Showing posts from October, 2007

Sometimes I am so stupid I embarrass myself

I thought they'd voted to give him 19,000€ per annum. I thought "that's not much, but then he has the Elysée to live in etc..." It's 19,000€ per month.

"Puritan prayer"

They sang this on Sunday evening at our church in North Wales. BLESSED SPIRIT OF THE KING Of grace and love the Author Work repentance deep within And bend me at Your altar Melt my heart with majesty Then show my ruined self to me Teach me to more clearly see Your might and will to save me Here I place without reserve My soul in faith and meekness Trusting in Christ’s power and love To flourish in my weakness Cause my days on earth to be Through time and through eternity A trophy of His victory A monument to mercy Teach me to behold my God And trust His power to save me Arms outstretched in constant love Whose strength will never fail me Help me to commune with Him Depend and follow after Him That through my life His peace will reign And joy be my companion Stuart Townend Copyright © 2006 Thankyou Music

So THAT's why I waited so long to do it

The car is four years old and due it's first Contrôle Technique. However, the address on the registration document was still Villenave. You have a month to change it, cough, cough... So this morning bright and early (well, early anyway) I hopped on the tram for the préfecture. Last time I did this you had to queue three times - once to get your documents checked, once to hand your documents in and once to take your documents out. I was encouraged to see that they had done away with queue 1. "Maybe it will be quicker this time", I thought. "Three hours ?" That's what the lady said when I went to the desk to ask what time they closed and whether my documents had been lost. She said "Which window did you go to ?" but wasn't surprised when I couldn't remember. To be honest with you I was beginning to forget why I was there at all... Anyway, they ran around a bit and printed out my new registration document and I left vowing not to move house o

Derek Swann

My good friend Derek Swann has gone home. I say my good friend. Really he's my good friend Phil's father, but I know him best from his contribution to the theological training course I followed, the Movement Course. He came and taught us about preaching. He urged us to make it vivid, concrete, with sense appeal. He was a fan of Spurgeon for that. He came and taught us about conducting funerals. "Take your time, you can't be late", he said, "the funeral starts when you get there." He liked this saying : I reads myself full, I thinks myself clear, I prays myself hot and I lets myself go . He said, "Men, we don't think ourselves clear !" But mostly he taught us about warmth. How to be strong and straight and warm. Some years ago in the church we did some broadcasts for Radio Wales. I loved doing it. Derek heard them and wrote to encourage me. He said he wanted a recording because he wanted to use the talks as a model. I don't know if he ev

North Wales Men's Convention

Maybe you were unable to go and so remain unconventional. Good news ! You can still listen to the addresses and interview given by Jonathan Stephen, Principal of W.E.S.T.

It's Reformation Day


That's Hywel Rhys Jones !

on the White Horse Inn Podcast for 30 September "Current controversies over justification". I know Hywel Rhys Jones. More to the point, he knows me !

Dilbert - what can one say ?


First reflections on the UFM Europe conference

It takes me a long time now to reflect on, things and decide what I think, so my reflections on the conference will come bit by bit. To begin with this is roughly what the programme contained: Studies in John 11 from John Mark Teeuwen, team reports from the countries represented, discussion seminars on various aspects of the work in Europe, John Mark talked about growing up as an MK, everybody got a pastoral session ( nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition ! ), one rather more experienced UFMer spoke of her experiences and how to handle the unexpected. I was struck hard by how diverse Europe is. We talked about the post-communist legacy in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. All these countries have had very different experiences. It's brilliant, Europe. I was struck by the variety of the people who serve overseas. All sorts !

You wait all week for a post on the blog, then four come along at once

The Mayor of Paris has his work cut out.

Like a slave, is an unborn child not a brother?

If you want to do people wrong, you must first undermine the idea that they are people. The Nazis called Jews rats. The Hutu in Rwanda called the Tutsis cockroaches. Pseudo-Darwinian views promoted ideas about racial purity or mental or physical health which allowed those who lacked these qualities to be seen as "inferior stock".

and MORE Monday madness - this time "les prix anti-nobel" Who would have thought that it is harder to concentrate with your finger up your nose ?

Maybe it's not so bad that your face could stop a clock

A bit of Monday madness.

UFM Europe Conference

We just got back from the UFM Europe Conference at Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava. We drove down from Bordeaux on Monday and got back earlier this evening. Lloret de Mar is not the prettiest place I have ever been to, but I'll put on some photos anyway, when I can.

UFM Europe conference - the hotel

Here is the hotel we stayed at. There are incredible bargains to be found out of season, especially with group booking s. The hotel wasn't really set up for conferences but we managed very well. Before we went we googled for reviews of the hotel - they were terrible ! But the hotel was clean, the food was fine and it was very nice each day to have a breakfast of baked beans followed by big slices of melon. (That's our room on the 5th floor with the light on.)

UFM Europe Conference - Tossa de Mar

One afternoon we popped over the hill to Tossa to have a look. It's much nicer than Lloret. I was very taken with these windows of meringues and florentines. I wonder if they taste as good as they look ? We may never know.

UFM Europe conference - Camp Nou

We popped into Barcelona and visited Camp Nou, the home of Barcelona Football Club. They have a chapel with a black madonna. Gwilym got a thumbs up from Ronald Inho, which probably made his life so far. Outside the stadium is a cemetery - as you can see they pop you into a wall.

UFM Europe conference - Lloret de Mar

Lloret is OK if you point your camera with care and walk quickly down the main street. We found a nice pizzeria for late night coffee (on the programme as "Informal Fellowship")

Radio silence.

I have to try a few days radio silence. See you soon.

OK - here's for a little medical adventure...

During the service yesterday I became aware of a slight irritation in my left eyelid. By the end of the service it was swelling up. This morning it is decidedly uncomfortable, very swollen and hard to keep open. So I went to see the doctor. She had a good look with her big illuminated magnifying glass and she says it's a bite, so I have a borax eyewash and gauzes to wash my eyelid with, and oxytetracycline cream to squirt into my eye. The pharmacist said that the cream is orange and turns your eye orange, so he suggested I do both eyes. Nice. Funnily enough, we were talking to the mother of a friend of Catrin's in the supermarket the other day - she reckons she caught a virus from a warm draught which caused her eyes to swell up like melons. Yes ! She had photos to prove it.

an info-techno Sabbath ?

Ben remembers when he only had to take his Bible

Now it's English Bible, French Bible, phrase book, dictionary, grammar book, Bescherelle for conjugations - a whole armful !

Short status report

Nice gang for English. Things are building up slowly. Preaching today - Ephesians 1 : 1 & 2. "Messenger of Grace and Peace" Taking a short break from blogging soon. Some American guy (Mark Driscoll ? Someone else ?) wrote recently on how he spent a week without laptop, phone or anything like that and how GREAT it was. Well I ought to take a short break I suppose. So I shall. But not too long.

I'm going to have to watch my step tonight (it's the halo that gets me)

The Griffins have invited everyone to go and watch the match at their house. The invitation has been rephrased a few times. It began with an invitation to all the English. But I'm not English ( you didn't know ? ) Then all those who would support England. I can't promise that. Then they graciously said I could come anyway. But although I do feel profoundly South African at the deepest level ( I spent a wonderful weekend there once ) I am going to have to watch my step. I just didn't realise how seriously the match is being taken !

Faith is rest, not toil.

“Man, in his natural spirit of self-justifying legalism, has tried to get away from the cross of Christ and its perfection, or to erect another cross instead, or to set up a screen of ornaments between himself and it, or to alter its true meaning into something more congenial to his tastes, or to transfer the virtue of it to some act or performance or feeling of its own. Thus the simplicity of the cross is nullified, and its saving power is denied. For the cross saves completely, or not at all. Our faith does not divide the work of salvation between itself and the cross. It is the acknowledgment that the cross alone saves, and that it saves alone. Faith adds nothing to the cross, nor to its healing virtue. It owns the fullness, and sufficiency, and suitableness of the work done there, and bids the toiling spirit cease from its labours and enter into rest. Faith does not come to Calvary to do anything. It comes to see the glorious spectacle of all things done, and to accept this comp

Anti-Sarko manifestation

At Gambetta. It's the fireworks that make it look a little scary.

You are dead, says Candlish

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”( Col 3:3) You are dead. In and with Christ you are habitually, constantly, dead. You are dead, and this very death is, in truth, your life. For who shall slay you now, seeing you are dead already? He who is already and always dead, what fear can he have of any farther death? Does the law again point against me the thunders of its deadly threatenings of wrath? I am dead, and against the dead no charge can be brought. I am dead, and over the dead no enemy has power. I am dead, and to the dead there is no more fear of death. This is my safety. This alone is my liberty to be always, in myself, dead. It is only as one dead that I am freed from sin, from its terrors, its temptations, its triumphs; and the more I die with Christ, entering into the meaning of his cross, reckoning myself to be condemned with him, the more am I able to defy every attempt to subject me anew, in any other way, to condemnation. To every challenge at a

There's a national rail strike today

but the buses and trams should run normally in Bordeaux: L'ensemble du réseau circulera normalement jeudi 18 octobre En revanche, des perturbations dues à des manifestations sont à prévoir en fin de matinée en centre ville de Bordeaux, plus particulièrement dans le secteur place de la République / Gambetta / Mériadeck.

Yeah, and President Formby leads us in singing the national anthem, "When I'm cleaning windows"

It's a leg-pull, yes ?

Rotterdam Conservatory Trombone Class-Gabrieli Canzona XIII

A beautiful building, too.

Gwilym's toe is now officially sport-worthy

and he is thrilled. The bad news is that during the month that he has been unable to play sport he has grown out of his trainers. Ah bon.

A salutary warning for the intelligent

"No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save." (James Denney, quoted and known in various forms..)

Bizet - Je crois entendre encore - Alain Vanzo

"foul-smelling sulphur compounds which taint breath" ? " The Alabama team bathed rat blood vessels in a bath containing juice from crushed garlic." OK. Now you know what you have to do to keep your heart healthy.

As I thought

France Rugby World Cup bags, reduced from 6€ to 1€50.

Enfin ! At last !

Sospan Fach

Fuengirola ? We went there on honeymoon in March 1993. (It's in Spain.) Not only that, but I am sure I know his auntie.

Disappearance of a Bordelais

One of the chaps at church hadn't shaved

It's not that unusual. The rule seems to be every four or five days. Anyway, he said "I've broken my razor. It's a Wilkinson. I'm going to buy a Gilette."

Oh bof.

My sisters and brother-in-law have gone home and I was a bit surprised how upset I was at their leaving. They arrived on Thursday and we had a nice time together on Friday - they saw Bordeaux for the first time. They were all very impressed with ... the miroir d'eau ! There we are. We hope to visit the UK next summer so we'll see our families again then. And we have beautifully clean drains. Strangely, at church this evening we sang a song that had exactly the same harmonic structure as Sospan Fach . While the music was being played through before the service I tried singing Sospan Fach to it and it worked. I sang the proper words during the service, of course.

C'est la fête !

After the English Class yesterday we split into three groups, one group off to watch the rugby at the Griffins, one to a North African concert and me home to where my brother-in-law and sisters had been cleaning the drains with next-door's pressure washer. Jolly good ! There'd been an accident on line B, which was already struggling with the volume of people, so I walked to Victoire to use up some of the waiting time. The town centre had a real buzz, the buses all had little blue, white and red flags on and many people had painted flags on their faces. We were crammed into the tram like sardines, but on the way in people had been patient at best. Now they were jovial and excited. I got in about 8h15, we ate and we settled down to watch the match - well, everyone else watched and I fussed and fidgeted. I don't find it easy to sit for two hours to watch a rugby match ! They'll have taken the flags off the buses overnight.

A door of the cathedral


The statue through the trees

I thought it would be nice to have some photos for Saturday

I liked this café

It looks very French !

In the pink

The pink ribbon and pink water are to promote breast cancer awareness.

at the miroir d'eau


Arcade at the side of the Grand Théatre


One day we too must visit Carcassonne

Si je me tais

This is the song we sang at the church I visited last Sunday morning. It's simple, I know, but I was quite taken with it and I consider that it has a lot to commend it. Maybe someone would like to offer a translation ? Si je me tais, Oh j'apprendrai A écouter, la voix du Bon Berger Quand je l'entends, oh je comprends Qu'il a payé pour ma liberté Quand je t'ouvre mon coeur, Je te vois Seigneur, Quand je t'ouvre mon coeur, Je t'entends me parler Et ta loi dans mon coeur Toujours demeure, Et ta vie à chaque heure, Coule comme un torrent. B. Laffite

Another view of France

Open evening

Seemed to go rather well. There were a few new faces and the prospect of studies and of new folks for the English classes, too.

Thursday wisdom - because people sometimes say helpful things

It's not the days that count so much as the years.

The new internet provider seems to be working OK !

Here you can see two laptops connected by ethernet and two by wifi. Maybe we need another table or two, though...

One of the temptations I face

here is to just be pessimistic about everything. I was thinking this on the way to the DIY place to get something sorted out. In general it is rare to tackle an administrative task or a problem and get it resolved in one visit. You need several visits, phones calls, sometimes a letter by recorded delivery before things get sorted out. Then the negative thinking starts... It's because I'm foreign. (It's not. Our French friends have the same troubles, but it doesn't stop you thinking that way.) It's because I can't explain myself or understand what people say. (It's not. Most of the language involved is quite simple.) You end up expecting everything to be a slog and nothing to work. Why though ? Why wouldn't God open the way when it really matters, as we have seen him do time and time again ? Why give way to this 'Nothing works' mentality, when it is not true ?

Wednesday music

Bach - Bwv1069 Orchestral Suite - 02 - Bourrée, Ton Koopman, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra

Tuesday peotry

THE BROOK by: Alfred Lord Tennyson COME from haunts of coot and hern, I make a sudden sally, And sparkle out among the fern, To bicker down a valley. By thirty hills I hurry down, Or slip between the ridges, By twenty thorps, a little town, And half a hundred bridges. Till last by Philip's farm I flow To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever. I chatter over stony ways, In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles. With many a curve my banks I fret by many a fi

I'm not in the least surprised

A friend who has driven in some of the most improbable and unimaginable places says that Paris was the worst place he ever drove. "Worse than India !" he said.

Peugeot 308

Listen and learn.

Adventures and misadventures

This morning's task was to go with Ben to the excellent Espace Etudiants at Capucins to register them for child allowance. It all seemed so clear-cut and easy. Ha ! First thing - a man had barricaded the Park and Ride with his Renault Scenic. He came back to explain to us. "No trams", he said. "But we just saw a tram..." Anyway, there were trams, as far as Doyen Brus, then a shuttle bus because of an incident between Doyen Brus and St Nicolas. OK. We parked, we trammed, we bussed, we boldly strode to Capucins. A nice lady at the CAF stand (Caisse d'Allocations Familiales) said to answer the questions on the computer screen, then she went away. We did that, and it started to print out a 13-page form to fill in. "Oh, that's wrong", she said, scuttling back, "Wait, he has children ?" (Ben later reflected on the surprise people generally show when they discover that he has children.) The 13 page form is right, and two pages have to be fil

Monday madness - because of all the things I've lost its my mind I miss the most

Bananaphone, by the Canadian children's entertainer, Raffi. And I thought nobody could top the Wiggles. Don't watch the video. Just close your eyes and listen.

Martin writes about Deeside

Christianity Explored is a very useful tool ! During the time that we used it in North Wales I doubt if we ever ran a course where there was no profession of faith. You can see why I am so glad that it has been translated into French and soon, please, published ! Way to go, Martin and folks !

Allez les Bleus ! /video/x35bbb_le-bus-de -lequipe-de-france-arrive_news /video/x35cbm_les-hymnes-et-le -haka-de-francenouv_news

Church visit this morning

This morning I want to visit Béthel, a very active church that meets near where the Colbert used to be berthed. I think I can find the building OK, I have been there once before. But what time is the service ? Well you look on the website. The church has no website. OK. On ? The church is not listed. OK. In the yellow pages. No. OK. I know the pastor. I'll look up his number and ring him. He's not listed. OK. They run a café. Look up the café. Can't find it. OK. I'll email some friends who used to go there. I've not heard back yet. OK. I'll ask the students if they have a contact. They do. They SMS'd. No reply yet. OK. It's bound to be 10h30. I'll just go along. STOP PRESS - just had a reply to the SMS. It's P&W 10 to 11, Culte thereafter.

An interesting street

The student centre was buzzing today, though the English classes are taking off slowly. Both Fiona and I had folks to see and the internet area in the hallway was in full use. People say the Dartybox connection is working well and pretty quick. Good. Oh, and I saw this street which caught my eye.