Sunday, 12 January 2014

January Stupor

What a mover!
What is it about the first week of January? I always feel lethargic and not up to doing much, hence my two week blog silence, we’ve done plenty, but I just haven’t got round to writing about it. Don’t worry I won’t bore everyone with all that we have done, suffice to say we had a lovely Christmas with my mum, brother and his family, then new year with some French friends - lots of good wine and good food on both occasions of course.

I have finally started to wake up this week, buoyed up by the arrival of my very first Tai Chi suit, all the way from China via Italy - long story let’s not go there. I was so excited I had to pose in it didn’t I? What a picture.

This morning I went up to my first service in Taizé for quite a long time. The local parish was having its weekly mass in the main church, so I thought I would go along and see how it went. The brothers had sensibly put benches down the left-hand side of the church, these were full as were the steps and the usually benches on the right, so it was a very good turnout. The floor was mostly covered, but with space to move - unlike the summer months which can get very claustrophobic in the crowds. It was a pity though that the parishioners hadn’t been given a few tips in advance, very few on my side of the church had the song book or the song sheets, which left them sitting in the sidelines as spectators rather than participants.

Taizé  songs with verses
So how was it different from a normal Sunday morning service? We actually had some songs which had verses, unheard of in the usual Taizé repertoire. As they were rather Christmassy, they may have been used for the Christmas services which will also attract a number of locals I think and this way, it gives the service a little more familiarity to non-regulars. Another move away from the norm was that we were treated to organ playing as we arrived as opposed to the usual taped music. I have not heard the organ played that much so it was an interesting experience. The organ was built to be quiet, which it is by church organ standards, but I felt that the higher notes lacked something. By taking the power out of the instrument, it has lost that glorious organ effect, it wasn’t so noticeable on the lower notes, but it left the higher ones a bit shrill.

As anyone who has been to a service will know, the majority of the brothers leave at one point, but you can stay as long as you like, accompanied by a few remaining brothers who will sing along, as long as anyone remains. As usual I left just after the main bulk of the brothers, but the vast majority of the congregation remained sitting, probably wondering what was going to happen next. It made leaving the car park very easy!

Finally, for those waiting with bated breath about that chap who was lurking around the church a couple of weeks ago. It turns out he was one of wise men, phew, I was a bit worried he might be trying to steal the chicken feed. So here is one final photo (taken last week) and we will now have to wait another year to see the crèche again.

Happy new year to everyone!

For information on the gites we rent out, very near Taizé, click here.

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