Saturday, 26 November 2011
When we heard that the funeral was going to be in Cluny and that it was amazingly open to the public, we just had to go. Large chunks of town were blocked off to traffic from 6 o’clock last night and so we parked at the Intermarché at the top of town and walked down into the town centre past Mrs Mitterrand’s family home.
The service concentrated on Mrs Mitterrand’s achievements with France Libertés an organisation she set up 25 years ago. Her support the Kurds seems to have been her biggest achievements which explained the very large Kurdish presence and the singing of a beautiful Kurdish song written especially for the occasion.
A great send-off for a great lady.
Saturday, 19 November 2011
This summer the cinema came up for a face-lift and lovely new red chairs were installed, so this week when we went to see the 1950s film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, we took along a camera to make some photos and aren’t they really special and worthy of a blog? We arrived especially early to take this photo (5 mins before the film started), so you can see just how popular the film was. Eventually the audience totalled 8 paying viewers and 3 staff, which was a pity as it was rather good !
All regular Cluny cinema goers will know that there was a difference in the chairs in the two sections. The bottom section chairs used to be bigger and a lot more comfortable than the top section chairs. On one occasion when we actually went to a sell-out film (Le Grand Meaulnes) we had to sit in the top section and I can tell you the chairs were horrible. Ever since then we have arrived well in time, just in case. Having said that, our taste in films doesn’t seem to coincide with the rest of the population around here and it has never been necessary since. But following the renovations you don’t have to worry about the top section chairs any more because they are the same as the bottom section, lovely and big, seemingly comfortable and of course red !
So on our visit this week I decided to try and sit on one of the top chairs, to check them out before they disappeared. The seat was lovely and soft and big enough for my bottom, but I agree, the lack of leg room was a little disconcerting. Let’s hope they manage to find a happy medium with the next lot !
La Tuilerie Website
Monday, 14 November 2011
First, get your fruit and put it in a plastic barrel and seal it allowing the fruit to ferment for several weeks or months. About this time of year your fruit should be well fermented and ready to turn it into alcohol. But doing that yourself is of course illegal so what do you do, well you call your local travelling still owner of course (have you no imagination?) He will tell you where and when he will be in a village near you and you turn up with your fruit and hey presto you leave with a few gallons of eau de vie.
This tradition stems from the fact that viticulturists have to pay their taxes in alcohol, yes alcohol. They used to have to go down to the local tax office with several gallons of booze and their taxes were paid. Now it is a little simpler, they just give the nearest distillery the required number of tonnes of grapes and he sorts things out with the tax office. But of course this is France and so the travelling distillery still comes to town tax man or no tax man. Up until 1960 everyone who owned a vineyard could get the distiller to make up to 1000 degrees of alcohol free of any excise duty, nowadays there are few people left with this privilege, but the distiller still comes and will distil your fruit and you just have to pay him for the effort and pay the tax on the booze he produces.
This is something we have been trying to see for a long time and finally this year we got wind that our local travelling distiller was in a village near us and so off we went. You could smell the fermenting fruit and eau de vie from more than 100 meters away, so we knew were in the right place even before we saw rather inauspicious the sign. Not quite as glamorous as I had imagined, a ramshackle concoction of vessels and pipework cobbled together on the back of a trailer, parked in a muddy farmyard surrounded by old codgers testing the produce, but it was enormous fun to watch.
At the end of each session in a village, the distiller uses his still to boil up vegetables (cabbage, whole potatoes in their skins, carrots, turnips you name it) along with huge chunks of bacon and various other pig parts to make what is called an “Assiette Alambic” this meal is then enjoyed by the villagers on the last evening of the still’s presence in their village. We ate Bray’s version at Le Grange Finot the other day for lunch with enough meat (on my plate alone) to feed an army, along with soup to start, cheese or dessert, ¼ litre wine and coffee all for the princely sum of 12.50 Euros, now that’s what I call a meal Burgundy style.
Saturday, 5 November 2011
Anyway, it got me to wondering who Saint Martin was. These things are usually not too difficult to find out, but it does appear that Martin is quite a popular name amongst the saintly community particularly in the month of November. I ruled out all non-November Saint Martins and I was left with, saint Martins for 3rd, 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 18th and 27th November. The most popular of these (ie the ones with Wikipedia articles) were for:
St Martin of Tours 11th patron saint of soldiers (pictured on the right).
So you pays your money and you takes your choice, I haven’t a clue who’s day we were celebrating !