Chestnuts again? They are a big thing around these parts, the centre of Chalus has a metal sculpture of a chestnut in its casing about 2 metres across. Dournazac, nearby, has its annual Journées de la Châtaigne (days of the chestnut) late on the last weekend of October. It’s one of the biggest local fêtes with stalls spreading around many streets. Anything you can think of and more involving chestnuts; raw, blanched, peeled, pureed, creamed, flour, roasted, in bread, cakes and sausages. As for the sausage stalls, there are sausages made of kangaroo, ostrich as well as local creatures such as boar, venison and, of course pig, lamb and beef plus fig, walnut and blood. Horse and donkey make an appearance too.
Donkey (Ane) sausage anyone?
Our camera club met for the visit to Dournazac and set ourselves the task of photographing shadows. We started out as a group of 6 and Delia and I gradually lost everyone until around lunchtime we decided to go home before we lost each other or Siena.
Chestnuts may be seasonal but so, it seems, are taxes. Income tax was earlier, in spring, and even though we didn’t earn enough last year to pay any, we still got a 35€ refund! That being said however, there are other taxes, 25% of everything we earn goes on social contributions and then there’s Taxe Foncieres (tax on the building), Taxe d’Habitation (tax on living in said building) and a new one CFE (tax on working in the same building). These are flat rate amounts which total about 10% of our joint income (35% including social even when not earning enough to pay income tax). An article in a French web site I read recently talked about the 50% of households not liable for income tax and being concerned about the economic inbalance this caused to the nation. Perhaps my French wasn’t up to it but perhaps they (Daily Mail – UK or Perth J style) missed the point that this meant that 50% of households didn’t earn enough! Ah well, it’s the price one pays for good cheap wine and the ready availability of fine chestnuts, I guess. In fairness, now I am 60 (not that I can believe it, being 60 that is) we won’t pay Taxe d’habitation again; and when I am 70, apparently I’ll get 100€ off Taxe Foncieres so there’s that to look forward to! Also we currently enjoy some glorious weather, sunshine and temperatures up to 25°C