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)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The forest fire

The first fire that has ravaged over 500 hectares is a few kilometres away from us. About 5 miles.

About 500 people have been evacuated from the little neighbourhood of Toctoucau, the farthest stretch of Pessac.

As far as effects on us:

We have been impressed to see the canadairs - fire-dousing aeroplanes - passing over the house on their way to drench the flames.

I got a new asthma inhaler just in time. I haven't used the thing for months and months. The one I had was empty. But last week I got a new one and this week because of the smoke in the air I've had to use it a bit.

Do pray for the authorities of the towns of Pessac, Saint-Jean-d'Illac and of Cestas, for the firefighters working so hard all weekend and for the residents who have been evacuated.

So far no house has been damaged and no life has been lost.
Two firemen are reported as being mildly injured - one from smoke inhalation and one from something else.

A stone in the shoe

We have some friends staying with us at the moment. A Dutch brother and his adorable family.

Yesterday as we were walking through the big Parc Bourgailh I felt a stone in my shoe. I didn't want to stop and get it out so I ploughed on, and after a little while I didn't notice it any longer.

Then our friend said, "We've run out of hot water."

I explained that in France many houses have an electric water tank, a ballon d'eau, that heats the water overnight. Once you use it all up you just have to wait. Our tank is big, and the water is hot, but you can still get to the end of it.

It made me think of our early days in France. We had been used to instantaneous electric showers. Friends had combo boilers that gave unlimited hot water.

We missed our old electric shower back then.
Now we don't notice.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Forest and brush fires

It appears that the current brush fire is on the UK news - we've seen the Canadairs flying overhead, these small planes that swoop low over lakes and scoop up water to dump on the burning forest.

The commune of Saint-Jean-d'Illac is not far from here, and not far from Mérignac airport, either.

On the map below the blue dot shows our house.
It's given a beautiful, dusty sunrise, but the smell of woodsmoke is in the air.


And someone else coming to see the house this evening at 7.

We need to be thinking about possible rentals

Everywhere has pros and cons

Pessac
Pros:
We know and like the area.
There is space, green space.
We know and like the local shops.
We have the tram, the bus, the train and the airport is pretty near, too.
Rents are cheaper than in Bordeaux

Cons:
The tram takes 1/2 hour to get to Hotel de Ville, and bus 4 takes a little longer.

Bordeaux
Pros:
Accessibility! We can get everywhere by walking or perhaps bike.

Cons:
It's more expensive.
Harder to find green spaces.

Mérignac
Pros:
About the same price as Pessac, more or less (perhaps a bit less)
There is space, green space.
The airport is just up the road.

Cons:
We don't know Mérignac well.
Mérignac has lots of quite tall blocks of flats.

In the end you have to rent what you can get. Our estate agent seems pretty positive about finding us something decent and nice.

Someone's coming to view the house

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Selling the house

So the estate agents came round again and had a good look round, admired the electric boiler in the attic and then got down to the essentials. It took a long time and lots of discussion before they announced their suggested asking price, but we were happy with what they proposed so we gave them the green light. They have already done a detail sheet. We're under starter's orders at last.

We ended the time with a discussion of what we could conceivably buy in Mérignac, Bordeaux or Pessac. But I still think we should rent for a while, at least.

A la Maison de la Bible

it was a splendid morning, working with my colleague, Gérard, and with some handymen adapting shelves and doing some changes to the stockroom, and with some nice people wanting to discuss things like study Bibles, like why it is legitimate to call Mary "La Mère de Dieu" and why le Semeur and la version Darby chose different words for the elder in the pastoral epistles - either surveillants or évêques. This last person I refused to get into discussion with because he just wanted a nice heated debate. I said, "We can't defend the translators. If you don't like the one, choose the other."

Some needy people come in. One lady had had good news about her health and wanted to thank God so we talked about that. It was a privilege to be there.

In addition the temperatures have dropped. Hurrah! Just 26 or 27 today, and this morning it even rained.

A little.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jole

I read recently a quote from a well-respected and most excellent pastor from a past century who said that he just wished he could see everything his church members did at all time.

When I read that I instantly thought "I don't!" 

After much reflection I thought again, "I really don't!"

Then recently someone was talking about a church friend who doesn't ever have a quiet time.

This morning someone mentioned that a member of a church had been a contestant on Big Brother and I imagined how ... interesting that would be...

I REALLY DON'T WANT a little camera in the homes of my friends, my brothers and sisters. 

And I think it is related to my misgivings about the whole "accountability" fad that we're passing through at the moment.

Why? 

Well it is related to the question of maturity, I think.

When our kids were tiny we kept an eye on them pretty well all the time.
One day we let them play outside and peeped out of the window from time to time.
One day we took them to school and left them there, where they spent hours doing nothing at all. 
"What did you do at school today?" we would ask. "Nothing." was the unvarying reply.
They went on camp. A week without our seeing them at all.
Gwilym is now in the UK. We observe his life a little by the blessings of Facebook.
It's his life and he has to live it, and to be accountable not to us, but to another Father.

Pools, beaches, waves and heatwaves

mean lots of people drowned so far this year, including small children in pools, elderly people on secluded beaches, all kinds of people on surf beaches.

Be careful out there!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Back to the notaire

So we had another meeting with the notaire, this time both Pat and myself, and we took our birth certificates as well as the acte de vente from when we bought the house.

She now has almost all the information she needs to draw up a simple will and to get ready for the sale of the house. Now all we need is a valuation, marketing and a buyer! Our estate agent is coming with a colleague from this area on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book review: Passing Through : Pilgrim Life in the Wilderness, by Jeremy Walker

Passing Through is a good book written by a serious pastor who is attempting to help Christians to know how to relate to the world in which we find ourselves. It aims to be pretty comprehensive, a real vade mecum for the Christian, with chapter titles :

A Way in the World
Strangers and Pilgrims
Understand the Environment
Know the Enemy
Fight the Battles
Pursue the Mission
Respect the Authorities
Relieve the Suffering
Appreciate the Beauty
Anticipate the Destiny
Cultivate the Identity
Serve the King

The chapter headings are splendid! Concise and clear with a straightforward call to action. Jolly good! You know straight away that the book will be practical and the ground it will cover. Each chapter begins with a "Scriptural Framework", "Summary Thoughts" and ends with "Specific Counsels" - so you can see that Jeremy wants to help his readers think issues through and put principles into practice. Jolly good!

Jeremy steers his way wisely between each current Scilla and Charybdis: evangelism and service, service to the believer and the unbeliever, hope for the world and suspicion of the world - the book is wisely written.

Do I have no quibbles? Well, yes, I do have two.

The first is this old question of style. It is not easy to distinguish Jeremy's written style from that of people he quotes, like Spurgeon or Ryle. I know I am picky about this, but I work almost exclusively with people who are second-language English speakers and they will not always understand. Also it makes the book heavy and hard work to read. It's a pity, because it's a book well worth reading.

My second quibble is that I'd like to have seen a section specifically talking about worldliness, giving a clear approach and advice.

However, despite these blemishes, this is a good and helpful book, and even if it imposes a slow pace of reading, perhaps that gives more time to reflect and to think matters through.

Recommended.

Cigales

It's so hot here we have cicadas singing in the trees round the house.

It never rains!

The couple who got married at the château a couple weeks ago got married at the mairie this morning at 11:30.

At 11:10 I got a stressed message, "we've lost the car!"

It was the latest in a series of crises which included honeymooning in Greece in a context of riots and empty ATMs, getting their wallet stolen, almost getting stuck in Greece because of not being able to get money to get to the airport...

"Maybe God wants to teach us things..."

"I'm sure you've already learnt a lot!"

Friday, July 17, 2015

House valuation

Well the man came.
He would like to come again with a colleague next Wednesday and then they'll advise on a suggestion for an asking price.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ha! Some progress!

So this morning I was up bright and early after a night that was short, hot and sleepless, and I hied me away to get the NEW, BIG car from the station.

Here it is:

Behind it you can see the new Clio that I was driving yesterday!

It's the same kind of car that we used to have, but a later model, and it was like driving a Transit van. It felt ENORMOUS! But it went OK and the boot sure was big, which meant that with the help of faithful James we got lots of stuff to the dump.

At the dump someone had left a nice looking Raleigh Pioneer bicycle. It needed a brake cable, a good clean and some lubrication, but it was well equipped and looked basically OK. James wasn't interested and if I had come home with a bike to fix Mrs Davey would have been sore vexed, so we left it there hoping someone would adopt it.

Then off to town to meet up with my friend Didier for lunch, during which time I had a phone call from an estate agent. He will come to value the house tomorrow afternoon. OK. Here we go!

Here's the dashboard of the car, showing that it had done fewer than 150 km!

Then back home for siesta and some proper work. Now an early night!

You can send books from Logos to Kindle, and they work pretty well.

Revolutionary!

ANOTHER new car!

I'm so excited I might make myself ill.

We have ANOTHER new car! Yes! It's brilliant!

Just a few short months ago I drove our new Clio for the first time. It has now done 6000km!
It's so comfortable and silky smooth.
It has built-in satnav, or you can just have the map show you where you are.
I love it.

But when I booked a car to go to the dump this morning, what did I see but a new Peugeot Partner!
I saw it in the flesh yesterday.
It's big. It's shiny. It has a ginormous boot.
And this morning it's all MINE!

Whoopeeeee! Bravo Citiz!

Well that was a scramble!

36°C

The cool of the bookshop in the morning.

Taking the wrong tram and spending 30 minutes getting back to Pessac Centre (clot!)

Zooming off to the dump with a few more years' worth of worthless papers.

Hunting for clip-on sunglasses for Pat at Decathlon.

The rocade running at a snail's pace - let's hope the doctor is running behind again.

She was. Hurrah! She's happy still.

Drop off the car and home.

Try to sleep. Is it really still 36°? (I don't think it was, but it felt like it)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yeah, well, just stop

We're not easy to help.
No, honestly.

We just had word that our allowance should be revised in the next few months, and instead I am wondering whether we could divert the raise into a project to hire rooms for the church...

OK. Stop, Alan. Stop.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A family bereavement

My brother-in-law has died after a sudden decline following a stroke he suffered last year.
Thinking especially of my sister and their two lads and their families.

Inscription at the University

Well that was extremely easy, well-organised and quick.

Catrin had an appointment time of 10:15 at the University, so we took the 9:30 tram because we weren't entirely sure where we had to present ourselves. 9:45 we entered the reception area of Bordeaux Montaigne, where a charming student told us to join the queue on the other side of the building.

After perhaps 10 minutes of queuing we got to a table where they checked all the documents Catrin had brought, and all was OK.

Then 5 minutes later we were at the counter where everything was sorted, filed and Catrin was given her Certificats de Scolarité, access codes for internet and the library and a receipt for the tuition fees of 190 euros listing where all had been spent.

Then 5 minutes later Catrin's Carte Etudiante was done. This card functions as a payment card in the university restaurants as well as giving proof of student status for concerts, rail travel etc.

By 11:15 we were home.

Amazing!

Inscription at the University

Everyone's up bright and early!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Catrin's timetable

Catrin has had an email from her department with some advance information.

There'll be 24 on the Musicology and French Song course.

The classes will take place mostly on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
(This means she'll have Wednesdays free if she wants to offer tutoring in English to kids, etc.)

Then there's a concert in October where the department has been invited to orchestrate and accompany Michel Jonasz. Since this is just after the start of term students have been invited to do some extra introductory orchestration courses during the holidays.


Looks like we'll make it!

I just got another message from a ministry asking for donations so they can meet their budget. It used to be just in December, but now it's summer, too.

I know that it's OK to make your needs known, and I know that there are cultural differences in the way we do these things, us Brits and our transatlantic brothers, but ...

However, in the context of our dwindling finances, I suddenly smiled the other day.

Every year since 2005 has been just a bit more difficult. Sometimes very difficult. However, by reducing our expenditure bit by bit we are still here!

Our goal has so far been to make it through another ten years here, however touch and go. The house move will help that. That's why we can't take on board people's suggested criteria like "you need space for people to come", or "with a nice view", or "in the very heart of Bordeaux". We need to find somewhere we can afford with a landlord who is willing to rent to foreigners. We're missionaries, not tax exiles!

However, at the same time, some churches in England and Wales have become somewhat militant about our finances, demanding that our situation be reviewed - and while speaking to someone here about our planned house move the other day I suddenly realised that it really looks like God is going to give us those ten more years here.

And grinned.

An encouraging message

You know I said I wasn't going to do weddings any more?

Well I had this message the other day from a chap who I married a few years ago. The girl was a christian, but he not, but for reasons I won't go into it was pretty obvious that they should marry and that I should conduct the wedding. He was a really nice guy, an old-fashioned French lad, I very much liked him, and they moved away fairly soon after the wedding.

Anyway he contacted me to say that a few months ago he became a Christian, and to ask if there was any advice I could give him.




Friday, July 10, 2015

The Notaire and the pilgrimage

This morning began with a super tram ride from France-Alouette to Galin, way over on the rive droite to see the Notaire. I wanted to see her about our will and also about selling the house. She was very relaxed, friendly and efficient and I came out with a little list of things to do.

On the tram on the way back as we pulled out of Bougnard towards France-Alouette a man jumped up in alarm.

"This tram doesn't go to Pessac?"

"Yes, to Pessac Alouette."

"Not to Pessac Centre?"

"No. This tram is for Pessac Alouette."

He ran to the driver's compartment and called through the glass.

"You don't go to Pessac Centre?"

"No, to Pessac Alouette."

"But I need to go to Pessac Centre."

"You have to look on the tram - the destination is displayed."

"But I didn't see it."

(Not only that, but every so often in the tram a nice lady's voice says "Ligne B. Destination France Alouette.")

Anyway, the only answer for the guy was to get off at the next stop and either walk into Pessac Centre or take the next tram back etc... He'll look next time. That's how we learn.

Then home for a brief bout of sermon prep before a family trip for lunch at Ikea. At present they have an offer on for Ikea Family Card holders - for 5€ (about 75 pence at current exchange rates, I think) you get about 3 kilos of assorted lettuce, teamed with mozzarella balls and tomatoes for starter, then alongside a generous slice of salmon quiche for main course, then fromage frais with mango coulis for dessert. It was very good and the lettuce was particularly crunchy, fresh and copious.

Afterwards we got ourselves utterly lost in the Ikea galleries and looked at potential beds for Catrin - when we move we intend to sell our bunk beds - and at other assorted treasures.

Afterwards I looked in the bargain corner while Pat waited.

We used a citiz car to go to Ikea - the new Clio. Its built in satnav guided us home through the city centre rather than on the clogged rocade, and again I thought how lucky we are to have access to such a great car, as well as the tippy bipper for going to the dump, and the sundry other cars dotted about Bordeaux.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Famous last words

Be a nice, calm, quiet day, today, I thought.
Time for some proper old-fashioned sermon prep, I thought.
Pat's out for coffee, Catrin's sleeping off the excitement of graduation, I thought.
I can even clear yesterday's things to do list, I thought.

Then chaos and madness broke out again.

Oh well. Maybe I am not suited to nice, calm, quiet days.

Bookshop and graduation

Yesterday I was at the Maison de la Bible from 10 till 6, covering in the afternoon for my colleague, Jean. We shut at 6 then have to do the end of day computer stuff, which takes about 20 minutes, and sometimes fails on the last step.  When that happens all you can do is turn the pc off and back on again, wait a few minutes and try again.

Yesterday evening I was in a hurry. Catrin's lycée is a normal, state-funded, French lycée, but she is in the American section of the Option Internationale au Baccalauréat, and they like to do things the American way, so they had a graduation ceremony.

At 7 we assembled in the courtyard of the school. At one end was a barbecue gently heating up and at the other ballons, bunting and stars and stripes. M. Raskauskas, in his finest French and wearing his Statue of Liberty tiara and stars and stripes bow-tie, explained what was going to happen and once everyone was ready the students went off to change into their graduation robes - ponchos of black satin with hand-made cardboard mortar-boards. Once they were ready we were arranged to watch them process in to the music of Elgar, Pomp and Circumstance number 1 - Land of Hope and Glory. "God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet..." we sang. Under our breath.

There followed a short speech by the Consul of the USA, again in his finest ceremonial French, then three of the students spoke, the last paying tributes to the class members - Catrin for her gentleness, kindness and amazing Scripture knowledge that rescued them from more than one impasse when discussing American literature.

Then the remise des diplômes. Not the bac diplomas, but one that records their graduation from Lycée François Magendie and accords the status of alumna (in cartoon's case).

After a few more short speeches from teachers giving prizes for geography and so on, we ate delicious hamburgers or "pulled pork". We were intrigued by a rich savoury dip and discovered M. Raskauskas secret recipe. You must promise never to reveal this to anyone. You take a tup of crème fraiche and mix in a packet of onion soup mix (without croutons), then leave it to stand for about four hours. Delicious, but once I knew what it was I stopped eating it and, sure enough, had raging indigestion later!

At about 10:30 we wended our way home.

Oh, and the end of day computer procedure at the bookshop?

Yes. It failed. But I turned off the screen and left, after writing a quick apologetic note.


Sometimes the family comes first.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

She got mention Bien, with an average of 72% !

85% in Chinese.
90% in Music.

Graduation tomorrow at Lycée François Magendie.

Next stop, the Fac.

A big day in the Davey household

Catrin gets her bac results.

It doesn't quite have the stress-factor of results day in the UK because to get into university all you need is to pass, and she's pretty sure to have passed.

but still... it's good to have a mention (assez bien, bien, très bien) and if you get très bien, which means an 80% average or more, then the region will give you a small scholarship.

Catrin has done a very difficult bac - for example she did French (of course), English (of course); Spanish and Chinese. She also added in the music option.

Whatever her result, it would be hard to be more proud of her than we already are.

On another different note, today is the day that after 9 years of active participation in the UNEPREF I have asked for my name to be removed from the list of pasteurs associés. We don't work in UNEPREF circles any more, we aren't members of a UNEPREF church any more and I think it's unlikely we'll ever return to the denomination.

Not only that, but I have three pastors' conference to attend this All Saints' Holiday, and I have to simplify things.

Monday, July 06, 2015

The good news - and the bad news

The good news

I saw the lawyer lady and she explained stuff and answered my questions and it turns out things are not quite so complicated as I thought. Good. Gwilym can stay attached to our family for financial purposes, which means he counts against our tax etc... but because he lives in London we don't have to pay council tax for him.

The bad news

While I was out Patricia was cleaning up the patio ready for the arrival of the ladies for lunch, and the handle of the broom broke and gouged her finger. Harriette came racing to the rescue and took her to the local hospital's hand unit where they are currently operating to see what the damage is and what needs to be done, if anything.

Much later - the latest news

Pat just got home.

They made her shower in betadine and prepared her for surgery.
She got a telling-off from a nurse because she had eaten while waiting at the hospital.
They took her into the operating theatre and made her lie on the operating table.
Everyone was scrubbed-up, gowned and masked.
Then the doctor came in, looked at her finger, numbed it and put in seven stitches.


She's home and lying down and feeling fine but a bit tired out from all the hoo-ha!

Off to get legal advice about house sale and finances for the coming ten years

Now that we have two adult children studying at the university, and now that we propose to sell our house and rent a small flat and now that Catrin also has a project of living independently of us while at university we need help and advice on how we could conceivably achieve this.

So I'm off to see a lawyer recommended by a friend.

Lawyers in France are still in the ancien régime, before the revolution, so I have to address her as oui maître, non maître, trois poches pleines maitre.

I'll practice on the bus.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

When you only listen with half an ear...

"...et Cécilia Bartoly qui, dans ce rôle, est étourdissante, ainsi que..."

Me to Catrin, "doesn't that mean deafening?"

Catrin, eyes gazing upward, "no, that's assourdissante"

Me to Catrin, "oh yeah..."


Why I preach from a Mindmap

The excellent folks at 9 Marks have sparked a little discussion about preaching from manuscripts or from notes.

Jason Dees, writing in the 9Marks Journal on page 34, here, says we must manuscript our sermons because we are not as smart as we think we are.

His good friend, Doctor David Prince, writing here, says that we must NOT manuscript our sermons because we are not as smart as we think we are.

I long since gave up all hope of ever being "smart" in any sense whatsoever, and I note that Doctor David Prince has a doctorate, so perhaps this is a moment where the smart man holds his tongue, caps his pen and twiddles his fingers.

But hey...

I preach from a Mind-map. I've now done it for probably almost 20 years. Firstly I'll tell you how this came about, then I'll tell you what I think the advantages are.

How ever did you think of preaching from Mind-maps?

Well it all came about on a British Telecom Management Training Course way back in the 1980s, when everything tasted better and Britain went to work on an egg. During this training course a jolly afternoon was spent teaching us to draw Mind-maps, a technique popularised by Tony Buzan.

"MindMapGuidlines" by Nicoguaro - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MindMapGuidlines.svg#/media/File:MindMapGuidlines.svg
This Mind-map is taken from Wikipedia.

I immediately liked the way that quite complex information can be expressed on one sheet of paper, and then used as an aid to recall. I also liked the way that you are almost forced to organise your thoughts logically and in a structured way.

When I first served in pastoral ministry my sermon prep took this kind of route:

1) Tuesday - read the passages for the week and, if possible, print them out for carrying with you.

2) Later in the week, look at interlinears, lexicons, commentaries and whatever aids I could. Remember that we did not have fast internet in those days. It was books!

3) Work out my main point and my structure by producing a Mind-map. My main point should be a sentence with the main verb in the imperative - Depend Consciously On God's Holy Spirit, for example.

4) As late as I possibly could, type up my manuscript with the Mind-map propped between my keyboard and the computer screen.

I did this for some years, discarding the Mind-map after it had done its work of clarifying and structuring my thought...

The one day I thought "I type up my preaching manuscript from this Mind-map, and I type as fast as I possibly can, and it takes me three hours to type it. Then when I preach I try not to look at it. How sensible is this?"

The answer that came to my mind was, "Not very sensible at all!" so I decided to try cutting out the three hours of typing and to preach from my Mind-map.

I told close, trusted friends what I planned to do and asked them to tell me if my preaching got noticeably worse, noticeably better, or if there was really no discernible difference.

The replies were that there was a slight improvement, mainly because there was much more eye-contact.

So I stuck with Mind-maps and now I very rarely use a manuscript.

My Mind-maps are hardly worthy of the name. I use very few symbols - just big ticks and crosses for things that are right and wrong. I use colours just to mark out different sections and I hardly ever draw anything. But I do avoid sentences and long phrases. Just one word or short expressions that are easily read at a glance.

What are the advantages?

For me one advantage became obvious pretty early on, when I led some Bible studies in Welsh. I didn't have to bother about typing in Welsh or even trying to produce a Mind-map in Welsh. I could fairly easily speak in Welsh from a Mind-map in English. There's very few words, you see. Hardly any translation is involved.

Another advantage is that my Mind-map is usually on one piece of A4 paper sideways. That means that I can see my sermon at a glance. All of it. No turning the page. No getting things out of order. No dropping your notes and ending up in a terrible mess. Just one sheet. You can fold it in four and put it in your shirt pocket, then whip it out and off you go.

Another advantage is that as you go round clockwise it has a fairly obvious relationship with time. You can see how far you've got and how far you have to go. And this enables you to speed up and slow down. You can skip a whole section if you need to with no fear of losing your place.

The last advantage is that the Mind-map encourages you to use simple oral language. Because you just have a memory jogger and from that ... you speak.

In April I had to speak at the Banner of Truth Ministers' Conference. I had a subject that did not excite me, but that I felt needed to be addressed and addressed seriously.

The Banner of Truth Ministers' Conference is perhaps the most august body I have ever addressed. I know that the local church has a dignity and worth to which no ministers' conference can ever attain, but for me to address all these learned, experienced, serious men was fearsome.

I was helped by the fact that the worst sermon I have ever heard was at a Banner Conference. But this did not completely dispel the overwhelming sense of occasion.  I contemplated writing out a manuscript. I started writing out a manuscript.

Then I decided that a situation of pressure is exactly the moment NOT to change your usual habit, so a Mind-map it was. Here's one from a couple of years ago that breaks my rules!







Planning together ... and being together?

I can't tell you wonderful it is, how exciting it is, how amazing it is, to sit together and plan.

We start with one idea, and discuss freely, and we finish together with something else, related to what we started with, but better, more cohesive, more realistic, more ... just more better!

Yes, I know it's normal, but it isn't always like that, is it...

One thing though.

I MIGHT be being just a little bit stubborn, and I MIGHT be giving some folk the wrong impression.

The question concerns a group in Bordeaux that some think should fuse with us at Bordeaux Church.
The idea of fusing the groups was mentioned perhaps two years ago. I was not against the idea, but I wasn't really for it either, because the other group has a clear, definite and quite strong identity that I think is worth keeping. Other ways of preserving that identity have been mooted, and it could be done.

Anyway the idea of fusing the groups has been mentioned again by a couple of people, and I just wonder if I am giving an impression of stubbornly saying no, because I don't want it...

Anyway, we hope to do something to create a forum to talk together between the two groups, to get to know each other, to build relationships and opportunities for communication.

Friday, July 03, 2015

This morning is the great wardrobe clear-out

If I have not worn it in the last year,
and it is not clothes for special occasions (jacket, etc.)
then out it goes.

A night at the Opera

To celebrate the end of Catrin's exams on Tuesday she and Pat went to see Far from the Madding Crowd, and last night she and I went to see Cecilia Bartoly in Rossini's Le Comte Ory at the same cinema.

Bus or tram?


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pessac, China - and beyond!

Yesterday we invited the internationals for a barbecue to say "see you soon" to the folks who are leaving now. It was a good time with perhaps ten folk present, and afterwards I reflected on how some years ago by Easter everything was pretty well over, whereas now things are reduced, but not over.

It was the same with the Chinese group where I met some of the new folk who have just arrived, including one chap from Jiling province, bordering North Korea. It's easy to find a church in my province, he said, everything is very open. I asked about North Korean refugees, and he said, "Of course, all the North Korean girls want to marry a Chinese guy." He didn't know how that would work or how it got set up, but he said, "and in North Korea they don't realise they are poor because the government controls everything. Everything."

Meanwhile the Commission des Ministers were meeting in the afternoon to finally decide whether Tim Mitchell can be admitted to the hallowed ranks of the UNEPREF pastors. As both their prior communications suggested a final negative response, Tim does not anticipate a positive outcome.

This morning I fly off to Geneva with some of the folk from Maison de la Bible for the big annual shindig in Geneva. We are supposed to take volleyball kit and boules, but I am uncertain whether Easyjet would really allow boules on the plane. So volleyball it will have to be, then. Bordeaux Church is in the capable hands of James.

Friday, June 26, 2015

"RE-inscription" for Catrin at the music school.

I had said, "I'm here for pre-inscription for Catrin for next year."

But no, it is RE-inscription when you've already studied at the music school.

"Oh yes", said the director, who had popped into the office on the way out for a quick cigarette, "sign her up quick, she sings well, Catrin."

Whatever. The effect is the same. I wrote the cheque and promised to scan and send my electric bill (justificatif de domicile - I forgot it to take it for some reason.)

Well, for two reasons. Firstly Catrin has been singing in the music school just round the corner from us for about four years now, and she walks there each time and so on...

Still, one's domicile has to be justified. And after all, we are intending to move house.

Secondly, it is so HOT that my brian has ceased to function.

Sorry. Nothing computes. The circuits have closed down because of over-heating.

But I still remembered to ask, "Alors, elle est dans quel cycle, finalement?"

We were deeply confused, because when she applied to the University she was given an attestation de niveau that said she was premier cycle, but after her music exam they gave her a diploma that said "Deuxième cycle", so what did that all mean?

Well, it meant that at exam time her teacher said "There's no point giving Mathilda and Catrin premier cycle exams. Their level is deuxième cycle."

So she did the deuxième cycle exam and rocked it awesomely.

Which means she is now in troisième cycle, and that is an entirely appropriate level for proceeding to the conservatoire next year.

Confused? Just wait. It will get even more baffling, I am sure.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rendezvous made

1) with a lawyer to talk about selling the house, renting or buying a house/flat, having grown-up children who are studying in France and the UK, property taxes and income taxes and stuff.

2) with a notaire to sort out selling the house.

John Edmonds is visiting us at the moment

Here he is with James at Quinconces.
I'm on the way to the Ivorian Consulate.

David Murray explains how to self-publish

here

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's here! It's here!

So yesterday morning found us up ladders, down ladders, climbing on worktops, finishing off the painting of the kitchen. Then, at 11:30, we set off for the inauguration of the tram to Pessac Alouette.

We took the 4 to Pessac Centre, then walked down the lovely wooded walkway to Bougnard. Some event tents had been set up and a little crowd was milling. A small jazz group played New Orleans style. A man was carrying a velvet cushion and a golden scissors. The press and the radio were there.

M. Raynal, the Maire of Pessac gave the first speech, followed by the Chairman of the Hospital Group of Haut-Leveque, then M. Juppé, Maire of Bordeaux, Chairman of Bordeaux Métropole, Future Candidate of the Républicains and Future Président of France.

After the speeches M. Juppé cut a ceremonial ribbon with the golden scissors, and cut pieces of ribbon for the little girl who served as scissor-bearer, then we surged into the waiting tram (which, incidentally, was not at a tram stop). A wooden ramp had been set up for wheelchair users.

The tram set off and took us, non-stop, to France-Alouette where some more event tents were waiting with fruit juices, fizzy water, delicious sandwiches and little wedges of tortilla española. The sandwiches had alarming colours - some were the colour of Oreo cookies and some were orange, but they were all very good indeed.

At my left was stood a man from Radio France. He caught my attention and interviewed me about the arrival of the tram. Then I spotted the Maire of Pessac, M. Raynal. I asked him if we could please have some Citiz cars posted here. He seems to be more in favour of Bluecub - little electric cars. Maybe they would do...

Later that afternoon we went for a celebration trip by air-conditioned tram into town and ate ice-cream in Macdonalds.

It's here!