Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I wonder if the name "Bargeriddler" exists, too. "Davey" is so boring as a name.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
While "Songs of Praise" rejoiced in broadcasting See him lying on a bed of straw we found that visitors to our carol services wanted to sing O come all ye faithful and Hark the herald, and that for visitors services singing familiar hymns helped people to feel at ease.
Monday, July 21, 2008
And moons have ceased to wane,
The Lamb, who died and rose again,
On Zion’s hill shall reign.
His glorious name must long endure,
When suns have ceased to shine,
And through eternity the saints,
Will sing His praise divine.
As countless as the drops of dew,
Or sands upon the shore,
Are blessings which the ransomed have,
In Him forevermore.
Let every other name recede,
His name alone extol,
In Him reserved there is the grace,
To satisfy my soul.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
The second photo shows my father's family. My grandad is wearing the cap, my grandmother is beside him. My father is directly behind his mother. The family lived in this cottage with no running water and no electricity, and with two bedrooms, the one reached through the other, until the 1950s.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
France has seen no equivalent of the wave of fatal stabbings in Britain, and newspaper reports on the so-called "culture du poignard" (knife culture) reigning in London and other big cities are read with universal horror.
But experts warn there is no cause for complacency. Where Britain has gone, France could all too easily follow.
According to Alain Bauer, France's leading criminologist, the carrying of knives and other weapons by adolescents is widespread in many poor neighbourhoods.
And if the number of murders nationwide remains relatively low (on average around 1,000 a year, of which only about 35 by minors), there has been a huge increase recently in acts of violence carried out by minors.
"One big difference here is that our gang culture is directed mainly against representatives of the state. In Britain, it is more internecine," says Mr Bauer.
"In general, here in France we haven't reached the point where knife-carriers move to the actual deed. But it's probably only a question of time."
According to Mr Bauer, Western societies are all caught in a similar pattern of youth violence, which he says is linked to a collapse of confidence in authority."Across the West, we have a set of moral references that date from the 18th century, 19th century laws, 20th century police - and 21st century violence," he says.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
James, the MetroCalvinist blogs about his experiences and has some cracking photos of French Kosher Pizza, a very splendid cake, etc. James is a Gaelic speaker and is revelling in Paris.
Peter and Rhiannon are at Les Cedres immersed in an intensive course. Peter and Rhiannon are both Welsh speakers.
Bon courage, les amis ! Dyfal donc, hein ?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Baked Beanz is the foodstuff I miss most about life in England. They are available in France but at £1.20 a tin they come at a price. And they're a bit heavy to fit into your luggage on an aeroplane.
The doctor has given me penicillin. Oh well, it'll clear up soon.
More vocabulary: frissonner, to shudder, as when looking at the boil on the back of your husband's neck.
I am reliably informed that what I have on the back of my neck is actually a carbuncle.
What's the difference between a boil and a carbuncle ? A boil becomes a carbuncle when it approaches the size of the Sainsbury extension to the National Gallery.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
as English as ... a ploughman's lunch
Poor Menelas, basically they all want him out of the way for one reason or another, so they conspire to send him to Crete, then bully him into going.
Helene sings "Va-t'en mon lou-lou, va-t'en, n'importe ou" (Off you go darling, off you go, anywhere...)
The dancing air-stewards clinch it and off he goes.
That's all from la Belle Helene.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Offenbach is the French Gilbert and Sullivan and La belle Helene is a spoof on Greek mythology and the morals of the society of his day.
Paris wins the right that the most beautiful woman in the world should fall in love with him - that is Helen, wife of Menelaus. Menelaus has invited all the kings of Greece to come and take part in some festival or other. Here they are arriving, set as if in a museum, where the chorus is challenged to name all the kings they spot. Menelaus identifies himself as "l'epoux de la reine, poux de la reine, poux de la reine" - the spouse of the queen, the louse of the queen, the louse of the queen - which is why the audience laughs at that point. It's typical of the puns in the script.
(Helen is played by Felicity Lott) Tomorrow the scene where they conspire to get rid of Menelaus by sending him to Crete for a month.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Wow, it's all culture, eh ! This is from Offenbach's 'Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein" which mocks 19C European militarism. It didn't stop the disastrous Franco-Prussian war from taking place just a few years later. More Offenbach later if you're good. DAME Felicity Lott is very popular in France.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Conductors conduct with a baton.
Les dirigeants dirigent avec une baguette.
It conjures up a nice image of a conductor waving his lunch around. Sir John Barbirolli, it appears, had a good appetite because he has an extra-long baguette.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Thou fount of life, Thou light of men,
from the best bliss that earth imparts,
we turn unfilled to Thee again.
Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
to them that seek Thee Thou art good,
to them that find Thee, all in all.
We taste Thee, O Thou living bread,
and long to feast upon Thee still;
we drink of Thee, the fountain-head,
and thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
Our restless spirits yearn for Thee
where’er our changeful lot is cast;
glad when Thy gracious smile we see;
blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.
O Jesus, ever with us stay;
make all our moments calm and bright;
chase the dark night of sin away;
shed o’er our souls Thy holy light.
Bernard of Clairvaux(?), 1091-1153
Saturday, July 05, 2008
The hotel has a special area for bus drivers - une chaufferie pour les chauffeurs. I am not sure how pleased the driver is at the idea, but I reckon it will be OK, and they'll let him have a proper room rather than sleep in the boiler room.
From here they go on to Brest, then to Rouen, then to Paris.
Friday, July 04, 2008
They didn't x-ray. The doctor said it was evidently not broken, but that Catrin should stay off her foot for two days, wear a tight sticky bandage on it for ten days and use crutches for at least two days. We hired the crutches for 1,50€ a week !
So she missed her last but one day of school, but she really wanted to go in for the last day because she's changing school, her teacher is going on maternity leave and we'd got her some baby-grows. So she joined the queue of children on crutches waiting for the lift into the school. Pat said when they emerged at the first floor a little lad shouted 'les handicappées, les handicappées !'
I scuttled off into town this morning to pay a long-outstanding bill for the Bibles we have been distributing to the students. It turned out that the bill had been sent to the wrong address. We'd chased it up before but been told 'No, don't worry, the bill will arrive in due course.' Anyway, now it's done.
And to buy a couple of books for someone as a birthday present. I hesitated between George Verwer ( kind of like a strong coffee ) and Graeme Goldsworthy ( kind of like a beef and horseradish sandwich ) so in the end I bought them both. I used to be really indecisive, but I'm not so sure any more.
Incidentally we had a good time with the Health Service and a very nice chap who told us we needed a list of five documents : pièces d'identité, justificatif de domicile, cartes européennes de santé, feuilles de soin, RIB ( rélevé d'identité bancaire ). We had three of them so we had to pop home for the others. Then when we went back we discovered that some of the feuilles de soin were lacking their prescriptions and stickers - but Ben was going to go back along with them.
It really is 'tri chynnig i gymro' (three tries for a welshman) here. Getting it all done on the third attempt is the general rule and about as good as it gets. We were both well-pleased. And we got the same chap when we went back ! Thanks !
Thursday, July 03, 2008
They say that the dune is natural and took 4000 years to get that big.
OK, in that case what's that big bulldozer doing there ?
Anyway, it rained. Lots.
We were halfway up the dune when Mrs Davey said "I can't be bothered" and descended again. I accompanied her and we spent quality time talking.
Later she was worried whether everyone was OK so she decided to ascend again but left me to guard the bags !
As a result I can now recognise the phrase "What's that man doing there?" in five different european languages.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
This illustrates something really important in French culture.
You greet people warmly.
M. Sarkozy said "Bonjour monsieur" to the sound man and was shocked not to get a bonjour back.
Imagine Mrs Thatcher saying "Good morning, sir" to the sound man. It's not just "Hi."
Sometimes Brits forget. French people are almost always shocked when they hear that in Britain sometimes the first thing you say to a shopkeeper is "I'm looking for .....", and that you can go through a supermarket without ever saying anything to anyone sometimes.
But the bonjour thing is really important.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Yesterday I had some BAFFLING forms to fill in, asking for my EMEI, my HAFGV and my JJJIJJJI among other things, to stick on the form the barcode from the mobile phone box beginning with 65498 (except it didn't, but I stuck it on anyway) and then to post off to three different addresses - new phone company address, 50 euros refund address and old phone company address.
But no sooner had I popped the forms in the postbox than I got a text message saying the transfer of my number is going ahead on 5 July.
Wow, that's efficient.
Then for the music school we all stared at the timetable.
If Catrin does an hour of solfège, followed by an hour of orchestra on Tuesday evenings, will then 1/2 hour flute lesson be too much on the same evening, and what about her homework ?
Gwilym's (shudder) electric guitar lesson is no problem because he can do his solfège on Tuesday with Catrin, but guitar is on Monday and there's no orchestra for him.
Oliver is Welsh and Vianca Indian. Neither has much French. The English services have been a real help to them, even though we've only been going, what, 6 weeks, something like that ?
Last night at their farewell barbecue chez les Griffin I reflected that this is the first of many such goodbyes as people come and go from our little anglophone Christian group, but that the services, fellowship, teaching would be an important step on the way for lots of people.