Our Life in Burgundy

Version française

The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

October 20, 2012

Aller aux champignons

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , — Mary @ 14:21

 

It’s that time of the year again when everybody is out gathering mushrooms. That is except us as we are still not sure which ones to eat.

Today in Cluny there was the annual display of mushrooms by the Fungus Society (honestly, this sounds much better in French). So again we went around to try and learn what to eat and what not to eat.

.

The fungi are arranged on saucers and are labelled according to edibility. Some very good to eat, some are harmless but don’t taste good, others have a culmulative effect and some are downright dangerous.

.

At today’s exhibition you were encouraged to take your mushrooms in for the experts to identify. At other times the local chemist will vet your basket of mushrooms although we have never tried this ourselves.

But I’m still not sure. I noticed some little poisonous mushrooms which looked to me like smaller versions of a safe variety. But we will go into the fields and have a look.

October 16, 2012

The Leonbergers come to Cluny

Filed under: Events — Tags: — Mary @ 22:34

Last weekend there was an international dog show at Cluny. It featured a special breed of dog, the Leonberger,  huge brown dogs with thick coats and black masks.  350 of these dogs arrived at the camp site from all over Europe. We met some of them in Cluny market and were able to pet them whilst asking their owners about them.

A Leonberger

A Leonberger

The first were bred at Leonberg near Stuttgard in 1846. They were said to be a cross between Newfoundland, St Bernard and Pyrenean mountain dogs. Their owner was a councillor who was very much into marketing and promoting the town, and bred to dogs to resemble the lion in the coat-of-arms of Leonberg, huge and yellow with a thick mane.  They were given to several of the crown heads of Europe and the Empress of Russia.

Leonbergers are very biddable and loyal, and were initially used as farm dogs. Now they are exported to Canada and Italy to be trained as water rescue/lifesaving dogs.

Just a pup

Just a pup

The Leonbergers were almost annihilated during the wars when they were abandoned by the breeders or used to pull ammunition carts. Only 5 survived the first war and, although numbers had increased meantime, only 8 survived the second. All today’s dogs are descended from these eight.

The first Leonberger in England was brought back by a soldier who saw the dog tied up in a farmyard. The soldier asked about the dog and was appalled that the farmer was going to kill him and render him down for soap, which at that time was in short supply. The soldier went back to his barracks and begged for all the soap he could get, ten bars in all, and gave them to the farmer in exchange for the dog. Together they returned to live in Hampshire.

Nowadays there is a thriving Leonberger club in the UK with 2,800 dogs registered. There are 8,000 Leonbergers in the world and with the advent of the pet passport many UK breeders are coming here to show and breed their Leonbergers.

The 2nd Rallaye Pédestre – Cortambert & Donzy

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , , — Mary @ 11:44

It was a sort of treasure hunt. We all set off together from Cortambert, up the hill and along the faîtral, the path along the ridge that separates the two valleys, to Donzy and down through Varanges and back to Cortambert.

Blanot

Blanot

There were magnificent views from the ridge, especially of Blanot to the west.

We were given eight questions, the clues to be found along the way. Either a simple ‘play on words’ puzzle, or what is this article used for, and what is it called in patois? Patois! We have trouble enough with ordinary French! The theme was goats and goats’ cheese. We identified all sorts of things from goats’ droppings and those triangular things to stop them getting out of fields and the utensils used in cheese production.

A question to answer in Donzy

A question to answer in Donzy

When we started off the weather wasn’t too bad, but then we were caught up in heavy rain. We ended up very soggy, my paper was like a piece of papier maché, and we were glad to get back to the warmth of the foyer rural in Cortambert. We were greeted by tables decorated with strands of autumn leaves and berries, and boards to set out our jigsaws.

Back in the foyer rural

Back in the foyer rural

 At each station we had picked up a piece of jigsaw, and the last pieces were to be collected in the hall. The picture, of course, was of goats!

Pascale, Annie and Laurent amongst the goats

Pascale, Annie and Laurent amongst the goats

After the walk in the rain we were ready for the refreshments provided by Pascale and Claire. Various local goats’ cheeses, cheese on toast, hot chestnuts, and maltesers (aka goats’ poo). And lots of vin nouveau from this year’s vendange. Very refreshing and not in the least alcoholic………

A great event. Many thanks to Pascale, Laurent and Annie who organised the walk. We are already looking forward to next year, with better weather we hope.

October 9, 2012

Cortambert, une commune dynamique

Filed under: Places,Village Life — Tags: , — Mary @ 22:19

 

La Commune de Cortambert allie dynamisme et solidarité dans un environnement calme. Une philosophie de vie que revendiquent les habitants.

Fame at last! Today Cortambert features in a double page spread in the Journal de Saône-et-Loire. There is even a photo of yours truly commenting (in the most perfect French of course!) that I find the village a joy to live in, in the midst of wonderful countryside yet close to Cluny.

The village of Cortambert

The village of Cortambert

In the article the numerous activities are highlighted. At the foyer rural you can go to salsa and Argentinian tango lessons, play badminton, try traditional folk dancing, and learn basketmaking or craftwork. We have our own rock band Awen and there are often visiting musicians. One Sunday a month is the bistro-jeux morning.

There is always something on at the foyer rural. On Thursday there is a slideshow and talk about the Isle of Réunion, a French colony in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday 20th we are looking forward to a performance by Alexandre Poulin, the famous singer and guitarist from Quebec. On the Sunday is the oyster fair.

Meanwhile we share activities with surrounding villages. Tomorrow night is the monthly film at Chissey. This week we are seeing The Angels’ Share, a Ken Roach film set in Glasgow. As I find the Glasgow accent unintelligible we will be glad of the French subtitles. On Sunday afternoon there is a rallaye pédestre organised by the local villages which begins in Cortambert.

Varanges with Cortambert and Toury beyond

Varanges with Cortambert and Toury beyond

I cannot believe how lucky we are to have come to live in Cortambert. The commune consists of Toury, Cortambert and Varanges. There are 217 inhabitants scattered over 16 square kilometers at an altitude of 220m to 505m. This we know well, having gone round all the houses pushing leaflets through letterboxes. Despite this spread of people there is a solidarity in Cortambert. As the mayor says “L’humain is au coeur de tout”   Despite being incomers and foreigners to boot, Cortambert has taken us to its heart and we are mightily glad to be here.

Powered by WordPress