Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Well everybody knows that. But how many people know that the small chapel of Charcuble was built within 24 hours?
When the French capitulated to the Germans in 1940, the conscription was abandoned at the same time. To keep the boys of about 20 years old away from possible resistance work and to learn them some discipline, the Vichy regime founded in July 1940 the Chantiers de la jeunesse française (CJF). The CJF organized, heavily leaning on and influenced by the example of the scouting movement, an alternative conscription. In these 6 months the lads were taught discipline and community spirit whilst executing works for the public interest, like helping with the harvest, foresting and helping with building projects, etc. Not long after the foundation of the CJF, jews were banned from joining. After the Germans had ousted the Vichy regime, the CJF was used for providing forced labour in Germany. Like many things related to collaboration and resistance in France, CJF is often a bit of an obscure subject.
On the side of Cormatin church we had found a small plaque of the Vauban CJF 4. After some research we found out that CJF France was divided in a big number of groups, of which Vauban 4 was just one. The mayor of Cormatin knew a bit more. The CJF group Vauban 4, based in Cormatin, had done work in the surrounding woods, and in the wood near our house there were still remains to be seen of barracks built by and for the CJF.
Very recently we noticed an article in our indispensible source of information, Le Journal de Saône et Loire. It was about a ceremony to commemorate the fact that 70 years ago, on May 1st 1941, the Group Vauban 4 had built a small chapel near Charcuble within 24 hours. We always like to check out these sort of things, hence we got in the car and drove off to Bissy-lès-Mâcon, the commune of which Charcuble is a hamlet. The bell tower looks a bit like a pre-romanesque construction, but the rest of the small chapel, including the wall paintings behind the altar gives the real age of the chapel away.
The chapel is still considered to be a consasacred place, and is maintained with the help of the commune of Bissy-lès-Mâcon.
Although Rome is not really comparable to Charcuble, but…. This chapel was indeed built in one day!

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Saturday, 9 June 2012


This season there will be no theatre festival “Les Rendez-Vous de Cormatin” here. The rumour had been spreading for a while now, but recently all volunteers doing the work in Cormatin (building stages, selling programs, etc.) were called to a meeting and briefed about the situation.
The theatre company Studio Asnières from around Paris, the organiser of the event, has been unable to cough up the social payments for their employees, and is now in a state described by those in the know as technical bankruptcy.
However, this is not the first time this happens; a few years back the festival was also cancelled for one year, hence the Cormatin side of the festival knows how to handle this. Adverts in the program had already been sold to advertisers, and those will be refunded. The benefactors (and to be allowed to help as a volunteer one has to become a benefactor!) whom all have paid up around € 30, will be treated to a show as a consolation prize. To that effect most likely a big name will be asked to perform in Cormatin for all benefactors. A couple of years back this was the well known French actor Kad Merad, very famous since he played a role in the French film and blockbuster “Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis”, who also performs as a stand-up comedian.
One would think that in a situation like this no more money would be spent than strictly necessary.
Still, the volunteers were asked, after they had been told the facts about the “bankruptcy”, to turn up once more in the near future to help addressing letters, in which the situation around the festival is explained.
We are talking of about 3000 (three thousand!) letters, sent to people who at any one time in the past had purchased a theatre ticket and of whom the address is known to the organisation.
Would it not be more logical to save a cool € 1500 (and I am only taking into account the cost of stamps!), and keep them for a year when the festival will go ahead?

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