Our Life in Burgundy

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January 25, 2013

Burns Night

Filed under: Events,People — Tags: , — Mary @ 21:31


 Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

- The Selkirk Grace


Piping in the haggis (BBC archives)

Tonight it’s Burns Night, the day when we celebrate the 254th birthday of the Scottish poet Rabbie Burns. Anybody with any claim to Scottish ancestry will celebrate this night, especially if they have moved to foreign parts like Australia, Canada and the US.  And France of course.

Burns is celebrated with a special meal which centres round the haggis. That’s the Scottish version of andouillette, a way of disguising all the bits of mutton that nobody would normally even think of eating. Although we have always loved haggis, once a year is quite enough.

Burns Night supper

At a Burns supper the haggis arrives on a silver platter accompanied by pipers. Then after the Selkirk grace a silver dagger is produced and the speaker  addresses the haggis before plunging the knife into it.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!….

Normally the main course is haggis, tatties (potatoes) and neeps (swede). But have you ever tried to buy a swede in France? So the meal wasn’t quite as it should be but we enjoyed it with a wee dram of whisky. We were a bit short of pipers too.

postscript - Saturday morning:

I take back what I said about lack of swedes. We have been falling over rutabaga all morning. They are on every fruit & veg stall in the market and at Intermarché.

Also apologies for the peas. It very unScottish to eat anything green……..

pps Claude the Tiger, pictured above, has just won second prize in the Cormatin Loto so he is taking us away for a weekend in a Chateau of our choice.  Well done Claude!


January 22, 2013

Life of Pi

Filed under: Events,Weather — Tags: , , — Mary @ 22:36

If you want to forget about grey skies and cold winter weather go and see “Life of Pi”. It is absolutely magical with wonderful scenery and amazing music. And in 3D you are in the thick of the action. I know there is a lot of CGI but everything seems very real, especially the tiger.


Life of Pi


Basically it’s a story of a boy surviving 227 days at sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker and the relationship which develops between them. But there are also many spiritual issues which leave you thinking for days. Also the question of which story was true.  Was Pi was cast adrift in the lifeboat with the zebra, orangutan and hyena, soon killed leaving only him and Richard Parker, or was the boy with his mother, an injured sailor and the nasty cook (who was played by a very ugly Gerard Depardieu). 

We saw this at Cluny cinema which is being revamped at the moment. There is a different film on practically every day. We also enjoy the bigger cinema in Mâcon and we’re looking forward to the opening of the new multiplex in March.



January 19, 2013

Birthdays and Baskets

Filed under: People,Village Life — Tags: — Mary @ 23:35

You are allowed to do what you like on your birthday. A day trip to the Alps? A meal out?  Unfortunately it was a cold wet day and a lot of the restaurants around here are closed in January. So what’s better than to go to vannerie and share the occasion with your friends?

Chris blows out the candles

Vannerie is not just basket making although a lot of that goes on. For a change Chris is helping me knit squares for a patchwork blanket. And today, under Pascale’s patient tutoring, I crocheted for the first time. She also showed us how to weave spare bits of wool on a loom.

.The beginning of another square

Pascale says that when you arrive in the old folks’ home it is essential that you keep yourself occupied with handicrafts. I’m not yet in my dotage but when I am I’ll be ready, and most likely still knitting blanket squares.

January 13, 2013

Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.

Filed under: Village Life — Tags: — Mary @ 17:37


“Horse back riding as a sport has been shown to bestow a multitude of therapeutic benefits on the riders..….No man-made health machine on the market today has been able to duplicate all the physical, emotional, mental and social skills that develop and are put in constant use from riding a horse.” New York State Horse Council

I was amused to come across this just now as we went for a session of jumping this morning and I was treated to an extra therapeutic benefit – a mud bath! Out of the three of us only Chris managed to stay aboard.

A clear round for Chris

The third rider ended up both muddy and wet as she managed to land in a big puddle. It’s not such a good idea to fall off as, besides everyone laughing,  you have to bring a cake next time you go.

But not for me (don't copy this technique!)

Riding is an ongoing passion with us, not just the riding but the grooming and feeding too. This morning we were pleased to help out by helping to give the horses their breakfast, dishing out the oats and spreading straw in the boxes, quite an operation with getting on for a hundred horses.

Where's lunch?


After the lesson we went around again, this time with the hay.  I probably enjoyed that more than risking life and limb going round those jumps. Is it too late to become a stable girl?

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