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14 August 2013

August in Chateau, 2013

16th August  2013

There is a slight touch of autumn in the air these mornings when I open the door.  A clean moist freshness – the heavy dew around until the morning sun dries it up.    After a month of extremely hot weather it is quite a relief!  Its particularly pleasant to go for an early morning walk and smell the freshness of the vegetation.  

Blackberry bushes laden with small green berries – another 3 weeks or so, we will be eating them.  Look forward to those blackberry breakfasts and of course delicious blackberry and apple tarts.

On Saturday our neighbours invited us to dinner – that is, a picnic dinner on the “Plateau”  a flat area on the highest hill in Chateau.  There was a pleasant warm breeze and the profile of the ruins of an old wind mill standing out against wonderful views. 

A sliver of a moon - us watching the sun go down!
It was a true French picnic – tables and chairs, a four course meal and the wine was flowing.   We watched the sun go down – I guess it was around 9.45pm, whereas the sun has gone over the hill from our house by 8.15 or so these days.
A young sliver of a moon and bright stars… what a perfect way to spend an evening.  This is the season for shooting stars, but no we didn’t see any that night.

Our trip to Paris was a great success. Photos below.  It is so easy on the TGV (fast train) only an hour and a half from our local station to travel the 450kms.   Paris was very hot and therefore tiring, but we made sure we had a siesta every afternoon.   Very few places are air conditioned in this country, certainly not the metro, so that was pretty uncomfortable.  Particularly as it was very crowded with tourists, and there is a lot of climbing up and down stairs to do in the metro.     Some museums are in ancient buildings and are not air conditioned, so again wonderful to see, but airless and tiring.   We walked along the Seine, saw people sunning themselves on the temporary beaches, playing games and listening to music. 

We wandered into the small back streets and found delightful restaurants where we had wonderful inexpensive meals.   One evening we took the metro to one of our favourites – a restaurant run by a Cooperative for the workers.  It used to be run by the Communist Party!  It has lots of character and history.   Hot summer nights with lots of fun music and a lively atmosphere.

Our hotel had a bar on the 9th floor on the roof terrace.  360 degree views of Paris with the Eiffel tower lighting up, Sacre cour in the distance on the hill, and Notre Dame on the other side.

We wouldn’t normally go to Paris in August, but we were invited to a 60th birthday party and it seemed a good excuse to go!   However four days were quite enough, and we were happy to get on the train again for home.

John is playing bridge – he has joined a small club at Charnay Les Macons – and is really enjoying it.  One of his ‘bridge friends’ has invited us to an apero at her vineyard in the Beaujolais next week.
Repas d'ete

le Repas d’étè
In July we had several local social events – the village summer feast, le Repas d'Ete, and our street party la fête de voisins.  We passed many enjoyable evenings sharing meals with local friends and have enjoyed some visitors at our home. 

la fête de voisins

We met some of the new residents of Chateau at the summer feast, three houses have been sold recently in the village,  mostly to young families which of course is good for the village.

One of the new residents has a house away from the road on the side of a small walking track which we use every morning.   One morning we discovered an easel, canvas and felt pens on the track.  At the top of the canvas was an invitation to walkers, neighbours to draw a flower!!   What a lovely way to be inclusive of your neighbours.   We passed the word around, and of course the canvas is covered with colourful flowers by now.

Our neighbours had their grandchildren staying for two weeks of the school holidays and they asked me if I could show the children the spinning wheel in action.  They enjoyed it very much and asked lots of questions.   

This evening an apero with some neighbours and later this week we have some Aussie visitors arriving, and some Aussies who live in Geneva coming for the weekend.  Shortly after that John goes into hospital for yet another operation to clear some scar tissue.  Can we hope this time it will be resolved for good!  As a result of his health we have had a quiet summer and I am well into another book.  This time a historical novel set here in this village in the Middle Ages.  I have chosen the time period because there is so much information on record about this region – it was the time when the great Abbey of Cluny was in its heyday. 

The first toast - Martin the younger...

We had a great reunion of the “three brothers”  John, Stephen and Martin and their spouses of course.  Martin and Anne also brought their 16 yr old daughter Kate. It was a very special time. We have not seen Martin for about 7 years and Anne for about 10 years.
A concert by the brass band of the Air Force turned out to be popular and fun.  It was supposed to be on the lawns of the Abbey but because of uncertain weather the organisers moved it into the cloisters so the volume was a bit strong!!!

Family dinner on the old stone table

Stephen and Martin working on family history

brothers and spouses
Paris from the 9th floor bar as the sun goes down

Glorious Notre Dame - those carvings!!!

Interior of Notre Dame

Town hall - Mandela exhibition

Au Temps de Cerise - waiting for dinner

reading the menu at the Co-op

Flashing madly

Hotel de Ville - Town Hall
The streets of Paris buzzing on a summer night

Luxembourg gardens and a contented 
A carved door at the Medieval History Museum

The fountain at St Sulpice - and a reminder of Tallong
John, Rosemary and Ian at La Maison de Charolle

Making hay while the sun shines....


Dianne said...

Another lovely blog post, Jean. So wonderful to follow your adventures.

I hope the operation goes well and that it will finally deal with that nasty scar tissue for good. Give John a hug from us.

We are in the season of the big winds, but lots of new leaves on the Claret Ash and our Manchurian Pear has loads of blossoms. Can Spring be far behind?!!

dearindira said...

Wonderful to catch up with all your adventures Jean and please give your a hug from us for his upcoming op. hope all goes well xx

Nicholas John said...

Love the photos.
Fond memories of last visit.