mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


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Bon 1er mai!

Happy May Day!

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May Day started with a friend wishing me a Bon 1er mai and sending a Lily of the Valley posy.

The tradition started on May 1st 1561 when King Charles IX of France offered the ladies of the court a sprig of Lily of the Valley or Muguet as a lucky charm.  Over the years it has evolved into a way of showing friendship.  The florists and markets are full of Lily of the Valley in the lead up to the 01 May.  The local Prefrecture had to issue a warning this year not to pick too many from the woods.

The sunshine, bird song and wild flowers mean that spring is finally here.  The dark nights are over and there is a feeling of celebration in the air.  The long holiday weekend also celebrates the Fete du Travail.

spinning wheel

We spent a sunny afternoon with friends showing us how to spin and weave.  Spinning has been used for thousands of years as a way of producing yarn.  Charlotte enjoyed using a Spinning Wheel using wool from local sheep, a method in use for centuries since the Middle Ages.  She might be taking up spinning as a new hobby and wants to make a rug using wool she has spun herself.  A good start to the month.

 

 

 

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Verre de L’amitié

champagne

 

Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship.  We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car.  The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.

It was nice to see so many people there from our small community.  The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there.  He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations.   He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year.  There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.

The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined.  A first for both of us!  Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no!  I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.

For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.

We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Portes Ouvertes

le-chateau

Art and history – my bliss!  This weekend the privately owned 15th century, Chateau de Thard opened it’s doors as part of Les Journèes Europeènes du Patrimoine.

The heritage weekend takes place the third weekend of September across France.  Each year there is a theme and this year’s was Patrimoine et citoyennetè.   Public offices, monuments, historical sites, churches and chateaux open their doors to the public for a visit behind the scenes.

Chateau de Thard, a joli petit manoir, near Onlay proved to be a hidden treasure.  We drove up a long drive hidden in the woods, which opened out to amazing views high above Onlay.

The Chateau was also a perfect backdrop for an art exhibition featuring a variety of pottery, sculpture, oils, watercolours, prints and collages.

  
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http://www.chateaudethard.com


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Women! We all need to live in the woods

Direction Luzy

No surprise to hear that research has found contact with nature is soothing, restorative and good for mental health.  The School of Public Health at the University of Washington and Nurses Healthy Study surveyed over 100,000 women finding that the women who live in greener areas have a 12% lower mortality rate than those who live in polluted environments.  Having access to green spaces where you can exercise and be active also plays an important role in having a healthy lifestyle.

We live in Le Morvan, Bourgogne in a sea of green, surrounded by forests and ancient woodland.  We enjoy the freshest air in Europe and never miss the opportunity to go for a walk even in the rain!

A walk first thing clears my head, I drink in the views, enjoy the solitude and it sets me up for the day. A quick break outside mid afternoon gives an energy boost and if I am looking for inspiration it even  helps me problem solve and come up with ideas.

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A walk in the peaceful green woods, with trees towering cathedral like high above is great therapy.

The fact that a village 10 minutes away has the highest amount of people aged over 90 in the area seems to endorse the research.  One old lady celebrated her 105th birthday with a glass of champagne and a big piece of cake, putting her longevity down to eating everything and of course, the fresh air!

Nature really is the best therapy and it’s free. So never mind how big your patch of green is, get out there and enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A great start!

imageI threw open my bedroom shutters this morning and was greeted by an amazing bright light. Sunshine! The grey skies had gone,  the fog had disappeared and no icy rain on the horizon.

My spirits immediately lifted and I quickly got ready to take the dog out for our usual brisk morning walk. I wrapped up warm out of habit but it was surprisingly mild.

As soon as I feel the first bite of winter I start wearing thermals. The layers stay on until Easter. I am not joking!

A walk enjoying the beautiful countryside always makes me feel happy whatever the weather.  This morning was no exception and I felt lighter and brighter. Sunshine and birdsong. Something is in the air.

The start of not only a new day but a whole week full of exciting possibilities.