Whilst in the market this morning we happened across Gerard Thélier, a great aficionado of Cluny with a big personality. Originally from St-Cloud, Gerard Thélier travelled the world before coming to settle in Cluny. He has worked as a documentary film maker, photographer and artist, and has written several books on the abolition of slavery and the history of Cluny, notably C’était hier Cluny. Now retired, he organises cultural and historical events and is a consultant for heritage exhibitions.
Gerard is going to be very busy all summer as he is conducting tours around medieval Cluny most Monday and Saturday afternoons at 1.30pm. He will not be hard to spot as he will be dressed as a knight of the 11th century.
He is also leading tours by torchlight around the nearby Clunisoise villages. It will be the turn of Cortambert on 3rd July and 25th August, 8.45pm to 10.15pm. The times and dates of all the walks can be found on the Cluny tourism website www.cluny-tourisme.com.
Also new this year, you can hire a tablet from the Office of Tourism or just download the app that leads you on a tour round medieval Cluny. Call me old fashioned but I would much prefer to go with Gerard! He has such an engaging personality that I am sure his guided walks will be amazing.
What a horrible weekend! I thought summer had arrived but I was wrong.
You had to be an enthusiast to be out and about. After an unbearably hot Thursday the temperature plummeted and it rained most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday afternoon it even snowed!
Unfortunately it was the weekend for one of the biggest horse events of the year in Cluny, the four day Open de Bourgogne featuring the regional pony clubs. 1500 riders had enrolled, including 700 children for the pony games. There was the usual jumping and dressage events but also carriage racing, voltige, horse carrousel, Western riding, endurance and horseball.
We watched some of the pony games to pick up some tips. We occasionally play pony games as an end of term treat at Laizé. It’s best to check that the girth is tight and don’t get the pony so excited that it gallops off when you are trying to get back on board. Some of the girls could just swing up into the saddle no matter how fast the horse was going. Would that I could but I think I’m a bit too old for that!
The wind certainly has changed for the better and gone round to the south so we’ve had a lovely sunny weekend. Perfect for the final two days of showjumping at Cluny. The first two days were grim so I don’t suppose that the icecream vendor setting up in the pouring rain on Thursday ever envisaged the never-ending queue for cornets by Sunday.
The show is part of the Grand National where France’s top riders compete in teams of two at various venues during the summer in jumping, eventing and dressage. At the end of the season the points awarded to each team are added up to find the champions of 2013.
The jumps were enormous, higher than the horses’ heads. So there were plenty of thrills and spills. We met our riding instructor there who asked if we could guess what we might be doing for our next lesson!
One way or another we’ve had quite a horsey week. Our grandchildren from Scotland have been with us and one of their favourite occupations has been to come and help feed the horses which we are looking after for our neighbours.
Last Sunday we went up to the stables at Laizé for the circus day. For a while we watched the children learning tricks on the horses then took ourselves off for a walk with our favourite Shetland pony, Blondie.
The children seem to like our life in the country with the animals. We hope that when they are old enough they will be able to spend their whole summer holiday with their Mamie and Papi just like the French kids do.
I am constantly amazed by the wealth of talent of our neighbours. Tonight we attended a vernissage at the Salle Victor Duruy in Cluny where two local artists are exhibiting until 2nd April. They are the painter Bernard Golly (Bégé) of Bray and the sculptor Guy Forge of Cortambert. Both artists have a very distinctive style.
Bernard’s paintings are very colourful and stylistic with simple figures that remind us a little of the outsider art of Johé Gormand, another close neighbour (www.cormatin.eu/blog/?p=2044). Or Picasso on one of his good days. Guy has a passion for using driftwood, shells and objets trouvés to dramatic effect.
Guy with one of his scuptures, playing the fool as usual!
We are going back to have another look tomorrow. The exhibition goes on until Tuesday. Bernard advises us to chose some paintings before he becomes even more famous and the price of his work goes up. I think we might take him up on that!
postscript : We went back on Saturday morning and we bought the painting on the poster above (L’Arche) and two more. You will see them when you visit La Maison du Curé.
For Bernard’s website see bege60.blogspot.fr/