I very much enjoyed our last couple of days in France – exploring more of Avignon (including the covered market) on foot and by tram, and then visiting Marseille. The latter was very sunny and very windy. We took a bus a little way along the coast so that we could look at the Chateau d’If from the shore. Of course I now need to reread The Count of Monte Cristo, but then I always do.
Also, an extremely positive and useful vision and planning day with my Cursillo committee.
I wouldn’t have chosen to take a rail replacement bus at 7.20am – but looking back to see the towers and walls of Avignon sharp against a hazy gold sunrise, and then driving through Tarascon and Beaucaire as it brightened into a clear sunshiny day, with the old walls basking in the light, made it worth it.
Got caught up with work and didn’t make it to Evensong on Thursday. But I learned today that Candlemas was not marked at Evensong on Thursday, so I have in fact been saved disappointment (and other people have objected).
The difficult and perplexing
Dealing with a jam containment failure on the TGV. My fault. Probably.
Not sure I will ever catch up on my emails. Oh well.
The lectio divina on community from Fifty Ways To Pray. Embracing the idea that sometimes all choices are good (and therefore that dithering over where to eat lunch is a waste of time).
At Nîmes station I found a machine that dispensed short stories at the touch of a button. So I pressed the button and received a copy of Fleur Sauvage by Thierry Covolo on a long thin strip of paper.
Since getting back I’ve been pretty tired and have fallen back on Persuasion retellings from the AO3. May reread Persusasion proper. Some good blog posts, too: The Holiest Feast Day of Do-Overs from The Fluent Self, and Admiral Cloudberg was on particularly good form capturing the horrifying inevitability of Carnage on the Autobahn: the crash of Paninternational flight 112.
The European figure skating championships. I have to say it’s nice to be able to watch the final group in the women’s competition without constantly wondering whether it’s making me complicit in child abuse.
More Provençal crib scenes, not to mention the churches that contained them – Ste Marie Majeure and Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille. I liked them both, flamboyant nineteenth century edifices that they are. Notre Dame de la Garde in particular is quite remarkable. It’s right at the top of the hill (we took the bus up) and even when you’re inside you can hear the wind howling around. It’s more or less wallpapered with votive plaques and representations of Our Lady’s miraculous interventions, including several model boats and aircraft. But particular kudos to Ste Marie Majeure for having an actually convincing flock of sheep in one of its crib scenes.
I made jam tarts for Candlemas. (I forget now where I read about this tradition, and it may be a complete myth. Still, at worst I get jam tarts.)
More delicious French food, including cromesqui (a sort of deep-fried potato ball) and entremets (a cake made of chocolate mousse). Things I’d actually heard of included salmon and poached egg.
Cats sitting on the roof of a hire van in a suburb of Avignon. A deer sneaking across the path ahead of me when I went for a walk on Thursday. A bus in Nîmes that thought it was a tram.
Warm blanket, fluffy cat. Bed.
More badges for the camp blanket (still missing Avignon). Interesting flavoured salt, and truffled olive paste, from the covered market.
So much unsuitable cheese. And the wine, too. (We did bring some back for purposes of future celebration.)
Line of the week
From No More Delay: a call to General Synod by Charlie Bell.
The minute we bless same-sex couples, people’s prejudice will be challenged by real, living people, right in front of them, living ordinary, faithful, loving, honest lives of love and faith, to coin a phrase.
This coming week
Back in the office. And maybe I’ll decide what to do with the butternut squash and sweet potato that have been hanging around for ages.
Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!