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26 July 2006

26th July

Our neighbours say its “infernal” everyone is complaining about the heat, it just goes on and on. Apparently it hasn’t been so hot since 1943… well there you are. Everyone closes their shutters and hides indoors or in their cellars, wherever they can find a cool spot. With the afternoons reaching almost 40 degrees, it’s hard to go outside.
However sometimes we go out for trips just to have some relief in the air conditioned car. Yesterday we did so and had a nice little tour of some Romanesque churches in the Brionnais region close by. We started with Monceau l’Etoiles, then on to Anzy le Duc and Saint Julien de Jonzy. By the time we reached Charlieu we were exhausted and decided to leave the Benedictine Abbey for another day. The three churches we saw were marvelous and we were lucky to visit Anzy when there was a volunteer guide available. This was very worth while as the guide not only told us stories, but pointed out beautiful sculptures which might be hidden to the casual eye. Just incredible they have survived in such good condition and a pleasant way to pass a hot afternoon!.
This morning, Wednesday, I have a French class. I am reading Irène Némirovsky’s “La Suite française” in French at the moment and read part of it with my teacher. The rest of the day will be spent cooking gollipis for tonight’s meal with the paleontology diggers, 14 of us. Also prepare for the arrival of four visitors from Geneva tomorrow and an additional two from Ireland on Friday for five days. So now it means cleaning up and planning menus, although I expect we will eat out quite a bit. On Saturday we will go to Autun (85 kms) to hear a performance of Mozart’s Requiem at St Lazare Cathedral, hopefully a grand occasion. The acoustics always superb in the churches here.
Yesterday John and I went into the Hotel Dieu in Cluny to visit 95 year old Mademoiselle Desthieux to continue hearing about her childhood in Château. She is so bright and energetic for her age. She told us very cheerfully that she is just waiting for her next life. However, she chatted away telling about her life as the “factrice” post lady. She walked 15 – 20 kms a day with her sac over her shoulder delivering letters around the countryside.
We went to the Germaines in Beaujolais at Domaine du Moulin Blanc recently to buy some wine and arrange a meal for the group next year - they are the nice family who did the wine for Jane and Patrick's wedding and we try to go to see them and buy wine now and again. Its always good fun to talk and we enjoy their company. She gave us some delicious creamed honey which they make with the help of their bees.!
Our little birds (goldfinches) have all grown up and flown away, so it’s peaceful again on the galerie and we don't have to creep in and out anymore. Tomatoes are coming good and just enough at the moment to eat one or two with a salad lunch, but i expect much more soon. I have lots of plums, but unfortunately the insects got there before I could do anything about it. We are not here at the right season for spraying which makes it difficult with plums and apples. However, the grape vines are absolutely laden and we should get lots of fresh grape juice in September. With the heat they should be reasonably early. I am encouraging the rose to grow over our new pergola and I plan to plant two new shade trees in a week or so in the courtyard. Just have to think ahead to other years when it’s hot and especially if the children are here!

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