Place de l'église, Champagny-sous-Uxelles, Southern Burgundy, France.

Events : Visitors : Family & Travels

OR (with apologies to a certain well known author) 

A year in Southern Burgundy

As always we try to list the visitors to us as well as our own travels during the past year. We also note other village related events especially when we have pictures to put on view. 


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Pamela, Rob and the children decided that they would visit in the summer months this year when there would be more activities for the children. 

They came for two weeks in August and we were also keen to show them that there was more to France than the road between Calais and Champagny-sous-Uxelles. 

We took them to the Auvergne (central France) for a couple of days which they seemed to enjoy.


Our own trips this year started in April with a visit to th UK for Sebastiens second birthday,

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Sebastien with his dad during a visit to the Essex Fire and Rescue Station at Colchester.

This September we made a trip with Gilbert and Lulu to the island of Jersey where we all stayed with Barbara’s sister. Gilbert had visited Jersey many years ago but I think that they were surprised by this little bit of Old England (with French street names).


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Much of 2016 has been dominated by the UK’s EU referendum and trying to make sense of the implications for our family with every sign that cross boarder residents will be bargaining pawns.

We know that the EU is far from perfect and surely needs reforming. While the former head of the KGB taking every opportunity to restore Russia as a world power and religious and national extremists strive to destroy Europe’s hard won freedoms, fragmentation is dangerous. Pope Francis recently expressed his concerns in an Italian newspaper, recalling that the last time there was this level of nationalism and discontent in Europe was 1933 and the German people voted for political change!

Looking at England from the outside its own problems become much clearer. Decades of poor planning and infrastructure have forced most of the population into great urban concentrations with high housing costs and pressures on schools, prisons, health and social services. While some people are clearly doing “very well thank you” a majority of working families continue to find that financial comfort and quality of life remain out of their reach.  The new Prime Minister appears to have recognised this and even coined the phrase JAM’s meaning those who are “Just About Managing”. Economic growth in the UK has largely been fuelled by the consumer driven economy with easy access to credit and imported goods as if the 2008 financial crisis had never happened.

Following years of austerity, it is unsurprising that many English voters felt disconnected from and ignored by government, distrusting “big business” they looked to the referendum as an opportunity to show their disapproval of the “Establishment” rather than the EU. With comments such as “things need shaking up”, it became easy to point to immigration as a key area of discontent. 

As occasional visitors to South East England one can see frustration and even anger among many inhabitants. The result of referendum may have united the Conservative Party but the narrow margin will leave the UK a bitterly divided nation for many years to come.


The conduct of the campaign is now so much water under the bridge. It is the new politics where the end result justifies the means, which was amplified by the US presidential campaign of 2016 and has now given racists and xenophobe’s legitimacy. 

A cold wet spring brought a slow start to the year which was not help by industrial action in France, the migrant problems around Calais and termism mainly in France and Belgium.

Our first visitors came from Germany, Klaus and Crista visited on their way to Italy and when the found that the weather in Burgundy was better than in Italy they travelled back early and spent more time with us.

The Harris’s also from Germany spent a week with us in June.

Both couples insisted in sampling the good French wines.

We had a few other overnight visitors who escaped witout being photographed so we will not embarrass them this time.

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Rob, Pamela, Fiona and Jacob on the river Seille.        (Right) Fiona on top of the Puy de Dôme

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A spring week together in Paris with the family Nolda.

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Our journey across France to catch the ferry in Saint Malo took us through Bourges and along part of the Loire Valley. On the return leg visited Chartres with its Cathedral.


and comment on Britain’s plan to leave the EU 

The Electoral Reform Society concluded their post referendum report by stating that “voters felt ill-informed and starved of facts about what they were voting on”.Who among those eligible to vote in June 2016, actually voted for a new UK government lead by Mrs. May attempting to control a bunch of pragmatic “Brexiteres” who had managed to pull the nationalist rug from under UKIP’s nose?

With most of the political opposition was in turmoil, this new government believed that the referendum result gave it an absolute mandate for restricting immigration and freedom of movement above all else. While one might detected elements of Thatcherism in her attitude to parliament and the courts, after visiting the Whitehouse Mrs. May emerged hand in hand with the new US president.  Trump is her new mentor and after more than six months of failing to form a coherent strategy its now “Brexit at any price” and Donald will look after little Britain if it all goes horribly wrong.

The post referendum government has underestimated the difficulties ahead but anyone who tries to inject reality into the situation is labelled as a bad looser or even a traitor. There will of course be negotiations on Britain’s departure from the EU which has been likened to extracting one egg from a large omelette. In the end it will be dependent on whatever the remaining 27 states can agree to and like any divorce there will be a high price to pay.

Then what of Britain’s future relationship with Europe and of course the rest of the world? The government is dreaming of championing world-wide free-trade. Just how this sits in an increasingly protectionist world is difficult to see. Naturally many nations will be pleased to sell to the UK market in the hope that the rigorous European standards will no longer apply. Ironically India, Australia and Turkey are demanding that UK travel restrictions be eased for their nationals as part of any trade deal.

Businesses could be attracted to the UK by promises of grand infrastructure projects, low taxation and other incentives. Special deals with the automobile industry are already being promised but what happens when other industries demand the same and smaller companies are left behind. Of course all this will have to be paid for, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has abandoned his predecessor’s austerity budget (for now) and is predicting that the UK’s national debt will rise to two trillion pounds by the time it leaves the EU. Even if he manages to keep within this figure with all the other pressures on the financial pot it will be a huge legacy for our children and grandchildren to cope with.

For now we can only watch the politicians and apologise to our European neighbours for our British connections.

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We spent a few days in the hills above Epernay where Françoise has a cousin who makes champagne.

Our annual First of July party went well with good weather and we surprise guests with the appearance of les Trompes de Chasse.

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Our new Grandson!





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Saturday 14th January 2017 

at 13.50 

7lbs 11oz (3.49kg) 

The autumn of 2016 saw the replacement of the street lighting around the village church and laying new underground electricity cables. We are now waiting for the telephone wires to be routed underground so that the old concrete poles can finally be removed. The birds will have for find some ware else to perch.

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