacks before they set off into the woods to collect the jonquils. This is very alien to us as in the UK the picking of wild flowers is prohibited. But we enjoyed a walk through the woods and came back with a small bunch.
Badminton in the Foyer Rural
You’ve heard of 5-a-side football? Well our village plays 5-a-side badminton.
There is much more skill involved than playing regular badminton. You have to judge the competitiveness of your fellow team members. Is your neighbour going to clash racquets with you in the scramble for a good shot? How genteel is the opposition? Can you win points by neatly placing the shuttle in the space between three players as they all stand politely aside and say ‘After you’? Rallies last much longer as there is rarely a part of the court that cannot be covered. And best of all, no-one need sit out as 5-a-side badminton can be adapted for any number. Perhaps it will become a recognised sport?
The broom race
The Loto event is held each year in the Foyer Rural. It is very popular which is not surprising when we saw the prizes that were handed out for a full card. Very soon some of the tables (but not ours unfortunately) were groaning with huge cured hams, saucissons (salamis) and bottles of the local wine and cremant.
After the event we stayed on to help clear up which was even more fun in a way than the Loto. After folding away the tables and stacking the chairs the serious part of clearing up began as everyone sat down to polish off the leftover wine and a big plate of cheese and meat appeared. Then began earnest discussions about art and local politics. This is the part of life in France that really impresses us, that people take the time to sit around the table to enjoy good food and conversation.
After the storms at the weekend, today has dawned calm and sunny. It would be handy if the weather stays fine this week as we are hoping to work in the forest. The trees have to be cut down now before the sap starts rising but we have another few weeks to finish stacking and clearing the plot.