Our Life in Burgundy

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The Blog: Our life in Burgundy

January 31, 2010

Wolves and Baskets

Filed under: People,Village Life — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 17:37
Gilles Platret

Gilles Platret

Snow, snow go away…… We are still getting light falls of snow but not enough to be disruptive. It was most spectacular yesterday as we set off in the sunshine to go to Cluny, and halfway there it was a whiteout. When we got home the sun was out again and the new snow on the hills looked most picturesque against the bright blue of the sky.

The village in winter is more active socially than in the summer when everyone is busy in the vineyards, with their gîte visitors and in the potager. The hub of activity is the Foyer Rural. This week we were treated to a talk about wolves in Burgundy given by the author Gilles Platret. He explained that wolves were living in this region until the mid 1950s. Some time ago an inhabitant of Cortambert was eaten by a wolf, and they were prolific scavengers during the war. You can be sure that we all looked around carefully when we went out into the darkness to go home.

To ex-townies like us many of the everyday country occupations are fascinating. On Saturdays we have started to attend a workshop where we are making wicker baskets. Most people use them for shopping at the Saturday market in Cluny. They are used for picking fruit and storing just about anything and come in all shapes and sizes. We are making the smallish rounded one particular to this region.

So we watched enthralled when Robert, the local vineyard owner, showed us how to strip lengths of willow and grade them for size. For the weaving of the basket the willow is split three ways to make it thinner and more pliable. These strips are also used for tying up the vines. We appreciated how expertly he worked when he showed us how to bend lengths around a form, cut them to size and anchor them with pegs and bits of bicycle inner tube. These will become the basis of the handle and the bottom of the basket. Our efforts are now drying by the stove to be ready for the basket making next week.

The last couple of weeks we’ve been without internet or phone as we decided to change our internet provider. During this time Chris has taken the opportunity to redesign this news site so we can illustrate the goings on I describe with photos. So hopefully next time I post it’ll be easier to see what I’m talking about.

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