Our Life in Burgundy

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October 20, 2012

Aller aux champignons

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , — Mary @ 14:21


It’s that time of the year again when everybody is out gathering mushrooms. That is except us as we are still not sure which ones to eat.

Today in Cluny there was the annual display of mushrooms by the Fungus Society (honestly, this sounds much better in French). So again we went around to try and learn what to eat and what not to eat.


The fungi are arranged on saucers and are labelled according to edibility. Some very good to eat, some are harmless but don’t taste good, others have a culmulative effect and some are downright dangerous.


At today’s exhibition you were encouraged to take your mushrooms in for the experts to identify. At other times the local chemist will vet your basket of mushrooms although we have never tried this ourselves.

But I’m still not sure. I noticed some little poisonous mushrooms which looked to me like smaller versions of a safe variety. But we will go into the fields and have a look.

September 27, 2012

Home alone again

Filed under: Events,Village Life — Tags: , , — Chris @ 18:21

Yet again I’ve been left alone cat-sitting in sunny Burgundy whilst Mary is in Glasgow babysitting our granddaughters. Needless to say there was a list of things to do, reminders to feed the cats and to put the bins out, and also reminders to go to badminton, to go to riding and to go to the fête de champetre.

This year for the first time our village decided to hold a fête de champetre in honour of our patron saint, St Maurice, whose saint day falls on the 22nd September. (More about St Maurice in this earlier blog. )

The fête started with a concert in the church by Christal’Fragil, a guitar and vocal duo, this was followed by a musical stroll with the ‘festive fanfare’ of the gardening themed jazz group Fanf’arrosoir.  Then an outdoor concert by our local rock group, Awen, at the Cortambert lavoir.

Awen at the Lavoir

Awen at the Lavoir

This was followed with another musical stroll this time up to the Foyer Rural for supper.


Festive fanfare by Fanf'arrosoir

The supper was accompanied by more music from Fanf’arrosir and was followed by a ‘Bal Trad’ – dancing to the traditional music of Bals de Gailairme.


Dancing whilst we wait for supper

Bal Trad

The 'Bal Trad'

April 2, 2012

Coming back….

Filed under: Events,Village Life,Weather — Tags: , , , , , , — Mary @ 11:27


Apologies for not having contributed anything to the blog or life in general for some time. The pneumonia is almost better but my ‘get up and go’ has got up and gone….

We are late in planting up the potager but I’m not too worried as last year I was too early and the onions and potatoes suffered during a late cold spell. You find that things soon catch up. I found it a bit dispiriting to find almost all of the daffodils in the garden had been killed by the cold in February. But the wall to wall sunshine in the three weeks since I got back has started to revive many ‘dead’ shrubs. The moral of the tale is to use plants local to the area, rather than bulbs and shrubs imported from England.

The tulips are up but no daffodils

The tulips are up but no daffodils


We have missed some events lately, but we have gone back to riding on a Saturday morning.

End of a ride at Laizé

End of a ride at Laizé


Last Saturday afternoon we enjoyed a salsa afternoon in Cluny. We learned a routine and videoed it so we could remember it afterwards. There were nearly as many men there as ladies which we found astonishing. They were pretty good too!

Yvette and Pascale learn salsa

Yvette and Pascale learn salsa


Yesterday in the foyer rural it was the games morning, held the first Sunday of the month. Scrabble is the most popular game. I’m usually allowed to peek in the dictionary but yesterday I forgot to take one. Looking at the board you would think we were playing in English as many of the short words in French are the same, but without looking them up I never know which English words I can use!

A Cortambert en camping car

A Cortambert en camping car

In the afternoon the foyer rural at Cortambert hosted “Traversée de l’Afrique en Camping Car”, a film and discussion with Annik & Frédéric who travel around the world visiting out of the way places. In Kenya they were treated to a display of the Masai jumping dance and in the villages they were subject to much curiosity by people who rarely saw strangers. The gas stove and the running water in the van aroused a lot of interest.

Annik & Frédéric had travelled down the east side of Africa and then realised it was too dangerous to go back via the west side. So in South Africa they put their camping car aboard a boat bound for France. This cost more than the whole trip thus far.

Frédéric & Annik's route in Africa

Frédéric & Annik's route in Africa


We are now looking forward to greeting our Easter visitors. Taizé is getting ready for their visitors too. There are lines of tents and the huge dining marquee is back. Chris is getting on with building a new pump housing for the swimming pool. I can’t imagine going swimming yet but we will be ready for when it gets warmer. Not long now, I hope.

September 17, 2011

Journées du Patrimoine 2011

Filed under: Events,Places — Tags: , , , , — Mary @ 17:02

There is a great enthusiasm here for the Journées du Patrimoine. This year sees the 28th year of the Heritage weekends. The scheme was started in 1984 by the French Ministry of Culture to ‘ensure the most important possible audience to our cultural heritage’. It has now extended to most countries in Europe.

The theme for 2011 is to highlight the influence of architects and artisans from neighbouring countries who influenced the construction and decoration of emblematic sites. For example the frescos which once decorated Cluny Abbey, like those still to be seen at Berzé-le-Chapelle, were painted in a Byzantine style by the many Italian artists employed at that time.

Part of a fresco at Berzé-le-Chapelle

Part of a fresco at Berzé-le-Chapelle

A network of labelled sites has since been instigated in an effort to protect France’s cultural heritage. One of the first three European Heritage plaques was presented to Cluny Abbey in 2007, along with the Pope’s palace in Avignon and Robert Schuman’s house in Lorraine.

Many of the places open to the public this weekend are private homes and sites not normally accessible, for example the childhood home of Lamartine at Milly-Lamartine. Others places which normally charge are free to the public. This morning we visited the museum in Cluny and the Abbey. We have been to both several times before but we appreciate them more with knowing more about Cluny and its history. We never tire of watching the 3D film representing Cluny Abbey as it was in the 13th century.

Cluny Abbey

Cluny Abbey

We met some neighbours this morning in Cluny who said they visited a different town every year. Tomorrow they are going to the Abbey at Paray-le-Monial. We will not go so far for our outing for tomorrow afternoon, perhaps to the walnut oil factory in Charnay-les-Macon, then to the Chateau d’Aine near Azé. Tomorrow is also the Journée du Cheval so it’s open day at the stables, and there’s a pony club competition in Cluny……. On verra.

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