17.04.2011 - 24.04.2011 19 °C
So in case the title didn't hint enough, over the last 2 weeks or so i spent a lot of time in church. Catholic church.
Now i do believe in god and was brought up around the Anglican principals, and a Catholic high school (though a pretty laid back one) so church services/mass is not foreign to me, but i don't regularly attend church either, so let's say i think i've 'done my bit' for the rest of the year. Well til Christmas.
The family don't regularly go either, but the kids are somewhat involved in local church activities, Easter time is a big deal obviously and I would normally go in Darlington at least at Easter and Christmas anyway, and here i feel doing these things is part of learning, so starting on Palm Sunday (for the non-religious that's the Sunday the week before Easter) we went to a local church in the next village for morning mass. This was about 1.5 hours and pretty darn cold inside but i was expecting this (after already having visited quite a few big, old, stone European churches in my time) and dressed appropriately.
The following Tuesday we attended a mass at the Cathedral St Vincent in Chalon - because Amarine's choir was singing. A little more interesting too as it was a special service for the other priests and led by a Bishop. Typically some of the best looking guys i've spotted so far were there... dressed in 'beginner priests' robes.
Two days later on Thursday evening we went to a little church in nearby small village Gigny as it followed a class for Amarine's First Communion coming up at the end of May.
The next Saturday evening a friend of Amarine's was getting Baptised and Nadine was Godmother. There was a small party, about 15 people including us, not overly exciting with all conversation in French but i make a game out of seeing how much i can understand. The highlight was watching Grandma knock back more than a couple of glasses of port and wondering if she would make it through the night. She did, but I’m sure she would have slept through the church service.
So this was an aperatif 'dinner' (mostly just cheese and pastry wrapped meat and lots of champagne. Decorative cherry tomatos were the saviour) at the house then stroll over to the church at 9pm. This service lasted for 2 HOURS, the longest of all of them!
So the next day was Easter Day and after a much needed sleep in we went again for the 10.30am mass.
So that was at least 7 and a half hours in 5 Catholic, french services over 8 days at 3 different churches. Lots of practise singing in french.
And brings me to Easter Day. Surprisingly no bigger deal here than in Perth, the kids got chocolate eggs hidden around the garden for a egg-hunt but no presents for us adults. I didn't want to give the kids more chocolate (really there are enough sweets stashed around the place that its not really a treat anyway) so i bought 2 notebooks and covered them with nicer paper and a note inside. These are journals/diaries for them, hopefully an alternative way to express their thoughts and feelings. And perhaps fewer outbursts. Worth a try.
Lunch was a little more special, only us and Nadines's parents but some special food including foie gras (duck liver).
For a complete report see the food blog i am starting...
The rest of the afternoon was 'reposer' /siesta / snooze time. Probably the same thing you were all doing!