Friday, October 3, 2008

Septembre 2008

Here it is October 4th and I have yet finished writing my September Journal. I am looking at this piece of paper(computer) and wondering if one can have writers block when one is not a writer. So I must get on with it and put pen to paper, or actually, fingers to the keyboard.

It has been a busy time.

On the 6th of September, Christophe at Clemancey (Ecuries des Combes Rouge) had a horse show. Unfortunately, it was not a very pretty day. In spite of the clouds and a little spritz of rain, the show went on. The horses did dresage (to music) and jumping. Marie Therese had both horses in the show, Ohtar and Susette. There was also a small Icelandic horse. It is funny watching him run with the short little legs.

September horse show Jumping

Then we had company. Keith's cousin Ginny and friend Diane came for a visit. We tried to show some of our life here in the Cote D'Or. We toured Dijon (and the market), a little church if Fixey (pronounced fee-say) that is about 1000 years old, or at least part of it is. Also a small church in Bagnot known for it's frescos, including fresco's of the devils. Although this site is french, there are some good photos [ ]. The frescos are from 1484...amazing. We toured Citeaux, an abbey started by the Saint Robert of Molesme in 1098, following the rules of St. Benedict. Only a couple of the old buildings remain, many torn down through the centuries, ending with the revolution 1791 when the government took it over. There is the obligatory souvenir shop, but they were out of cheese that day, the monks make a great cheese!!

Also we went to Beaune and visited the Hôtel-Dieu (I think I have mentioned this before, but if you want more info, check here; (  ) and then Bligny to see the trains.

On Friday night, I had tickets for a concert in the church of Chambolle. Each September, Gevrey has featured concerts (Festival de Musique de Chambertin) and wine tastings.This was one of the many concerts, featuring baroque music. After this concert there was a wine tasting featuring the wines of Chambolle-Musigny. I thought it was a good combination.

We had a great time visiting with the two of them. So much to do and so little time.

Keith and I went to Ireland for a week. Overall, we had NO RAIN. Amazing for Ireland, and from what we were told, amazing for this year. Apparently it has rained all year.

The first couple days were in Dublin. We walked from one end of the city to the other taking in the sites. We saw Trinity College (unfortunately there was a long line at the library for the book of Kells, so we did not wait to see it -next time), St. Stephan's park, and the Temple Bar precinct... Tired we went back to the hotel, had dinner and went to bed.

Christ Church Dublin Pub

Second day, we took in the post office (1916 rebellion), Dublin Castle and C. Beatty Library. The Beatty Library has a very interesting collection of manuscripts, oriental costumes, collection of Korans and Egyptian papyrus that is very old indeed(1200 BC). Stunning collection. We also walked over to the Christ Church Cathedral and St Patricks, but since both charged to go into the church, we declined.

That day we ate a "Carvery" lunch. It was 10 euros, and the plate was full. I had pork, and then they added 2 kinds of potatoes and vegetables!!! A little sluggish after a lunch like that, we just walked around slowly looking taking in Dublin. Late afternoon we went to Phoenix park and rented bikes. It said in the tour book that this park is double the size of Central Park in New York. It is huge. We rode around for an hour, and saw only part of the park. It is a real treasure, and hey, the bike rental was only 5 euros.

The next off to Waterford. We got into Waterford and had a late lunch. Then we managed to catch the walking tour that was enjoyable. That evening we had a fabulous dinner in an Indian restaurant. The next day was Sunday, and bright and sunny. Most places are closed on Sunday. First the Waterford Crystal Factory tour, which does not close. It was interesting, and of course one could buy crystal from the large store after the tour. We ate lunch and then we took the bus to Tramore, about a 30 minute ride down to the ocean. Tramore is likened to Coney island, but it was fairly tame since the season is over. Families were out enjoyed the beach and a few brave souls were actually in the water (although the water did feel warm). We ended the afternoon in a pub having a beer and watching the end of a football (soccer) game with a huge crowd, and then the bus ride back to Waterford.

Cutting Glass Duplicate of the NY New Year's Ball
Tramore Beach

We looked through the tourist book and picked Kilkenny as the next destination. We took the train (about 1 hour) and arrived in Kilkenny just before noon. Little did we know that Kilkenny was hosting the “Ploughing Championship”. All rooms were booked!! We checked at the tourist office also, and were told the same, but thought we should check one B&B up by the train station. VIOLA, they had a cancellation, and we had a bed for one night. It was a lovely place and only about 1/2km into the city center. Kilkenny is a lovely city, and we wish we had had time to explore more. We did sign up for the walking tour and found it very interesting. The man giving the tour had his Phd in history. Kilkenny is also known for its black limestone, and is called the marble city.

Alas, since there were no rooms for the next night, we were off once again in the morning. We headed back to Dublin this time.

Keith went for a bike ride that afternoon (back to Phoenix park) and I went back to the city center.

On our last day, we took the “Dart” (commuter train) out to the Howth peninsula north of Dublin. This was the cloudiest day we had. Howth is a fishing village. We did our share of walking, however there was not that much to see. It was nice to be on the ocean again.

We did run into one local saying. We were asked, "Are you doing OK now", to which we replied "yes we are fine". It took a couple of times, and we finally realized that saying is used to ask, "Can I help you"?. That cleared up, we got your beers faster.

They say that the Guinness is better in Irleland, and Keith agrees.

I have not even finished looking at my photos of Ireland, but I have included a few. I have many to go through yet, it takes time.

That about sums up our tour of Ireland. We had a good time, but just to let you know, Ireland is one of the most expensive European countries!

On returning home, we had another Gevery-Chambertin concert on Saturday night. This was in the church at Fixin. Thierry Caens and his brother Jean Pierre were the leading players, however it was not limited to them. Thierry plays the trumpet and Jean Pierre plays the sax, and they were accompanied by trombones, french horns, oboes, piano, harpsichord, violin, bass... and the list goes on. It was delightful. The 2 hours went fast. The sound in the church, since it is small, was very good. We enjoyed the evening immensely.

This last week, Marie Therese and I went into the woods for mushrooms. It has been dry here, so I did not expect much. However, I found my first trompette de morte (also called black chanterelle, horn of plenty and trumpet of death). OK, they were very small, and did not really provide enough for a good dinner. We actually did see lots of mushrooms, very few (almost none) were edible. Next time we should find more, it rained yesterday.

VENDANGE... harvest of grapes. It started around the 23rd in our area, and is mostly finished. How will it be this year? We had tried a grape when Ginny was here, and they were not as sweet as previous years. Did the extra 10 days of sun help? The first big tasting is in November when there is the wine sale for the Hospice de Beaune. This year most of the grapes in back of our house were picked by machine. They did this on Thursday. One third of the field (south end) was picked by hand.

And today, Keith is riding his bike and I may go mushroom hunting

Recipe for the Month 

Gougères (very Burgundian hors d'ouevres)


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese Emmental,Gruyère, or Swiss


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
  2. 2. Sift together flour, salt.
  3. 3. Bring water and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add dry ingredients. Beat with a wooden spoon until well-blended and mixture starts pulling away from the sides of the pan (approximately 1 minute).
  4. 4. Cook mixture on low heat for 2 minutes, beating constantly. Remove from heat.
  5. 5. Beat eggs together in a small bowl. Then gradually add eggs, one tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture. Beat thoroughly after each addition. Dough should be smooth and shiny.
  6. 6. Mix-in the cheese.
  7. 7. Drop dough on a greased baking sheet, one tablespoon at a time.
  8. 8. Bake until browned, 20-25 minutes.
  9. 9. Cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm