Tuesday, April 10, 2012

la sainte semaine part 1

On Palm Sunday we were intrigued to discover if like in England, each worshipper is given a dried folded palm cross for the liturgy of Palm Sunday. We had asked one of the brothers in Taize but he was rather vague about it.
The palm crosses
we are used to!
 When we arrived at the church doors early on Sunday morning there was a long queue of mainly young people waiting to get into church. Two young people gave out branches that had been taken from hedgerows - literally branches - and we carried these into the church. We had what I would consider a "normal" Eucharist but what was very striking was watching the brothers leaving the church in a huddle carrying their branches and it looked like they were a following crowd. I loved the fact we were given "living" branches and we kept ours in a vase in the house for the rest of Holy week, adding flowers to them on Easter Sunday.
We had already decided that although we had guests staying for 2 nights over Easter, we would make the commitment for the week to get to morning prayer/Eucharist each morning at 8:15am and then to the Bible study at 10am and then back in the evening for the Evening prayer at 8:30pm.

After the Bible introduction on Monday, it being a lovely day with warm sunshine, Joe got out my bike so I could go out for a ride. It was the first time in about 7 years that I had ventured out - and I did think I might have forgotten how to ride! To make it easier we drove the car down to the village at the bottom of the hill where the "voie verte" runs - in a previous blog I have written about the voie verte that runs from Macon to Chalon running along the old railway line. The great joy is that it is car free and mainly easy riding!
Spring in its way on the edge of
the voie verte!
Joe got the bike into the back of the car for me and with the boot tied down with a piece of string, as he couldn't quite fit it in, we set off . Joe does not ride a bike with confidence but he loves to walk so whilst he walked I rode the bike - it was so warm that I was in a tee-shirt and really comfortable. Everything was going well, I didn't wobble too much and there were hardly any other people around! I rode ahead then turned around and I went back to Joe. I was conscious that of course I had to ride back to the car and since it was my first ride for so long I wasn't going to take any chances! After a couple of rides and turn around I suggested to Joe he walked on a little further whilst I rode back to the car and popped the bike in the back (of course I can do it!), then picked him up where a lane crosses the voie verte. I remembered to ask for the car keys and set off back to the old railway station at Massilly. I was feeling confident!
How misplaced that was!!

I have to tell you that our car is a Renault with a key less ignition system. As long as you have the card for the car with you, the door will open.

Approaching the car from the boot I dismounted and hanging on to the bike with one hand I opened the boot with the other. At this point sense left me completely! Having opened the boot I threw the car keys to the front of the car where they landed in the well of the passenger seat. Great place as it would be really easy to get into the driver's seat and simply reach over for them....
I remembered that Joe had not been able to shut the boot with the bike in the back. He had taken out one of the seats and when I looked at the space I couldn't really see how it was that he had had such difficulty! I would be able to do it!
I lifted the car in front wheel first, having already tried to take the wheel off, but soon realising that I should have taken a spanner with me...
OK, out comes the bike for the first time!
I decided that the bike might fit in better the other way round. I lift the bike in again. Hm not as easy as I thought. I decided that if I leave the bike in the back I can go around to the back door and then pull the bike through into the back much more easily, I wonder why Joe didn't do that?
Then disaster! I realise with horror and extreme embarrassment that I have locked myself out of the rest of the car and can only get back in again if I can get hold of the keys. The only way to get them is to clamber through the boot into the car and then I will be able to open the door. I lift the bike out of the boot once more, and as delicately as I can I climb into the boot and on my poor knackety knees I start to make my way towards the front of the car. Then a brainwave! I will open the passenger door behind the driver's seat from the inside, and that will help. I manage that and with as much dignity as I can now muster I retrace on my knees the exit out of the boot. (I should point out at this moment that there were 2 French people about 50 metres away having a chat, and I was hoping that they were so enthralled with their conversation that they were taking no notice of me and were not counting how many times by now I have tried to put the bike in the car!
I try the bike again, back wheel first and then I go around to the side door to pull it as far up the car as I can. This achieved I realise that this is hopeless, it is not length that I need but width so I can bend the wheel around to fit into the boot. I have a further thought - if I drop down another back seat the bike might now fit...The bike comes out of the car yet once more....(I now remember ruefully how hard I laughed when I heard the Hoffnung monologue about the bucket on the building site and I realise how very easy it is to get into the same kind of pickle!!!!)
I drop down the car seat, phew! more room. I lift the bike carefully into the larger space at which point the car shelf that has been stored on one side falls right in front of where I am trying to put the bike. I stop and lift the bike out again. By this time tears of frustration and laughter are duelling within me! I am truly dangerous, what was Joe thinking of when he let me decide to put the bike back myself? (well if I am truthful I was determined!!!)
I move the parcel shelf carefully back to one side and lift the bike in, go round to the passenger door at the back and pull it through. Back to the boot and a quick manoeuvre and the bike is in YES! At this moment I notice the string that Joe used to close the boot in the first place...I close the boot very quickly with a red face, and thinking that I have burnt more calories in lifted the bike in and out of the car rather than on my bike ride, I drive carefully past the French couple still talking avidly to one another and I go and collect Joe who has been waiting for some time...
Why did I entitle this blog holy week? Well I learnt a lesson in humility and I hope that I will remember it! More about the Easter three days in Taize in the next blog!

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