Wednesday, 31 December 2014

WW2 Reminders

It was to be a quick jaunt out into the countryside. Steph stayed home to do some R&R, but we hurtled out to Echevronne to thank our friends at the Domaine Lucien Jacob for the Christmas wine they had left for us. 

From there we drove back towards Beaune, but merely touched the edge of that wonderful town before turning for the hills in search of an intriguing little restaurant in the middle of nowhere. We knew it was closed, but it has good reviews and we wanted to get a handle on its location for next time or other. 

Our GPS, "Gina", took us up and around some very narrow roads and dirt tracks. On a little "D" road we found a monument off to the right. I had seen it on an earlier trip and quite possibly wrote about it then. It is worth repeating, however. 

The monument marks the spot where a Frenchman, Bernard Milliere, was "assassinated" by "Les Allemagnes".  Along a remote road, with no house in sight. In 1944, with not much more of the war to run. Near Savigny-les-Beaune. Another blog that comes up on a search of the name says, "Along a quiet road to the west of Savigny-les-Beaune and north of the city of Beaune is the well tended memorial to Bernard Milliere 'shamefully' shot by the Germans July 18, 1944."

It would be good to follow up on the story and find out more. Perhaps there is something on the web ...

We did find the restaurant and we will go back. It's more than a little haunting, however, to see landmarks like this from time to time.  Very sobering ...

Monday, 29 December 2014

Ice Puddles

How long has it been since it was so frozzling that you could tap your foot on an ice puddle?  If you are over 40 years in age it will be just that - an age ago. If you are younger than 40 it will be never. 

Ice-puddle-foot-tapping was an activity I enjoyed and, I feel honor-bound to announce, one at which I excelled.  

Wending my way along the muddy track from 10 Grieve Street Macleod West to Rosana State School No 4568 I would come across a frozen puddle pristine in its overnight frozenness. Gorgeous!  Foot extended, I would tap the icy sheet till it cracked. Overcome with a resounding sense of triumph over nature I would scurry off to Miss Buntine's grade 4 class  (or whatever grade I was in at the time) and fill in the hours till the next day's cracking adventure. 

With that memory buried in the recesses of my mind, imagine the intensity of my delight when, on yesterday's smack-out walk with Dear Jude, we chanced upon an ice-puddle!  Glory Be!  The simple act of Foot-Tapping brought back those memories in brilliant surround sound and technicolor.

Where are the Macleod winter ice puddles of today?  NOWHERE!  Does Tony Abbott need ANY further evidence of Global Warming?  I ARKS youse!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Carmelised Onions

Today's funny story is a true one. We got home last night from our first day in the hire car (to Dijon and back via - you guessed it - IKEA) and DJ began making a lovely vegetarian pie. Pretty soon it became apparent to her that the pie would take WAY TOO LONG, and that the troops were approaching starvation. So we hooked into the remains of Ally's last evening's spaghetti and meatballs - YUM!

Anyhow, the funny bit came when Old Groomby was cleaning up after the meal, as is his wont, and HE ATE ALL THE CARMELISED ONIONS DJ HAD CAREFULLY COOKED FOR THE PIE STRAIGHT OUT OF THE FRYPAN!

How's that for funny?  Just arks Dear Jude!

[Can I just say how difficult it is to write malapropisms with predictive text?]

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Snowy Morning!

Couldn't resist a photograph of The Rooftops of Beaune after day-break of the morning we hopped up at 4:30 am.  

Here it is (taken from lounge window by Dear Jude standing on the footstool while holding up the window with one hand and snapping with the other - wish I had the iPhone myself ...:)


Boxing Day Walk

Walking is always such grouse fun!  And so it was that we set off for a smack-out up on to "La Montagne" that towers over the City of Beaune to the west.  I say "towers", but it doesn't come anywhere near that in reality. "Pimples" would be a verb that would be at the other end of the spectrum, but would be equally unfair. The so-called "Montagne" does something in between. Let's face it, it's a hill. 

The walk starts - along with four or five other walks - at the Parc de la Bouzaise. We chose the yellow one because it gets us to the Purple one and takes us, thence, on to Pommard. We never got to Pommard because Yellow did itself proud enough to warrant our complete attention. 

Up the hill along the narrow road, past some huge houses and into the forest of pines. The sealed road became a dirt track soon enough with the tall, ancient pines towering over us. An helpful sign (note the correct English) explained that these trees are over 120 years old!  We know this to be true because Stephanie chopped one down and we counted the rings!

The following photo shows a group of girls engaging in the ancient art of 'sticky-beaking'. This involves peering through gaps in fences or gates to gaze upon huge houses where such gaze was entered upon without permission. 

The final photo shows the three girls making their way back down the hill towards Beaune. Three cheers for the Yellow Walk!


Friday, 26 December 2014

4:30 am Romp

Wel!  Wooden ya know it?  I hopped up from bed just now to a racket the girls were making in the lounge room. "What's going on?", I demanded. "SNOW!" The girls shrieked. [Bear in mind the time of day here - the day younger than a pup.]. They were pulling on their Winter Woolies, and soon, too, was I. Out into the freezing cold we hurtled!  The weather forecast app says that rain will come, so this was our only chance. Check out the photo!


Thursday, 25 December 2014

A Puzzle

Just a short post, this one, but what is in the basket?  I seriously do not know. Photo taken at the market on Christmas Eve. Mars Bar for the first neatest correct entry. No correspondence will be entered into. 

Christmas 2014

Wow!  What a great Christmas everyone seems to have had!  I just KNEW Facebook was going to be useful for something, and here it is: sharing the joys of the Yuletide Season across the vast Expanses of the World. Fantastic photos of celebrations of all our Chums. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

Our Christmas began on its Eve, with a smack-out down to the Wednesday market. Not many stalls open, but enough to gather requisite veggies, bread, duck magret, Yuletide Log and wine to tide us over the morrow. 

Christmas Eve lunch at Cafe de l'Abattoir meant we only needed a bowl of soup in the evening (pumpkin soup that was quite delicious, but the "pumpkin" turned out to be something other than pumpkin.  Jeez, it LOOKED like pumpkin when we bought it from the chap!). 

Feeling smug having been to "Midnight" Mass, Christmas Day could be given over completely to self indulgence of an astronomical degree. Up and at-'em for breakfast and a morning walk; belting into the cooking; cheersing each other with first cremant, then white wine, then red wine, then ...; Skyping Georgia and Ewan in Wooragee; opening presents (Dear Jude was Santa); another walk to the lake; eating; more cheersing and finally sleeping. WHAT A DAY!


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Day

The best thing about Midnight Mass in Besune's Notre Dame Cathedral is that it takes place from 8:00 till 9:00 pm!  Very reasonable time, don't you think?  Despite an early departure from Rue de Lorraine, we were some of the last to arrive and had to sit up the back. Still, good amplification meant that we could hear all the words spoken. Comprehension of those words remained problematic. I did catch the odd "Seigneur" and "Bethlehem", though and I applied my strong Methodist upbringing to the fore to fill in the gaps. We witnessed the arrival of the Christ Child (Jesus) borne aloft by our priest and followed by all the kids carrying candles. We sung along with the strident singing guitarist lady as best we could (in typical Methodist fashion), but sneaked out just before the taking of communion by the hundreds of assembled faithful.

Out into the extremely mild night WITH NOT A SOUL IN SIGHT. Never seen the joint so empty of people!

So now we sit up in bed waiting for the children to hop up and rush to the tree to see if Santa has truly made it down the chimney with arms full of presents. The test will be to see if the carrots we left out for the reindeer have been eaten. I know you think that this is a flight of fancy on my part, but believe me that it is all as I relate. Right down to the Christmas tree with fairy lights. The thing is, you see, that the whole Rose family are Christmas FREAKS - led more than ably by Stephanie and Ally. Should be a great day when they hop up. Very sad that Dear Georgia is not here to complete the Christmas picture ...

I'll let you know what transpires. 



It really is a special type of torment, isn't it, jet lag?  Body in one part of the world, head in another ...  Anyhow, we are getting there. Vienna is as good a place to get over it, and when you add a party at our apartment for all Ally's newfound chums that finished at 10:30 pm and an early 'up-and-at-'em' to catch a 6:00 am flight to Paris the old jet lag simply doesn't stand a chance!

So here we are steaming into the City of Lights on the RER. Four dozy-eyed travellers smacking it out down to Beaune. 

Yesterday the three girls went shopping, while I put on my dancing shoes and headed off to try to find our 2001 apartement. Certain landmarks I remember - cathedral, tram line and narrow ally ("gasse").  Managed to find it (quite different atmospherics without the piles of snow) and then looked for a place to take lunch. 

Around the corner from the pension is a little student cafe of sorts and in I went.  The menu of the day was cauliflower soup. Sounded good and just what I needed. "How much is the soup?", I asked. "Depends on how much you think it is worth", replied Das Madchen. "How much do other people pay?", I arksed her.  "I cannot tell you that; it would influence your decision".  "What is the AVERAGE PRICE someone might pay?"  And so on ... In the end I took the soup and paid 3 euros. Quite nice cauliflower soup, if you ask me!


Monday, 22 December 2014


We've been here before. At about the same time of year. In fact, we were in Vienna for New Year's everything in 2001 - right after the 9/11 event.  There are differences, of course, but here is the biggest one:  there is no snow this time. The gauge sits well above zero and it is all very mild. 

Last Time (LT) the snow was heaped up on the footpath and the going was tough and slippery, especially with three little-uns in tow. Heading outside the boiling hot apartment took an inordinate amount of effort and time for the five of us. This time a quick hat and coat sees the four of us 'out and at-em' in no time at all. It's all a it of a worry, really. Still, Tony A and Joe H say not to be concerned, so I simply shan't!

There are some intriguing differences between our two cultures that deserve mention. The first is the train ticketing system, as outlined by Ally. You see, there are no points at which tickets are checked at any stage of the trip. You buy a pass (in our case two day, in Ally's case the semester) and off you go.   No tap on and tap off!  No inspectors that Ally has seen. No gates. Just travel. Stunning!  That was an interesting bit, wasn't it?

Here's another interesting bit: there are a lot more smokers. In Vienna, in fact, restaurants have smoking room alternatives for their diners. We chose the non-smoking section on our first night and it was remarkable (that's why I'm telling you) that there was little to no 'seepage' from space to the other - of smoke, that is. 

Christmas is huge here. By that I mean that Christmas is REALLY BIG. Whopping.   Christmas markets have popped up everywhere - stalls selling all thing Christmassy. The decorations are all so very tasteful here. For example, the tiny lights - of which there is a multitude dangling along every street - are NOT  MULTI-coloured!  They brightly glow and gently sway in the winter's dark. 

Yet another treat is the performance of Yuletide choirs that strut their stuff in the Rathaus in constant succession.  No sooner had one choir finished than another is up there in the stage belting out another carol. Young choirs, old choirs and everything in between. There is no charge for these performances. You grab a seat when some chap or other has had enough and skitches off. FABULOUS!

That's it for now. More about today tomorrow. 

See youse!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Arrive Vienna

When the name of the city is "Wien", why do people refer to it as "Vienna"?  Was that so that we could name a delicious custard slice after it?

Anyhow, here we are!  Floated into a dark and gloomy city, but sans snow with a beautiful 3-point landing that would do any aspiring (or extant) commercial pilot proud. I left a lovely cashmere jumper on the plane out of Melbourne into Bangkok, but who is thinking of climate cold when you are in climate warm?  Anyhow, we are all over that now. Almost ...

Ally popped out of the Viennese woodwork at Westbahnhof after our airport bus ride into town.  She did a great job of meeting us in the dark at 7:20 am, but mind you she did have an early/late student Saturday night party immediately prior. Looking good, the old Al. Wien does her well. 

So begins the next chapter of the Adventures of Al, Steph, Dear Jude (DJ) and Old Groombles. 

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Heading to Beaune for Christmas 2014

Well, WHO would ever have thought??! This year we will be spending Christmas in Beaune. Leaving behind the usual Christmas preparations, angst, worry, anticipation and fear that all will not go as well as one would hope. Gone. All gone! The problem is that the wonderful warm weather will be left behind as well, albeit windy at the moment and fires gaining intensity in Victoria.