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31 May 2016

Château May 2016

Sunday, 5th June:  Today - will we go - will we stay - the weather was so uncertain this morning, we couldn't make up our minds whether to go to the randonné at Jalogny, a next door village.  About 10am, we decided yes we would go.   It was great, if muddy and a bit slippy, up hill and down dale, I was glad to have my two walking canes, they were a great help on the steep lanes.  Some of the small lanes had shallow streams running down which made it very tricky to get through.  However, over all it was very enjoyable.   When we returned home we ran a hot bath with some special salts and luxuriated in that for some time.  Now our legs are a bit tired, but we feel proud of ourselves after 10 kms!!
There was a refreshment stop at the 16th century Château de Borde, and we were able to visit the chapel.

At Chassigny sous Dun:  A Dyeing day yesterday with La Guilde de Filage en Bourgogne, my local spinning and weaving group.  

Last week we visited two villages both called Lombard to research the history of the Lombards for John's family memoirs.  It was a very successful trip and we were joined by John's brother Stephen and his partner Barbara.  Although it was disappointing to learn that neither of the villages knew why, nor how, their village was named Lombard, a very kind historian who spent some time with us at Lombard in the Doubs, suggested that the village may have been on the route of the Lombard financiers who travelled across the country lending money and delivering important papers.   He told us that the first mention of the name was in 1303 written "Lombart".   The Lombard village in the Jura, had very little information for us but was a very pleasant village to visit.  


On the way home we visited the very pretty village of Chateau Chalon perched on high cliffs, and then followed the road to Baume les Messieurs where we visited the ancient Abbey and took some photos.The monks who first founded Cluny Abbey walked from here to the site in Cluny in the 10th century.

 Will the rain ever stop – grey skies, rain and more rain.  Our cave is flooding, fortunately it has a flagstone and earth floor.  The flooding is caused by an underground stream that usually runs quietly under the house, but now we can hear it rushing through.  The ditches are filled with rushing water, and the meadows are overgrown and battered.  Some of the farmers managed to make hay for the first time and get it bailed in waterproof bales just before this last bout of heavy rain and storms. 

Everything in the garden is being battered, but the roses like the rain.  How fortunate that we live on the side of a hill - how difficult it would be in the valley.

Roses are coming out in full force and are very beautiful, but have very little perfume without any sun to warm them.

A true Burgundian..harvesting starts in July.

The figs are growing - but will they ripen?

I hope the cherries will ripen soon - a little bit of sunshine needed

Serious writing has started again and I have been doing a lot of research on Medieval Dublin and enjoying it, so now I have gained some more useful background to help me with the sequel to Claudette.The wet weather has given me some forced work time.

On Saturday I spent most of the day in the Haut Beaujolais with my spinning group La Guilde de Filage en Bourgogne.  We were at a tourist centre demonstrating our craft and explaining how the fibres become yarns and then made up articles of covering or clothing.  I learn something new each time I meet with them, this time I learnt about using nettle fibres and linen.   Next meeting will be a dyeing day.

Yesterday I was trapped inside for most of the day because of the weather, so I kept busy with writing for a while and then some spinning and some dyeing with turmeric .  After a quick visit to the garden to cut some willow branches I started making a small basket.  My hands are no longer strong so its difficult these days to bend and curve the canes and hold it all together.

It is sad to see France in so much turmoil over their new labour laws, some of them, and of course the unions, just don’t want to change their very privileged laws and come into line with the rest of Europe.  The French are so used to strikes – they get notice beforehand on the internet and work around it, amazing how resilient they are and what they put up with.

Well its time for dinner preparations.... beef and mushroom ragout, with cauliflower cheese.

Tomorrow morning I hope to walk with Katia if it's not pouring rain, and in the evening we will to to  l'Estaminet in Mazille with some friends to eat Moules Frites.

Early May - and my first posting:

What a complicated and long journey to get here, flight cancelled out of Sydney, extra overnights etc, however we arrived to beautiful weather, blossom and sunshine.   

Unfortunately the good weather didn’t last long, and the last few days have been wet and grey, and we are in winter clothes again!  The valley looks beautiful under floating misty clouds, the sun peeping through spasmodically.   Each day I try to pull out some weeds, now I am ending up bogged in mud, but it’s very satisfying and they are not hard to pull. Of course they will pop up again shortly and grin at me cheekily.  I am on my third wheel barrow load!

I think we have recovered from jet lag, and have been getting in a walk every day, sun or rain.  People stop and chat, lovely to catch up with everyone again. There is such a feeling of history here, life goes on as it has done for thousands of years.

Our kind neighbours had opened the shutters and blinds and turned on the electricity, but inside the 60cm thick walls of our stone house it was very cold, and we have had to light fires to try to warm it up a bit.

The first day, one of the neighbours passed buy with fresh bred and brioche buns, so kind.  Despite being tired, and a half hour drive, that same day, Saturday, I went to a meeting of the Guilde de Filage en Bourgogne (Spinning and weaving group), so I missed several others who called in.  The spinning group are a diverse group of very interesting women and very committed to their craft.  For me it was a lovely opportunity to catch up with them again, to bring them some Corriedale fleece from Australia to share, and to also to show some examples of the work I had done since I last saw them. Our next meeting will be demonstrating in a tourist centre in Beaujolais, followed by a dyeing day at someone’s home a week later.
Sunday, an early walk, then down the road to the War Memorial to take part in the ceremony of “Victory in Europe Day” .     The names of the fallen from our village are read out followed by a solemn echo of “Mort pour la France”.  After that we walked up the hill to the Mairie for a vin d’honneur, a great opportunity to meet and greet several people at the same time.   A bit later we went to a neighbour for an aperitif, and caught up on all the village happenings.   The rest of that afternoon I snoozed in a sun chair in the courtyard….

 There are lots of birds nesting, and as always our courtyard is their home, this time to a family of redstarts the nest placed securely and cosily inside a stone lintel.  A couple of partridges appeared with some young, feeding amongst the weeds.  The blackbirds singing always remind me of my childhood in Ireland, and expect to see and hear some robins and a variety of finches.  The weather is so peculiar, there are some differences in the patterns of nature, so will see what happens.

I was very surprised to find some lettuce growing, lots of sorrel and some fennel, so I was able to make a salad from fresh garden produce already. 

Not warm enough for me to sit out at my stone table yet to start writing.  Instead, I am inside listening to podcasts of Irish medieval history to try to get some background and to help me to continue my story about Claudette and the branch of her family who went to Ireland. 

This morning we went into Cluny – amongst other things to visit the bookshop and discuss what stocks of books are still there.  It was a miserable day so we ducked into Chez Sissi for a ‘petit café and were delighted to find it is still only €1.30.   How amazing, long may it last. 

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