What a change in the weather! Although it’s been sunny most days this week it has been freezing at night; we’ve seen minus 4 and 5 in the mornings. Today there has been a very cold wind. It’s difficult to find out from the locals if this is exceptional but I don’t remember such cold weather last year until well into November. It is nice though to have the log stove going. Everyone here heats their houses with wood. It is said to make you warm three times over; first cutting it, then stacking it and lastly by burning it.
The activities in the village continue. Last night there was a folk dance in the village hall. I think we need to go to some of the practices that are held every two weeks in preparation for such events. However French folk dancing is quite slow and very repetitive so it is quite easy to pick up.
A very popular annual event was held this morning. It was the ‘Fête de 1001 Huîtres’. This heralds autumn as traditionally oysters are not transported this far inland in the warmer summer weather. The oysters were brought from different areas of the Atlantic coast, from Normandy to the very south west of France. Apparently the oysters from more northerly parts are more salty but I cannot vouch for this as I was just a spectator to this event.
We’ve been continuing our study of Lamartine the famous poet and politician by visiting the second of his chateaux at St Point. He lived there after his marriage in 1820 and he is buried there near the Romanesque church at the bottom of his garden. We followed the Lamartine Route past the Chateau at Milly-Lamartine where he spent his childhood and stopped to see the Chateau at Berzé-le-Châtel which is a landmark to the famous wine village of Pierreclos. Berzé is a most impressive chateau you could ever wish to find. It dates from the 14th century and would make a fine backdrop for any film featuring medieval times.