les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book review - Daniel Hyde - From the Pen of Pastor Paul - 1 & 2 Thessalonians - Evangelical Press

I wasn't sure that I'd like this book.
I don't know why.
Well, I sort of do.

Firstly it came in pdf format, which is always awkward. I can read pdf format on my Kindle, but it's not great. I can convert pdf files to Kindle format, but that's not great either. So the poor book was off to a bad start.

Secondly the conservative evangelical scene has become quite diverse over the past few years. I subscribe to a couple of websites' rss feeds, including the Gospel Coalition and Reformation 21, Desiring God, etc.., and while there is so much to rejoice in - a real growth of interest in Bible Christianity and in the best of our forefathers - there can also be that which is awkward, embarrassing, agressive or snide. As a friend put it, "There's a tone that sets in". Quite. So I've become a bit wary, I suppose. It's so easy to imbibe a spirit of snideness. The "tone" is hiding just our of sight, waiting its chance, waiting to set in.

Anyway, what about the book?

Well it's great! It's a book that has grown out of expository sermons on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.

Oh boy. What do that mean, "expository sermons"?

Well I don't mean expository in the sense of taking sizeable sections of Paul's thought, finding the main point and communicating that, scampering through the letters at a fair old lick. There's books like that, aren't there?

And I don't mean expository in the sense of proceeding slowly through the passage squeezing every drop of goodness from the citrus fruit of Paul's Greek, supported and sustained by historical and systematic studies. There are books like that, too.

Both those approaches are laudable and wholesome, and both have their drawbacks.

This book sometimes scampers and sometimes squeezes. For example chapter 8 is entitled "Hearing the Lord in a world of noise" and deals with 1 Thessalonians 2:13. And it doesn't really deal with the whole verse. It is rather a kind of systematised reflexion on how to hear God's word - expectantly, hungrily, attentively, faithfully, obediently. Chapter 9 then deals with 2:14 to 3:10, Praise in the midst of Persecution.

So this book isn't a manual of preaching, or a preacher's commentary, or anything like that. What it is is a broadly accessible book of messages on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, from an able scholar-pastor who aims to bring the light of all his studies and reflection to bear on the text and to then cross the bridge to where we like today to bring us much-needed help.

Read it expectantly, hungrily, attentively, faithfully and obediently and it will do you good.

Oh yes, and you will look in vain for "hoopla about the rapture", as our writer so quaintly puts it. And you will find a careful, cautious, historically-informed approach to the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians.

I received this book free of charge in the highly esteemed pdf format in exchange for an honest review.

Our cute little Hoover

Apartment life is quite different, you know.
When we lived in the big house we had this wonderful hoover. Made by Karcher it was a big steel drum on castors with a yellow fan assembly on top and it sucked up everything in sight. Dust, water, fluff, flour, ashes, whatever. We had it for years and apart from the various plastic parts wearing, snapping, etc, it just kept sucking. But it was a big old thing, far too big for our flat, so when we came here we sold it and for the first few months just swept and washed the floors. Still, some kind of hoover is useful and we decided that we could do with something much lighter and smaller, perhaps like the old dust buster we used to have, but on a long handle. I shopped around, but they're expensive, and which one do you get?
Then a private sales website advertised a natty little thing - a dustbuster on a long handle. Not rechargeable, mains powered, and at a very attractive price. So it came, and it's great! Just right for this kind of place, it gets in all the corners and gobbles up the fluff-bunnies.

Couch to 5K - Patricia racing ahead

Pat is a week ahead of me in this running programme, which means she just did day two of week 4.
On day 1 of week 1, just a few short weeks ago, she couldn't run for a minute continuously.
Today she ran 3 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 3 minutes, all quite comfortably.
In total 16 minutes in total, interspersed with minutes of walking.

Meanwhile yesterday I had my first problem with asthma, I think because the weather was noticeably colder, so on my second bout of running I was wheezing enough to need to slow down to a walk and use my Ventolin inhaler. After that I was fine and completed the session with no further problems.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maison de la Bible

Please continue to pray for the Christian Bookshop in Bordeaux.
Yesterday was the beginning of Lent, so the cathedral bells were going nuts quite a lot and we had folk coming in asking for lectionaries, rosaries, etc. We send folk up to the little catholic bookshop for that kind of thing. Meanwhile they sent us someone looking for a book on guardian angels, I think.
I had a nice discussion with a lady who had been for the imposition of ashes, though I think she'd washed it off. Or perhaps she had got caught in the incessant torrential rain.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Couch to 5K

Well that was a tough one. For two reasons:

1. I was DOG-TIRED after Sunday. All the family was. I was like a bottle held upside down and emptied. Really hard to get up!

2. My cadence changed to 6 times 90 seconds of running, and there was a headwind. Still, once I changed direction at the halfway point thing improved and I romped home. Well... strode home.

In the Médiathèque Jacques Ellul

Well we got there in the end. After 9 years we finally signed up at the library. And what a library!

Médiathèque Jacques Ellul, named after Pessac's 20th century renaissance man - jurist, philosopher and protestant theological Jacques Ellul, occupies the buildings of a former wine establishment with a pretty little park alongside. It's about 20 minutes walk from our house. It would be shorter but you have to cross the railway line and that means quite a detour.

They have a good music section, lots of DVDs, ebooks and audiobooks, you can borrow films and ebooks electronically without even going there and you can check out your loans at the scanning machines, "futurs-fonctionnaires", said the lady as she explained how it all worked. I wondered if it would make a difference if you get a machine in a good mood - si on tombe sur la bonne machine.

Anyway Pat came away with a bagful of books and I came away with my eyes full of wonder.

I know a song about libraries.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

OK! My G is back!

We have been singing, too, and yesterday I got my G back!
I wasn't sure it was possible at my advanced age, but it's there!

Friday, February 05, 2016


Tough today to haul myself out of bed, but once you're vertical and moving horizontally, counting 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 2 2 3 4 5 6 ... well it's great.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

A long, full day

Wednesday started with couch to 5K - this time I remembered to make sure my phone was not on silent and that I was on the right day - so now I am officially on week 2, where the running time progresses from 8 bursts of 1 minutes to 6 bursts of 90 seconds. It's not exactly long, is it? Anyway. The moon shone kindly down as I lumbered along Rue Profond down to Rue des Poissoniers and back.

Then off to Maison de la Bible where we had a few clients and I spent a happy morning with my co-volunteer, octogenarian ex-doctor, Gerard.

Lunch was left-over gâteau de crêpes, or as we now must type, gâteau de crepes, with chicken, spinach and tomatoes. It's essentially a lasagne with pancakes substituted for the pasta and constructed vertically like a cake, then iced with cheese sauce. It looks spectacular and I made it to celebrate chandeleur (Candlemas), the French pancake day, and our friend Sally's birthday.

Then some work on the passages for preaching and teaching this week and a quick modification of the Bordeaux Church website. Some time before Christmas we added lots of photos to the website at the bottom of the page. It was great, we thought, to give people a glimpse of the life of the church. Then a week ago I tried to access the site on my mobile phone. CATASTROPHE! All the photos made the page very slow to load. So I took the photos off again.

Then I saw a very simple but effective website from a new church in the UK. They've used Blogger to set up their site, as we have, and they have different pages for their declaration of faith, etc. Aha! So you can add pages. I'd seen the option some time ago but didn't know how to use it, how it worked or what it would give. So yesterday afternoon I spent a little time searching Google for instructions and fussing with the website and, hey presto!, a page for a declaration of faith, another page to outline our vision and another page where soon I will put the photos back on. And the front page still loads quickly, giving times and directions to the Sunday service. Jolly good! It still needs a little sprucing up here and there, but it's functional.

Then it was time to scuttle back into town to meet up with Peter and Alison for open-air preaching on the main shopping drag in Bordeaux. It was great to talk with folk about the gospel, including a communist who doesn't believe in God but believes in man. I told him he had stronger faith than mine, and that his political system could only work if you could make new people with new hearts, to which he agreed. Many of his replies were wonderful feeds in to the gospel. Things like "So everyone has to die before it can happen?" Another couple in their 40s or 50s were French-Tunisian, cut off by her family because she married a muslim Arab. I put my foot in it a lot. "And you've been together how long?" "A year". "Oh." (moves swiftly on) We talked about how Jesus reconciles us to God. Some lads from Portugal had very bad French (and no English) but they took gospels and they'll understand the basics if they read them. "You'd be good at this open-air preaching", said Alison, again. "Maybe, but I have a habit of taking on too many things than going nuts", I replied.

Then home. On the bus I met two girls heading for our house for a Bible study on Ruth which Pat was leading, so I hid in the bedroom till it was all over!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Couch to 5k - when a week seems interminable

Well there we are. After what seems like a very long time I have completed the first week's runs, which gets you running 8 minutes in total during a run/walk session of 1/2 hour. On Wednesday this will be increased to 9 minutes. It builds up gradually, doesn't it!

I have learnt:

1) not to have my phone on silent
2) to check which day I am starting before pressing "go"
3) that running in the drizzle is OK if you just accept that it will be damp
4) to try and avoid the puddles all the same (not easy)
5) that doing this is generally OK, and even quite enjoyable
6) that I am indeed somewhat obsessive. I obsessively count my steps while running, in batches of 20.

A ship in distress in the Bay of Biscay / Bay of Gascony is likely to be grounded on a beach south of Bordeaux

Read about it in French here.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

At the station

Me: Bonsoir.

Le M: Bonsoir. Good evening. Je ne sais pas si vous êtes Français ou Anglais

Me: err, je suis Gallois.

Le M: Ah. Je ne parle pas gallois.

Me: Vous dites "Noswaith dda".

Le M: Noswaith dda? Et ça veut dire?

Me: Très bien! Ça veut dire "bonsoir" en gallois.

Because we are so incredibly hip and trendy

First a word of apology, then one of explanation.

To our regular readers, we do not deserve your assiduity, we are unworthy of your commitment. Eny fule kno, to quote the unrivalled Molesworth, that to keep a blog going you have to blog regularly, preferably every day. This I have not done. And I am sorry.

However I am not without explanation. We have been to Paris. Yes! To PARIS!

But not to the City of Light. No, we skirted the south of the city to head straight for the station Marne-la-Vallée. Yes! the stop for DISNEYLAND!

But we were not going to visit Mickey, Donald or any of his other friends. We were going to Multiplication, a short workshop run by Acts29. (Gentle reader, do not look for the 29th chapter of Acts in your Bible.You will look in vain.)

Yes. Church planting is what we are engaged in in Bordeaux. It is arduous, demanding and often solitary. Since last summer we were challenged to consider joining one of the church planting networks, of which it seemed to us there were three possible candidates, one of which is Acts29.

The aim of the workshop was to gather folk interested in the network and to share news of our projects, to get to know each other and to present some of the more unfamiliar features of the way they do things. In this case especially "Coaching". Think not of dalmatians and horses, but think rather of a structured and planned series of conversations designed to help you think through your circumstances and work through solutions.

Ou journey to Paris was uneventful and confortable. Train fares in France are expensive unless you book WELL in advance, which we never do, of course, but to upgrade to 1st class costs very little, so we travelled in electrically-adjustable big squishy armchairs with lot of legroom.

Coming back was a bit different. We arrived at the station through howling wind and driving rain to find that our train was delayed because of a power failure caused perhaps by the super-ugly weather it was making.

Aha! Twitter! I tweeted about it and sure enough an SNCF employee entered into conversation telling me when the train would come and how to go about getting compensation for the delay, etc.

Eventually our 16:30 train left Paris at about 19:30 and we arrived at Bordeaux almost exactly three hours later than planned, and far too late for our connection to Pessac.

In the past I haven't bought the connection to Pessac, thinking that when I got to the station I could then buy the ticket, but buying the connection has the distinct advantage that SNCF has the responsibility either to get you to the destination on your ticket or to put you up in a hotel overnight. So we went to the information desk where the helpful staff gave us some bottles of water and a snack pack and ordered us a taxi to Pessac. We arrived home at about 00:45.

I'll give a bit of feedback on the Acts29 thing later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Couch to 5K - you have to keep your wits about you, if you can lay your hand on them in the dark

I use an application to guide me in my running, and I like to get up at about 6:30, get ready and run then. The streets are empty and dark and I can hurtle alongside the vineyards to my heart's despair without fear of disturbance or perturbation.

It is good, too, to surrender all sovereignty to my phone and just obey when it says "Ding! Start running", "Ding! Watch that kerb!", "Ding! Don't worry about that dog, he's indoors." etc.

There is a drawback, however. It is that at 6:30, though I am pretty well awake, I am not terribly competent with technology. So it is that I have run various days of week one for about two weeks... The first I know of it is when I am expecting to have to run further and for longer, but no... same as yesterday.

Oh well. Little matter.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Couch to 5k

Day whatever...
Harder this morning, but still OK.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Ladies of a certain age are wearing shiny plastic coats this year

Oh, that's SO ANNOYING

A lady came into Maison de la Bible today and said, "I hope you can help me. I am looking for a Bible, a Second 21, with very wide margins for taking notes on."

"Oh yes", quoth I, "the English ones are called Journalling Bibles".

"Yes! That's what I am looking for, but in French."

"Sorry. It doesn't exist. You'll have to master English."

She laughed and we examined all the Bibles. And yes, it doesn't exist.

And it SHOULD. We could find no wide margin Bible at all.

"I'll contact the publishers of the Bible Second 21 and tell them that we need one."

"Great! You can let me know when it will come out?"

"Well it will take a long time. Frankly, I think it would be quicker to master the English language."

It has been a discouraging week in Bordeaux.

Some remarks were made at the start of the week that I took too seriously.
I knew they were not true, but I allowed them to haunt me instead of tackling them.
Oh well. Next week will be better.

Couch to 5k

Day three.
Remembered to turn on the sound on my phone. The lady thinks I'm awesome.
Forgot my Ventolin inhaler. Didn't need it.
Remembered all my stretches.
On the basis that that which killeth thee not shall render thy force increased, this will be OK.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Couch to 5k

Ow, my thighs...
Oh yes - there's that stretch where you grab your foot, isn't there...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Open air preaching and Catrin's concert

Wednesday began with my stint in the Maison de la Bible. It was a pretty quiet morning punctuated by happy visits from sundry welcome souls. Pat relieved me at 2, but I stayed with her till 3 because she was scheduled to be alone for her first hour.

Then to McDonalds for coffee and office space! Reading for Sunday and checking emails and stuff.

Then down the road from McDonalds to where our good friends from OAC were going to preach in the open air. I've wanted to go and support them for months, but there's always something; There was something again, but enough was enough. It was a good time with perhaps a little crowd of 10 to 15 people for one of the little presentations, good humoured people listening well and nice conversations afterwards.

Then off to the University for a concert of music by Duteil. Catrin's classmates had had the task of orchestrating the songs for a concert at the end of last year, but now a handful of them sang the songs while others accompanied (including Catrin) and the other classmates sang backing 'ooo's. We were impressed by the students'  talent, as well as by the show put on by the Dance students earlier - very beautiful. I regretted not going in to hear the ukulele orchestra. Can you really do a degree in ukulele studies?

Home at last, tired but happy.

Couch to 5k

First morning.
OK, but don't have your phone set to silent.
Didn't die! Yay!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lunch at Gaston's

After Pray and Plan this morning I sent Pat a message to suggest we meet up for lunch in town somewhere. She hopped on the bus and I tripped into town and we went to a really good quality bakers called "Gaston". Pat had pizza royale and I had a quiche with leeks and goat's cheese. We both had a piece of cake with lemon, poppy seeds and black pepper with our coffee. It was extremely good. Really very good indeed. The baker told me that essentially you add poppy seeds and black pepper in a ratio of 4 to 1 to your lemon cake.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Preaching for the Chinese, and fish fingers

on Saturday night, John 6 - do not work for food that spoils... and they always have really nice Chinese food afterwards, so we talked about food over the meal. Many of them have no English so we converse in French. They were pretty amazed to hear that in England we regularly and habitually eat fish fingers, des doigts de poisson.

You can see what's coming, can't you.

"Fish fingers?" said one, waggling his fingers. But fish have fins? They don't have fingers.

Yes, but we still eat fish fingers. Sometimes we also eat chocolate fingers - des doigts chocolatés.

That was when somebody perked up. Oh yes! There's one brand of batonnets au chocolat that is called that. Fingers de Cadbury.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Pessac Jazz Band

Last Saturday we went out for a Gala Cabaret-style Concert at the Salle Bellegrave organised by the two Pessac schools of music, the Espace Musical de Pessac and the Ecole de Musique Verthamon Haut-Brion.

The first half consisted of the symphonic orchestra of the two school son music, about 80 pupils in total, playing a selection of light music, as well as the Brasseurs de Vent - my favourite street band - and a group of fifes and drums who played traditional raucous and piercing favourites.

The Pessac Jazz Band played the second half of the concert, with standards like "Fly me to the moon", "As long as I'm singing" and so on. It was a very happy evening and I was glad to see the gang again - fr most of them I have not seen them at all since I stopped going to the group about two or three years ago, all linked to my burnout/depression, when all the music stopped for a while for me.

I'm not going to go back and play in a group like that, for a start rehearsing late on Friday evening was just no good for someone whose weekends are pretty important. But it was great to see them again!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Well March and April will be an interesting time!

I remember one guy who spoke sadly about the multiplication of conferences.

March 16 - March 18 : ICC Prayer Conference near Geneva
March 30 - April 1 : Colloque Biblique Francophone in Lyon
April 4 - April 6 : Acts 29 Resolved Conference in Rome
April 12 - April 14 : City to City in Lisbon
April 11 - April 14 : Banner of Truth Conference in Leicester

methinks me must choose

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Probably the strangest request I have ever had, I think

At the Maison de la Bible, the phone rings:

"Est-ce que vous avez de petites figurines de Saint-Joseph? Je dois vendre mon appartement."

I told the lady that we had recently sold our house and we had just prayed and asked other people to pray, but she responded that it wasn't a house but an apartment, and she had already prayed but a friend had told her what she needs to do.

You get a little statuette of Joseph and you bury it head down near the entrance to your house or flat.
Then you pray by the statuette each morning until the house or flat is sold.
In the USA they have special Saint-Joseph kits for selling your house, apparently.

After an interesting conversation I told the lady of a shop in Bordeaux where she might find one

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I like so many things about our flat

like it's position.

When we thought about what we would need, we thought 70 sq. m., 2 or 3 bedrooms (3 would be great, but hey), and not facing south or west.

Our friends thought we were nuts not to want to face south, and it's true that in winter the passive solar heating is nice, and the place would be much more bright. But in the summer you'd get cooked, you'd live with the shutters down and short of installing air conditioning they'd be very little you could do about it.

Facing west would mean facing the prevailing winds, which means you get the rain and wind coming right at you, especially when it's stormy - and it's often stormy because Bordeaux is right next to the Bay of Biscay.

So when we saw this flat there were two available. One was on the first floor facing due south. We hesitated, but in the end took this one on the ground floor facing north and east. It means we get the morning sun and we are sheltered from the winds and storms.

Like last night, when the massive bin for the block of flats was blown over, but on our terrace all was calm.

Monday, January 11, 2016


This morning was spent happily stocktaking at Maison de la Bible, counting an scanning books and cards. Then lunch at a café before Patricia and Catherine dusted the shelves and rearranged everything and I came home to various day-off tasks and chores.

Today has been stormy

with high winds, thunder, lightning, hail, heavy rain, the works.
I have no fear for our roof because we have no roof.
Or at least the roof is two floors above us.
And our terrace is on the sheltered side of the building.

Tea and Chat

We have an English Conversation afternoon once a month at Dan, called "Tea and Chat", which is slowly but constantly building up in numbers. It's the first Sunday of the month at 3:30.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Oh dear

We took Gwilym to the airport for him to fly back to the UK.
He's staying the weekend at Hastings where he'll be helping to fix a friend's car before returning to LST.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Well, not yet. Anything is possible.

I was on duty in the Christian bookshop yesterday and this nice couple came in asking for Alain Juppé's new book, "Pour un État fort" (For a strong State).

I said, for that you'll need to go to Mollat, it's not far, it's a general bookshop. This is the Maison de la Bible, so we sell Bibles and Christian books. We don't sell Juppé's book. Well, not yet.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

I like so many things about our flat

like the little number 42 buses that go past towards Mérignac. They're cute.

Monday, January 04, 2016


Wednesday is the 6th of January, the feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi. Churches which mark the date often do it on the first Sunday after New Year and in France there's special cakes for the occasion, enjoyed with champagne (apparently) or French cider. French cider is very low in alcohol and comes in sweet or dry varieties, though both seem pretty sweet to me.

The cake is the galette or the couronne des rois. A Galette des Rois is a disc of two thick layers of fish, buttery flaky pastry with a filling of black cherry, prunes, apples or, most usually, frangipane. All these fruits are typical of the South-West of France, of course. The Couronne des Rois is marginally lighter, being a ring of brioche sometimes flavoured with chocolate chips, with dried fruit, plain or, my favourite, with orange-blossom water.

Both cakes are sold complete with a paper crown, and there's a small figurine, the feve, baked into the cake. This is what you do:

The youngest person in the group hides under the table and then chooses which person gets the first, second and subsequent slices. This way there can be no skullduggery about who gets the feve. The person who finds the figurine in their slice gets to wear the crown.

We had two couronnes des rois after the evening service, one with chocolate chips and the other with orange-blossom. Very good, too.

Look up! Look up!

Our Christmas letter was upbeat. In 2015 lots of nagging, grinding issues got resolved. We're in a better position now for the next ten years of ministry than since we first came to France. At the same time we face significant problems, challenges and disappointments. It's like that, isn't it.

But I did feel a bit bad sending our letter out against a context of cancelled fireworks displays all over France and beyond, closed railway stations in Germany, a state of emergency in France, constant announcements urging vigilance in the public transports and Christians talking apocalyptically about "the darkness closing in".

(Incidentally a young man asked us to watch his bags at the railway station while he went to the toilet. Should one do that or not?)

Yes, there is this generalised fear. I guess that's why they call it terrorism. But in the UK someone or other has been trying to blow us up pretty well as long as I can remember. I was glad that the London fireworks went ahead and that the major gripes afterwards were not about the recklessness of holding the display, but the cost.

And there's another side to the story. The world is more peaceful now than at any other time in history. People are living longer, more prosperous lives. Diseases are being combatted. And the gospel is advancing all over the world.

This magazine article may veer to the other extreme, but let's lift our eyes.

It works, even in the dark!

This morning I had to get up and sorted early because the postman will come any time from stupid o'clock to that's cutting it a bit fine, isn't it. Which meant tying my shoelaces in the dark. A good test. Have I mastered the technique enough to do it in the dark?

Yes! It worked fine!

The BBC's correspondent finds out about les voiturettes of Brittany.

Read and listen here.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

I am overawed. Absolutely overawed.

Some time ago I discovered that I had been tying my shoelaces wrong.

Imagine that! Discovering in your fifties that you'd been tying your shoelaces all wrong for decades!

The shoelace bow knot has a strong and a weak form.
The weak form aligns the bow loops toe-to-heel and will undo under tension.
The strong form aligns the bow loops side-to-side and will tighten under tension.

That means that the tight form needs no 'double knot' and you can make an elegant and strong bow.

Well this week I discovered that you can tie your shoe lace in one simple elegant movement!
No more holding of loops and going round the correct way to put the loop through the knot!
This way is swift, simple and elegant.


Friday, January 01, 2016

On reading challenges

I guess I must read about two or three books a month, on average.

I read books to review them on the blog here, and you can find these by clicking on the label "Books". This year I've usually reviewed a book each month, sometimes two, fewer towards the end of the year with the house move looming. These were all from Christian authors and publishers, and usually books about some aspect of christian thinking, living or history.

Then we used to attend a reading group and so we would read one book a month for that. These were usually novels.

Then there'd be other books I read for specific reasons or just for interest.

It's no longer the heady days of single life in Cardiff when I would put Sibelius on the record player (remember those?) and sprawl on the sofa with a good book all evening, but it's still not a bad score for someone like me.

I like the idea of having a target of 60 or more books in a year, but something about it also repels me. I'm not going to do that.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas viewing

Agatha Christie, Hinterland and a brilliant documentary on the iPlayer about Catrin Finch and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales visiting Patagonia. Just MAGICAL!

Christmas in our flat

It has been an IMMENSE blessing to be settled in our flat before Christmas.

We have light fittings set up, we had our kitchen sorted out, everything was pretty well in place.

It's true that Gwilym has to camp on the sofa, but he doesn't seem to mind, and this week we have taken time off from all duties so we don't need to get up too early and we can all catch up on sleep.

Our living room is a fine size. We have kept our nice big table and we can sit perhaps ten people round it. Comfy seating is a bit more sparse, with my nice pink swivel and tilt armchair and our huge four or more person sofa dominating the other end of the room, but with a bit of creativity people fit in.

It has been wonderful. Just wonderful.

And to have signed on the house sale before Christmas, too, is just a huge load off our mind.

Talking to yourself - the first sign of wisdom

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Too radical just before Christmas?

Well we have been having fun with our new oven and dishwasher!

Patricia has made scones and I have made a birthday cake for Gwilym's 21st and a pavlova base for Christmas Day.

Meanwhile our glasses have never been so clean!

Now Patricia is wondering where we keep the roasting tins.

Well she was. It started like that. Then quickly turned into WHETHER we kept the roasting tins.

And we have concluded that we did not. Oh.

Slow-cooked turkey it is, then! (Better, really...)

Ecoutez le chant des anges