Saturday, November 1, 2008

Octobre 2008

October 2008

October has been a good month and a bad month; a cold month and a warm month; a month that has had some real extremes.

The seasons are definitely changing. Brrrrrr. The winter fog has arrived, and misty days along with it. My morning bicycle trips to the store are less and less. Then just when you shiver a little, there are a few days of Indian summer (Eté indian).

The Cote was extremely d’Or this fall; that is the region called the Cote D’Or (side of gold) was covered in vines of gold and red (gold-vermilion). On sunny days it was beautiful. I must say that my photo does not do it justice.

Keith accepted another trip for OATs (overseas adventure tours). He left on Monday the 25th and will return on Nov 7th. The clients, 19 this trip, arrived Tuesday morning, the 26th. He said the group was primarily from Rhode Island and many knew each other.

This is not the prettiest or the warmest time of year for a trip on the canal. On Thursday the 30th, they were bused from Lyon to the boat at St-Léger. Wednesday in Lyon they had some snow flakes in the air (I saw blue sky in Paris).

It is foggy this time of year, so seeing the sites could be rather difficult. Keith said they seemed to be having a great time in spite of the fog/snow/rain.

I presume this is the last tour of the year. The tourist canals (such as the Burgundy canal) shut down over winter. There have been articles in the paper on the canals this last year asking the question “ how long will the government pay to maintain these tourist canals”. There are some waterways in France that are still used for commercial transportation, but the Burgundy canal not one of them. Maybe some cargo, but it is primarily used for tourists or recreation. A few people actually live on the canals full time in their boats (of course the size varies, but there are some that have move floor space than our house).

In Pouilly-en-Auxois there is a canal tunnel that was a great engineering feat in 1832. Thought I would throw some history at you. [ site is in english]

The final part of the construction of the Burgundy canal was the complicated and impressive tunnel, which is at the summit. This tunnel is 3.333 kilometres long in a straight line, you must remember that at these times 90% of the work was manual. At its deepest section there is 48 metres of land above the tunnel. The building of the tunnel began in 1826 and was terminated in 1832, the work was very difficult and dangerous, and quite a few workers lost their lives during the digging. The tunnel is ventilated by 32 wells, which climb to the surface; they were also used to assist in excavating the earth during the digging. The tunnels were added to the construction after a few years of operation, after it was realized that the pollution generated by the steal boat tug was dangerous.

This last month I found my first trompette de la mort( latin-Craterellus cornucopoides) in the woods. These are tiny black mushrooms that really blend into the fallen leaves. OK, so there were just 3 tiny mushrooms, not enough for an omelet even, but I found them, really.

There is a week in October that is to celebrate taste. There are events during the week all over France. This year I went with Wendy to Auxey Duress. The winegrowers in this village have an open house for tasting their wine each year. It was a beautiful Saturday morning when we left for our trip south. It is about 45 minutes south. We went in the morning so the village would not be too crowded. We found a great parking spot and set out with the village map provided. We tasted wine at six different caves. There was a lot of good wine, however I was looking for a very good wine for Marie Therese to add to her selection (she could not go with us that day). I did not find a that very good wine (she already offers some of the wines I tasted, and I thought that the ones she had were better). I bought only 2 bottles of one wine I did like, a St-Romain (maybe for Thanksgiving). I did take a photo however.

About mid October Gevrey hosted the annual Clunisian conference. To end it, they had a concert open to the public in the village church (L'EGLISE SAINT AIGNAN). There is a choir in the area called Laostic. They sing baroque music. So imagine this, you are sitting in a church built in the 9th century(Ok so it has been rebuilt here and there, but ignore that point for now). It is a small stone church. It is semi dark. There are about 12 women in the front of the church. The men approach from the back with candles, chanting. The chant goes back and forth between the men and women, as the men slowly advance to the front to join the women.

The repertoire of music for this concert was church music from the Cluny period (but of course). Marie Therese and Christian went with us to the concert and we had dinner here after. I have to add that there was great confusion about the starting time of the concert, and then to add to it, some of the singers were late. So the concert started about 50 minutes after the time I had been given. C’est la vie.

I started pottery again. The course is here in Gevrey. She is a very good instructor. Now if only I could throw a pot!! I want to really learn how to work the wheel. It is a fun class; there are 6 of us in it right now. It is on Thursday mornings.

This fall I am continuing with the photo club and the genealogy club too. Everything is here in Gevrey. I like that. Last week in photo club we were learning how to take studio photos. It would be fun to set up the studio and have some time alone working on photos. In a class situation, each person takes a turn.... but it is interesting. As for the model, we had a mannequin head instead of a model.

While Keith is away.... I went to Paris on the 29th with Marie Therese. We had planned this trip for months, but with schedules and train rates, it just did not happen (The cost on the train varies all the time, and can be very expensive to go in the morning when business people go. I found that the rate varied as much as 70 euros one way.). So finally we went, we were both open and I found some good rates. Early morning rise, and out the door to Paris. It was so foggy that morning we saw little beyond 50 feet from the train window for much of the trip.

Our train did come to a full stop because a hunting dog was on the tracks. Poor dog was lost I presume. One can tell it is a hunting dog because they add a florescent collar to dogs when they are hunting. And there it was, a florescent orange collar. Sure hope he found his way home (the train did not hit the dog, I did see it as we pulled away, sniffing happily and wagging its tail).

Back to Paris, we had a nice day. The fog started to lift about noon and we actually had a blue sky for part of the afternoon. We did stop at the Petite Palais where there was a glass exhibit (vases and such by such artists as Galle) and a photo exhibit.

I also found this fabulous kitchen store. It is shelves upon shelves and pigeon holes here and there with all the things a professional chef would need. It is all high quality, but the place is just packed with all these goodies. The shelves are wooden and are old. The shop is over 200 years old,and probably has not changed one bit. The isles were very narrow. Here is a site that has acouple of good photos (you have to take his article with a grain of salt..., but the photos are great. It was not difficult to figure out the pricing system! ).

Just to note, the American Embassy had cement barriers and then metal fence barriers with gendarmes all over the place. I tried to ask what was going on, but I presume they were not a liberty to say anything. The gendarme shrugged.

We walked a lot, from the Gare Lyon to the Place de Concorde and then some. Luckily it was a nice day.

Novembre 1st there is a party for Christophe’s birthday. He is the young man with the horse stables in Clemencey. I have been invited. Have to add notes in November about the party.

That sums up this month. Now we move into November. Any predictions for Tuesday?


It is fall and the apples are in the store. This is an easy and healthy recipe for all to enjoy


(for 2 people)

  • 1 large apple such as Gala, peeled, cored and cut into about ½ inch cubes
  • 4 figs cut into cubes
  • 1 pear, peeled and cut into cubes (depends on size)
  • 1/3 cup raisons
  • Vanilla bean -cut open and add seeds
  • 2 Tbs sugar ( this all depends on the sweetness of the fruit). Careful not to add too much, let the fruit add most of the sweet flavor. Start with less and taste.
  • Toss everything in a pan. To start, you need to add a little liquid, about ¼ cup. You can add apple juice, pear juice, or half water-half white wine.

    Cover pan and put on stove top with low heat. Watch carefully and cook until the fruit is soft, but still in cubes. Serve warm. It is that simple.

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