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07 August 2006

Planting a tree

I am always trying to find a solution to shade in the courtyard when the weather is very hot. Earlier this year we put up a pergola, and we have roses and grape vines planted around it hoping they will to cover it quickly. Yesterday we went to a garden shop in Macon and bought a liquid amber tree. It’s already three metres tall, and was quite a challenge to get home with it hanging out the back of the car. However it’s done now and planted. It was almost root bound in the pot, so it must be really feeling happy today spreading its roots in delicious new soil with freedom! It looks as if it is smiling this morning, with its leaves dancing in the breeze. Apparently they are supposed to grow quite quickly up to 10 metres, so hope that happens eventually. After the planting I dashed down the road to Madame Desthieux who had plants for me from her garden. So now I look forward to planting a whole lot of iris around the garden, and planted yesterday some of her salad seedlings.



The tree just before planting you can see the hole against the wall, and here it is afterwards - a liquid amber in place and smiling after being released from a pot.


















Cluny tourist office has started a new program for visitors with a kind of game “in search of old Cluny” At the office they give out a form with questions and the tourists search for and identify sites of old Cluny. Karen and I are going to try it out this morning to see if it is suitable for the tour next year.

visitors and Sunday lunch with our neighbours

Well “les fouilleurs” have finished and it has been a most interesting four weeks watching them working and extracting many interesting bones, including the tooth of a rhinoceros.
So my cooking stint has finished, and begun again with a house full of visitors here. Friends from Geneva and Ireland were here and we had some good times together, eating out in the courtyard in the evenings. We were very glad to see a change in the weather as the hot weather had just dragged on for too long, almost 40 every day. The countryside was scorched and rain is so badly needed. The garden is much happier.

We had a great lunch here on Sunday with several of our neighbours. There were four generations of women; the great grandmother who is 90, the grandmother who is our age, the mother who is in her thirties and a little girl of 5 years. Also two other near neigbouring families. It was great fun.
Our youngest guest And our senior guests

In the evening we went to a concert in Blanot of English music around 1600 for violes de gambe, it sounded interesting. Instead it was agony, you would need to be pretty keen on that sort of music. It was slow, dull and often discordant. Much of the time was spent tuning and re-tuning, as with original type strings the instruments went out of tune very quickly. On top of that the wooden church pews were agony, sticking sharply into one’s back, so I am afraid I escaped at the interval and went for a walk. John stuck it out, as I think most of the audience did, very courageous.

There were four generations of women from the family next door.









We had Rosie and Jeremy Hill from Ireland staying for a few days - Rosie got working washing up



We had a good trip to Autun for Mozart’s Requiem in the grand cathedral of St Lazare. A wonderful occasion with a huge international choir and a very enthusiastic woman conductor. We found a pleasant restaurant to have dinner in first and walked up along with the crowds to the cathedral. It was so hot – after 4 weeks of hot weather even inside that great cathedral the heat had built up. If only the local dignitaries didn’t need to make speeches… I guess its their moment of glory, but just boring for the audience who are there for the music. Great music and great acoustics.

On Sunday Mehr’s son, Amer, gave a lesson on water colours and perspective at Mehr’s request. It was very interesting for me to watch. He is a very talented young man, a fashion designer who has been through the training of art school. Mehr, Anna and J, the three students were exhausted by the end of the day.

What a relief to get some rain and less intense heat. All the visitors spent some time in Cluny and Cormatin.

John, Mehr, Amer and Anna left on Monday and we went off with J and Rosie for a lovely drive in the Beaujolais hills. Their visit ended with a lovely meal at the Relais de Maconnais.
All our visitors have gone now and we are back to normal. On Wednesday we had a trip to Dijon with a friend, and yesterday we were dashing back and forth to Macon like hairy goats to buy a Burgundy marriage cup for an Aussie friend who had been here for Jane’s wedding and loved the ceremony. We got what they wanted in the end and safely posted it off to Canberra.
I had a basket making session Monday morning with Karen, but am not making much progress, it’s kind of hard to make the willows do what I want them to do!
We continue to see Mademoiselle Desthieux to hear about her life in the village in the past and whenever possible John slips in a question to Madame Laforet, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Dinner in the courtyard on a beautiful evening with John and Mehr Williams , Mehr's son Amer and his Italien wife Anna

What a relief to get some rain and less intense heat. All the visitors spent some time in Cluny and Cormatin.

We are back to normal again, the washing all done and the weather perfect. Just ideal for gardening and walking. I have been spending some hours in the garden, some hours working on basket making and very little time indoors. There is heaps of vine trimming, and as always weeding. A lot of tomatoe plants have seeded themselves, over the compost and elsewhere in the potager. I have been picking tomatoes now for a couple of weeks, and they are delicious as usual.