Well, we’ve lost the summer daylight saving and are heading into winter. It’s getting dark around 5.30 pm and the weather is becoming more wintery by the day. The leaves are falling from the large plane tree on our front terrace and the sparrows, thank goodness, have decided to roost elsewhere. It was nice having them, but I sat outside one evening counting them as they arrived to roost and gave up at one hundred. I can only describe the noise they made in the evening (until the sun went down) as like a load of ‘fishwives’ arguing, the problem being that it started again in the morning when the sun came up at around 6.45 am right outside our bedroom window!! Our pair of turtle doves that nested this summer in the tree are still around with their two offspring and have taken to lying under the tables outside during the day. We don’t know where they go at night and the word ‘dovecote’ has been mentioned a few times in the household, but you try finding one in France!!
The hunt season is well under way. Even if you live in a town around here it is easy to tell when the season starts as the local free newspaper goes from ten to thirty pages padded out by the ‘lost and found’ dog section. As normal the odd present has arrived including a hare that I had great difficulty in fitting into the freezer. In the end, it had to stand upright in a small chest freezer lent to us by a neighbour, as there was no way it was going into a standard upright one. It’s about the size of your average cocker spaniel, even without the skin and ears and we are looking forward to an evening when we can enjoy it with a few friends and a nice bottle of wine.
Our latest visitors….
The tourist season is almost at an end but we have been lucky enough to have had quite a few people with us during November. The first weekend Jean-Marc’s band held a rehearsal and we had two rooms occupied for the duration. On Wednesday 7th a couple stopped for lunch on their way back to the UK and didn’t leave until the Saturday morning. Bernie and Ann decided they liked the area so much they would stay and explore. That same day our Dutch friends Bert and Jill booked in for the weekend as they had a house to view and then Thursday morning a couple who had stayed with us the previous week on their way from Nice up to Paris for an exhibition called to reserve a room for the Thursday on their way back. Stefano and Oxana ended up staying two nights so the Friday night ‘chez nous’ was very European with Bernie and Ann plus us (English), Bert and Jill (Dutch), Stefano (Italian) and Oxana (Russian). Add in a few locals for a bit of colour and we had a memorable evening. Oh, and if anybody fancies a weekend in Venice, check out the ‘Hotel des Bains’ where he is ‘Maitre d’Hotel’. His partner Oxana is a very talented artist and did an oil painting of one of the local churches (it took an hour) on the Friday afternoon. She left it with us to exhibit and wants to come back again to do a series, most of the local churches being over 800 years old.
Restoring local frescoes…
Our current resident, Jean-Remi, who will be with us for perhaps three weeks, restores ancient frescos in churches. He is currently working in the church at Bissy (about 4 kms away) where he was called in to examine part of a painting somebody found under a coat of lime render put on the walls in the early nineteenth century. He found a fresco dating from the sixteenth century covering the entire wall behind the altar and in the process of uncovering it found underneath that a fresco from the twelfth century. He may be with us for even longer!! You can see some of his work on this page. One very interesting image from a mediaeval frieze found in the Abbey at Tournus seems to indicate that Jacques Chirac’s ancestors were gargoyles!!
On the restaurant side we have hosted the annual dinner of the Comité des Fêtes of Uchizy who numbered 34, and the following week the Uchizy Boules club who were 36 in number. We seem to be getting a bit of a reputation for functions like this as we already have two further Saturdays booked leading up to Christmas, one for a birthday and then the Chardonnay village council. Our evening bookings are less hectic now catering for between 6 and 10 as opposed to 16-20 as it was during the summer and the menu has of course changed to a more autumnal/wintery one, Coq au Vin, another great Burgundy dish.