On leaving Cormatin late this afternoon we came to a sudden halt as we met these goats being herded along the road by the farmer on his bike. We are not unused to the sight of goats as this area is famous for its goats cheese but it is not often we see them going for a walk.
We met a herd of goats near Cormatin
It’s more usual to come across herds of cattle on the road. Once we met a herd of Charolais late at night going through the village. There was a whole family, the bull and his cows and calves, calmly walking down the road to Cluny. For me this was quite an event so I roused our neighbour and gabbled incoherently to ask him to ring the farmer. Since then I have often seen cows out on the road but nobody is bothered as they seem to find their own way back.
So be warned, don’t drive too fast around here as you never know what you might meet just around the bend!
It was a bright sunny day today although very cold. We called in at the Laizé Pony Club to watch a session of voltige. It’s a sort of messing about on ponies. The kids just made it up themselves. Here is a group that coaxed a pony on to a platform and then confidently climbed aboard to stand upright on him. And then with only the front hooves on the platform the pony’s back made a steep slippery slope so they could take it in turn to slide off into the sand.
Another girl was being taught to do various tricks on a cantering horse. She had no hesitation in hanging upside down either.
Ready to canter
The pony club is a centre of excellence for voltige as well as jumping. The daughter of the chef is the star of a large company that tours all over the world performing spectacular acts with horses.
Voltige seems an excellent way to gain balance and confidence on the ponies. I’m determined to do this next time there is an adult session as it looked great fun.
As I keep saying, for a commune with only two hundred people there is a lot going on. The library in the old schoolroom reopened this week. The village school closed down many years ago and the kids all go to Cluny now. But there still lingers a memory of the old school with its tables and an iron stove in the middle of the room (no health and safety in those days!). We saw an inventory of the books written fifty years ago in beautiful French script by the old schoolmistress.
Choosing books at the village library
I’m starting on series of Grand Galop and teteuf books in the children’s section. Hopefully when our reading gets up to speed we will enjoy working our way through the grown-up books!
We feel we have really arrived now as today we completed our first census in France. The census takes place every five years in communities with less than 10,000 inhabitants which includes about half of the French population. In towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants only 40% are polled, and the findings are extrapolated.
The distribution of population in France
In the last census of 2006 there were 201 people in our commune which comprises three villages and some far flung outlying groups of houses. We cover a big area from the chateau on the hill to the mill in the valley. We know of a few births and deaths, and a few people have come (us!) and gone, so it will be interesting to see what the population of our commune is this year.