Hamelin - Valse Irritation d'après Nokia
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Messiaen was born 100 years ago. A devout Roman catholic, he considered birds to be the songsters of creation, studied and notated their songs and based several works on them. The Philharmonia Orchestra is doing a season of Messiaen.
Messiaen is probably the most difficult composer that I really like. I find his music fascinating and impenetrable !
Pictures at an Exhibition: Esa-Pekka Salonen (1 of 4)
and very impressive, too !
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It's a cracker. Utterly unputdownable.
Since I started reading this on the tram I have even stopped taking naps between Bergonié and Musée d'Aquitaine.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone studying French.
The body as house - in stages
2. Before this can happen, however, the floods and hurricanes arrive and my little house is devastated, left disgustingly filthy and terribly dangerous.
3. I'm re-housed, with lots of others, in a sports hall far away. Compared to my ruined house, this is very, very comfortable - it's dry and safe and warm and all sorts of arrangements are made for my convenience and pleasure.
3.a. So if you ask me, while I'm facing my ruined house, "where would you rather be?", then I shall certainly answer, "the sports hall, which is far better."
3.b. If, on the other hand, you ask me whether the sports hall is all I want, then I shall reply, "No, not at all. I feel naked. After all, strictly speaking, I'm homeless. It's all very lovely and so on but it's not how things are meant to be.
4. The day comes when a trumpet messenger arrives to announce that the filth has finally be cleansed, the dangers removed, and out of the ruins of my former house - and taking up and using what was there before - all has been made new. When I arrive to take up residence I find, of course, that what awaits me is the mansion of the early plans.
Apols, Oak Hillers, if I was unclear yesterday. Stage 3 is what we call "the intermediate state".
(Though I confess that even in "the intermediate state" it is hard to see how a sports hall suffices as an image... Couldn't we have been lodged in a hotel or something ?)
Dyma gariad fel y moroedd,
Tosturiaethau fel y lli:
Twysog Bywyd pur yn marw —
Marw i brynu’n bywyd ni.
Pwy all beidio â chofio amdano?
Pwy all beidio â thraethu’i glod?
Dyma gariad nad â’n angof
Tra fo nefoedd wen yn bod.
Ar Galfaria yr ymrwygodd
Holl ffynhonnau’r dyfnder mawr;
Torrodd holl argaeau’r nefoedd
Oedd yn gyfain hyd yn awr:
Gras â chariad megis dilyw
Yn ymdywallt ymâ ’nghyd,
A chyfiawnder pur â heddwch
Yn cusanu euog fyd.
Here is love, vast as the ocean
Loving kindness as a flood
When the prince of life our ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember
Who can cease to sing His praise
He will never be forgotten
Throughout heaven’s eternal days
On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
From the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Flowed incessant from above
Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love
Meanwhile note the last question and response :
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Jenna writes for Focus on the Family magazines in the States, though I think it is fair to say that her career as a writer is really just beginning.
It's a very exciting time !
The latest incident was at an agricultural show. Now I am sure he feels under pressure here because Président Chirac was a man of the soil who could talk about cows all day and loved sampling the different wines. Sarko is a teetotal city boy who can probably identify a cow but I imagine that it more or less ends there.
So during a walkabout when an old guy saw Sarko's hand coming and said "Don't touch me, you'll make me dirty" the Président replied with (and this is a very approximate translation) "Get lost then, poor clot". The words the Président chose have that basic meaning but rather more force.
Previously when a disgruntled fisherman in Guilvinec shouted something from his balcony the Président said "Come down here and say that to my face".
The French find this a big change. After all, they have never had John Prescott (remember the chap who threw an egg ? Don't throw eggs at John Prescott !) or Prince Philip.
I think that it is important to remember that even when a person is in a position of public and civic responsibility, that person is still a fallible and fallen human being and there is a limit to how much you should provoke them. I am thinking of church meetings that I have seen (never been pastor in one, thankfully) where people think they have the right to say anything, make any accusation, come out with any outburst, behave anyhow and the church officers must just take it on the chin and bounce back graciously smiling.
Sorry, but the standards of holiness in speech apply to church members as well as to church officers and if you provoke someone enough they will slip. And when that happens it is more your fault than theirs.
Sarko has been elected président, not whipping boy, and when we disagree with things he does there are ways of expressing that, but "Don't touch me, you'll make me dirty" is not one of them !
Monday, February 25, 2008
For the vacances d'hiver people go skiing, generally to the Alps, and so there were warnings of really bad traffic in the Grenoble area. We had no problems over here.
Catrin came back from the UK with a bug - she quickly developed a kind of flu and she's been ill since Friday, poor thing. She finished the school term then retired to her bed.
Today is the disk transplant of the family computer. Even as I speak the free trial of Acronis True Image is downloading. 01net.com has helpful instructions, which you can find here:
17:55 well the cloning of the old disk is cooking away - for the second time. I usually find it takes two goes to get anything unusual to work in Windows - and I never know what I did differently the second time. It's either the way you hold your mouth, or it could be that Windows needs to be sure that you really mean it !
I think we could get away for a night or two if Catrin improves a lot and quick. She's up and about and more lively now. We'll see !
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The "What would Moses do" podcast was particularly interesting. They suggest that the idea that we always need practical preaching can become a trap - that really we slip into the trap of wanting "law" not "gospel".
I think they have a point. It depends what you mean by practical, of course. Sometimes the application is "Trust God" or "Realise how blest you are", etc.
Christianity Explored went well with the youth this morning, then we ate galettes and crêpes together.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Then people came who had missed the first meeting two weeks ago, so instead of beginning the series of studies on the covenant ( think God's big picture / King snake and promise or whatever ) we redid the study on the Bible for them as what was not there the first time.
And now everyone's singing off the same sheet.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
1) a meeting to discuss use of the student centre by another group (unless we do it on Saturday).
2) a meeting to set the order of service for Sunday
3) the Soirée Bonne Nouvelle Rive Gauche on "the Covenant"
1) a meeting to discuss use of the student centre by another group (unless we do it on Friday).
2) a meeting to sort out church admin from 2h30 to 4h30
3) the English class from 4h30 to 6
1) young people's meeting from 10 to 3
2) service 4h30 to 6h30 (I am preaching)
I'll sleep well on Sunday night !
Anyway someone said 'Oh, I'm sure it isn't mosquitoes. It's probably those spiders that bite.'
Those WHAT ?
There are spiders that bite in France ?
I know that in our garden we have found native praying mantises, lizards and even stick insects, but spiders that bite ?
Monday, February 18, 2008
The story isn't true, but I wouldn't put it past us...
Anyway, to do this I had to buy a stepladder. They have them in the supermarket and the tallest (reach of 3 m !) was just about 50 euros, 35 quid. I thought this was probably the going rate, so I got it.
When I got it home we realised it was wobbly because it was missing a rubber foot, so I took it back to change it. The lady on customer services sent for Sabrina to go and get another ladder, so I waited. Another lady came up:
"Vous attendez un remboursement ?"
"Non, j'attends un autre escabeau."
"Pour quoi faire ?"
"uuuu - pour monter... Cet escabeau n'a que trois pieds"
"Il faut dire à cette dame, donc"
"Sabrina s'occupe de moi"
Are you waiting for a refund ?
No, I am waiting for another stepladder.
To do what ?
uuh - to climb... This ladder has only three feet.
You have to tell this lady, then.
Sabrina is seeing to it.
In the car park I giggled helplessly over 'To do what ? uuuh - to climb'
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Président Sarkozy has suggested that 10 year olds should read the account of a Jewish child of their age deported by the Nazis. Some teachers and psychologists disagree.
France has a great awareness of the occupation and the slaughter of its Jewish citizens. Some months ago a church member sent me an article that was doing the rounds on the internet claiming that "England" was no longer going to teach the holocaust in its schools. I explained that I had never ever been "taught" the holocaust when I was in school - my GCE history course ended with Gladstone and Disraeli - and that the article was yet another example of the crazy stuff that goes round on the internet.
Meanwhile the presence of the Jean Moulin museum devoted to the resistance hero, of the wrecks of ships in the river, sunk by the retreating Nazis and still visible every low tide, the list of martyrs on the synagogue wall, so many things here testify every day of that nightmarish time.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Incidentally, Al needs surgery soon to remove a tumour from his colon, a tumour believed to be precancerous. It's his second session of abdominal surgery in recent years.
Some are blogs by friends. Other blogs also once featured there but I have deleted some that were never updated.
Others are sites in English or French that I think are interesting and have some kind of connection with this blog.
None are "recommended ministries" and there's a vast number of excellent sites that I don't link to. I am not attempting to edit the internet !
Anyway, here are some more interesting sites, gleaned from Tim Challies.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Really they're about the same.
Subtle, no ?
Anyway, my computer in the study is marvellously stable, partly because it has a big hard disk and partly because I am very careful about the internet.
The computers at the centre are a bit more unstable - and it can be quite hard knowing what files I can just delete when half of them are in Chinese !
Just now the family computer is giving most cause for concern. It's an Acer that we brought with us from Britain and it benefitted tremendously from having its memory upgraded from 256MB to 1GB a while ago. Now it needs a bigger hard disk because it is struggling with its 40GB. It has an external hard disk but it isn't a question of data ( music and photos, mainly ) - it's the kids' enormous game programmes and such like. So when I can get to the computermongers at Mérignac and find something good - perhaps 100GB ? maybe 150 ? - I'll do the transplant.
These girls took random turnings round about where we were walking.
They turned up a one-way street. The wrong way.
They saw us taking an interest... They stopped the car.
You're looking for something ?
Yes, Cours Alsace Lorraine.
OK - when you turned into this road if you had gone left that's Alsace Lorraine. From here go right, right then right and you should be OK. But shouldn't you be in Spain by now ?
No, we left Paris at 1pm today.
I'll pop some pictures of our lad's R4 some time.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Pat and I had hoped to decorate her room while she was gone but one of our team here in Bordeaux is unwell so it is unlikely that we'll get much done. Still, you never know !
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
1) for the student centre we would lose rooms, and those we would have would be smaller than now
2) for Sammy he'd end up sharing his office with the church storeroom
3) for the Church the meeting room is too small and could never be passed for public use.
And I am relieved. Very relieved. The one good thing about those premises was their position. Otherwise we'd have been starting with too many problems.
However - it has shown us that premises like those - 200 sq m at 1000 euros - do exist, and maybe the next one will have a meeting room big enough.
We keep looking and praying.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Here are the prizes for this month's giveaway:
First prize: Five Films Gift Pack: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, Inherit the Land: Adventures on the Agrarian Journey, The Eden String Quartet: A Bountiful Blessing, A Journey Home, The Peasall Sisters: Family Harmony.
Second prize: New Films Pack: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, Inherit the Land: Adventures on the Agrarian Journey.
Third Prize: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story.
Enter the DrawYou can enter it here
Monday, February 11, 2008
When we do grace, which we will soon, we use a scene from "Les Misérables" where Jean Valjean steals the bishop's cutlery, then the bishop gives him the candlesticks too and tells him that he has redeemed him etc... The only trouble is that I don't have a DVD of the film we use so I will have to order it from Amazon. Slightly ironically, it's an English language production of "Les Misérables", with Geoffrey Rush, but it's available dubbed into French.
But what I do have is a copy of Claude Lelouch's 1995 "Les Misérables", so I watched it today to see if I could use that instead of buying the Geoffrey Rush one. We could at a push, but the Rush one would be much better. Meanwhile the Lelouch film is a stunner. I got it cheap one day at our supermarket and it was worth every penny of the 40 pence or so that it cost !
p.s. Pat and I had a Valentine's Day moment this morning and watched the Lelouch Misérables together. It was then that I realised I had completely missed a rather rude moment near the start of the film ! Mild by today's standards but there nonetheless...
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Firstly I picked up a new responsibility while I wasn't looking - that of maintaining the church address list. However with it I gained someone to delegate it to, along with email lists and
wait for it
preparing the PowerPoint file !
Then, all of a sudden, I realised that I had delegated the sermon recording, too, and that to someone else !
Wow ! I'm on a roll !
Saturday, February 09, 2008
And it was last night. We were 11. ( I told someone that we were une onzaine - don't ever say that unless you are kidding... it means "about 11", une dizaine is fine, une quinzaine is fine, but not une onzaine... However, you can say une petite douzaine which means eleven... ) Add in the sick and the unexplained no-shows and we could approach une vingtaine !
We did the study on the first of the fiches théologiques of the UNEREI, on the Bible, and it seemed to go pretty well. We crammed in to the cozy end of the room around the woodstove and I think that although the lighting is a bit less bright and more 'mood' down there, it did make it more comfortable.
We need to suss out a way of popping another uplighter down that end. I think I know how to do it.
The Fiches Théologiques are available on the internet and Sammy is reducing them to tract form to have as handouts at the door of the church, and then to Bible Studies for the Soirées. Jolly good.
You know, it occurs to me that with a big enough screen or a data projector you could do a good group Bible Study using something like the Online Bible - you can compare translations, show the Greek word, access a lexicon, etc.
Friday, February 08, 2008
The bus came. Four people got on - three dames then me.
Vous avez des Tickartes ? ( Do you have any tickets ? )
J'en ai plus. ( I have sold them all. I don't have any more. I have run out. )
Oh the shame ! By this time we were already hurtling through the streets of Bordeaux at a rate of knots, and we don't go near any tram machines and I just knew he was thinking "You want to pay ? You big girl's blouse ! Nobody pays on the night bus..."
But I was thinking "How long in the slammer for this ? Will the spectre believe my story when he comes on ( though I have never seen a spectre on the night bus ) ? and "If nobody ever pays on the night bus then the bus company will think nobody uses it and cancel the service, then where will we be ?"
By this time I was home. Well, all that fretting occupied the mind during the journey, I suppose.
This morning Gwilym heard a song about someone spending time in jail and he said "Did you ever steal anything when you were young ?"
I said, "I don't think so, but I rode home on the bus last night without paying", and I unburdened my soul to him.
"Well it wasn't for want of trying", he said, dismissively.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
This may not be the most accurate and effective way of gaining an impression of a nation.
Anyway - the next step is for us all to go and take a good look.
Exciting or what ?
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
It is on the Quays in Bordeaux, opposite a conference and exhibition centre and very near a tramstop. It has nice rooms at the front, then a 85 sq.m. paved courtyard, then a 65 sq.m. room.
The 65 sq.m. room is actually a bit on the small side. We could fit up to 60 people in there - which would be OK for a normal Sunday at present but leave no scope for special times or for growth. But there's various other options :
1) a big public hall round the corner for special occasions
2) divide into two services per Sunday
3) what if we roofed over the courtyard and had some clever system ?
OK - so some more of us will go to see the place tomorrow and we'll take it from there.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Monde de merveilles
Je vois des arbres verts, des roses rouges aussi
Je les vois fleurir pour toi et pour moi
Et je me dis « Quel monde de merveilles ! »
Je vois le ciel azur, les nues blanches
Le jour béni, la nuit sacrée
Et je me dis « Quel monde de merveilles ! »
Les couleurs de l'arc en ciel, si jolies au ciel
Se voient sur les visages des gens dans la rue
Je vois des amis qui se saluent, qui disent « ça va ? »
Vraiment ils disent « je t'aime »
J'entends le cri des enfants, je les regarde grandir
Ils apprendront plus que je ne saurai jamais
Et je me dis « Quel monde de merveilles ! »
Oui, je me dis « Quel monde de merveilles ! »
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue, clouds of white
The bright blessed days, dark sacred nights
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying « how do you do? »
They're really saying, « I love you. »
I hear babies cry. I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Well they'll be well-fed students this week. Someone took terrine de canard (potted canary) as well as paté de foie d'oie (owl liver paté). Posh nosh, eh ? Who wants raviolis when they can eat terrine de canard !
Phew. The Sundays when we have young peoples' meeting are a bit of a marathon, but I end up tired but happy. Today we were on session three which talks about sin. To illustrate the anomia of sin we watched this clip from Good Morning Vietnam, which very powerfully superimposes images of the Vietnam war on Louis Armstrong's song. I didn't realise but he appears to have gone to Vietnam to entertain the troops and to have sung this song to them in his own adorable way. I did a quick and dirty (vite fait mal fait) translation of the words which I'll post tomorrow.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Friday, February 01, 2008
Franglais is taking over my brian more and more. I once remarked in a letter that a couple were "parting for the United States" and still find it hard to see anything wrong with that.
I am reliably informed that "la grande commission" means either "number twos" or "the big shop". Nothing else.
Avoid this expression is my advice...
Good ! Hopefully churches have videoprojectors and the eeePC will work just as well with them all !
( I wonder what Americans make of "Done. You have been." )