Sunday, 28 October 2012

What Colour Is a Cow?

Charolais cows in our field
I grew up thinking that cows were covered in black and white blotches, even when I moved to The Netherlands, this seemed to be the natural order of things, but since I have moved to France I know that cows should be white, well a sort of creamy off-white really.  I know this, because we live in Cattle Country - the home of the Charolais. 

Now for those ignorant folks (like me before my enlightenment) who thought that cows were black and white blotchy things, this may come as some surprise and if you are from Scotland where they think that cows are small and hairy things with very long intimidating horns, it may also be difficult to believe, but Charolais are the best beef cattle in the world, no matter what anyone else says and so it is logical that all cows should be large and a creamy off-white.  Have a look at any satellite photo of this area and you will see just how many of the beasts there are in the fields around here.  In fact no self-respecting farmer in south Burgundy, would be seen dead having non-creamy off-white cows in his fields. 

Brown cows in Cluny
However, this weekend, all that changed and quite frankly the shock waves are still wobbling the knees of my bovine friends.  This weekend there were BROWN cows to be seen in great abundance in Cluny.  How is this possible?  How was this allowed?  What was even worse, was that there were farmers from this area parading their brown monsters in a huge tent specially erected for the purpose.

This is the end of civilisation as we know it and next week, I suppose, we will be finding all sorts of multi-coloured things in our fields.
The future?

For our website showing holiday accommodation next to a field with creamy coloured off-white cows in it click here.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Long Walks in the Countryside

Cormatin Randonnée
When the alarm went of at 6 in the morning last Sunday and I heard rain on the windows, my heart sank and I had a distinct feeling of déja vu. You see last Sunday was the Cormatin walks which we help organise every year. We had worked all day Friday and Saturday preparing for the walks, marking the roads, buying and assembling the food that was to be given out at the food posts. Last year was an absolute disaster, not only financially but on the morale of our little club. It rained all day and no one came to walk, well not nobody, there were in fact 39 hardy souls in total, when an average year should yield about 300. We all got very cold, very wet and very miserable, not to mention the 200 Euros loss - money we can ill afford to lose.

Cees and I set off anyway to meet the others and by the time we reached St Roch (the starting post) the rain had stopped. In the end it was an excellent day for walking, a bit cold for us at the food posts, but for the walkers, there was no sun and until about 4 in the afternoon, no rain either. We had a very good year, more than 400 entries, so that should help a bit towards paying for the old aged pensioners’ lunch next year.

The food distribution left a little to be desired though, our president had chosen the typical French model of centralisation, so the sandwiches were prepared in St Roch and the distributed (or not) to the food posts. Not a bad idea, but seeing as even the French government had scrapped the centralisation of food distribution back in the 60’s. it might say something for the efficiency of the system. In the end I had to drive to collect the missing sandwiches, by which time of course, all the walkers had disappeared - ah well better luck next year.

Chardonnay Randonnée
This Sunday the alarm was set for a much more relaxed 7 in the morning, for our favourite walk of the year – the walk in Chardonnay. A misty morning, but the weathermen had promised a nice day with sun in the afternoon. Well they were wrong, it turned out to be a beautiful day with sun all day and by the time we were half an hour into our two hour walk, we were sweltering. Never mind, it was all worth it.

I always marvel at the organisation of this walk, I have absolutely no idea how many walkers they have, but if someone said 5 or 6 thousand, it would not surprise me. The photo is of one of the food posts and everyone got a sandwich ! Decentralisation was the key - maybe our president could learn a trick or two from them…

Food distribution on the Chardonnay walk
Anyway, we had a superb walk through stunning landscape and we came home and slept in the garden – 25 degrees in the shade and it is the end of October – now that is the way to spend a Sunday.

La Tuilerie Website gives details of our holiday accommodation, ideal for a walking holiday of all degrees of difficulty.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Mur D’Escalade

I’ve mentioned the climbing wall in the Bois Dernier quarry that the tourist tax has paid for, before, but we noticed the other day, that everything is now, well and truly up and running. All the signs are up, guiding climbers to a total of 10 climbs, 5 for beginners, 3 for advanced climbers and 2 for experts. Not to mention of the course the children’s play ground where we had so much fun, on the little assault course, back at the beginning of the year . There are also signs up about the wildlife you can see when you are there and a lot of details on the geological background of the rock formations.

Well we just had to try it all out. Now everyone who knows us, knows just how much we love climbing up high. It was all so tempting, but I didn’t have the right equipment no ropes, no clips etc.

What the heck - I just had to have a go...

And what a wonderful view from the top, you can even see La Tuilerie in all its glory.

It is a much quicker way up the hill to Taizé that via the path. Maybe I shall recommend it to our guests as an invigorating way to get to church in the morning...

La Tuilerie de Chazelle holiday accommodation near Taizé, Cluny and Tournus, not to mention a lovely climbing wall just down the road.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

If you go into the woods today….

I am normally woken up by the bells of Taizé, but the other morning I had a rude awakening to the sound of heavy machinery. Yes we hear tractors when there is haymaking or hedge cutting, but nothing like this noise and in any case, all of that has been done for the year, so I had no idea what was going on. While we sat down to breakfast, we could see some ominous lights approaching the house through the woods. I went to investigate and peering through the trees on the edge of the forest I saw a huge machine chewing up and spitting out trees.

I then went into the forest to investigate properly and saw that this machine was chopping down every tree smaller than a certain diameter, presumably to bring more light and life into our little bit of the woods. I must say that it was a lot more effective than we were when we were allocated a section of the forest to cut down for winter fuel. A one off experience – never to be repeated, and even though that was way back in the winter of 2005/6, I can still feel all those aches and pains. So who knows maybe we can get some cheap and painless wood for the winter ... dream on !

La Tuilerie Website
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