Saturday, 29 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (7)

We can finally put this whole affair behind us. After having received a rather aggressive phone call from our Dr. Kumar we decided to try and get hold of Dr. Kumar's phone number (even though we do not have number recognition). This worked; Dr. Kumar appeared to have phoned from a Nigerian phone number. Of course this does not mean that the guy resides actually in Nigeria; he could have phoned from any country using his Nigerian mobile phone.

A summary of how the scam works:
1. Mr. X starts sending a scam mail to hundreds of stolen or bought email addresses
2. Mr. Y steals a chequebook from mr. A or buys a stolen one from a third party
3. Mr. Z opens a bank account, most likely using the "stolen" identity of Mr. B
4. A gîte owner, Mr. C accepts the booking, and sends Mr. X the terms for rental
5. Mr. X gives details about the money Mr. C is about to receive
6. Mr. C agrees to the deal
7. Mr. X sends off the cheque
8. Mr. C acknowledges receipt of the cheque covering far too much money and asks for further instructions
9. Mr. X sends bank details, and generously allows Mr. C to deduct his costs first, as long as he forwards the surplus of the money ASAP to the "agent" Mr. Z

10. Mr. X puts pressure on Mr. C to pay "the same day" via emails and phone calls
11. Mr. C cashes his cheque with his bank and informs Mr. X that the cheque has been cleared, and that the surplus has been forwarded to Mr. Z
12. The moment the money is received by Mr. Z he will empty the account once and for all
13. At some stage, probably after a few weeks, the truth emerges, and the bank takes back the surplus amount payed to Mr. Z from Mr. C's account
14. Mr. C is ultimately the victim of this scam, and Mr. X, Y and Z have disappeared in thin air

This is pure speculation, but I can hardly believe that someone is randomly opening letterboxes in the hope that he finds a new cheque book. the operation centres (probably London and Leicester) are so far apart that a one man act is not very likely. It looks much more like a well organised scam with more than 1 person involved, and there are possibly hundreds of these scams being run at the same time.

Further, apart from a thank you note from the accountant and from the director of EE UK Ltd, we received a phone call from someone in the Netherlands. He had been approached by Dr. Kumar, and for reasons completely different to ours, decided to accept the booking. He also received a cheque, but he became suspicious because the cheque was not send via registered mail. He somehow managed to get hold of the Dutch version of this blog, found out about Dr. Kumar and managed to get hold of the director of EE UK Ltd as well. The Dutch have a saying, illustrating this quite well: "It is better to turn back halfway, than to carry on all the way and get lost".

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (6)

The end is nigh, it seems. after we had send the photo of the cheque to the accountant, we got the director of EE UK Ltd, a certain Brian P. on the line. He turned out to be a very amiable man, who really appreciated our involvement in the matter. He had received the photo of the cheque, but did not recognise the account number. After checking with his accounting department he found out that they had opened a new account for the firm, with this number, but the chequebook had never arrived. There was more than sufficient money in the account to cover "our" £ 3800. And only after quite a while this transaction would have been recognised as an illegitimate withdrawal and cancelled. Brian P. had phoned his bank in the meantime and cancelled the whole chequebook. From our side we promised to send him the cheque might he need that for the police. Without much hope for a reaction we send Dr. K. a mail with the message that our bank had cleared the cheque, and that the money was in our account. we were awaiting his instructions. To our pleasant surprise they followed promptly.

"Dear Sue and Cees,
Thank you for your mail and confirmation of the money in your bank account. I have received the account details of our logistics agent, deduct cost of the transfer from the money and transfer the balance to our logistics agent today. Below is the account details;
IBAN CODE: GB25BARC20143370xxxxxxx
Make the transfer today as i have notified them that they will receive the money as soon as possible. Once the transfer is done scan and send the bank transfer paper for record purposes."

I have encrypted the name and account number, because this smells again like someone has hijacked someone else's identity. Sue's parents received some time ago a phone call from a bank with the question "Had they recently opened a new bank account?". They had not, and we have always wondered why a stranger would open an account under somebody else's name. After what we know now it becomes a bit clearer. Most probably Dr. K. played a similar trick, by opening a new account in Mr. de S. name. Of course the money had to be paid in as quick as possible by us, and to be taken out ASAP by him before Mr. de S. was warned by his bank, or before he received a bank statement.

That would also explain why immediately after we received Dr. K.'s email he phoned us as well. Dr. K. sounded extremely aggressive, and he was pressing time after time that the money had to be transferred now, straight away. Dr. K. was, according to Sue, not a native English speaker. He also did not have an Indian accent, nor an African one for that matter. He was difficult to understand, and his accent could have been Arab, Eastern-European or Portuguese for that matter, but it was not a familiar German, French, Scandinavian, etc. accent.

Interesting detail : the bank from where the money was supposed to be picked up is in Leicestershire, miles away from London.

It looks like this is (for the time being) the end of this epos. We know now more or less how scams like this can operate, and the whole series might be a lesson for those who are not as suspicious as we are...

To be continued (although not very likely!)

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (5)

Even though there is still no news from our surgeon from India, Paul and Louise have not been twiddling their thumbs. Another Google search for the name of the company (EE UK Ltd) was done, giving the address of the company in Hove and name and address of the director in London. A search of the telephone directory however did not reveal anything, neither for the company nor for the director.
A Google search on the full address of the company however told us that this was the address of an accountants firm. Streetview confirmed that there was at that address a shield on the wall displaying the accountants name.
Louise phoned up the accountant, and found out that EE UK Ltd was indeed registered with them; they took care of their business somehow. After Louise had told them about a possibly fraudulent cheque we had received from EE UK Ltd the accountant promised to phone back ASAP.

To be continued

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (4)

Despite our question what we should do with this outrageous amount of money, we have heard nothing from our good friend since we told him the cheque came in. And that could well be Paul's own fault.
Both Chinese strategists Sun-Zi and Mao-Ze-Dong have said never to underestimate your enemy. And was not openly publishing his strategy on internet pure vanity? Was it not the Preacher who said " vanity of vanities; all is vanity"?
One only has to enter the full name of our good friend in, and the postings about this person on TROS Radar (a Dutch broadcasting company) are no. 1, the Tallinn hotel "Another SCAM letter" is no. 2, 3 and 4, and my Dutch blog scores at 5!
Paul had never thought that his enemy would google himself and would translate the blogs, however, maybe these two Chinese sources were right after all...

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (3)

This morning, after we had closed the gate to go shopping, we saw in the letterbox that a letter from the UK had arrived. We had to wait till we got home to check whether the cheque had finally arrived, and lo and behold, it looked as if we had struck gold this time.
All of a sudden all the whodunits I had ever read or seen on the screen popped up in my tiny little brain. We first investigated the envelope; the address was correct, the letter was posted two days ago from Mount Pleasant, there was no sender on the back of the envelope, and since the envelope must have passed through more hands then our four, a finger print more or less did not seem to do any harm. After this we photographed the envelope.
Then we carefully opened the envelope, found the cheque, and carefully, wearing rubber gloves, took the cheque from the envelope and studied it back and front. After having taken a photo of the cheque we carefully put it back to sleep in the envelope. At least our fingerprints were not to going be found on that cheque!
And now we are planning our next moves. The advantage of this cheque is that it is British, and the Britons are more familiar with cheques than the Dutch. Another one is that the British police possibly has a fraud squad dealing with these sort of scams.
The cheque was written out in the name of "EE UK Ltd", an existing company; at least their name is traceable through internet. Further the cheque bore a value of £ 3800, at the moment that equals approx. € 4728. This is considerably more than the "promised" € 4390.60. Either Dr. Kumar is not very good at arithmetic, or the exchange rates have been yo-yoing dramatically over the last days. This however can be checked: 2 days ago £ 3800 was worth approx. € 4692. Hence no real dramatic changes.
Conclusions at the moment:
The cheque seems to be real. Cheque number, account number and sort code at the top tally with those at the bottom. The company exists or existed, this not a fake name. The bank is a well known London bank.
There seem to be two options at the moment (assuming that "EE UK Ltd" is not involved in this scam): either the cheque was stolen, or it was fabricated.
The plan of campaign is at the moment:
1. Dr. Kumar has been told that the cheque did arrive, and he has been asked for details how to proceed.
2. It seems that we can actually cash the cheque in the UK without any costs, even when the cheque bounces.
3. Mount Pleasant appears to be one of the biggest London Post Sorting offices.
4. Monday we will try to contact HSCB bank, "EE UK Ltd" and possibly the Metropolitan Police.

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (2)

Waiting for the truckload of money to roll in we decided to check whether it would cost money to cash a cheque. And of course it does, and a bit too much to verify something that is already for 99 % sure: to confirm that Dr. Kumar is a scam artist.
Our Dutch bank charges for sums up to € 50000 the amount of 0.1 % of the amount with a minimum of € 10 and a maximum of € 50 plus € 2.30.
Since 0.1 % of € 4390.60 = € 4.39, which is less than € 10, we would be charged for € 12.30.
If the check would bounce (and who believes this?) we would be charged an extra € 25.
Total costs : € 37.30.
And on top of that we would loose € 3620.60.
So for a client who has got no intention at all renting our property for € 770, we would have lost € 3657.90. Who reacts to this sort of nonsense?
As soon as we are in Cluny near our bank we will try to find out whether they can confirm our suspicions at less cost.
Talking about a Euro crisis!

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (1)

Since this series of ten blogs was written some time ago when the whole scam took place, some blogs are written not knowing what would happen next. Hence remarks like "Hopefully tomorrow we will know more..."

On a regular basis we receive emails from people pretending to be potential gîte guests, who want to rent 2 gîtes at the same time for a long period, e.g. 2 months. This sounds quite attractive from our point of view, but very often the word SCAM flashes at you as soon as you have a good look at the email. An inquiry from a British person in Glasgow, with a Sierra Leone or Nigeria phone number? After the tenth email with addresses like that, and the continuous mentioning of "your lovely property" a whole collection of bells should start ringing. Several websites we advertise on regularly come up with scam warnings and explain how these scams work. The scams often concentrate around the winter months, periods which are normally not very popular with tourists. We are closed in winter, hence not much chance with us.
Recently we received a mail from India which had SCAM written all over it, and we decided to check this one out.
Dr. Manas David Kumar, (Consultant Gastrointestinal Surgeon), Tata Medical Center, 19 MAR (E-W), New Town, Rajarhat, Kolkata 700 186, wrote to us :

"Hello, I write to inquire for accommodation in your facility. Can you accommodate us for a 2 weeks' vacation period?
Arrival Date: Saturday 8th September.
Departure Date: Saturday 22nd September.
14 Nights.
We need 2 double rooms or an apartment that can sleep 4 guests. Total number of guests is 4. (2 couples). Let me know if you have availability. Kindly send the total cost. We will make advance payment before we come with secured certified Cheque issued from European Bank. Do you accept Advance payment with cheque?"

We answered the email the way we do with normal inquiries, with our tarriffs and how payments can be made. As soon as Dr. Kumar had coughed up € 192.50, the gîtes would be his for those two weeks.

Kumar's answer came rapidly. There appeared to be a third party in this game, a British "prepaid logistics agent", whatever that is. Kumar had to pay this agent (through us, of course!), and we had to pay the agent, deducting our part of the bargain, i.e. the rental for the gîtes.

After a few more mails all became clear: Kumar would send us a cheque for € 4390.60, we would deduct our € 770, and we were supposed to send on the remaining € 3620.60 to the logistics agent. Is anybody prepared to pay € 4400 to rent a property for € 770?

At this very moment we are waiting for Kumar's cheque. If everything goes by the book, we will cash the cheque at the bank, and straight away forward the € 3620.60 to the agent. A week later the cheque will bounce, the bank takes the full amount off our acount, and some have lost, others have gained approx. € 3600.

Just to show that this guy did his homework: the address is correct, and in that hospital there is actulally working a certain Dr. Manas Kumar Roy– Consultant Gastrointestinal Surgeon. Most likely our Dr. Kumar is using his learned collegue's name to hide behind. We have informed the hospital that someone is using their good name to organise a scam, but we have never received a reply.

Of course we are not the only potential victim. These guys are sending out hundreds of similar emails. I found Kumar's letter advertised as a scam on the site of a hotel in Tallinn (Estonia) [the scam alert has been removed by the manangement; the hotel however stille exists!]. They only need one greedy, not too clever proprietor to take the bait, and Mr. Kumar would have earned in half an hour more than he ever would have earned by manually working for a far longer period of time!

We hope to find out pretty soon how long it will take the bank to verify the cheque, without making any costs on our side.

Hopefully, this saga will be continued soon!

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Bhutan in the Morvan

The Kagyuling temple in La Boulaye
For years now the Morvan, and hence Burgundy can boast hosting one of the biggest Buddhist temples in Europe.
This temple can be found in La Boulaye and attracts apart from practising Buddhists also a fair share of tourists. The temple was founded by a community of monks who are practising a form of Himalayan Buddhism. The building stands out in the Burgundian landscape, although it is certainly not out of tune with it.
One of the yearly attractions is the period when a number of monks is creating a mandala over a number of days, a sort of square mosaic of approx. 0.5 m x 0.5 m made of coloured sand.
In this blog one can read in more detail about these mandalas.

The making of a mandala
In the near future La Boulaye can boast having still another Himalayan attraction. In the year 2000 the Conseil Général (General Council) of Saône-et-Loire bought the Bhutan pavilion of the Expo 2000 in Hannover for the sum of € 280 000. Since the purchase the pavilion has been stored in boxes and crates in a warehouse near Mâcon, waiting for a building permit. The association "Himalaya en Bourgogne" wants to use the pavilion as a cultural centre about the Himalayas. This centre will have nothing to do with the temple of 1000 Buddhas Kagyuling, however. The building permit has been given, and most likely assembling the building, which was erected without using one screw or nail, will start before the end of 2012.
The only thing "Himalaya en Bourgogne" still has to do is find somewhere 1.2 million euros in order to finalise the project.
Well, maybe while they are at it, would it be possible to incorporate a small Asian supermarket in the same building?
Because that is certainly something we are in need of!

The former Expo 2000 pavilion of Bhutan
For our own website click here.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

A distorted picture

As a child I was a great fan of Jean Dulieu, a writer and illustrator who was the spiritual father of Paulus the Gnome, a character who lived in the woods and had various animal friends. One of those friends was Gregorius the Badger, a rather stupid animal who spoke dyslexic. This writer later read his stories on radio, in a weekly broadcast, where he was doing a different voice for every character in his stories; Paulus, Gregorius, Salomo the Raven, Uhuburu the Owl, Eucalypta the witch, etc.

Apart from Paulus, I occasionally read the Dutch translation of Rupert Bear, where Bill Badger was playing a role as one of Rupert's friends. However, I never really got the hang of Rupert, and stuck with Paulus.
When comparing both badgers not the likeness is striking, but the difference.

Bill Badger
As a great believer in Dulieu's knowledge on the subjest of gnomes, witches and badgers, I discarded Bill Badger as a phony character; real badgers should look like Gregorius.
Until .... we saw a dead animal on the soft shoulder whilst driving down the road . We often find dead copyus or river rats alongside that stretch of road. Not entirely convinced it was a river rat, we stopped on the way back to have a good look. And lo and behold, it was a dead young badger. Unnecessary to say that my trust and belief in Dulieu has suffered a severe blow...

Een echte das
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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Comings and goings

When we arrived here for the very first time, in 2005, Cormatin still hosted the Musée du Vélo, a very interesting museum displaying a large collection of historical bicycles and bicycle accessories, such as pre-war bicycle tax shields which had to be displayed on the head tube of the bike. The museum was conveniently located next to the Voie Verte, in between Cormatin and Chazelle. In 2007 the museum closed its doors, and became Musée du Poilu in 2008. This museum displayed a collection of handicraft made by the soldiers in the trenches (Poilus) during the first world war. This museum ceased to exist as well; the doors closed the end of last year. The collection of the bicycle museum however has found a new home in Tournus. In 2010 the new Musée du Vélo re-opened, a couple of weeks after the owner of the collection died.
And now the building is again occupied, this time by “Aux forges d’antan”, which means something like “In the forges of yore”. The owner is Franck Souville, an artisanal smith who makes exclusive knives out of Damascus steel. Whether the ex-Musée du Poilu will become an annexe of the original forge in the Doubs, or whether it will become a sales outlet for the exclusive knives of Souville is at this moment in time (mid 2012) not entirely clear.
The “Mon atelier” page of his site shows a video, and there my eye was caught by a price tag of € 200 on a knife. I do not think one would be able to buy a cheap potato peeler here...

For our own website click here.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

The number of blogs about this thrilling subject is slowly starting to resemble an old fashioned feuilleton! This is already the third, and as far as I am concerned (hopefully) the last episode.


Shortly after the publication of the last blog the new triptych had been placed by members of the ECCA. The old one consisted of plastic strips attached to the metal frame with pop rivets. The new one was consisting of huge plastic stickers (64” x 36”). But before they could be attached, the old ones had to be removed. They turned out to be glued on the frame as well as riveted, and it took 5 men about an hour to dismantle the old and glue on the new signs.
One of the pictures shows Wolfgang’s brand new, illegally installed and now derelict sign resting against the wall. The total number of signs has most likely risen to 16, since knowing the man a little bit, Wolfgang would not be Wolfgang if he would not find a new place for this strip. However, having said that, we have not seen a trace of it since.


One can imagine that no entrepreneur would be happy with only 16 signs, all pointing to his establishment, and the majority of these signs within a radius of 7 yards from his entrance. This man is not easily defeated; somewhere he still had a sandwich blackboard which he has now placed along the Voie Verte, a few yards from his terrace.


Still the man was not content. A few days ago all of a sudden, out of the blue, appeared a sign that could well have been produced in Las Vegas. The arrow flashes, and only the text “BAR 100 BIERES” shines permanently.
The new grand total of signs is now 18; of which one has as yet not been traced.
And with regards to the Las Vegas sign: so far 4 car drivers almost crashed into each other because they could not believe their eyes....


For our own website click here.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The never-ending story

All artisans, shopkeepers and other small businessmen in Cormatin are united in their "union", the ECCA. In the middle of the village there is a big sign, where all members of the ECCA are described, and where they can be found on the maps of Cormatin and of its surroundings.
This sign is (in theory) renewed once every two years; some businesses are no more and new ones have joined the ECCA. We are waiting already over two years for our name on the notice board, but some people are not as patient as we are. The man who collects signs by the dozen (see my previous blog) had a new sign made and nailed it on the board only a few weeks before the whole thing would have been renewed by the ECCA.
But that is not all; when one leaves the parking area of the château in Cormatin to take the D981 direction Cluny, one finds on that corner a few other signs. And lo and behold, Wolfgang had managed to put signs up there as well!
The count in the previous blog stalled at a meagre 13; this has in the meantime increased to 15 (sounds like I am talking about a death toll!).
It looks as if the number of signs Wolfgang employs is higher than the maximum number of customers he can attract yearly to his beer bar!

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

One cannot get lost here!

When finally, after having been for sale for a couple of years, the restaurant “Aux Berges de la Grosne” along the D981 was sold to Wolfgang Schmidberger, who turned it into a pub “Le Papyllon” serving special beers, we saw with great amusement and amazement how the signs with the name of the pub seemed to multiply themselves. It started off with a blackboard showing in chalk the opening hours. Slowly more signs appeared, telling what he sold, showing the opening hours, guiding people to the parking and the entrance, etc.

All signs were enamelled, colourful and all located on his territory, hence fixed with bolts to the walls of his property or put on poles in his garden, parking area and terrace. In a word, once you have found Le Papyllon, there is no way to miss it anymore!
How successful a pub specialised in foreign beers can be in an area where even the dentist asks you to rinse your mouth out with a Mâcon Village, is a good question. My experience with this pub is, that on one of the two occasions I sat down there to have a special beer the owner brought me a beer I had not ordered.
He sells (his words) 100 different beers, price range over € 5.00 a bottle. His excuse? The brand I ordered and the brand I got stood next to each other in the fridge. And was I finally offered the beer I ordered?

No, he took € 0.10 off the bill, because the beer I got was that much cheaper than the one I had ordered.
The pub, or better the owner, has another minus point. He does not really get many customers, and it seems that he cannot stand being alone. Hence whenever clients come in and sit down at the table, he joins them at the table and in their conversation. That maybe fun if you know the guy well and if you really like him, but if you want to sit down quietly with your partner to enjoy some peace and quiet with a special beer, this is not really what you want.
His attitude was extensively discussed during a meeting of the guitar festival in Cormatin, where more than one present there came up with the same experience.
What is a blog without statistics?

Photo 1 : sign on the Voie Verte inviting cyclists to stop here.
Photo 2 : sign at the entrance of the parking area.
Photo 3 : three signs visible from the main road and from the parking area.
Photo 4 : three other signs visible from the main road.
Photo 5 : four signs along the main road and on the door; the three signs fixed to the pole were installed in 3 phases. First the middle one, then the top one and the bottom one came last.
Summarising: Wolfgang obviously thinks that he needs twelve (12) signs to attract his beer drinkers!
The overabundance of signs around Le Papyllon invites me to pass by there as soon as possible...

One cannot be accurate enough. When recently we returned from some friends we approached Le Papyllon from a different direction. And lo and behold, Wolfgang had managed to mount another small sign on the back of a big one that was already there! And that gives us :
Photo 6 : small sign fixed on the back of the one on photo 2.
This brings us to a grand total (for the time being?) of 13...

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

My money-off voucher

When we came to live here, I had to register myself as a job-seeker with the French equivalent of the Job-centre. I had been registered as such with the Dutch authorities, who refused to see that someone of about 60 did not stand much chances in finding a job in his trade as qualified engineer for a salary far above the minimum wage. However, rules are rules in the Netherlands and if I did not apply for a job at least 4 times a month I would loose my unemployment benefit. The lady who dealt with me in Mâcon made it very clear to me that she perfectly understood that a foreigner of 60 years old, speaking pidgin French in a country where the retirement age at the time was still 60 was not high on the wanted list of the few employers around here offering the specialised work I did in the past.
She struck a deal with me, and registered me as “looking for work, with dispensation to actively apply for a job”. There was no money involved; I simply had to wait till my pensions from the Netherlands started rolling in.
What I received however was a piece of paper we referred to as my “money-off voucher”. This piece of paper enabled me to enter museums free of charge or at a reduced price, gave me a nice reduction on the price of the cinema in Cluny, etc. In a word, this piece of paper was worth its weight in platinum.
Recently my voucher expired, because indeed money was coming in from the Netherlands. Of course one has to inform the French authorities (Assedic, now Pôle-emploi) of this sad event, which I dutifully did. But it certainly hurts, having to pay full fare for Cluny abbey and getting a mediocre reduction for pensioners in stead of the royal reduction for “Chercheurs d’emploi”.
The voucher can easily be Photoshopped to give it another year, but I have not lived 65 years in relative honesty to became a hardened criminal at 65...

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Does anyone read your blog?

It is a question I have asked myself many a time. And every so often I meet someone who knows things which can only be known by those who have read my blog.
Yesterday a Frenchman stopped at our gate, who explained that he had found an old blog of mine about tuileries in Burgundy (from 2009) via the internet. Of course we asked him to come in, offered him a chair and away he fired.
He happened to be a member of the " Association des amis du vieux Berzé ", a village about 25 km from here. The association occupies it self with restoring and maintaining some old gypsum furnaces over there. Whilst cleaning up they had found some old bricks with the stamp of "our" factory engraved in them. After having found the bricks they searched the internet for a Tuilerie of Noël Marembaud in Chazelles, Cormatin, and that is how they found my little history. He had worked in England for a while, hence he could read my blog without much trouble.
He had found the story interesting enough to pop by and have a snoop around. We offered him the grand tour, which he happily accepted. During the tour we found out that he had read the blog thoroughly; the blog said clearly that we never had been able to find proof that our tuilerie had actually produced roof tiles. And that was very true when I wrote it. However, two weeks ago we received two roof tiles, with inscription, from the mayor of Cormatin, who in turn had received a number of tiles from the former country constable. The latter had found the tiles somewhere while cleaning out a shed in Cormatin, and gave them to the mayor.

Our new friend made the remark that it was rather strange that they had never produced tiles in our factory, and we could put that straight there and then! After the tour he said goodbye and invited us over to the gypsum furnaces of Berzé-la-Ville to return the favour. And we certainly will!

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

A French wedding

In France, as in the Netherlands, only a civil wedding is considered to be an official wedding; reason why a church wedding, if there is one, always takes place after the civil ceremony. However, the amount of people gathered around a church for a wedding is considerably bigger in France then in the Netherlands.
A week ago we found a wedding invitation in our letterbox for the church wedding of the daughter of some friends in Chazelle. Because we liked the people and because we would not mind to witness a French church wedding, we happily accepted the invitation.
Towards three o’clock we drove off to Cormatin church (the service was supposed to start at 15h30) and found with difficulty a parking space. That is not unusual on a Saturday, but the amount of women with rather exuberant dresses tumbling out of vehicles made us think they came for the wedding. That was even more evident when we tried to find a place in the church. Cormatin church was filled to the brim with friends and relatives of the couple or their parents.
Chazelle church can handle approx. 120 church goers; Cormatin church, which is much bigger, easily holds over 200, and the church was soon chocker block full. The service was relatively simple, bride and groom and their respective parents radiated happiness, in a word, this was the day of their life.
After the ceremony we went off to Morlay for a vin d’honneur, where another acquaintance of ours sometimes hosts parties and weddings. Fortunately we knew the way; hence we managed to arrive early by making a little detour, this way arriving just before the whole column of cars turned up.
Everything was organised very well. The kir flowed amply, there were all sort of snacks to accompany the drinks, all in all it was, apart from the stunning view over the Grosne valley not dissimilar to a Dutch wedding reception.
We would have loved to stay a bit longer, but on a Saturday we have to be home as well, if only to receive gîte guests who had said they would arrive late…..

For our own website click here.