Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Today we had nothing much planned except cleaning. So we cleaned our little cottage. Mme Silvestre was so kind as to call a fromagerie that she knew of nearby: les Marronniers (21510 Origny-sur-Seine). They were kind enough to give us a tour of their cheese-making factory (that used to be a stable) and we got a litre of whole milk, 2 rhubarb yogurts, a tarte au fromage, 2 of their cheeses and a bottle of pure apple juice. That milk was so-o-o-o good! I've never had anything better than that bottle of milk!

Then we drove around looking at churches and castles and lavoirs (washhouses). Every little village seemed to have a church and at least one lavoir. The lavoirs were fascinating. The were built of stone, often carved and decorated, often with a roof, and near the river. (There was always a river.) They were built so that the river ran through one part of the washhouse, and the other half had a place for you to kneel and/or put your laundry. The dirt and suds were washed away out the other end of the lavoir.

At Etalante we found a spring that started the river Coquille (shell). Immediately. It wasn't a tiny trickle that grew, bit by bit, as other little streams were added in; it came out of the ground as a full-fledged, rushing river. Someone had even built a mill about 100 feet (not yards or meters; feet) from the spring. The mossy mill-wheel was all that remained. The Coquille flows into the Seine a little later. We went to Todd's favorite village, Baigneux-les-Juifs (which he calls John the Baptist. It actually translates as Bather of Jews. I guess it's the same thing when you get right down to it) . We meandered through Billy-les-Chanceaux and saw the first bridge over the Seine.

We didn't go far and we didn't actually see a lot other than the above mentioned and 3 blue herons, 2 hawks and an egret.

We went home, tidied up some more, and we are waiting for Mme to come inspect the house so we can go have dinner at a local restaurant.

* * * * * * *

She finally came about 1845, we settled our account, and I was told the secret key hiding place for the house key next morning. We drove to about 3 restaurants before we found one that was both a) open and b) cheap enough, on the rez-de-chaussee (ground flour) of a hotel. It ended up being in Chatillon-sur-Seine, just down the river from home.

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