Our Life in Burgundy

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November 25, 2012

Empty Places

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Mary @ 18:16


I’ve told the story before, of how one winter I started to feed a starving kitten who went on to have kittens of her own which we adopted. www.cormatin.eu/blog/?tag=kittens&paged=2

White Cat was a wonderful mother

The kittens grew into lovely cats, all different in appearance and behaviour.  Smudge lives up to her name as she is usually oilstained. Blanche was a pretty cat who teamed up with Benedict on hunting expeditions.

Benedict and Blanche

Claude was a special cat. He must have had Siamese ancestry because he would have singsong conversations and could howl like a Banshee.  He often brought his prey unharmed into the house so we were forever rescuing mice. Giant grasshoppers would take refuge in the curtains.



Claude had fur like silk and was long and lanky. He is the only cat I’ve seen lie on his back with his head face up between his back legs.


We thought we would have our family of cats forever but on the morning of 1st November, the Toussaint holiday, Blanche and Claude didn’t come home. We searched the village and even walked around in the dead of night to see if we could hear Claude. One morning Chris took all the manhole covers up to search the drains.

A couple of days later a neighbour said he had passed a white cat dead by the road. We suppose this was Blanche although there are other white cats around. But there has been no sign of Claude.


Meanwhile Benedict still looks for the others. We have nothing much to show they were ever here. Except the prints of Blanche’s nose where she used to look out of the window. And empty chairs.

November 21, 2012

Orange Jam

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Mary @ 16:18

If you want something to put on your toast in the morning and can’t be bothered making marmalade this is a really orangy alternative. The recipe was given to me by our neighbour, Michèle.


2kg oranges

2kg apples

2kg sugar (or you can use a bit less)

Finely grate off the zest of the oranges and put into the pan with the juice of the oranges. Peel and roughly grate the apples.  Add the sugar and give the mixture a stir.  Leave it overnight. Next day stir and heat gently, then boil for about half an hour.

It makes the house smell just like Christmas!

November 18, 2012

The annual dinner dance at Cortambert

Filed under: Events,People,Village Life — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 19:48

A good time was had by all last night at the repas dansant in Cortambert. There was an excellent turnout with 103 people enjoying the meal and the dancing



The caterers, Mille et Une Saveurs, produced a tasty meal of rabbit terrine, chicken in mustard sauce, fromage blanc and a fruit crumble to finish.  We have become  accustomed to getting up and dancing between courses. A bit of boogying and you are ready to tackle the next course.


It was the band that really made the evening go with a swing. The Orchestre Sergio Mondiale had come from la Meuse, a department on the Belgian border. They effortlessly switched from waltz and tango to the Madison, Charleston, the Twist and rock’n’roll. Sergio was on the accordion, Jacques on drums and Nico on guitar. Didier sang a good selection of songs, both French and English, and was  entertaining throughout.

Sergio Mondiale and his musicians

Sergio Mondiale and his musicians

As usual it was hard keeping up with the over seventies who were up for every dance and never flagged. As I have commented before, it is a joy that here the men enjoy dancing and are so good at it.

Many thanks to Pascale, Jean-Louis and everybody who made the evening such a success.

Postscript – I happened to be lucky enough to dance with the father-in-law of Christophe Perrin who has a small vineyard at Le Molard in Bray. He was hosting an open weekend so off we went this afternoon for a dégustation.

Winetasting with Christophe Perrin

Winetasting with Christophe Perrin

 Christophe has always had a passion for winemaking and for some years worked for the co-operative of Lugny. But in 2011 he took over the vineyard in Bray and now produces 8,500 bottles of excellent wine per year. He explained about how different terrains influence the flavour of the wine, and showed us samples of the earth from different parts of his vineyard ranging from red sand to marl to pebbles.

Different wines from varying terrains

Different wines from varying terrains

At Le Molard the wine is improved by maturing in oak barrels. Christophe really seems to love his vocation and deserves his success. His wine is becoming increasingly popular. Whilst there we met many of our fellow gite and chambres d’hôtes owners who, like us, prefer to buy their wine locally.

November 11, 2012

The Randonnée des Moines

Filed under: Events,Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 22:33

Today we joined the 20th Randonnée des Moines which is a very popular walk organised by two local cycle clubs and the Cluny walkers.

At the entrance to Les Griottons, one eager walker

The 2000 entrants today did not equal the record 3413 of last year but considering the recent wet weather there was a good turnout. A choice of circuits went around the west of the Grosne valley, at 10km, 15km, 20km or 30km. Registration cost 3 – 5 euros, the longer the walk the more refeshment points along the way.

We enjoyed views across the Grosne valley

 Having been to the Remembrance ceremony in the morning we  had only time to do the 10km, quite enough for an afternoon’s walk on paths that had sometimes become a quagmire from the previous day’s rain. Halfway round we were beginning to flag and were pleased to arrive at the ravitaillement where we were offered cold drinks, wine or coffee with bread and meat, cake, dried fruit and chocolate. By monks of course.

Water or wine?

Water or wine?

 As Chris is planning the routes for our own village randonnée we were interested to see how Cluny managed their event. I’d give it 10 out of 10 for all the planning and hard work by the 120 volunteers. When we entered the Griottons we were given a wonderful welcome and the circuits and system of registration explained to us. The maps were excellent, very clear and in colour. Before, during and after the walk we were offered refreshments. I’m sure I had more than my 3 euros worth of eats and drinks!

Post walk gathering at Les Griottons
Post walk gathering at Les Griottons

A good time was had by all. Bravo Cluny!


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