Each year at Ephiphany the Cortambert pompiers invite us to partake of galettes des rois and wine at the foyer rural. It’s the most well attended event of the year and a chance to wish everyone a Bonne Année. Well, not everyone, just the people you have not met since New Year. That’s difficult to remember by the 10th of January.
Most of the people in the commune were there
The firemen lined up and Daniel, the head pompier, talked about the interventions during the year. He gave out certificates and there were several promotions.
The firemen and the councillors listen to the mayor’s speech
Despite having a horrible cold the mayor, Pierre-Jean, gave a very encouraging speech about the progress of future travaux in the commune, in particular about the possibility of putting le bourg on mains drains. He commended the associations of the village that make Cortambert a strong and vibrant commuity.
The galettes des rois. The retired firemen behind
Then it was time to tuck into the galettes, delicious flaky pastry filled with frangipane. In each a little china figure. Guess what they were this year, the minions! The person who found one in their slice got to wear the crown.
Valèrie, our only lady fireman
Thanks to our wonderful association of voluntary firemen for hosting such a convivial event. I’ve arrived here too late as I would have loved to join their ranks were I considerably younger. Having been involved once in their manoeuvres I am full of admiration for their competence. Hopefully though we will never have cause to call them out.
Last Sunday our commune was invited to share wine and galettes des Rois by the Cortambert firemen. It was a celebration of Epiphany which marks the end of the Christmas season.
It was also opportunity to wish everyone a happy new year. The firemen were thanked for their activities during the year and given certificates and awards by Pierre-Jean the Mayor and the Conseiller Général of the Cluny canton, Jean-Luc Fonteray. The latter takes a great interest in our commune and spoke of how he values his friendship with us. The Mayor referred to the events of last week and spoke of unity and of how France is now at war against terrorism.
After all that’s happened lately it’s good to get back to normal life. There is a lot going on in Cortambert. If you wanted you could be out every night.
Mondays is keep fit night. It’s very popular and I’m sure we are looking much better for it.
Tuesday and Fridays it’s badminton followed on Tuesdays by traditional dance or tango and salsa.
Wednesdays and every other Saturday it’s craftwork and basketmaking.
Games morning is the first Sunday of the month and and a walk is organised on the third Sunday.
And there’s the occasional cycle ride.
And there’s the library -
And there’s trips away -
And special events such as the Loto afternoon, the randonnée in June, rallys, vide greniers……and of course meetings to plan these events.
So there is no possibility at all of being bored.
What a wet week! Except for a few spells of welcome sunshine it has hardly stopped raining since last Friday. On a couple of evenings the storms were particularly bad with heavy rain and hail.
The River Grosne at Chazelle
Today we were on orange alert with 2 inches of rain forecast.
We went down to the mill at Chazelle to see how high the river was and met a couple of trailers loaded with cows leaving for higher ground. The horses in the surrounding fields did not seem in any immediate danger although they didn’t look too happy.
Despite the days of rain it was not as bad as the Great Flood of October 2008 when much of the land around the Grosne at Cormatin was flooded and the Chateau was in the middle of a lake. We had been in Chazelle at the peak of the flood, watching as a team of pompiers tried to rescue some horses stranded in a small corner of a field. It was too dangerous to swim them over the submerged fencing so the pompiers simply took them some hay and watched for the water to start going down.
The pompiers take hay to the stranded horses in the floods of 2008
Drier weather is forecast from tomorrow. After a long winter and a few false starts we are hoping to see some summer at last.
Chris and I were pleased to be the ‘victims’ in this month’s manoevres, the practical training session for the local pompiers. This time it was a joint exercise by Cortambert and Cluny. The Cortambert firemen can respond immediately with equipment that can be towed by a car. That’s quite adequate for small fires, but if there is a major incident the Cluny pompiers are called out.
The farmhouse at Butte à Vent
Early this morning we were taken to Butte à Vent, the impressive chateau that overlooks Cortambert. The farmhouse was already filled with smoke. We were given our instructions and led by the arm to our positions in the house, quite unable to see anything. I was left in the kitchen (a very unlikely place for me to be!). Chris was in the salon. You appreciate how how people become panicky and disorientated in a fire. We could see nothing.
The Cluny fire engines arrive
After yelling for help for what seemed ages we were saved by the pompiers in their full breathing gear and carried to safety. Once outside we were checked over and given oxygen. The pompiers are fully trained as paramedics as they are first on the scene at any medical emergency, not just accidents. I was also treated for a wound from a kitchen knife (that sounds more like me).
The pompiers emerge from the house
A funny thing. When asked afterwards which was the kitchen window I hadn’t a clue. Having seen nothing when we entered the house and being blind for quite a while I was completely confused.
Although this was only make believe we really were glad to see the pompiers. And it’s reassuring to know that in any emergency such a well trained group is on hand to help.