Sunday, 2 November 2008

hot chocolate and roasted chicken

A wetter day in St Jean de Luz. Thankfully the rain was driving so hard that its rythym stirred us around ten. At least it gave us enough time to dress and head along the sodden Rue Gambetta to the wonderful church of Saint Jean-Baptiste. Louis XIV got married to Infanta Marie-Therese here in 1660 and subsequently bricked up the door he and his infanta wife exited by so that no-one else could get married and leave by the same means - brilliant! There is something really lovely about the way this church brings people together and the service is conducted in a mix of French and Basque which adds to the interest factor. The church itself is also quite special, lots of wood throughout and it is a great example of the duality of design - using a ship's hull as the basis for constructing a church. There are also three tiers of wooden balconies, one suspects the wedding was a well attended event. I don't understand Catholicism being a Scottish Presbyterian but I do love the ritualistic elements, very interesting. It amazes and warms me that having left the UK where church was sparsely attended (mostly Christmas and christenings) that there are three services here on Sundays each drawing around 600 people. In this time of imminent recession and catapulted capitalism it's pleasing that there are still outposts of tradition and spirituality. Talking of spirituality, the other big plus about going to church is being able to go for a hot chocolate afterwards... I augmented the cocoa with a large chocolatine (pain au chocolat) and got the sugar rush I was craving.

Given the weather we headed home and roasted the vegetables and chicken we bought at the market on Friday. Clare and Alex left this afternoon from Biarritz airport. Fabulous as it has been having visitors this past week (Peter, one of my old college friends, was down earlier in the week - a real task master hence the running in the morning thing) it was nice having the place back to ourselves. I like it when that happens as it always makes me even happier to welcome friends in the future. The weather went from wet to wetter so we spent the remains of the day watching the rain pour in the street and on the hills and picking at the roasted leftovers. Thinking about today's service and the few words I could understand (must get back to my French studies), does the English word 'mercy' come from the French 'merci'?