It was both our birthdays this weekend so we had a combined do. No matter that the Bard is 190 years ahead of me.
Burns suppers involve lots of tartan
Burns is the best known for his poems in the Scots language. Besides Auld Lang Syne his most famous poem is perhaps the Address to a Haggis. Before Burns the haggis was a little known elusive creature but now it is bred in large numbers to cater both for the Scottish market and for export to all the corners of the world where Scots have made their home.
The haggis comes out to be addressed thus
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Then at the appropriate moment…
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright…..
and the haggis is split open with a huge knife. No need to attack our haggis as it had already blown itself up in the oven.
So thank you Rabbie for sharing birthdays with me. We’ll meet again this time next year!
Last Sunday our commune was invited to share wine and galettes des Rois by the Cortambert firemen. It was a celebration of Epiphany which marks the end of the Christmas season.
It was also opportunity to wish everyone a happy new year. The firemen were thanked for their activities during the year and given certificates and awards by Pierre-Jean the Mayor and the Conseiller Général of the Cluny canton, Jean-Luc Fonteray. The latter takes a great interest in our commune and spoke of how he values his friendship with us. The Mayor referred to the events of last week and spoke of unity and of how France is now at war against terrorism.
After all that’s happened lately it’s good to get back to normal life. There is a lot going on in Cortambert. If you wanted you could be out every night.
Mondays is keep fit night. It’s very popular and I’m sure we are looking much better for it.
Tuesday and Fridays it’s badminton followed on Tuesdays by traditional dance or tango and salsa.
Wednesdays and every other Saturday it’s craftwork and basketmaking.
Games morning is the first Sunday of the month and and a walk is organised on the third Sunday.
And there’s the occasional cycle ride.
And there’s the library -
And there’s trips away -
And special events such as the Loto afternoon, the randonnée in June, rallys, vide greniers……and of course meetings to plan these events.
So there is no possibility at all of being bored.
I must admit, metaphorically speaking, that I tend to hide under the duvet until Christmas and New Year are over. Away from travel disruption, people stranded in snow, air crashes, boats sinking…… I’ve had my fair share of vomiting children at Christmas and horrific journeys in fog and snow driving back to Scotland. Not to mention the time my daughter came back from Sierra Leone dangerously ill and we spent Christmas in hospital. And running out of petrol on the M62 at New Year….
We stayed at home and watched the world from a safe distance.
We didn’t get the ’five planes attack’ threatened by Al Qaeda, only the three Christmas market car ramming incidents. But these pale into insignificance with the events in Paris this week which have been the catalyst to wake people up to the horrors of terrorism and the threat to our way of life. There have been many massacres abroad, for instance the Taliban attack on the school at Peshawar, but nothing has struck home like the slaughter at the Charlie Hebdo offices.
This weekend thousands of people* are joining in the marches to show their solidarity against terrorism and to support free speech.
This afternoon we joined 3,000 local people at a rally in Cluny. We marched through town to the Abbey where candles were lit. Many went on for a bowl of soup at the recently renovated Quai de la Gare and a showing of l’AN 01, a film about people taking stock of a disordered world and regaining their liberty, starting again at Year 1.
Hopefully good will come of all this horror with increased unity and cooperation. A comment I heard this afternoon - “At least we all like the police now”. **
*700,000 people marched in France on Saturday, 15,000 in Macon. On Sunday more than 3.7 million people marched, which is close to 6% of the French population.
**There has been an intolerant attitude in France towards intelligence gathering by the police.