Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Paris was lovely

The three days I had with the family in Paris seem like a haven of sanity and joy in the midst of festive madness and cold, cold weather. The sun shone with wintry freshness, the rain restrained itself to an overnight drizzle which had no effect on our sightseeing.
The Christmas market lining the Champs Elysee was stunning, atmospheric and joyful, as were the lights that hung in abundance from the trees.

The Eiffel tower was a joy during the day and even better at night - with a great light show.

Using a water bus was a great way to get around - and save tired feet. My favourite area was the Latin Quarter with lovely shops, bistros and bustle. We visited the Louvre, of course - I would need a whole day and fresh feet to really get the most from that, so I will just have to go again!

We only managed to see Notre Dame and Saint Chapel from outside, so there's a reason for another visit.

What a privilege it was to be there and to share with Rob and Tamsin in their excitement. Rob spent a lot of time analysing lighting designs and layout at the Eiffel Tower and the Loure - which I teased him for a lot, but am secretly bowled over by his knowledge. Tamsin seemed to love everything apart from her aching feet (she is a lot like me!).

We came back for a gentle New Year. I won't spoil this happy blog with some of the work stuff that has arisen since then - that's for another blog on another day!

Thanks to Sandy and Rob for wonderful photography!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

We've had a lovely New Year's Eve and a very slow start to New Year's Day. It was good to be with friends last night in a very relaxed and cheerful environment.

I'm aware though of so many people who really can't bear this time of year for all sorts of reasons. Some years ago I wrote the following with just such people in mind.

Dedicated to the ‘New Year Fearers’

When Auld acquaintance has ‘bin’ forgot

and the debris of another midnight madness

cleared away,

out will come the New Year fearers

the January first pain bearers

the hogmanay haters

and tremendous fun traitors

who do not see why

they should even try

to get plastered

or blasted

for the sake

of one more day on the calendar

and one more year gone by.

On will be put the brave faces

that remember the places

of memory and grief

no nostalgia will bring relief

from the constant reminders

of long gone lovers

lost opportunities

and broken communities.

‘Happy New Year!’

shed another tear

move on through the winter

that freezes hope’s last splinter

of consolation.

Each sharp inhalation

of breath is a cold effort

of courage in the face

of despair.

One more cheerful mask

is added to the growing collection

as the lonely New Year fearer

looks for a different benediction.

Michaela Youngson - Published in 'Making the Colours Sing'

I hope you have a most joyful and peaceful year and, in contrast, perhaps, to the above reflection offer a prayer:

New Year Prayer of Praise

Creator God, we praise you

for this New Year,

for this time of worship,

for this moment in our lives.

Creator God, we praise you

for all that you have made,

for all that you have given,

for all that you have promised.

Redeemer God, we praise you

for the new life found in Christ,

for the chance to begin again,

for the story of salvation.

Redeemer God, we praise you

for your grace that is without limit,

for your love which knows no end,

for your living among us.

Sustainer God, we praise you

for the gift of your Spirit,

for the outpouring of your love,

for the fruits of our relationship with you.

Sustainer God, we praise you

for your open embrace of all,

for your infectious joy,

for your presence in our lives.