“Romancing the Cube” – by Debbie Ambrous

May 31, 2018 – Thursdayof the Burgundy, France Journal

Published normalement (normally) bi-weekly on Sunday

Like the last licks of a deliciously sweet vanilla ice cream cone with the crunchy cone finally down in one gulp, I was savoring the beautiful garden of our rental house, Au Faubourg Saint Honoré in Arnay le Duc, France, and relishing the last moments of walking the historic streets.  Our departure to a different location was approaching, but I still had time to see the ladies rushing from the boulangerie with long baguettes in their arms and time to inspect the tiny raspberries – still green – that would ripen when I was gone. A brochure of gardens in France from the tourist office, which I had read like a gourmet restaurant’s menu, listed Chateau de Barbirey and its gardens which inspired our agenda for the day.  Lilting, enticing words like “bucolic and rural atmosphere’ and “come and visit one of the most beautiful vegetable gardens of Burgundy” lured us on to the remarkable garden.  Nothing could stop us, except a Ford Fiesta!Question: When is a Ford Fiesta remarkable? Answer: When it’s painted to resemble a Rubik’s cube!   Did you know? The world’s largest Rubik’s cube is three meters (9.8 feet) tall.  The smallest is 10mm (0.39 inches) wide.  Both turn just like a regular cube.

There are more than 43 quintillion ways to scramble the Rubik’s cube!  In fact, there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possibilities!

If you had one cube for each scramble position and laid them all side-to-side, they would stretch 261 light years from Earth.  Or, you could use them to cover the Earth in 273 layers!

If you turn the Rubik’s cube once every second, it will take you 1.4 trillion years to go through all the permutations.

A robot solved the Rubik’s cube in 0.637 seconds!  The first Rubik’s Cube was sold in 1975 in a Budapest toy shop.

Jim will be so jealous that I learned all of these facts about the famous best-selling toy ever that was invented by Ernő Rubik, a professor from Budapest, Hungary.  Jim is impressed by such statistics, and he quotes stuff like this to me while I roll my eyes.  I learned about this characteristic after I had married him when it was too late!  As a pretty newly-wed, adorable and maybe even alluring, I was in bed with him.  Yes, in bed with him – when he said: “Did I ever tell you about Tecumseh?”  I don’t know what marriage manual or love-making expertise he was reading!  However, I’m quite sure that this Shawnee Native American chief was not involved.  Down to this day, Jim and I will quote the words “Did I ever tell you about Tecumseh?” and laugh in memory.  Tecumseh is credited with saying: “A single twig breaks, but a bundle of twigs is strong.”  Wise words indeed, but he named one of his children Mahyawwekawpaese.  What was he thinking?  Now, there was a kid who could probably solve the Rubik’s cube in a New York minute!

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 – “Two are better than one … For if one of them falls, the other can help his partner up.  But what will happen to the one who falls with no one to help him up?”

We lingered around Vandenesse where we found the stunning car and a rusty old motorcycle before we watched a boat go through the lock in the canal.  Now, that would be fun!  We messed around here and there long enough that it was time for lunch.  A visit to a boulangerie, La Banette in Commarin, provided pizza and a lemon tart for a picnic lunch which we spread under the shade of the trees in the center of the village near the entry to Chateau de Barbirey.We wandered over to the gateway to the gardens and looked for the bathroom facilities.  Now is my opportunity to show a bathroom, or toilet room, which is shared by men and women. (Look closely in the photo where I am standing at the mirror and Jim is posed at a cubicle door.)

Jim and I found our first such toilet at the Chateau Ussé years ago when I was surprised to be in a cubicle next to a gentleman, and then I washed my hands at a sink next to another pretty lady along with Jim.  All of this was civilized, very polite and sanitary.  Toilets like this are still scattered here and there, but most of them are old.  Times have surely changed everywhere.No one was around the office to accept our payment which was only six euros per person, so I happily wandered in the garden and by the old buildings on the grounds in front of the chateau.  A gentleman came toward me from the chateau, and I worried that he would turn us away since a school group was already there with their teachers guiding them past the wheelbarrows through to the flowers and vegetables.  What a wonderful beginning for those youngsters learning about the flowers and vegetables! Thankfully, we were allowed to join them to see the terraced garden, the orchard, ponds and my favorite – peonies!! The gardens were designed in the nineteenth century, and they are located 25 km (15.5 miles) from Dijon and Beaune in Burgundy, France.  You can rent the chateau!  Why not have a wedding, a family reunion or some other special event here?  Honestly, I thought the rates were not that bad for a large group.  CLICK here for more details.

Recently, here at home in Alabama, I have fallen in love with Monty Don, the gardening guru in England.  I know I will have to get in line, a very long line of other adoring gardeners who found him long before I did.  Be sure to see his shows on Netflix, or whatever outlet you may find.  I especially enjoyed Monty Don’s French Gardens.  I just melted away in a dream world listening to the music, seeing the jaunty 2CV on the back roads of France and hearing his warm words of gardening wisdom.  Yet, Monty Don hasn’t told me anything about Tecumseh, so I am very happy to cultivate my garden with the fellow who has taken me to France and back many times over!  I will dance to the music with the handsome fellow who brung me!

I promised a remarkable garden and more of the Burgundy canal, and I did just that along with a fantastic Ford Fiesta! Y’all come back next time for a bonus day, which even I did not expect.  Monty Don may appear on the page again if I am still in gardening mode.   Thanks for coming around to visit the blog!

You can read more about France, including more about Burgundy.  Just click over to purchase your copy of “A French Opportunity” in paperback or KindlePlease feel free to share this website with others.  Would you like to receive an e-mail notification when each story is posted?  Look at the top of the page on the right-hand side for the area to enter your e-mail.

All photography is the property of Debbie Ambrous.

If you enjoyed this story, perhaps you would like to read about the gorgeous Chateau Villandry and its magnificent gardens.  Just CLICK the link below:

“Fractured Fairy Tales”

2 thoughts on ““Romancing the Cube” – by Debbie Ambrous

  1. That garden was absolutely magnificent!!! Like being in paradise! The bathrooms were interesting along with the Ford fiesta….I wouldn’t mind taking it for a spin!!

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