Saturday, 22 November 2014

It's Only The Finger Of God's Cousin!!!!!!

That cycle ride the other day was aborted for two reasons.  You know about the puncture from yesterday's post.  It's also because due to the 'inevitable' setbacks in my fitness regime I now have the exercise tolerance of a three toed sloth.  My efforts up the first hill were jeered at by some old geezer in a beret.  Some of my mental musings on holiday were around how to sort  out this sorry state of affairs now that the knee and ankle aren't grumbling anymore.  I think I've come up with a winter exercise plan that doesn't involve being holed up in a soulless gym.  I'll divulge that at  another time.

Had I persevered and reached the destination that I'd planned the other day I think that I'd have been mightily pee-ed off.  I was heading out to the church of St Jean du Doigt.  It's name is a bit of a giveaway as to what might be there. Yep, it contains the finger of John the Baptist.  And it's not any old finger I'll have you know but ,the exact same one that in the bible story it said that he pointed at the big guy in the white dress.  Wow! You'd think with provenance like that the place would be crawling with Chinese and Japanese tourists and there'd be a gift shop selling suitably themed artifacts.  Heck, I'd have stumped up the dosh for a grisly keyring if there had been any.




Except there wasn't. It turned out that I was the only person in a very dank, dark church.  I've got a bit of a gory fascination going on around those sacred body parts that some church denominations have a fondness for.  A very surreal moment in a Greek Orthodox shrine springs to mind when the priest allowed me to touch a severed head in a box while he spoke the only English words he knew. 'Gary Lineker!'  I thought that this covered offering on top of one of the altars looked like it might be a promising storage area.  After all that skull with the bits of hair on it had a similar curtainy thing going on, probably made lovingly for it by one of the old ladies in the village.

So with nosiness getting the better of me, and having checked that there were no security cameras or alarms I peeled back the curtain to reveal a box with a locked door. Bah!  Prising it open with a crowbar would have been a step too far.  I was very disappointed but not so much as I would have been if I'd arrived, near dead on the bike, after having pumped up that tyre twenty times!  The stained glass was lovely though.  Modern pieces by Louis Rene Petit.  You'll have to follow this link to have a look.  My own pictures didn't do justice.

What I've found out since is the finger only gets an airing once a year as  the highlight of the village's festival.  Those Bretons certainly know how to live.   It's the second object in this picture and is stored in, what looks to be, a very fancy lipstick case.  There's other precious things too, tucked safely away somewhere very secret no doubt.  I reckon that the frilly box was just a red herring.

Yep, the thing in the middle is a real arm.  It belongs to a holy bloke that I hadn't heard of.  That's the thing with these relics,  If they're from someone very famous you're only likely to get a teeny tiny body part like a toenail clipping or, indeed a finger. Whole limbs and heads are only on offer if the saint was very obscure!

8 comments:

  1. If you want to see body parts try the Hunterian museum in London....it's free too and most definitely on my list for must sees next year....most of my friends are not charmed by the prospect of going so might have to do that one on my tod. I'll take photos but possibly won't be blogging them!
    Arilx

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  2. I'll come ! ( and probably blog about it!!!) xx

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  3. That would be lovely....would suit both of us down to the ground I'm quite sure! Us escaped Essex girls need to stick together!
    Arilx

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  4. It doesn't matter how slow you go...just keep going! I used to cycle with a club (many years ago!) and was told by one lad that 'you cycle up hills like a snail crawling up a wall!' Another shot past me and asked if I had reverse gear! That one is now my husband, so I had the last laugh!

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  5. My husband convinced me when I wanted to get a bike, to get one with gears, and I don't understand them at all. I wanted one of those old fashioned roadster type bikes with a basket for tooling around the neighborhood, running into the grocery store, carrying a picnic to the park, those kind of things. I use the bike occasionally, but I crab the whole time I am peddling, and my butt hurts beyond belief when I get off it. I'm now keeping my eyes open for a roadster, and will give the other bike to my daughter when she is tall enough to peddle it safely. http://newframereference.blogspot.com

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  6. My bike was secondhand from a hire shop at the end of the season. I replaced the saddle with a comfy one. It has a waterproof Ortlieb handlebar panier that's akin to an old fashioned basket. I do love my twenty one gears though. When I tried a more expensive souped up model it didn't feel right. xx

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  7. I share your fascination with religious artifacts, although I've yet to see any body parts since I live in the US and can no longer afford to travel. But I lived in Arizona for awhile and had wonderful fun with the missions, churches, etc. left from the Spanish occupation. Statues dressed in fabric with milagros pinned all over them (tiny metal body parts representing a prayer for a cure--breasts, feet..); a spiral staircase to the convent chapel choir loft with no visible means of support (well, the itinerant carpenter was Joseph, of course), achingly beautiful statues of Jesus holding his head in despair (I called that style Jesus with a headache). I suppose I sound mocking, but I completely respect the faith and hope embodied in such cultural artifacts. And for all I know, milagros are effective, and of course Jesus would have a headache contemplating some of his followers today. Best regards, Kate in Oregon

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  8. Loving the ideas of milagros Kate. They'd go down a treat in England!

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