This week our new Dutch neighbours arrived followed by their furniture. The weather has been mild but damp and unfortunately, while manoeuvring, the huge furniture van sank up to the axles in the soft ground. The spinning wheels had dug quite a hole.
So what to do? Our neighbour, Monsieur G, who has a small tractor was called but he reckoned a bigger tractor was needed. He went up to have a look with his friend, Monsieur D, whose tractor still wasn’t powerful enough. So they called on Monsieur T who has the big farm and by far the biggest tractor. Without further ado Monsieur T went up and pulled the van out of the mud, much to the relief of the young driver and our Dutch friends.
Out it comes
We too have often been helped out by our neighbours who drop everything to come and help. We too were once stuck in the mud in the forest and had to be towed out by Monsieur T’s tractor. Apart from such dramatic events, over the three years we have lived here we have received an enormous amount of help from our neighbours from finding workmen and organising fuel and utilities to simple day to day help with language problems and other aspects of living here.
So, like our new Dutch neighbours, we are lucky enough to find ourselves in a community of people who care about their neighbours and will do anything to help. We will always be extremely grateful to them.
Life is full of surprises. When we went to see our GP on Friday we found a note on her door. Moved to La Maison de Santé, 3 rue de la Liberté.
The new Maison de Santé in Cluny
We found La Maison de Santé in the heart of medieval Cluny. The outside is a typical medieval house with the big arched doorways. Inside is the most modern of clinics.
All the health professionals in Cluny seem to have moved into these premises which opened on January 2nd. Apparently there is a shortage of doctors in the country areas and opening new health centres attracts more staff as GPs, nurses, physios, podiatrists and midwives are brought together under the same roof to provide mutual support and share secretarial staff. It is also a centre for interns. Students are helped financially by the Department of Saône-et-Loire to encourage them to take up work in the areas most affected by the désertification médicale.
The patients will also benefit greatly. Instead of the GP being available for only two hours a day they can attend the Maison du Santé and see a doctor anytime from 8am – 6pm. You are free to see any doctor; all your records are accessible with your Carte Vitale. So if there is a queue to see one doctor you can try another.
The outcome of our visit to the GP was that Chris could either continue to use his inhaler or get rid of the cats. No prizes for guessing the answer to that one!
Claude & Smudge
We welcome some new visitors to Cormatin. A pair of storks have taken up residence at the Chateau and they have been seen flying over La Maison du Curé. You can often see them foraging in the fields by the river, on the right as you go south out of Cormatin. We are used to seeing white egrets or herons but these are somewhat bigger with black wings.
It’s the first time we have seen storks as normally they live in the Alsace, returning there after overwintering in Africa. Storks are said to be the symbol of happiness and faithfulness and bring good luck if they nest on your chimney stack.
Of course as everyone knows they also deliver new babies in a sheet slung from their beaks. If a child in the Alsace wants a new brother or sister they leave a sugarlump on the windowledge to attract a stork in the hope that it will exchange its bundle for the sugar.
The Maire is hoping that our storks will bring plenty of petits Cormatinois for the new school which will be ready soon.
The enterprising Maire of Cormatin, M. Bordet, seems to be bringing Cormatin into the 21st century.
Last week our friend Sue (http://lifeinburgundy.blogspot.com/ 8th January) reported that three men were seen going round the village with cordless screwdrivers and a ladder giving us all house numbers. So La Maison du Curé became no.12.
Of course I can see the point that it should make life easier for visitors, especially in a big village like Cormatin. But hopefully the numerati will not reach Cortambert as I find it rather ‘French’ that we have no numbers and no street names. Our regular postie knows where we all live but the men in delivery vans have to stop and ring up to ask. Quite amusing when you are not sure where they are. “Drive round and I’ll stand on the road and wave!”
The new rubbish collection scheme
This week I became aware of another modern initiative in Cormatin. We are going to be issued with wheelie bins with chips. The present charge for refuse collection is included in the Taxe d’Habitation but starting next year there is going to be a separate charge based on the number of times you put the bin out for collection and the size of your bin. You can’t leave out extra bags and if the lid doesn’t close the bin will not be emptied. This year is just a trial run and we will receive a mock bill at the end of the year with the chance to change our ways if the amount seems excessive. This, and the renewed emphasis on recycling, should cut down the amount of landfill and help the environment.