Sunday, 12 September 2010

A Squashed Face and White Food.

This weekend, Cluny has been one great big party. The citizens of Europe answered the call and came to the festivities we invited them to one year ago. The streets were heaving on Saturday night and at seven o’clock there was not a single seat to be found in our favourite evening restaurant (Loup Garou) so we settled for our usual Saturday lunchtime haunt (missed that lunchtime because we had to wait for giters and campers to arrive) and we had an assiette kebab. Suitably fed, we headed off into the market square to join in the Cluny-wide street theatre about to begin at nine o’clock. Abbey WallOne of the walls of the ancient abbey church was lit up with the words “Towns like dreams are made up of desires and fears, even if their way of presentation is secret, their rules are absurd and their perspectives are faulty; and everything hides something else.” Very thought provoking and intended to set the scene for the actors to appear and walk around the predetermined route through the streets, gardens and alleyways of Cluny to one of the spots where their little piece of theatre was to be played out, with us amongst the thousands following them eager to discover what secrets were to be revealed.

We were treated to dancing, folk music, recitals and theatre pieces, all intended to reveal the secrets of Cluny’s past, present and future. There were numerous people on top of walls, suspended from ropes or bits of cloth, we tripped over loose cobble stones and fell over low walls, Squashed LadyI got my foot trapped between a branch and a step as we stumbled through someone’s garden (now destroyed by the thousands of feet that traipsed over it in the last couple of days), skirts dangerously brushing against the candles lighting the way and all this without a health and Safety officer in sight to put a stop to the fun! In order to dodge a carelessly steered child’s pushchair, Cees climbed over a pile of ivy on the ground, rather than walking round it like the rest of the crowd and narrowly missed the face of a young lady lying there. I think she can claim the award for the most dangerous job of the weekend!

At the end of the tour after having had all of Cluny’s secrets revealed to us, we once again arrived in the market square where the winning entries in the “Cluny letter” competition were being read out – we hadn’t won, in fact Cees pointed out that we had in fact “lost”, but I prefer to take a more “Olympic Games” view about it all..

After listening to speeches in the Abbey gardens from the Mayor of Cluny amongst others, we sang the European “national” anthem Ode to Joy in French, German, English, Italian and Slovakian, then again in French. The English version included the words “All mankind are brothers plighted” which sounded painful to me and even though our friends reminded us that they had once “plighted their troths” and it wasn’t all that bad after all, I still looked the word up when I got home. Finally a film created by the ENSAM students of how the Abbey church Maior Ecclesia had once been, was shown on a huge screen in the gardens, a superb ending to an excellent evening, well done the Gadzarts.

Sunday saw the culmination of the weekend’s activities and the huge closing picnic. As last year (see here) we all brought food to share and sat with our fellow villagers, in our case dressed in white with white food and we had a very convivial meal together. After watching a display of falconry, we headed off home on our bikes down the Voie Verte back to Cormatin. A superb weekend that we will talk about for a long time to come I think.

La Tuilerie Website

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