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)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas viewing

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

Christmas in our flat

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

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

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

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

It has been wonderful. Just wonderful.

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


Talking to yourself - the first sign of wisdom

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Too radical just before Christmas?

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

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




Meanwhile our glasses have never been so clean!

Now Patricia is wondering where we keep the roasting tins.

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

And we have concluded that we did not. Oh.

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

Ecoutez le chant des anges

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

I can confirm that it is JUST as stressful in France

So I told the estate agent that we couldn't let the buyers start work before the transfer of ownership, and she accepted it sweet as a nut. Then I said, "So in principle I'll see you on Tuesday. We have a provisional rendezvous."

"Why provisional?"

"Because the notaire still doesn't have the papers from urbanism"

"Codswallop! It was sent on Monday." (codswallop - n'importe quoi)

"Listen, everyone is telling me different stories. I don't know. I'm just telling you what she told me yesterday."

"I'll ring her."

I think I'll have a nap...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

OK, now it's getting complicated

So the estate agent phoned today.

1) We now have all the documents, and a date for signing the acte de vente - next Tuesday 22 December at 9am.

2) Meanwhile the buyer's father-in-law would like to begin work on the plumbing this weekend.

3) Therefore would we mind giving them the keys before we sign on the sale.

I said I knew that it was strongly discouraged, that I would take advice and get back to them.

So I phoned our solicitor.

1) The solicitor does not yet have all the documents, the date is provisional, conditional on getting the missing document from the Pessac Town Hall.

2) It is indeed strongly discouraged to allow the buyers to begin work on the house before signing.


Wrap up well

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Alors, nous sommes venus

Well Monday passed and there was no call from the notaire's office. This left us with four possibilities:

1) Go along, the papers are ready, we sign and all is well.

2) Go along, the papers are not ready, we have wasted a journey but hey, that's life...

3) Not go along, the papers are ready, we would have signed but we didn't show up. Catastrophe!

4) Not go along, the papers are not ready. No pasa nada.

Not going along could be a catastrophe. Se we went.

Alors, vous aviez dit que vous alliez appeler hier. Vous n'avez pas appelé. Alors, nous sommes venus.

The papers are not ready. The buyers are apparently camping in Pessac Town Hall.
But we will not be signing this week. The earliest is next week.

This means no big oven or dishwasher before Christmas.

It's not a big problem. We've lived 9 years without a big oven and we've never had a dishwasher.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

So we locked up the house and headed off to the Bordeaux Church at Christmas Extravaganza

which was a Christmas buffet and share evening.

Various folk brought a varied contribution of songs, poems and funny routines, and we ended with some Christmas carols and a very brief word of application of Jesus' birth.

Again several folk there for the first time. People invite their friends.

Today we have a morning of calm before the service at 5 (James is preaching) and carol singing in the Place Saint Pierre.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A series of remarkable providences

I mentioned above how by a series of remarkable providences we would be ready for Monday.

Well here we go.

We had a problem with a damp wall in our back bedroom, so I asked a friend who had left pastoral ministry to set up as a handyman if he could sort it out for us. He did, and did a very good job. The house insurance paid for it, more or less - perhaps a bit less, and we were all happy. During that time we chatted about all sorts of stuff and he expressed interest in our old wood-stove that we replaced a while ago.

On Wednesday he came into the Maison de la Bible, to inquire about some work on the toilets, and I asked him if he was still interested in the wood stove. He said he was.

So on Thursday he came to collect it, and he was there when I discovered that we were signing on Monday. "I'll come round tomorrow and give you a hand." quoth he, "I can store things at my place, sell them on the bon coin and we'll share the proceeds."

Thus it was that we had a merry time sorting, carting to the dump and loading into his Kangoo so he could use, sell or whatever.

Today we have just a couple of loads for the dump and a quick clean for shame's sake, and then we'll be ready to sign!

Friday, December 11, 2015

It won't be Monday, but we will be ready

Well by a series of remarkable providence we'll be ready for Monday.

The notaire, however, won't be. We're still waiting on a document from the town hall.

So it could be Tuesday.

I have a Maison de la Bible Christmas Evening this evening, but I made the fatal mistake of sitting in an armchair while waiting for Pat to get changed, and I am far from sure I'll be able to get out of it again!

O Come Emmanuel

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What? When?

I was on the way to the old house to do some sorting ready to sell or to dump, when my phone rang.

"Hallo M Davey, it's Isabelle, just to say we're calling in this afternoon to read the meters."

"Funny", I thought, "What's the point of reading the meters now?"

Anyway, all of a sudden we had three rendez-vous this afternoon:

1) the plumber to fix the dripping hot tank

2) the buyer to read the meters

3) a friend to collect an old dead wood-stove.

The plumber looked and reflected and proposed a solution and will come and do it on the 30th. That's fine. The latest date for completing the sale is the 2nd January.

Next to arrive was the buyer. We talked about this and that. Then I said, "There's no news of a date for signing the act of sale?"

"Well yes, next Monday at 14:30."

"What?"

I digested this information quickly. Then phoned my solicitor.

"Any news of a date for signing the act of sale?"

"Well, no, I am waiting on a reply from the office of urbanisation, but there is a possibility of next Monday, but frankly I can't see it happening..."

OK. So it's all hands on deck to clear the remaining stuff from the house!

Meanwhile, the good news is that we don't need to clean too thoroughly because they are renewing EVERYTHING. Floors, walls, even ceilings!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

It happens every time

Every time you put your little magnetic bus and tram card against the reader it beeps and flashes up the date that your season ticket expires. And so every time you don't notice it.

Until the day (today) when you get on the bus, offer up your card and it says "Titre Périmé" (ticket expired).

"Oh yeah? But it can't have. I have a season ticket. I pay monthly. Anyway they send you a letter when renewal is due."

I tried the other machine. Same result. I was on the tram gliding along happily through the streets. Perhaps it's a computer failure. Perhaps the readers are going nuts.

Anyway I arrived in the centre of Bordeaux, tried to phone the bus and tram company to no avail, so I sent off some emails left, right and centre (in French, à droite, à gauche).

The reply came back. Yes. It ran out yesterday. To renew you have to come to the office.

Grrr. So this morning I spent a happy hour going to the office to renew my bus and tram card.

And I set a reminder in my diary!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Two things that were very good to find

Sat on top of a box of sundry odd articles:

1) My pocket NIV Bible in One Year.

Oh, I have HUNTED for that book.
It's JUST the right size and I am very glad to be reunited with it!

2) A CD of Franz Bruggen et al playing Telemann Methodical Sonatas on baroque instruments.

Again, I have SEARCHED on Spotify and elsewhere for this recording to no avail.
Now I am listening to it as I type.


In the loft

So yesterday Pat convened a small gathering of the strong and the brave and we ventured into the darkest recesses of the loft.

At rue Pérès the loft is accessed by two standard doors, one off the landing and one off the front bedroom. This easy access means that it is a simple matter to store all manner of large items and forget about them for nine years or more. Our plan was to get everything out and assess its usefulness, its saleability or any other destiny.

Thus we extracted various treasures.

1) Our posh crocks, a wedding gift from my aunt and uncle, we have some really nice china that we'll use on high days and holy days.

2) Slightly less posh crocks, wedding gifts from other people, we have a Portmeirion tea-set which will give joyful service, too, especially now that we have a really good recipe for scones.

3) Unusual crocks, a handmade pottery coffee set that my mother got from Cornwall on holiday years ago, with an unusual design somewhere between a shell and a flame.

4) My tripod. Catrin needs this. I was glad to find it.

Then:

a) the Aiwa hifi system. Originally I thought this could be sold, but is an Aiwa hifi system - the kind with flashing lights - really that saleable after spending nine years in the loft?

b) a good Pioneer amplifier and Wharfdale Lynton II speakers. Again I intended selling these, but really...

And also:

A) A large number of wheel trims for 15" wheels. Testimony to our period of adjustment to driving on the right!

B) Sundry piles of papers and school work, including my A level French project on the Islamic veil. This stuff is for dumping.


Thursday, December 03, 2015

There's a hero in my story, and it's not me

I started watching a sit-com the other day and got as far as one and a half episodes before I was pretty well sick of it. Now I quite like sitcoms, the scenario was promising and the writing wasn't bad, so what was my problem? It took me a while to work it out, but I think I got there.

The protagonist was a hero, and not an anti-hero.

Think of the majority of sit-coms you see or remember, and almost always the chief character is an anti-hero. Albert and 'Arold Steptoe, Frank Spencer, Tony Hancock, Victor Meldrew, Hyacinth Bucket (couldn't BEAR that one), they're almost all well-meaning people trying to cope with the crazy things that happen and battling with their own inadequacy.

Not this other series. The chief character is a good guy, omni-competent and well-adjusted. Every else in his life is nuts, that's all.

I think for the Christian honesty dictates that we see ourselves not as heroes but in a way as anti-heroes. We may often have good intentions, perhaps, but usually we find our own motivations and desires almost unfathomable. Are my motives pure or mixed? What about all my self-interest? Do I or have I ever loved God with undivided heart? Do I even really know what love is?

I think that's why the old advice is given to preachers - it's OK to tell the odd story about yourself as long as it is not too odd and you are to the hero.

There is a hero, though, and it's not me. It's the one who does know what love is, and who loved me and his heavenly Father with undivided heart and who even now is watching over me, guarding me and keeping me safe through all the crazy twists and turns that life takes.

Quarts and pint pots come to mind!

Well we did very well with thinning out our books and other stuff.

The major problem we have now is chairs. We just have too many chairs.

Then there's a minor problem related to my workspace. It's the side of my wardrobe, and I currently have a small white plastic table, but it's too small really. Now lots of the time I'll work at the kitchen table or the dining table, so it isn't a huge issue, but I am thinking it though, you know...

Now the major job ahead of us is learning and cleaning the old house ready for the sale to be finalised.

Tally ho!