Thursday, 20 March 2014

Chatillon en Bazois

Here's where I went today. I've driven many times through Chatillon, having needed to travel towards George's kids every holidays. My main interests in Chatillon in the past were the Chateau with it's wartime bullet wounds, the metal beds piled up in a building level with the road, the Roulottes you can stay in, the canal and the cake shop. George's  kids are now sophisticated train traveller's with Wifi. They love going via Paris on the trains travelling at speed with chocolate muffins. Nowadays we are slow travellers on bicycles through Chatillon. We drove to Alluy through Moulin Engilbert where I noticed my friend has just obtained a shop to sell his art.
We pass a tiny bar , open all day and into the night perhaps, unspecified hours. A real dusty bend in the road nowhere place to have a bar next to a redundant church. I went in once to ask directions to the advertised Limanton Brocante. I was told the brocante was actually in Pannecotte pronounced 'Pan Sow'. I remember thinking oh no sounds like 'cancelled' but then realising too she was talking about the next village that I used to call 'pan knee cotty', not anymore.  I glanced around the bar and clocked that the place looked like it's not changed at all for a 100 years. I have dreamed about returning ever since.
 On drinking I just want to mention how civilised we are here in Burgundy. We drink tiny glasses of white wine called Aligoté 
Aligoté refers to the grape the wine comes from. In my mind it has become a style of drinking. Tiny sherry like glasses of chilled wine at unspecified times like at 11am while otherwise a coffee would be the thing. I have been at the first day of the month markets and spotted red faced country men delicately drinking thimble glasses of wine. Pace.
.If you do find yourself in one of those peculiar places, a bar in the morning thinking I might order a coffee but doing the opposite and asking for a tiny thing of wine. The phrase here is a 'Blanc sur le comptoir' or in England  'Hair of the Dog' suggests the same idea. For the day after the night before. Here though a house wine is actually pretty decent. Not a bit of old vinegar and white wine is cheaper than anything else.
We giggled  a bit today as we passed an old railway stop at Brinay. There was a pretty small building beside the old station stop now a house with big letters saying Brinay over it. The little mini me building said Hommes in big letters and I pressume the otherside said Dames.  A loo!

Spooky looking nobbled, pollarded trees. We are having lovely warm weather but no leaves to spy anywhere. Every garden either has Forsythia or Japonica occasionally an ornamental cherry and there are some beautiful Magnolias.

Back streets, love the back views of building and a spray of Forsythia.

Le Couvent. A lot of work going on here. It looks interesting as a place to stay with the front facing towards the canal our cycle artery. 

I'd love a greenhouse like one of these. No glass here. As a child I played in a greenhouse like this. I helped paint one in spring aged 4. Around my neck my constant friend was a camera with a concertina lens I remember the paint splattered camera. I seemed to be acutely aware of details like tiny Forget me nots. So when I see a greenhouse like this I am back with an intense smell of tomatoes.

Near the basin at Chatillon. 

This was on the way between Moulin Engilbert and Alluy. 

I have been back and forth from the Marie chasing my Carte Vitale. Cats looking a bit thin looking for lizards.
They are helping at the Marie.
The boat is still here. There was a lovely dog sleeping right beside the boat. George gave it a bit of a scare on his bike and it barked a bit but by the time arrived it recovered itself and just wagged it's tail at me.

Hellebores from my mum's garden in England. 

Polyanthas, Primroses, Cowslips.

I have been digging out the weeds here where I am trying to make a bed of flowers.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

I had a call from a lady down the road asking if I was interested in taking part in their summer exhibition. I did it last year and the standard is quite high. There are some lost wax bronze sculpture torsos, some Still life's of lovely French objects and a few other painters who were obviously taking their painting very seriously. It's a small village but it has a some committed people who put a lot of effort into community. I was hoping to be asked but I wasn't sure. It has given me new impetus to do some more oil painting, that and 3 games of Rugby today. The watercolours I was doing will be lost on the walls I might be able to do some framing to make them stand out a bit but framing is a bit expensive here so I will have to make my own. I think I shall be the only English artist. There are a few French people and more Dutch artist's. Anyway the organisers are all really nice and I shall look forwards to seeing them again. It's great also to feel like I'm contributing to the community and celebrating this lovely landscape. My neighbours can also see that I do do something too.

My husband bought this house (before I knew him) and took me to see it on our way back from the village below. It has lots of white quartz in the walls. Very pretty house and the garden carpeted in Hosta's and Primulas. He had to sell it but just look at it!!  

A new friend, Jou Jou she is 11 weeks old, a type of sheepdog. My friend bought her to keep her company. 

It's been 20°C during the day here, not in the evenings but it's been warm enough to work outside with a big cup of tea.

Started cycling again, only 10 kms just along the flat. I saw this lovely falling down house and Wild Hyacinth's and a new one on me here deep dark plum coloured Lungworts. I took photos of both but they are too blurred for the blog. My neighbour brought me round some Ransome or Wild Garlic when I got back from cycling. I miss seeing and smelling the Ransom's in the woods common in Herefordshire, UK. Now I can have my own, I think I may have to hide them from the geese though.

Monday, 3 March 2014


This weekend I spotted a brocante on at our local village/small town. It was an indoor one in a big shed. I usually shy away from anything too organised but....big but, I have been going stir crazy at home stuck in by the fire watching the rain. I went alone and so just went for the things that really interest me, so textiles. I bought 2 bits of ticking the fabric that covers a mattress normally. Its often this beige colour sometimes mixed with blue or pink stripes. The cloth is herringbone woven to prevent anything sticking through like horsehair or feathers as it's also used on bolsters. I should really have bought a bit more as I saw some lovely striped bits with pink in and some old patterned chintzy stuff. I did get the lady's card, although she's a little distance from here. One of the pieces is quite big and faded quite a lot. The other piece is brighter, thicker and a lot smaller. I just think you can use it for all sorts of soft furnishing from cushion covers to trims on curtains or for pouches and it screams French rustic. The last piece I rescued from a neighbour's fire was a really big beige and white stripes but huge and really clean. Unfortunately I spotted a horse hair mattress going to the tip and I didn't have the nerve to ask at the time.
I also bought this jar it's quite a narrow one and real heavy glass. The other thing I found was this 'Allumettes' box for matches it was dingy brown but it scraped up to this lovely enamelled beauty. 

It's still a bit wet, bit of snow too.
If you look up Nivernais, it is someone from The Nievre, the area that I live in. You find a lot of dogs called a Griffon Nivernais. They are often a bit lost as those long legs carry them to all sorts of locations. This one was in the farm yard when I got back on Sunday after the brocante. They do have a numbers to ring but their owners are normally out when you ring on a hunting trip. This one was called Blanchot and he was a charmer. He was so pleased to see me and as I tried to guide him back to a road where he would be found he howled back to me a proper wolf howl. The 'Chasse' now has 'fin'. Ending the end of Feb.