Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Août 2016




August 2016


August is at an end. I would say this month has seen some bike action ( oh wait, not by me)!!

This month Dijon hosted the"La Semaine fédérale internationale de cyclotourisme". What is this? Each year somewhere in France, there is a week of planned biking. This includes road bikes and mountain biking, and it is indeed international. There are usually about 13,000 bikers registered. This year there of course English, Germans, Italians, but also Australians, New Zealanders and Chinese.

There are seven days of planned rides. The rides go out in a circle from the starting point with short (about 24-30km) medium and long. Each day is different.

On Tuesday the 2 august, the ride had a food stop here in Gevrey. Since all three, short-medium and long passed here, there would be about 12,000 riders through our village!!
Keith worked Friday and Saturday on registrations, then he helped out a few more days at the "Permenance" (permenance is the central location where kiosks are installed to sell food and bike paraphernalia and much more)  in Dijon, answering questions and listening to complaints.

I opted for Gevrey. I got asked also to help with set up on Monday. Starting Monday morning, we set up tent after tent and tables and benches!!!  Think of seating a few thousand at a time! Thankfully they do not leave Dijon all at the same time, and some ride faster than others. But they came through in droves at times; blocking the entire road to local traffic ( not good- now that went over real big with the locals).

This was all set up in the football (soccer) field, not far from our house.

On Tuesday, I had a 6 hour stint at a corner to direct traffic. Cars on the right have the right-away, so I had to stop the cyclist to let cars pass. Thousands of riders past by!!
A friend stopped and took a photo of me in my nice yellow ensemble.
see the little pink arrow on the road..not far in front of the
bike wheel, that marked the route 


After 6 hours, at 2pm, I took my tickets over to see what I could get to eat, I got a lunch for the work I did ( they use money tickets so the people selling food do not work with making change). Not a lot left to eat at 2pm!! Ate part of a dry ham sandwich. Keith said other days, I riders said the food was great.

I did  take some photos though. At this time, some who went on the medium to long route were coming back through Gevrey, for water or beer and snacks.

Some entertainment- Polish dancers

A local band!!
Note the bike racks


Swarm of cyclists-meeting friends as they came into the
area

Too tired!! Could not even make it into the food stop I guess!!
The picnic day, Thursday, Keith invited 5 english gentleman over for a picnic lunch chez nous. Have to admit, we bought most of it. But how can you loose with the french market? Paté,charcuterie,
 salads, cheese, wine and bakery goodies for dessert. I put together some hor d'oeuvres. Three and one-half hour later, they mounted their bikes to return to Dijon ( and it was raining- they could have taken the train).

After the week was finished, Keith packed his bags and went west on his bike. Made it to the Atlantic and back, he was gone for 14 days.

And now of course it is the time for the Vuelta d'Espagne (Tour of Spain). So cycling continues. Froome is trying to win this tour also (he won the Tour de France), but as of Monday he is 58 seconds behind.

So bikes, cyclisme, cycling...so much for one month. And it continues this weekend, although it will be September. It is the 20th anniversary Tour of Burgundy for Duvine Bike Tours. Keith worked for Duvine for a few years, especially and obviously doing the tours here in Burgundy. He is meeting some of the guides he worked with this weekend. Bravo Duvine.

For me this month, I had a walk before the canicule (heat wave) set in,. We have had dry, hot weather. Many days at 90-95, and with humidity! I know I said dry, meaning no rain. But even without rain, there is humidity in the air!!
But back to the walk with MT and dogs, it was a beautiful day early August, some clouds, but still very enjoyable. Of course I have flower photos.
Inula Montana and a grasshopper

Fall is coming and berries are on trees -Cornouiller mâle

Scabieuse des champs

Panicaut champêtre,

Épilobe à feuilles étroites

Laser de France 

Centaurée scabieuse
Keith and I decided to go out for lunch one day. Went over the hills to Semur. Beautiful village and I wanted to take loads of photos, but unfortunately I felt a little off after lunch (hey only one glass of wine, so not the wine), I think the heat had something to do with it. However, I had taken a couple of photos before lunch.
Old city gate

Once inside, the gate from the other side

Love these old buildings

Street with a few restaurants, and note the tiled
tower over on the top left.

I have been taking village photos, again. Trying to get the villages in the Haute Côte finished. Lots of work to take 200 photos of a village, then process the photos and then return for the retakes. But I do enjoy it.
Here are a couple of the photos of Semezanges.
Semezanges, just outside the village
Church, in village center 1865 (not very old)
Old village bread oven

Love the name "alley of the cat steps" or "cat paws"

Old village pump- still works

Wheels from a wood wagon (made of wood)
Small is a regular size wheel, to compare the large size.
About 2 meters in height

Other things that occupied me this month. While Keith was gone and we had the worst of the heat wave, I worked at making a new photo library for the Association. I am using Lightroom, and learning its in and outs and how to make it work for me. I now have over 6000 photos, The village photos comprise about 2,400 ( and no where near done with that), and another 1300 are aerial photos of the villages. The rest are nature photos, old class photos, old photos, events, excursions of the Assoc, and Expositions. Still looking through the folders for more photos from the old computer and taking more every day. They do add up! Hopefully, this archive of photos will be interesting to some generation of the future.

I want to give you another look into french life. I have said life is calmer in many ways. I have had to mellow (really I have worked at it!),
Meetings can be long, a discussion can go on rather long (forever)- especially for an American, but that is how it is, so I have learned to let it go and start to doodle. Everyone should and does get a chance to register their opinion.
Along that same line, subject of directions, as in where is that hotel. When we first were here we were frustrated that there was not a sign every 2 blocks telling us which way to go. We have since learned, keep going in the same direction until you see another sign. This could be a few miles, but it works. Of course now with GPS, this is less of an issue, unless the GPS puts you on a closed road.

Then this sometimes applies to the government too. One year taxes were delayed because the tax forms had not been printed, so a notice was sent saying more info later when the forms were ready.
.Another example, regulations were passed on small business (or self-employed) that were effective immediately . Keith ran over to the office and ask what it meant and how was he to comply. They just shrugged their shoulders and said don't worry, we do not have the guidelines yet. 
So one gets accustomed to the " be patient" attitude and it is nice once you take a deep breath and shake off the American attitude of NOW, and let life go on. Everything does get done, it is just how you go about it., in a panic or leisurely. I now prefer the latter.

On to the recipe. This time of year is so fun with all the fresh fruits and vegetables available. And oh the tomatoes from the garden. Although the crop is down, and the tomatoes are small, there is still nothing like a fresh one from the garden. I made a tomato chutney, it is really good. Recipe however is a little vague. I added here and there, tasted and added again!!!


Recipe of the Month
Melon soup

I had thought I would have a great recipe of chicken gelé, but I had a tad too much tarragon, so need to start over on that recipe. We ate it nonetheless.


So another hot night and what to prepare. I had some italian meat and a salad, but then I saw the cantaloupe and thought melon soup. Perfect for a hot night. Add a mint leaf to decorate, or some julienne chorizo, depending on your taste.

INGREDIENTS (for 2, makes about 2 cups)
  • one small ripe melon, chopped in small cubes
  • 1/2 c. creme fraiche or cream
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
PREPARATION
  1. Cube the melon (it is easier in the blender with small cubes)
  2. Add the creme fraiche to the blender
  3. Add the lime juice
  4. Then add the melon
  5. Blend
  6. Now taste and start to add the honey to the desired sweetness. It will depend on the cantaloupe, and of course your taste. You might need more or less then I suggested
  7. Add pinch of salt
  8. Blend and taste



Sunday, July 31, 2016

JUILLET 2016

Sunshine
And now, on to August.
This month has been the month of Julius Cesar, and now we slide into the month of Augustus.

During spring I whined about the wet and cold. Well, the month of July has been hot and dry. It all seeks a balance somehow I guess, I however always want more and would appreciate a nice medium.

Have to talk about our weird season a little. Reports daily in the paper about the crop yield is very low this year. The harvest (moisson) began a couple weeks ago.

And remember I said there was a freeze in May that damaged the vines. Well talking to a vigneron that we know well (as we were tasting wine), his Ladoix (white wine) is 100% ruined. That is one of my favorites wines from him! It sits next to the Charlemagne white, so has all the same finesse and half the price . Ruined!!!
The yield for 2013,2014,2015 were at about 30% because of hail, and now 2016 a total loss. He has other wines to sell, but some of the vignerons do not! It is a terrible year for some of the great Burgundy wines.

As the month of August begins, so many things in France ( and Europe) come to a halt. It is the time (or month) of the grand vacance (big vacation). Bet the baker will go on vacation too!!!

I finally have a counter-top (yippee). It was installed the 25th of July. It is wonderful!!!

But  as I said above, in a few days it will be August. We do not have a date for the electrician, and because it will be August, we wait for September, when he will give us a date to come and work.
The hood above the cook top has been ordered, but Keith received an email that said it would not be delivered until September! And so it goes.
Vacation is here and work is put aside.
And only once the electricity is all in, then the back splash can be measure and ordered! The outlets were on the old back-splash and not on the wall, The new back-splash will be flush against the wall, so the outlets need to be inserted into the wall. Because the old back-splash was a few inches from the wall, I gain a little space. Right now I have only one outlet in the kitchen, but I can be patient, I think.
Maybe I will have it all done by Christmas ( and last Feb I thought it would all be done by May) !!

One balade (walk or hike) with MT this month, unfortunately not more! But is was a gorgeous day and a wonderful walk. MT also found some chanterelles (these are edible mushrooms called girolles here in france).. I did get a few photos from that day. With the dry spell now, there are not many flowers :-(
Pyramid orchid

Campanule

Happy dog

Beautiful sky

Papillon (butterfly)

Still looking for name!


The photo book of Gevrey is finished and now I am taking photos of the villages. I spent a few days at the beginning of the month in the villages of Ternant, Quemigny and Poisot.
One of the old guard houses of the château in Ternant
and yes, it is in a field of sheep

The other guard house that has a pond in front of it

An old  "rucher"..(bee hive shelter). Old hives on the shelf

About 4,000 year old DOLMEN (burial place)

The other 4,000 year old DOLMEN .
The is the larger dolmen, the rock post on the
right has been put in place to carry the weight
of the tip stone, old wall was gone 
Then on to Quemigny (pronounced kim an knee)- actually it is Quemigny-Poisot. The two villages merged some years ago.
This was the portable water in 1855

Old cross outside the village

The lavoir (where cloths were washed) in Poisot
I have lots more photos, but thought I would just post a few.

The Tour de France is over. Froome from Britian won. Now on to the Olympics.

Ah yes, Britain. Much to do about the Brexit. However, until Britain triggers the Article 50, everything is on hold. No negotiations can be done until the it is done. So the news if filled with speculation. Not sure the British did or are going to get what they wanted. And what about Scotland, will they try to leave Britain?  So many questions, and no answers. Once the process of "divorce" starts, there is a time period of two years to do all the negotiations.  A big issue with the British is the free movement of people within the EU, which they do not want. But that clause is hooked to free trade. Next couple of years will be interesting.

I did a bit of traveling this month. I met our english friend on the west coast in Biarritz. It is right on the ocean and has some huge beaches. Lots of people there for summer vacation and beach time. One beach to the north looks to have the bigger waves and it is used by surfers. Great place to visit, but since I do not like to sit on a beach, I would not spend too many days there. Ah but the fresh sea food.

 We did take off our sandals and walk in the water. Feet have now been in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean.
We also went down to San Sebastian in Spain for the day . The bus stop was about one block from our hotel and it was a 35 minute bus ride, so why not. A very pretty village, and also summer beach town. Many many more people on the beach. We had a tapas lunch there, here you pass a counter and put what you want on your plate. Fun lunch.
Biarritz
Bay of Biarritz- beach is behind large rock top right

The large beach- Grand Plage
Surfers at the northern beach


Virgin Mary on top protecting the bay

Interesting rock formation

Beach cabines
The water is very blue, but so was the sky. Hot sunny days in Biarritz. Although by the ocean, it was drier than here.
San Sebastian
San Sebastian beach was so crowded, we did not try to walk on the
beach. This was Sunday, so everyone was out cooling off
San Sebastian has gardens all along the beach front. Very pretty
Tapas bar for lunch in San Sebastian
This is a small view of what they had
Chris took this photo with her telephone, a little more discreet
than my big camera

In San Sebastian, since it was a very hot day, we took the little tourist train ride around the city. The beaches were at the south end. The old city and the beach front were very pretty. I did not have to speak spanish, although Chris knew some. Commercial places all spoke english.

The train trip to Biarritz, going through Lyon instead of Paris, is long. Going down I stopped at Montpellier for the night, and coming back we stopped at Nimes (Chris came back to stay a few days here in Gevrey).
Montpellier
Place royal de Peyrou -Montpellier
14 juillet and a military ceremony in progress
Montpellier
NIMES
Nimes- The walkway from the train station to
the place - Arena, has a fountain or stream of
running water. Many children were playing
in the water, but these two women were also
cooling off with feet in the water.

Old roman arena and it is still used today. The day we arrived
the group Muse were giving a concert. We toured the arean
the next day, when it was very quiet.
I knew that they held french "bullfights", using the little bulls of the Carmargue, The object is to grab the ribbon off the horn of the bull. So man chases bull, bull chases man, and it is a fun show for everyone.
But we discovered that Nimes is the center of bullfighting in France, and that the Spanish type of bull fight is also held here. I would never buy a ticket for that!

Inside the Arena- to the right, wooded seats added on top
of hard stone seats

Maison Carré- temple built 1st century

Garden of Nimes
Nimes is a beautiful and historic city. Wonderful place to visit. We had 24 hours and squeezed in as much as possible until our train left at 3 35pm. It was another hot day, fun to see everything.

Starting Sunday the 31st, the semaine federal international de cyclisme ( international cycling week) is here in Dijon. Around 12,000+ cyclist are expected, that a lot of riders!! Keith has been working  at the registration Friday and Saturday, and I presume tomorrow. Then he will go on the road marking bike routes for the next days ride. I have volunteered to work Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday's ride goes through Gevrey, and there is a stop for "ravitaillement" (food). So around 10,000 will be passing through our little village to eat. Monday I will work setting up the Food tent. Some will eat there and others at local restaurants. Tuesday I will be directing traffic. More in the August report.

TRISTE
Another sad incident here in France. I was in Montpellier on the 14th and did not see the sad news until the next morning.
How sad to run down these  people in Nice who are out celebrating. These were men, women and children from all countries, all nationalities and all religions. It is hard to imagine the logic in these attacks. And the attacks continue. France has had its share, but other places have been hit too.

We can not let them win though. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Life continues, and I will not sit at home and let fear govern my life.

So I will end here for this month.

Recipe of the Month
Chicken, tomato sauce and noodles

Keith called on Friday and said that he would be late. So I decided to revise dinner to something that would hold over. I thought I had chicken breasts in the frigo, but opening the door I remembered I had chicken thighs. 

Perfect, they can cook longer and not dry out. Also had some leftover Chorizo. OK no problem, this will work.


INGREDIENTS
  • 4 small chicken thighs
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 stick chorizo
  • optional chili flakes or powder* for a bit of bite
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
  • oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Noodles or pasta or your choice
Note: * I have chili powder from England. It is the powder of chilis, a pinch or two is all I need for a spicey tange to a dish. It is not a mix to make chili soup.

PREPARATION
  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Heat oil in a pan and brown both sides of the thighs
  3. Toss in slice chorizo
  4. Add tomato sauce and water 
  5. Add chili flakes to taste
  6. stir well
  7. Cover and bake in oven 1 1/2 hour
  8. Prepare noodles
  9. Remove chicken from over, add cooked noodles
  10. Stir all together
  11. Add parmesean and give a last stir and serve