Our Life in Burgundy

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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

March 23, 2011

There is not a cloud over France……

Filed under: Weather — Tags: — Mary @ 22:00

This was the shortest weather forecast I have ever heard. Normally the météo presenters sound demented as they have so many different areas to cover from the ski resorts, the Mediterranean coast and the Atlantic coast. But today it was There is not a cloud over France and it will remain so for the rest of the week.

I mentioned this to my neighbour who looked up and said except for the radioactive cloud from Fukushima!

….and there are no tourists in Burgundy

Filed under: Places — Tags: — Mary @ 21:20

Ce touriste-là n’existe pas en Bourgogne. On y trouve par contre des amoureux, des aventuriers, des randonneurs, des gourmets, des cyclistes, des mélomanes, des œnophiles……

I was slightly alarmed when I first read this in an email sent by the regional council. It turns out to be the new campaign to promote tourism in Burgundy.  The mélomanes and the œnophiles sounded a little dangerous but they are people who like music and wine.

The poster promoting Burgundy

The poster promoting Burgundy

The poster goes on to explain that there is no mass tourism in Burgundy. Visitors simply have the time to do what they dreamed of throughout the working year. Instead of buying souvenirs they go home with their heads filled with memories.

This is why I like Burgundy. It hasn’t been spoiled by the tourists and life in our part of France goes on as it always has.

March 21, 2011

Celts and Cantonales

Filed under: Events,Village Life — Tags: , , — Mary @ 22:51

It’s been quite an exciting weekend one way or another. There was a  3-day Carnival in Cluny, a theatre in Massilly and a very enjoyable Irish do for St Patrick’s Day in Cortambert.

The soirée irlandaise was held in the foyer rural on Saturday. Everyone had to bring along two plates of food, if possible dans l’esprit irlandais. As usual the people in the village rose to the occasion and there was a wonderful spread of Irish stews, whisky tartiflettes and fantastic deserts. And of course, plenty of Guinness.

The Scots and Irish with Guinness

The Scots and Irish with Guinness

As all the Celts were included, Chris and I went ‘Scottish’ with him being a quarter Scots and me having lived in Scotland for many years. So we took along some music for some simple dances like the Circassian Circle, Gay Gordons and Barn Dance. No problem at all although things might have become a bit chaotic if we had got as far as a Strip the Willow or the Dashing White Sergeant. Perhaps next year….

Flags flying for the elections

Flags flying for the elections

The main talking point for the last few days has been the Cantonal elections. Our commune is part of the Canton of Cluny and the elections decide who should represent us in the Departmental Council. In the first round this Sunday there were seven candidates. Nobody got more than 50% of the vote so there has to be a second round next Sunday. The Socialist had 45% and the UMP (Sarkozy’s party) 13%. The second vote is between these two as the other five candidates had less than 12.5% and were eliminated.

As only 45% of France turned out to vote there was an all time high abstention rate. Overall the Socialists won 25% of the votes, and the UMP 17%. The third party is the National Front which is rapidly gaining ground with 15%. Sarkozy must be more than a little worried as his popularity continues to plummet and it is not long until next year’s Presidential election.

Perhaps we should be a bit worried too if the NF get in. After all we are immigrants too.

March 12, 2011

Foraging in France

Filed under: People,Village Life — Tags: , — Mary @ 22:42

Foraging is a national pastime. It’s in the national psyche. There is a certain satisfaction of getting something for nothing; it’s fresh and tastes twice as good. The pickings around here are plentiful but you need local knowledge about when to find things and where to look.

Wild daffodils

Wild daffodils

We are in the middle of the Jonquil season. For three weeks the woods north of Cormatin are visited en masse and stripped of their jonquils, a tiny wild daffodil. I have no idea why, as once picked they do not last long. Signposts lead to car parks where buvets are set up to provide refreshments.

Today saw the first day of the trout season and groups of men dressed up in full gear were to be found fishing in the ditches that drain the fields. The run-off from the mountains at this time of the year brings down abundant trout.

Very soon we will be looking for the wild asparagus amongst the wild garlic in the woods above the village. Dandelions are picked before flowering to make salads, especially tasty with bacon and a lightly poached egg.

Wild asparagos

Wild asparagus

There are many edible types of mushrooms. If in doubt you can take your basket of fungi to the pharmacist to make sure they are safe to eat. We were told the secret of where to find morels but we have yet to find any (under the ash trees near the voie verte!). When collecting mushrooms you use a loose weave wicker basket to let the spores drop out along the way and propagate. Luckily I happen to have made several baskets with holes in the bottom in our vannerie sessions!

Of course in the autumn there are blackberries, walnuts and chestnuts along the hedgerows. Figs and hazelnuts, apples and cherries are also plentiful.

Then we are into winter again and the hunting season. A most popular pastime using dogs which are kept solely for hunting. They say that without the hunt wild boar and deer would overrun the countryside. Despite that I am always pleased when I pass hunters standing out in the cold and rain not finding anything to shoot.

Wild boar

Wild boar

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