Taizé is deserted. No-one is to be seen except for a permanent who knits while she minds the shop. The Community of Taizé has gone to Rome for the annual European meeting.
Pope Benedict will lead the prayer in St Peter’s Square on Saturday. More people than ever are going this year so he is making an appeal for accommodation. It sounds as if some of the pilgrims will be lucky to find even a stable.
The African nativity scene
Outside the Church of Reconciliation at Taizé is the most wonderful nativity scene. It’s African this year, to mirror the recent meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, the pilgrimage of trust first proposed by Brother Roger.
- The three Kings
...and one of the shepherds with his Calvin Kleins
As there was nobody around it seemed a good time to look around the Romanesque church of Taizé. This is where the Community started, before the Church of Reconciliation was built fifty years ago. Around two sides of the church is a graveyard. We marvelled at the simplicity of the graves of the brothers; no marble for them, just simple wooden crosses.
The Church at Taizé and the graves of the brothers.
It is the season of goodwill for our cats too. Since the disappearance of Blanche and Claude, Smudge hasn’t tolerated being the sole recipient of Benedict’s affections. But as I write, just for a little while, peace!
Smudge & Benedict
I wasn’t going to write a blog today in case it all came to pass and I needn’t have bothered. Like this remark I read in The Guardian The aptly named The World’s End pub in Leeds said it had not made any special plans to mark the event. A member of staff said: “There wouldn’t be much point if the world was going to end.”
But I was amused to see in Carrefour today that there was End of the World wine to share with friends for a kind of last supper. So at least we knew that the world wasn’t going to end until after dinner. Never one to miss a bargain we bought a bottle to amuse our friends. However if I really thought the world was coming to an end I would have bought something more expensive than 2€90 !
Wine to celebrate the end of the world
We hadn’t really thought about Christmas approaching until today when we went to our first Christmas market, the Mères Noël exhibition which was held jointly in Cortambert and Massilly.
The Mères Noël exhibition at Cortambert
The Mères Noël are a group of 22 artists who exhibit locally each year in the run-up to Christmas. Their work ranges from beautiful pottery and ceramics to paintings on silk, life drawings, leatherwork and woodwork. An excellent place to buy that special present.
What about something nice to eat at Christmas? In the old schoolroom in Cortambert, now the library, we took part in a cookery workshop. Ideal for us grignoteuses as we tasted as we learned.
Making caramel with Pascale
Pascale showed us how to make caramel, and bonbons aux carottes. We sampled the sweet carrot and orange mixture with cream, and Claire made us some chai, a sweet concoction of tea with spices.
A Christmassy dessert
We are looking forward to another session tomorrow afternoon when we will make savouries with foie gras. The Mères Noël exhibition is also on again. It’s well worth going to have a look if you missed it today.
Meanwhile the weather is also putting us in the mood for Christmas. After today’s crisp cold and sunshine heavy snow is forecast for tonight. A chance for Santa to get the sleigh out?