Yikes! Bikes! Cheering ‘Em On In The Morvan

They say nothing much happens at Maré le Bas. Well, on June 23 2019 a man with a bundle of tiny tricolore flags and a box of nougat rang the gate bell. Were we aware, he asked, that the TNM would pass our gate around 2 pm that very day?Digression: TNM? The French are very fond of abbreviations. The TGV is the Train Grande Vitesse, the high speed train. TVA is Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée, the equivalent of VAT. Irreverent persons say it stands for Tout Va Augmenter – everything will go up. TNM stands for Tour Nivernais Morvan and is a bicycle race.

‘Please cheer them on’, he urged. He was flogging nougat at inflated prices in aid of a charity we had never heard of. John avoids nougat and toffees out of respect for his gold crowns. So we eschewed the nougat, made a modest donation and accepted two flags. We checked with the Mairie, who said ‘Be there at 1 30 in case they’re ahead of schedule’.

Sure enough, they stormed past and we waved our flags. John took pictures, but here is a much better one from the TNM website.

On Display In The Morvan

I have been besotted with museums ever since my Dad took me round Tullie House in Carlisle every Saturday while my mother did our weekend shopping. I thought I had visited all our local museums until Le Magazine du Parc Naturel Régional du Morvan arrived in our mailbox. It included an article on the Ecomusée which includes eight museums, only three of which I had visited.

Some are more tempting than others. An entire musum devoted to rye, formerly the Morvan’s chief food crop, I can take or leave. However, Anost, a short drive from Maré, offers two museums which I am determined to visit when the weather is cooler (see Dog Days, below). The Maison du Patrimoine Oral specialises in Morvandiau, the speech and song of the Morvan. Morvandiau is alive and well: the Cervon Cheveux Blancs perform Morvandiau songs and poems at their get-togethers.

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The other museum features les galvachers. Galvacher – an oxcart driver – does not appear in my online Harraps, because it is a dialect word. Check out http://www.patrimoinedumorvan.org/culture/musees/ecomusee-du-morvan-maison-des-galvachers

Digression: Le patrimoine translates roughly as heritage.

Dog Days

Quelle canicule!‘ – ‘What a scorcher!’ is on everyone’s lips. See https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=canicula

The dog days are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the rising of the star system Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.

I am typing this on 28 June and the temperature on the patio in the shade is 35 C. Blood heat is 37 (98.4 Fahrenheit). Temperatures of 45 C are expected tomorrow in some regions of France. I water my geraniums in the cool of the evening, using recycled water from the kitchen and bathroom, and think of Alabama field hands in the bad old days.

Rosemary Border Rabson

In 2005 Rosemary Border Rabson and husband John Rabson emigrated to the Morvan in rural Burgundy, where few other Brits have ventured. Their chief preoccupation is Charity Cottage, a holiday home-from-home in their garden at Maré le Bas which they run in aid of Combat Stress (money donations) and Help for Heroes (free accommodation). Since 2012, when Charity Cottage won the Daily Telegraph’s Best British Charity award, the total amount raised for Combat Stress, comprising UK royalties and donations from visitors to Charity Cottage, is nudging £10,000.


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