Our Life in Burgundy

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November 29, 2015

A Herculean Task

Filed under: Village Life — Mary @ 19:44

There was an appeal from the mayor to go and help clean up the rubbish from the track leading to our green waste dump. Having not noticed much rubbish I assumed it would just involve collecting up a bit of waste paper and a few old beer cans. There was a wonderful turnout of Cortambertsois, each with gloves and an old bucket as instructed.


The bucket gang (photos by Guy Poncet)

I didn’t know about the midden. Before the days of organised collection and recycling, the commune worker would bring all the rubbish on a trailer and tip it over the edge of the road to tumble down the hill. There are layers of discarded bottles, metal and plastic, all tangled in the undergrowth.  Our challenge to remove it reminded me of the 6th Labour of Hercules when in one day Hercules had to clean the Augean stables housing thousands of cattle that hadn’t been mucked out for thirty years.


Clearing the hillside of rubbish and bottles

All too soon we had filled all the available bins and sacks with glass and rubbish, and heaped piles of rusty metal by the side of the track. Luckily we didn’t have to finish in just one day as we had hardly scratched the surface. Perhaps when we get down to the lower layers we might find debris of interest, the artefacts of a bygone age.

We were all well rewarded as we were invited back to the salle communale for aperos. In good Burgundy tradition we spent longer there than actually working.  All in all an enjoyable morning which will have to be repeated if we are to make any impact.


November 28, 2015

Les Oiseaux Rares and the Rêvothèque


We are constantly amazed how much artistic talent there is in this area. Today Cormatin was just one big art gallery. 28 exhibitors were showing their pottery and paintings, jewellery and fabric designs. Many opened their workshops and others borrowed old barns, the tourist office and the teashop. Even the church was used to display works of art, and several times during the afternoon an actor put on a show there.


Patrick Ballérinaud with his illustrations and portraits


Our artist friends Patrick and Silvyanne were in the teashop (the warmest place in Cormatin this afternoon). You will remember that Patrick drew the portrait of the last priest of Cormatin which hangs in the hall at La Maison du Curé?  He is offering short art courses to visitors on demand, for any length of time and on any theme. See www.studioballerinaud.fr.


Silvyanne with her sculptures in wire

We left Patrick and Silvyanne to go to the Rêvothèque on the Place de l’Eglise. Five years ago a journalist, Christian Hanser from Germany, had the idea of travelling around Europe in a wooden shepherd’s hut. Wherever he stopped he would invite the locals in to relax and be sociable. On reaching Cormatin Christian fell in love with the area (as do we all) and he bought an old barn previously used for storage by the baker next door. He soon transformed the barn into a little dwelling. We were surprised when hammocks and swing chairs began to appear outside with the invitation for everyone to put their busy lives on hold and sit and dream for a while.


Christian Hanser and his Rêv’othèque


Inside we found the house was full of comfy chairs and cushions. Christian says that spending time dreaming and just being companionable is certified 100% non-productive but useful for society. www.revotheque.fr

Upstairs we watched a video of the early lives of the Cormatin artists and their path through life. We learned that our neighbour Patrick Vernay at the Atelier de Galadrielle  (www.atelierdegaladrielle.fr) has always been passionate about gardening and appreciated why flower designs are incorporated into his fine silverwork.


Our neighbours the jewellers, Patrick & Martine Vernay (photo Oiseaux Rares)

Les Oiseaux Rares are exhibiting again tomorrow. Do go and have a look. Get to talk with the talented group of artists in our midst. And there are lots of beautiful things to chose as Christmas presents.

November 15, 2015

The Indian Summer continues

Filed under: Events,People,Places,Weather — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 21:46

We are making the most of the lovely November sunshine by getting out and about. Chris, guiding our Sunday morning walk, took us across to Lamartine country.

Our walking group in Milly-Lamartine

We started at the Domain Chardon and went up through Milly-Lamartine, posing for a photo outside Lamartine’s childhood home. Every day the young Lamartine would go over the hill of Monsard to reach Bussières where he had lessons with the village priest, Abbé Dumont. We followed in his footsteps up the steep rocky path hemmed in by box and sloe.


A narrow path round Monsard

It was hard going and rather slippery but we reached the Grotte de Jocelyn, a cave that was the inspiration for Lamartine’s epic poem of 1836.  The poem tells of Jocelyn, a novice priest, fleeing from religious persecution and taking refuge in the cave, and his subsequent tragic love affair with Laurence.


View over the vineyards of Pierreclos


The 360° views at the top were well worth the climb, and the descent easy.


At the table d’orientation


This afternoon we went to the Equivallée to see the first of three fortnightly show jumping events for pony clubs and amateurs. It was very relaxed, a good opportunity for novice horses and riders to gain valuable experience. Lots of clear rounds but also plenty of fences down and refusals.


A clear round!

Lets hope that winter is kept at bay for as long as possible and we will enjoy more of this lovely autumn sunshine.


November 11, 2015

Remembrance Day and the Randonnée des Moines

Filed under: Events,Places,Village Life — Tags: , , — Mary @ 22:51

It’s been another warm and sunny day. We met our friends and neighbours at eleven for the Remembrance ceremony and the sun came out for our procession down to the War Memorial. The Maire gave a thought provoking speech and after the silence the trumpet was played with great poignancy. When the last notes had died away we trooped back to the Mairie for wine and pizza.

By now it was lunchtime and the older people in the commune went off for their Repas des Aînés. We went home to change into our walking boots to take part in another annual event, the 24th Randonnée des Moines. It was organised by the Cyclo Club and Les Randonneurs Clunysois with four circuits of 10km, 15km, 20km and 30km. Thankfully by the time we arrived at Les Griottons only the 10km walk was still accepting entrants.


We were greeted by a monk

It was a tough route on a warm afternoon, the first 5km being a steady slog uphill through the Bois de Bourcier. Over the top and starting the descent I was glad to see the refreshment tent in a clearing.


A welcome break

 We were given a warm reception by a monk and a good plateful of food to keep us going until we saw Cluny in the distance and returned to sign off at Les Griottons.


The end was in sight

It was a holiday today and the weather was good so there was a terrific turnout for this very popular walk.  A final count of 3,890 walkers, what a feat of organisation! We took note and gained a few useful tips for our Cortambert Randonnée in June.


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