I don’t usually feel the cold but yesterday we were chilled to the bone. I think the raw weather put a lot of people off visiting ‘Les Oiseaux Rares’ this weekend, or at least they moved smartly between venues and didn’t linger. ‘Les Oiseaux Rares’ are a group of 25 artists in Cormatin who collectively open their workshops and studios the last weekend in November. You follow the bird footprints chalked on the pavements to go from one venue to another. They use the Mairie, tourist office and church in addition to their workshops. Each door is decorated with a wooden bird which is supposed to be a caricature of the artist within.
The bird at the entrance to the church…
wherein was the artist Patrick Balleriaud with his latest paintings
You can buy a bowl produced by one of the potters and at every exhibition try the homemade soup on offer. Perhaps we arrived too early for that but at the workshop of Pascale Ponsard we enjoyed some mulled orange which fortified us for our return through Cormatin.
The bowls, but where was the soup? Pascale Ponsard’s silk scarves piled on the bench behind
Returning to the church we admired the work of Patrick’s partner, Silvyanne, who runs workshops making things out of what you and I would call rubbish. Her work always reminds me of the Art Brut of Johé Gormand of Cortambert (famous after her death in 1963).
There are special day or weekend art courses available at the studios of Patrick Ballérinaud for visitors and locals alike. See www.studioballeriaud.fr. We had a lovely day last year learning how to sketch and watercolour landscapes. His portaits are excellent; we have the last priest of Cormatin in the hall at La Maison du Curé. At the moment Patrick is sketching portraits of the grandchildren. You just need to send an email with a photo. Great for Christmas presents.
Just a few hardy souls ventured out for a walk with us on a bleak Sunday morning. But despite a downpour as we started out, the cloud lifted a bit and we enjoyed the views from the vineyards and the forest tracks in the hills above Bray.
Pascale, Chris, David and Claire with Miriam & Michel
Chris had very cleverly planned his walk to finish at the porte ouverte at the cave of Christophe Perrin at Chazeux. We tasted each of the seven wines he has produced this year, four whites and three reds. You have to take into account that the wines are yet young but we very much liked the red Chapaize which I hear won the popular vote as it was practically sold out by the end of the weekend. We’ll save some to have with Christmas dinner.
Christophe Perrin (L) telling us about his wines
In cheerful mood by the 7th tasting
Despite the cold weather we enjoy the winter here as there is so much going on. The events by AFM-Téléthon to raise money for research into muscular dystrophy are just getting into gear. AFM-Téléthon is the French equivalent of Children in Need or Red Nose Day. It monopolises the first weekend in December when there is a marathon of 30 hours of fund raising TV.
On Sunday afternoon we enjoyed our first of many charity events, a line dance at Sennecé-lès-Mâcon. The hall was packed for the more popular numbers and it was a good experience to be dancing elbow to elbow with the other clubs, concentrating on not going to pot when all around go wrong (or could that be me?).
An enjoyable way to spend a cold wet afternoon
I think Téléthon must have done quite well yesterday seeing the amount of cakes and tarts consumed during the afternoon. And dancing is thirsty work.
Cormatin will devote the first weekend in December to raise money for Téléthon. Meanwhile next weekend it is the turn of the Oiseaux Rares, the group of 25 artists who will open their studios and workshops. It will be a busy time for the Cormatinois.
It’s been a weekend très chargé. Saturday was the day of the Foire de Saint-Martin. It’s a huge event with stalls filling the centre of Cluny in addition to the normal Saturday morning market. The livestock events took place on the Champ de Foire. As well as the judging, this year there was a show of equine ability with the horses from the Haras. The St Martin’s Fair is a tradition that is fading away in parts of France but in Cluny it seems to be getting bigger and bigger.
The horse fair
The horses brushed and plaited
and different breeds of sheep
Later in Cortambert there was a really good concert hosted by the Québec-Bourgogne Society. A group from Quebec, FolkloFolie, had been booked originally but the weather in Quebec has caused major flooding and the group were unable to leave Quebec on Tuesday as planned. So a more local duo, Emilio Armillès and Salvatore Gréco, appeared instead. Their show ‘Chansons de Toujours’ was a mixture of our favourite old French songs, some Quebec songs and some wonderful instrumentals on the guitar. All peppered with a touch of Naples and Spain, denoting the origins of Emilio and Salvatore.
Emilio Armillès (left) and Salvatore Gréco
This weekend there has also been a huge vide grenier in Cluny, filling the Griottons, the Boulodrome and the parking for the campsite. Bargains everywhere…
Lots of useful stuff outside…
and treasures in the Boulodrome
The weather is changing this weekend. It’s much chillier than the recent warm sunny days we have been used to. We’re enjoying a hectic few weeks before the quiet days of winter.