Our Life in Burgundy

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May 1, 2012

When you go down to the woods today …..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Mary @ 20:20

May has arrived, and so did the warm sunny weather for the bank holiday.

In the big cities May 1st is Labour Day, a day of trade union parades and protests. This year there is the added interest of the presidential election which finishes on Sunday. It was an opportunity for the finalists, M. Sarkozy and M. Hollande, to woo the six million people who voted for Marine Le Pen in the first round.

One of several rallies in Paris

One of several rallies in Paris

M. Sarkozy addressed a rally of 200,000 workers in Paris appealing for national unity for his Gaullist vision of France  “I tell the unions, put down the red flag and serve France!”   Meanwhile M. Hollande sympathised with the unions regarding the effects of high inflation.

But here in Deepest France it is Lily of the Valley Day. The tradition is you go into the woods and pick wild lily of the valley, enjoy the spring weather and have a nice walk. You then give a sprig to the people you love. If you get a sprig with 13 bells you are assured of good fortune.

I went down to the woods this afternoon and found swathes of lily of the valley beneath the trees. I felt like a six year old, a little guilty about picking them, walking back up to the village with a bunch of wilting flowers clutched in a hot sticky hand.

Lily of the valley in the woods

Lily of the valley in the woods

May has a succession of bank holidays where people faire le pont  to make a long weekend. We look forward to a holiday on May 8th  (Victory in WWII), and May 17th (Ascension Day).

Yes, I know that life for us is one long holiday.  So roll on those hot sunny summer days!

 

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.

April 9, 2011

Summer continues….

Filed under: Weather — Tags: , , — Mary @ 23:03

One of the things we most notice about the weather in Burgundy is  that winter suddenly changes to summer without much of a spring. The weather is generally settled and there is very little wind. When it rains it really rains but mostly it is dry.

We have been out enjoying summer this week. After the riding lesson this morning the horses were so hot we went down to the river and let them cool off.

Chris taking Lookoum for a paddle

Chris taking Lookoum for a paddle

 

April 5, 2011

It’s OK, we’re still here…

Filed under: Weather — Tags: — Mary @ 10:37

Just a quick blog before people think we have vanished off the face of the earth. We’ve just been too busy! The weather is glorious and is forecast to stay sunny and warm for another week or so. We had a good downpour on Sunday night and this has encouraged everything shoot up. You can practically see things growing as you watch.

The onions are sprouting in the potager

The onions are sprouting in the potager

Chris’s main occupation has been building a terrasse out from the kitchen door so we will be able to sit in the shade during hot summer afternoons. A bridge between the house and the swimming pool which we hope to start using by Easter when the grandkids come.

Chris early this morning making the terrasse

Chris early this morning making the terrasse

The cherry and peach trees are full of blossom this year, and you notice how much forsythia is around when the hedges turn bright yellow. In La Roche-Vineuse there is a hedge each side of the main road  with alternate yellow forsythia and purple cherry trees. A horrible combination of colours but stunning all the same.

There are plenty of ‘aaah’ moments as we pass fields of white Charollais calves and, of course, the new lambs. But this morning we found a nest of baby grasshoppers which were equally adorable in a minature sort of way.

Charollais calves

Charollais calves

We were a bit worried about how severely we pollarded our weeping willow last month but it is now sprouting again. I’ll show you how it has grown in a few months time. The branches we cut off are sprouting even more. It shows the tremendous force of nature.

The willow

The willow

Must get out and do something. It is far too nice to sit in front of the computer!

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