A Letter From Burgundy

September 23, 2016

Lily at Les Volets Verts

Filed under: Animals,Les Volets Verts,Pets,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Lesley @ 12:53

Last Summer, a young male cat arrived in our garden and stayed there for a few days playing with the children who were staying in the gite at that time. To cut a long story short we now have a lovely cat called Mickey.
This Summer, our neighbours got a new kitten who arrived in our garden (and bedroom by climbing through the window) on her first day in Morlet.
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First response when meeting Mickey

First response when meeting Mickey

She was only about 8 weeks at this time and seemed desperate to get into our house. Despite the heat we kept the windows and doors shut and took her “home” on numerous occasions. She kept coming back all the time and was sleeping rough in the garden at night because we wouldn’t let her in. This was a great concern to us but she wasn’t ours and needed to go back to her own home.

She¬†visited the guests at the gite whenever she was made welcome and we asked them not to feed her or let her in. Some guests, whose children loved playing in the garden with her called her “Miss Trouble.” She then had a marvellous time with our grandchildren who called her “Missy.” She seemed very flat when Harrison and Lilah went home because she had got used to lots of cuddles and had enjoyed spending time with two people who adored her.

Lots of fuss from the Grandchildren

We continued taking her home to our neighbours and not letting her in our house but she had made up her mind where she wanted to be on day one in Morlet and was not going to give up easily.

She slipped into the outside office whenever she could and slept on an old quilt in a cardboard box that had belonged to one of the dogs.

I can't be the house cat so I'll be the office cat.

I can’t be the house cat so I’ll be the office cat.

Meanwhile, Mickey and Lily were spending more and more time together playing and mock fighting in the garden.

In the Garden

Friends

Early September, we decided that we would have to speak to our neighbours – they had hardly seen their kitten and she had made it quite clear that she wanted to adopt us, even if we didn’t seem to want her.

We told the farmer that she had adopted us and could we adopt her? He kindly agreed that we could ¬†and her delight when she was allowed into the house and fed and treated just like Mickey was a delight to see. We decided to give her the name Lily and after two and half weeks she is now responding to it. If I wasn’t sure before I am now a firm believer that when an animal decides where they want to be, or who they want to be with, they can be very persistent indeed.

In the house at last

Peace for how long?

Peace for how long?

September 19, 2016

Chateau de Germolles – Journees Europeennes du Patrimoine

Each weekend in September France has a Heritage weekend. Many monuments and sites that are normally closed are open for the weekend and other places which are normally open to the public have reduced fees of entry or are free.

This year we went to Chateau de Germolles near Mellecey. It is the best preserved residence of the Dukes of Burgundy. It was built during the second part of the 14th century although there had been a fortress there since the 13th century. Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, bought the chateau from local feudal Lords and gave it to his wife, Margaret of Flanders. The only remains today of the original fortress are the lower chapel and the wine cellar.

Plaque at the Entrance Gate

Ten years of transformations took place – the Duchess wanted a country estate rather than a fortress and the best architects, sculptors and painters of the time were employed. Large rose gardens were planted and sheep and other animals were farmed.

Goats where sheep once roamed

Former stables?

Former stables?

After Philip and Margaret the Chateau belonged to a further three Dukes of Burgundy – John the Fearless, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold. After the death of Charles the ownership passed to the King of France. After the French Revolution it became the property of the Nation.

Parts of the chateau have been lost over time, mainly due to lack of maintenance but at the end of the 19th century it was purchased by a family who still own it today and repair works have been carried out.

The chateau today still has a large collection of medieval floor tiles which are decorated with motifs that were the symbols of the Dukes – roses, thistles, sheep and fleur – de – lis.

Rare wall paintings can still be seen today which date from the Middle Ages – motifs of “P” and “M”, initials of the Duke and Duchess over the walls along with thistles, the personal emblem of Margaret Flanders.

If you are interested in the history of Burgundy this Chateau is well worth visiting. We were not allowed to take interior photos showing the famous wall paintings as great care is taken with light exposure etc to preserve the paintings for future generations.

September 12, 2016

Lavault

Filed under: Burgundy — Tags: , , — Lesley @ 13:23

Last Saturday it was our local memorial service at Lavault, near Epinac to remember the four young lads who lost their lives there helping the Resistance. This year we had the words with us for the Australian National Anthem and we did a better job at singing and even had applause at the end! It was a very moving service and we would like to thank everyone who made it so special.

Our Gite – Les Volets Verts

Since our last post our bees are doing really well – more about them another time. We have also had two busy seasons with guests staying in our new gite. We have had some great reviews on HomeAway and Airbnb which makes us very happy and makes our new venture seem very worthwhile indeed after a lot of hard work.

Before we could start converting the stable we had to raise the beams to give ourselves enough head height in the gite once the new floor was in.

Beams have been lifted. This picture shows the back wall of the stable where the kitchen will be.

Beams have been lifted. This picture shows the back wall of the stable where the kitchen will be.

The next task was the new floor and then we could really start on the job, with insulation, new walls etc ready to start fitting out.

 

The hole for the new entrance door. Our original stable door has been kept so the appearance of the building on the front elevation is the same. Something we wanted to do and the Planners insisted upon.

New Entrance Door

We wanted to use a combination of old and ultra modern in the gite with a view to making it as comfortable as possible but retaining some of the old charm. We used old reclaimed wooden doors, and spent hours and hours and hours cleaning up old traditional floor tiles known locally as tomettes.

Tomettes waiting to be cleaned

Walls and Doors going in

Kitchen going in - nearly there!

Kitchen going in – nearly there!

 

Last Piece of Furniture

The settee was the last piece of furniture to go in. Some outside painting and tidying up in the garden and we were ready to receive our first guests.

We have put a number of seats in the garden so guests can choose sun or shade throughout the day.

We have put a number of seats in the garden so guests can choose sun or shade throughout the day.

Listening to our guests has been very interesting. We love our gite but the reasons they like it so much too is that besides the gite itself which they find very comfortable, they like its location. Peaceful and quiet , garden with views but close to interesting historical towns, markets and of course the vineyards!