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, May 25, 2017

BWV 11 Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen

for Ascension Day:

So annoying! Really very irritating!

I've gone and booked myself to speak at two churches this Sunday morning at the same time, and separated by about 150 miles (not that the distance is all that relevant, I can't be in two places at once, even if they are adjacent.)

Strangely I was speaking to someone just the other week about how they handle someone's diary when they're in the UK and thinking how wonderfully useful that would be. They can then avoid the cross-country high-speed dashes which are becoming less and less feasible these days, and try to optimise the whole thing.

What's worse is that the agonising decision to hire a car was largely because of a long journey that would have had to be done this coming Sunday and which now I can't do, and don't need to do.

Oh well. A mix of convenience and inconvenience.

But most of all annoyance! What a clown!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Let's have a little season of Fauré songs

You can't always get sublime interpretations on YouTube, but here's Clair de Lune, a song of a poem of a painting of people who "don't seem to believe in their own happiness".

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pessac is all flowery

Mock orange.

Scrambling roses.

Honeysuckle.

You name it, it's flowering in the hedges and on the walls here. It makes the whole town a riot of perfumes night and day.






Saturday, May 20, 2017

Après un rêve, Gabriel Fauré - LISTEN EYES CLOSED

Listen from 1 minute, with your eyes closed.

Conseil National des Evangéliques de France

At the Luther 2017 meeting I bumped into some good friends from a charismatic church on the west of Bordeaux, and we were able to discuss the local CNEF group together and plan to get people to meet up. I followed up with some emails on Friday and we're all set to meet on Monday afternoon. Great!

Luther 2017

There was a meeting on Thursday evening to add some more details to the planning of the Luther 2017 thing. Some things to note include that there won't be any stands representing any churches. Stands will be held by associations, like food banks, etc.. The Maison de la Bible will be there, sharing a stand with the Gideons.

A quiet Saturday catching up

Well that was a helter-skelter few days. Today has been quiet, and that's been good because after the travelling, the evaluation conference and the various things going on on Thursday and Friday we needed to catch up with ourselves.

Now Catrin has a concert this evening. She's doing the first half for a colleague who sings in a completely different style. So at 9pm we'll be at Victoire listening to her. We'll leave at the interval, though. (Sorry Alice.)


Friday, May 19, 2017

Acts29 evaluation conference

took place at Lagny church, locally pronounced by French people as if spelt Langy in English, to my great surprise.

We travelled up by TGV, getting to the station in good time, having a nice drink in a café, being charged "eleven" proudly in English for two 3,50€ drinks by the waiter. And because we had plenty of time we ended up rushing to get our train!

We were lodged with a charming international family and enjoyed seeing these 1970s Paris satellite towns. Milton Keynes à la française? The evaluation conference was intensive and tiring and the weather suddenly became glorious and hot, so when it was time to come home we were glad of a chance to rest before our train, and then to be able to doze on the train.

Sat opposite us were Paul, 1 year old, and his father. They were a most charming couple. Paul was happy and very sociable and his father was patient, gentle and attentive. We were charmed by them both.

Back in Bordeaux it had rained, it was not raining but it would rain. There was no train from Bordeaux to Pessac till the next morning, so we hopped on our buses, 9 then 4, to regain our waiting flat.

Home, sweet home!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Racing a bunny

This morning I got out a little later than usual and was surprised to see my neighbours still waiting at the bus stop. Just after I passed them their bus came, but it did mean they watched me totter up the hill in my startling grey, navy and fluorescent yellow running gear.

All went OK. A noisy bird yelled at me as I passed. When I came to the vineyard I spotted a bunny just a few yards ahead, a sweet little young bunny. He scarpered. There was no hole in the fence. I galloped, the bunny galloped, we galloped together. He had an admirable turn of speed, but little endurance. He kept stopping to rest. So I caught up with him a couple of times. Then he hid behind a waste bin and rejoiced to see me hurtle past.

Ha! When I came hurtling back he bolted and scarpered again. He galloped. I galloped. As before, but in the opposite direction. This time we went all round the vineyard in our somewhat unequal relay race before he found a couple of bushes he could dive headlong into.

Bye bunny!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The café philo

We're on the hunt for neutral venues in the city to hold English conversation evenings, discussion evenings, etc. Some cafés close at 6 or 7. Others become restaurants and really want to serve meals. One of our chaps is looking for places, but I spotted a couple of possibilities that seemed promising.

One is a café run by an association, a club. You have to join the club at a annual membership fee of 5€ before you can buy a coffee, but once you do then coffee is 1€, tea is 2€ etc.

Some days of the week they run a working café, where you pay by the hour and then drinks and snacks are free.

Then there's the workshops. There's vocal workshops, yoga, and a café philo run. I wanted to get the measure of the place, so I went along.

The Café philo ran from 7pm to 8:30, cost 3€ entrance fee, and water was provided to drink. There were about 15 to 20 people present, all ages, though mostly student age. It was set up as one big group with the teacher in the middle keeping the discussion going mostly by asking questions. He was helped by a young woman. The topic under discussion was "Are beliefs always contrary to reason."

I don't think any one person dominated the discussion (he said, rather too hurriedly) though there were a couple of people who didn't say anything at all. The leader said that he would not make everyone contribute.

As evenings go it was OK. It would not be impossible to imagine running an English evening there, though numbers would be limited.


Running this morning had an inauspicious start

I looked out of the kitchen window. It was not raining.
It had rained. It would rain. But it was not raining.

Of course, but the time I got outside, it was raining.

As I walked up to the vineyards I got one of those severe, sharp, stabbing pains that shoots directly up your leg and threatens to make you fall over. It meant nothing. There was no real problem. It just hurt. I stretched and the pain went away.

I got to the vineyards and decided to use my inhaler before setting off.
And I gave myself a coughing fit.

Such are the hurdles to be jumped by the morning runner, before he even begins!

There were nice flowers, though.









Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Le 8 mai

It seemed ironic to me that on the 7th May 1 in 5 people in my town voted for the presidential candidate from the far-right Front National, then the next day we gathered at the Monument aux Morts to commemorate the victory over the far-right Nazi invaders in 1945. Go figure.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Music for the eve of the election

Would you believe it?

So I saw a video of Mad Genius Tips that said that you can make meringues using, instead of egg whites, the liquid from a tin of chick peas.



I remarked on it on Facebook and got some varied reactions, from "Eew!" to, "Yes, and you can make chocolate mousse with them, too".

Well on Thursday Patricia and I saw some cans of chick peas and.. well...

The meringues worked fine! Absolutely fine! Not only that, but a can of chick peas is MUCH CHEAPER than eggs, and they don't come from miserable chickens. And you get the chick peas to use in a tajine, in a curry or in some hummus.

Then the chocolate mousse - essentially it is 150g melted then cooled dark chocolate with the juice of a can of chick peas and 60g of sugar whipped into soft peaks then folded in.



It was absolutely delicious! Really! And so much more convincing than eating raw egg whites, even if they are beaten to peaks.


Thursday, May 04, 2017

French presidential elections

So we're voting on Sunday for either Marine LePen, from the National Front, or Emmanuel Macron, independent.

One wag said it's a choice between Oedipus who killed his father (Madame LePen expelled her father from the party he founded - because of his anti-semitic remarks, I think) and Oedipus who married his mother (Monsieur Macron married his French teacher, 24 years his senior).

The televised debate between the two last night was lively and conflictual.




Last week's frosts

have hit the vineyards hard. Some chateaux say that there will be almost no harvest this year.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

DEntry

Patricia and I went to the Alliance Française today to collect her results from her TCF ANF examination.

She passed, with level B1 in one skill and B2 (higher than B1) in the other, so plenty good enough to submit to the préfecture along with lots of other documents for consideration for French nationality.

Now to amass the documents necessary, get some translated, and submit all to the préfecture.


Crime wave Koralli

Some more details have emerged of the little crime wave that has rocked our block of flats to its very foundations.

A neighbour's mother had been staying in their flat. When she left she popped the key into their mailbox.

She was observed by a person or persons unknown, who then forced the mailbox open and stole the keys.

Our neighbour changed the door lock immediately, but the mailbox remains unlockable for the moment.


Brunch at the weekend in cafés in Bordeaux

No way.

No poached egg on toast is worth those prices, not even at 11 am and with paprika, chives and bacon bits sprinkled over it.


Monday, May 01, 2017

Assemblée Générale

Last night was our AGM. We only have one "official" meeting a year and it's a legal requirement.

We did the usual essential things like the president's report, financial report (that's always a good laugh, our budget is risible) and re-election of officers and stuff.

Then we talked about where we are and how to move forward. And it was a good, positive time.

I always get in such a tizz beforehand. And afterwards just thankfulness.

Well, better than the other way round, I suppose!


Friday, April 28, 2017

It's all a hot mess

Over the brief years of my life I have been too often horrified by the way that preachers can live in a way that is deeply inconsistent with their calling and ministry. Like the bent copper, the abusive teacher, or the politician whose real interest is to line his own pocket, there's something specially abhorrent about it.

My blogging about this is sparked by another scandal AND by the furore in the USA about Mike Pence's espousal of the Billy Graham rule - never to eat dinner alone with a woman who is not your wife.

I got into a little conflict a couple of years ago with a colleague, a woman, who was fitting out a small office at the back fo the church building where we then were based. She looked forward to us sharing the office and working there together day by day. She was very disappointed when I told her that it wasn't going to happen. "You are very strict, too strict", she said. "My mission would never allow it", was my reply. When I spoke to the mission about it later they confirmed that they would not allow it, at least if I was concerned.

Look, the people who have ended up having an affair - or multiple affairs, or looking online for women to date, or leaving their wife and family to set up home with a man, or lying about attending conferences and really meeting up with people in hotels - these people have been amongst the most intelligent, the most gifted, the most praised, the most promising people. If that tells me anything it tells me that anyone can fall. It might tell me a whole lot more, but I don't want to explore it too much. Not here. Not now.

I don't follow any Billy Graham rule, not to eat dinner alone with a woman who is not my wife. Rules may help some people. I don't think they'd help me. You set up a rule and you can always find a way around it. "No, I can't make dinner, but let's meet for lunch..." But it's more than that and less. I want a horror of it all. I want to see it as unspeakably grotesque, sordid, dirty, low, mean, dishonourable.


A church website ... perhaps

It was recently remarked that the 1000+ member church in Bordeaux has a better website than we do.

I replied that the site had probably cost more an 1€ per member, and that good websites do not come cheap. Once a friend in the UK who is a website designer proposed to do us a good price. The excellent price he proposed was £500, which was, obviously, far too much for us to pay.

Anyway it so happens that one of our students is doing a course in human-systems interfaces - kind of - and they have a sort of small business associated with their school of studies. So yesterday I met with another student to sketch out a projected website.

We should get a quote for it this weekend!

Maybe it will be within our means!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Back on line

Well here I am back again.

This morning's run was fresh!!! As in "running through the clouds of your own breath" fresh. And because the trees are still trying to sabotage me, I had to stop to use my inhaler twice. But apart from that it felt good.

One drawback of these lighter mornings is that there are more people about. On Tuesday morning I passed someone running the other way. We waved to each other. This morning I passed various people and a somewhat gasped "bonjour" was necessary.

I was a little perturbed recently to discover that regular running will add on average three years to your life. This all sounds great, except that you then remember that it adds the three years on to the end, the bit where you're ill and immobile and so on... If I could add three years onto my thirties, then that would be great. Except it's too late.

But I suppose it doesn't work quite like that. I hope that as well as adding three years, it will make the last years a bit easier, less ill, less immobile or something. Improved quality and not just increased quantity. Anyway.

Then I was off into Bordeaux to the Fnac, my favourite shop.

The mission financial man had suggested they loan us money to get a laptop to get going again. It's a bit awkward having money travel back and fore to the mission, however, because the chap who does our payslips calculates them from the emails that accompany our money transfers and each time I have to remember to tell him that a reimbursement, or whatever, is not additional salary. Ebb and flow of a loan would be complicated.

However, each time we pay for travel using our French account, we get reimbursed into our English account. This was building up a little sum ready for when we come over in the summer and have to hire a car for three weeks in August! So I decided to use that to get another computer.

My heart was somewhat heavy making this big purchase AGAIN, but the Fnac had a special offer on one particular capacity of computer, so that helped a bit.

And I'm back online. Now to listen to some Banner of Truth Conference sessions.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Burglarized! Burgled! Cambriolé!

We got back from church at about 22:15 on Sunday to find the French door forced and several things missing, including our computers and cameras. The burglars were very clean and made no mess whatsoever. The police came round straight away and next morning the scene of crime unit came. The burglars wore latex gloves. Oh well. I was able to give the police the serial numbers of the computers and we have receipts for all the computers but nothing for the cameras. Thinks : must buy more by internet...

We're OK. We don't feel violated or anything. We feel frustrated because, obviously, we use the computers for work. I think I can still prepare to preach on Sunday even though my office is my computer. It will just restrict the range of books I can refer to.

Meanwhile someone in the church has offered to produce the song sheet, and who knows - maybe this will be a good way of bringing in delegation!

And the police have all been charming, the insurance company have been sympathetic so far.
And the mission have said that if we need a quick transfer of funds to get a computer to get moving again it can be done. I am hanging fire on that for the moment.

Also, and we are SO thankful for this, the burglars didn't even open the door of Catrin's bedroom, so all her equipment is there and intact, including her computer with all her recordings for her degree work this year on it.

Incidentally, these two weeks have seen a spate of break-ins in Pessac, coinciding with the school holidays. Not only that bu the tobacconist just two doors from our insurance office was held up at gunpoint. Our insurance agents are concerned because people do not always realise that insurance offices do not hold large quantities of cash.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Getting back to it

after the Colloque (where I didn't take my running shoes, trews or sweatshirt). A gentle start this morning, sabotaged by the trees with their shedloads of pollen:



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Getting to and from the Colloque

Easyjet flies to Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport, which is a LONG WAY out of the city. There's a special high-speed long distance tram that takes you from the airport into the city, called the RhonExpress. It's 16 euros per journey. On the way to the colloque I looked for a cheaper way - bus, coach, whatever - but there was nothing like that. There is a railway station, but the train fare was more expensive. Oh well..

Coming home was interesting. My flight went from Terminal 3 at 19:15, so I had lots of time to get to the airport. Paul Wells found someone to take us to the airport on his way to Switzerland, so that was great. When we got to the airport we saw signs for Terminal 1 and for Terminal 2, so we wandered into one of them at random. We were staring uncomprehendingly at a notice board when a member of staff greeted us.

"Oh, Terminal 3 no longer exists, but Easyjet flies from this terminal."

OK. Paul Wells' flight was leaving from Terminal 1a (?) so we sais goodbye and separated.

Later that evening, at 21h, I got an email from Easyjet telling me that my flight would leave (= had left) from Terminal 1. Are things always better late than never?

The flight was delayed about 30 minutes because of sickness earlier in the day. After boarding I chatted happily with the person next to me, a Frenchman with a Berber background and a PhD in medical biochemistry who was on his way to a fun weekend in Bordeaux.


BWV 42 :

This is lovely for just after Easter in the context of attacks by violent thugs and of a presidential election.

The Colloque Biblique Francophone

There were four main threads to the Colloque:

1) Alain Joly, from the Evangelical Lutherans, gave us an outline of Luther's life and thought.

2) Paul Wells, ex-Dean of John Calvin Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, gave a comparison of the thought of Luther and of Calvin with regard to Free Will

3) Edouard Nelson, Baptist pastor from Paris, preached from Luke's gospel

4) Charles Nicolas gave us a very warm and encouraging comparison of the pastoral role in the 16th and 21st centuries.

It was a good, intensive time and super to spend time with friends and heroes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What an exciting day!

Well, after an early night and somewhat light sleep I rose at about 4:15 to shower, eat my porage and hie me away to catch the 5:17 Number 4 bus to Bordeaux. My doubts about it coming were unjustified. It hove grandly into view and I was surprised by the number of people aboard.

I was also surprised at Palais de Justice, where I had to change to the bus 1 for the airport, to find there wasn't one for almost half an hour. This put the whole project at risk. Last boarding was 6:35 and the bus didn't come till almost 6.

The driver made a gallant effort and we got the the airport bus stop at 6:28. I walked smartly into the departure area to find a HUGE QUEUE for security. However we were encouraged to take our trays and fill up spaces in front, so I did. I had removed my belt and stowed everything at the bus stop so I was ready!

I found myself behind another passenger for Lyon who was in a slight flap and was not ready. He had concealed large aerosols in his bag and wanted to argue adamantly that they should be allowed in the cabin with him. I thought, "Shut up man, we don't have time for this" but I uttered never a word. Eventually he gave up, I was nodded through and while he put his belt on I waddled to the departure gate and got on the plane with seconds to spare!

Lyon is a very big city and very technologically advanced.
You can pay to use the public toilet by card!
I was grudgingly impressed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A quiet birthday

After a HECTIC Easter weekend, yesterday we made the best of the beautiful sunshine by going for a nice walk over the new Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, along the right bank of the river and then back over the Pont de Pierre. It really was a beautiful day and we got rather hot, so we stopped off at a cafe for a cold drink.








Today, my birthday, we spent making rolls, cakes and a trifle and eating on the terrace - at least until the wind chased us back indoors.

Tomorrow I have to get up very early to get to the airport for an early flight to Lyon, so I'd better have a quiet early night, too.


The French election process explained

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What a BIG Easter

Thursday we were in he centre of town with Ali and Pete and their sketchboard.
It was a good time, one big crowd stayed to listen. Good chats. Happy people.

Friday was Good Friday meal with message and songs at our house.
Pizza, Psalm 22 and Christian Hymns.

Saturday was preparation day. Pat was baking with some of the folk.
I was reading, thinking and also watching some detective tv to relax the old brain muscle.

Then in the evening up to the vineyard to watch the marathon runners pass.
14000 signed up to do the half-marathon round the quays.
3000 marathon runners came by us and we were delighted to spot:
Firstly Jian, who came and gave us a great hug.
Then Julien, who waved like a crazy man.
Both looked in good form and were around the 4 hours 15" marker.
Read about the marathon in French here.
Note the word frisquette, in Bordeaux this means nippy, chilsome.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Christ lag in Todesbanden

In either 1977 or 1978 I joined a choir in Aberystwyth, the Bach Society Choir. It was by audition. You had to sing for the conductor and there were three possible outcomes: you got to belong to the excellent and famed Madrigal Singers and to the Bach Society, to just the Bach Society, or not at all. I have an awkward voice. I'm not really a tenor and I'm not really a bass, so when I'm singing well I sing with the tenors and when I'm out of form - or I just can't be bothered - I sing with the basses. Nobody has ever told me which line to sing. I've always decided for myself. Anyway... I sang with the Bach Society Choir.

So I got my copies and found a friendly bass and found we were singing two pieces: the Pergolesi Magnificat and Cantata no. 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden. I've loved both pieces ever since, but especially the Bach.

A couple months ago I decided to join a choir. There's one that rehearses a 10 minute bus ride or 30 minute walk from us, at the Alouette school of music. I emailed them. You don't have to audition. They rehearse on a Wednesday, an evening that suits me. I went along.

I got my copies and saw that we're doing two pieces, the Vasks Mass and Cantata no. 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden. "What voice are you singing?" "For this I'll sing bass. I sang it forty years ago and I still have a vague memory of how it goes."

"Christ lag in Todesbanden" is a hymn written by Martin Luther, both the text and the tune, though based on earlier material. The text recounts the gospel story very simply. Because it's difficult to translate poetry it isn't easy to find a version in English that sticks to the meaning of what Luther wrote, and I have almost no German, so I can't translate it. But I can tell when someone has made a total hash of it! Here's a translation that I think captures the meaning:

Luther's hymn was published in 1524. Bach's cantata in 1707. It isn't easy for a movement to keep its vitality for 200 years, and sure enough, the lovely earthy energy of early Lutheranism soon fossilised into just another religious system. But in the late 1600s a movement called Pietism was born through the work of Philipp Spener, who emphasised personal conversion and renewal within the structures of the Lutheran church. Bach seems to have been influenced by this renewal.

His cantata is scored for four part choir, strings, cornetto and trombones, the brass doubling the voices. It starts with a short sinfonia just for the strings which is a kind of variation on part of the hymn tune.

Then follow seven movements, one for each verse. The writing is polyphonic and in each movement Luther's melody is the raw material that Bach uses. Three movements, verses 1, 4 and 7, are for full choir, and they are not at all easy to sing. Even though Bach was only in his twenties when he wrote the cantata, he had lots of inventive skill and the music suits the text really well.

Performances vary in the size of choir used. At Aberystwyth I think we were no more than thirty. At Pessac we're between 40 and 50. Some recordings use just the soloist's voices. At Aber and in Pessac we have no soloists, and the tenors will sing the tenor verse together, the basses singing the bass verse.

I'm both touched and thankful to be singing the Bach again. Meanwhile the Vasks Mass is written by a Latvian Baptist pastor's son, Pēteris Vasks, who had to study in neighbouring Lithuania, apparently, because of persecution against Baptists in his home country. It's good to discover a composer new to me.


When your lunch guests don't turn up

It wasn't the best plan ever made.

They didn't know our address.

We don't know their phone number.

"We'll ring you when we get to Pessac."

Came neither call nor caller.

So at 1:30 we had nice bread, blue cheese, strong cheddar and little Bonne Maman cakes.


Monday, April 10, 2017

A splendid day off!

We reserved a Citiz car, my favourite Yaris hybrid, and planned to go on the razz to the lake.

But first I had to run to the pharmacy because I had left only one dose of my life-giving compound. They have turned our pharmacy into a huge chemist-supermarket with high shelves stocked floor to ceiling with quack remedies of all sorts based on every kind of pseudoscience imaginable. I had a prescription for my life-giving compound, but to get it I had to sniff my way through the shelves like a rat in a maze. Eventually I found the counter and got what I needed.

Ha! Another month of life, buses permitting!

Then I collected Mrs Davey and we hied us off to Ikea. To begin with we sniffed our way through the upper floor like rats in a maze. I felt that the kitchens looked so clean and clinical that I would be scared to spend too much time in one in case someone appeared to give me an injection. Too shiny. We examined a marvellous rucksack that was on display but that had no price attached and no relatives in sight. Poor, lonesome article.

Then off to feast in the Ikea restaurant. Mrs Davey had some kind of vegetable preparation while I had leg of duckling in pepper sauce, which was very good indeed.

Then off to find the various things we needed: a proper chopping board, a pillow, some plants, some potting compost. We successfully nosed our way through the labyrinthine lower floor after the fashion of laboratory rodents and thereafter made our hasty retreat to an ice-cream emporium, calling at Decathlon on the way for shoes.

When I first arrived in France I invariably wore Clarks shoes which I bought at the outlet village in Ellesmere Port, usually for £35. In France I stood out like a sore thumb. Here two kinds of shoes are commonly worn. Everyday shoes are like training shoes but in subdued colours like dark brown or light brown. Any kind of brown, in fact. Shoes for special occasions are called chaussures de ville. They are black and they have very long pointy toes like you find on fifteenth century armour. I have never worn and shall never wear chaussures de ville. My feet are not that shape and it's too late to try and squeeze my toes into a long point. Forget it.

So - everyday shoes, well I asked someone once where those shoes were to be bought and the reply came back, Decathlon. So for a while I have gone there for my everyday shoes. Clarks shoes are too expensive here, even in the outlet shop, and I do want to try and blend in somehow. Decathlon used to have a whole section of shoes for La marche en ville - walking in town - where somewhat paradoxically they never had chaussures de ville - so we went to try and get some everyday shoes. I'm rambling a bit here, aren't I.

Long story short, they now do shoes for La Marche Sportive, which seems to be speed-walking - you know, that thing where you swing your hips and waggle your arms to go along faster, or for La Marche Nordique, which seems to be a special kind of gait that comes from Scandinavia. I have had several Scandinavian friends over the years but have never noticed anything particularly unusual about the way they walk. Honestly. I am SO unobservant.

So as a Welshman who aspires to walk in town at moderate speeds I came away unshod. Swiz.

The ice-cream was nice though.


Sunday, April 09, 2017

It's very clear

that the trees are out to get me.

The birds cheer me on.
The sun smiles down as I puff and pant.
But the trees shower dust, carefully planned to shoot straight up my nose and set me wheezing.

Still, a quick burst of the inhaler and off I go again.


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Thursday, April 06, 2017

The forthcoming presidential election

OK, Emmanuel, I need you

I cut our grass last night, and the neighbour's, too. Her mower was stolen from her patio a couple of months ago after a car demolished the fence.

Anyway this morning she popped round with some money in an envelope. She doesn't want to bu another mower for fear of it being stolen again, so she prefers to pay someone - me if I want the job - to mow her lawn. It's not a big lawn. It takes ten minutes, perhaps, to cut it. I'd happily cut it for nothing. For a piece of cake from time to time. For neighbourliness.

Now comes the dilemma. Can you politely refuse payment like that here? Or should we save up the money and buy really nice food when we get the neighbours round for cake and coffee? (I suppose I could put it towards a trip to Evian in a couple of years' time!)

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

You know that thing about closing doors and opening windows

Shortly afterwards an email arrived from Vaughan inviting me to go to EMA and to take a friend at a special buddy rate.
Time for quick reflection.
Could we stay anywhere with friends in London?
I messaged someone and the instant reply came back that we could.
What about flights?
Yes, three a day to Gattewycke.
We booked quickly before we could think twice. Patricia is my "buddy".


More harsh realities!

I reflected and remembered that I decided not to go to the outstanding EMW Ministers' Conference this year because of the Evian conference, so I thought I would investigate the possibility of attending that.

Ha! Flights to Liverpool are on Saturdays or Tuesdays. No good whatsoever.

And frankly the idea of flying to Bristol and then somehow trying to get to Bala was most unappealing.

Meanwhile Mrs Davey considers that I need to get away from Bordeaux a little.

Hey! I'm trying!


The harsh realities of life!

There's a conference in June that Pat and I ought to go to. Two days in Evian-les-Bains, on the French side of Lake Geneva. We could prolong it by a day in an AirBnB, perhaps, and breathe the mountain air and gaze at the scenery.

Easyjet would get us to Geneva slightly late for the start for 300 euros.
There's no public transport from Geneva to Evian, so it would mean hiring a car. 250 euros.
The conference fees come to another 300 euros for the two of us.

So we're talking 850 euros for a two day conference.

We have a little fund put aside, 100 a month, so that we can afford to go to conferences and pastorales. That gives us 1200 a year to play with. But we've already spent out for the colloque in Lyon and there's another conference in October which will take place in Germany. Plus we'll need to travel back and fore to Paris a little in the year ahead.

We can't do it.