Showing posts from February, 2008

And a short waltz to finish off...

Hamelin - Valse Irritation d'après Nokia

Messiaen - Oiseaux Exotiques - Aimard, Boulez Part 1

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 !

Tuesday night was concert night, courtesy of Youtube

Pictures at an Exhibition: Esa-Pekka Salonen (1 of 4) and very impressive, too !

During the disk transplant


I have to tell you about my latest tram book

It's Aimer la grammaire et tout comprendre en 50 pages by Pierre Bergounioux. ( Love grammar and understand everything in 50 pages. It's a bold claim. ) 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.

A helpful analogy from Fieldy

The body as house - in stages 1. My house is a perfectly fine house though rather small and very plain. But there's nothing wrong with it. Additionally, plans for a massive extension, expansion, and beautification programme have been passed. The day is coming when, all being well, I will be living in a mansion set in hundreds of acres with golf courses, well-stocked libraries with finest port and leather backed chairs, swimming pools, billiard rooms, music chambers and much more besides. 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 w

Here is Love vast as the Ocean

here"s another version

[kayagum]Here Is Love

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

Pat almost became a Marie Curie nurse

in North Wales, but it would have meant running a second car which would have cost all she was going to earn. It would have been feasible full time but not part-time. Meanwhile note the last question and response :

Jenna and her sister popped into the student centre today

Have I mentioned Jenna yet ? She's from Kansas, and engaged to be married in April to a chap in our church called Vincent. We got to know them through this blog when Jenna's mother emailed me to ask about churches and so they'll be settling with us as a couple in April. 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 !

Sarkozy's "plain words"

There's a fair amount of discussion here about Président Sarkozy's plain words when confronted with people who want to express their opinion somewhat strongly. 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 chang

Vacances d'hiver, la grippe etc.

13:40 Today is the start of the winter holidays and the children are off school for a fortnight. We had wondered about going away for one or two nights but it won't be possible. That will have to wait till April and the vacances de printemps after I come back from the UK. 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. 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

Another death in the Davey household

Well Ratty has left us. She was the original rat that we bought in September 2005, so she's done very well really. She had 11 children and outlived several of them. We are now down to one rat. Hoorah !

An immediate improvement

The newspapers say that since smoking in cafés was banned there has been a noticeable drop in the number of heart attacks. Impressive !

White Horse Inn 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.

Phew. I'll sleep well tonight !

Well that was a marathon weekend, but the service seemed to go OK and people seemed to be up with me in the preaching. Christianity Explored went well with the youth this morning, then we ate galettes and crêpes together.

The Evolution Crisis

Jonny Wilkinson parle français

I know. I had to look twice. But it was definitely him and they were definitely interviewing him and he was definitely replying in French. Mostly.

47 - 8 !

Well well !

It's obvious when you think about it

all the daftest people are.

Well that was a strange but useful Groupe Rive Gauche

Some people are ill, and others got home late and all sorts of things. At one point Pat and I thought we'd end up having a quiet night in together... 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.

It's funny what you find on the BBC

learning English website.

Martin and the Riddleblogger

Catrin leaving for Norfolk

passport round her neck in a plastic bag. The teachers were stunned at how cold it was. Stunned. They said "The sun shines but it still doesn't warm up." Yup. Sounds familiar.

Catrin is back safe and sound

This is the departure lounge of the airport where Catrin's class is waiting for their flight (in yellow caps). You can understand why some people fled in panic, can't you.

Look closely at the sign on this baby grand


I thought 'They won't believe me unless I give them proof

A baby grand piano is called a "crapaud", a toad.

These adverts are appearing at tram stops

"I help the church. It helps me to live" There's a website where you can donate online

This week will be full and rich - I have to be organised !

Friday sees: 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" Saturday : 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 Sunday : 1) young people's meeting from 10 to 3 2) service 4h30 to 6h30 (I am preaching) I'll sleep well on Sunday night !

They have WHAT ?

The other Thursday we remarked in passing that there have been mosquitoes about all winter. Fiona reckons that there are always mosquitoes in her flat, and we have certainly heard and felt them - at least until I put that 4-month herbal mosquito repeller thing in the room. 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 ?

We are an eccentric people

We just watched The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain together. The story is set in Ffynnon Garw, which is a hybrid of Ffynnon Taf and Nantgarw, and is apparently based on an apocryphal story about how the tump came to be on the top of the Garth. However the Garth's tump is actually a Bronze Age burial chamber. The story isn't true, but I wouldn't put it past us...

I don't do it on purpose, honest !

We're painting Catrin's room. Well, I say we're but it's mainly Pat. 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" "Parfait, donc" 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

Sarko and the holocaust 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 d

It's someone else's turn

Bloggers - what about reviewing a CD ? I did it once.

Al Mohler sees "panic in the temple of Darwin" 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.

It's amazing how they have hidden his zimmer frame

A trailer for Indiana Jones and the Cristal Skull has been released online.

Some more interesting websites

On the side of this blog you'll see a long list of links. 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.


One of the good things about euros is the way they make everything seem so expensive so you decide not to buy so you save money. For example, 40 euros for a pair of shoes for the kids seems a lot of money but 30 pounds doesn't seem that much. Really they're about the same. Subtle, no ?

I hate computers

There's always something isn't there ! My life seems to be full of bytes, bauds, bits and bobs. There's the PCs at the student centre to maintain as well as the ones at home. 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 someth

Shouldn't you be in Spain by now ?

Sen and I walked to the bus stop for the bus de soir after the Bible Study. We saw a very interesting car - A Renault 4 all painted up in fancy colours with slogans and sponsorship stuff everywhere and two young ladies looking very lost. One of our lads drove away yesterday in a similar Renault 4 on the annual 4L rally to Morocco, but he left la Bastide at 1pm so we rather hoped he was deep into Spain by last night ! 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.

Catrin flies today

to England with her class. They are going to an activity centre in Norfolk ! She comes back next Wednesday. 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 !

Unbate that breath

OK. We are not taking the offices at 103 Quai des Chartrons, because : 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.

So it's not just soldiers' Bibles that are banned

Tim's doing another giveaway

Prizes 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 Draw You can enter it here

"What would Jesus download" ? This isn't a wind-up, honest. It's Ubuntu Linux Christian edition, complete with Bible programmes ready loaded !

It's a tough job, this, you know

For Christianity Explored I like to use some of the film clips to illustrate various points. I think the Louis Armstrong "Wonderful World" from "Good Morning Vietnam" illustrates the lawlessness of sin very well, for example. 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

The king of delegation

Well what a weekend ! 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 ! Yippeeee ! 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 !

Emma Jane Kirby's been to Lourdes

Soirée Bonne Nouvelle Rive Gauche

Yes. Currently we are not keen on the word réunion ( it sounds too much like boring old routine meetings that businesses have ) or groupe ( which implies it's for the keenies, not for everyone ) so long live the soirée ! On the Rive Droite it's the Soirée Evangile . Due to a typing error on my part we have become the Soirée Bonne Nouvelle Rive Gauche . 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 

This sounds like a jolly good book

Kittens on the night bus

I was a bit later than I wanted leaving the student centre. The night bus goes at 10:08 and waits for no man. Not only that but my 5-journey ticket had been used up on the tram earlier in the day so I needed a new one. You can get them from the tram machines but I had no time for the detour to the tram stop. I hurried to the bus stop fingering my 10 euro note. 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

It's not April 1st is it ? Fieldy is surely kidding ?

Non, je ne suis pas Anglais

mais je suis Britannique, je parle anglais et je viens du Royaume-Uni. En fait je suis Gallois. Du Pays de Galles. Voilà !

The new FAC main meeting room ?


We would need a kitchen area, and this would seem the most likely place to put it


The future FAC office ?


This room would probably become the church office


There's a courtyard

of about 85 sq. m. - largely covered over. If we could complete the roof, then this may give us a meeting room that would be adequate for the moment. It would also prevent the cigarette butts from falling from the sky.

More views of the courtyard


This would be the worship room

It is 65 sq. m., so could hold about 60 people.

My mental image of the USA

I realised the other day that my mental image of the USA is constructed almost entirely from the works of Michael Crichton and John Grisham. This may not be the most accurate and effective way of gaining an impression of a nation.

OK - could this be the one ?

This afternoon we are going in solemn convocation and procession to size up the premises. If we decide that we should take it ( and it has to be said that the main room is rather too small, at 65 sq. m. ) then our dossier as prospective tenants will need to be submitted and it is by no means certain that the landlord would accept the idea of a church renting the premises. Anyway - the next step is for us all to go and take a good look. Exciting or what ?

Hmmm - this one looks possible

Yesterday some folks looked at two places, one to rent, one to buy. The one to buy was no good, but the one for rental may be a possible. 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.

Amazing story !

Berkhof was big, but Grudem grooves

Berkhof is harder to rhyme, of course.....

One ought always to carry out one's threats...

Well it's not high literature, but it probably gives the idea... 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 ! » Wonderful World 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

Banque alimentaire d'étudiants

It has come to our attention that students are struggling financially in France, so the first thing we are doing to help is to set up our own informal food bank. The idea is that when you do your weekly shop (la grande commission!) you add some pasta, rice, sauces, anything not perishable and it's available to them after the service. 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 !

Christianity Explored - What a Wonderful World

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.

Rift Valley Academy is in Kenya, about 30km from Nairobi

The inventor of franglais has quit us 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.

That's one to avoid

It transpires that in French it is unwise to translate literally "to accomplish the Great Commission". It leads to misunderstanding. I am reliably informed that "la grande commission" means either "number twos" or "the big shop". Nothing else. Avoid this expression is my advice...

eeePC and videoprojector

I borrowed the church videoprojector to try out with this tiny eeePC, and it worked straight away and fine ! No settings to fiddle with, no buttons to press, it just worked. Good ! Hopefully churches have videoprojectors and the eeePC will work just as well with them all !

Doing church ? Yes, but who's doing church, and to whom ?

Asks Carl Trueman : ( I wonder what Americans make of "Done. You have been." )