Showing posts from May, 2008

Baptised from above and below

One of the students is going to be baptised tomorrow in the pool at the château. We're a bit twitchy about the weather. Today, for example, I went into Bordeaux after lunch wearing my cotton jacket and thinking how nice and warm it was in the sun, though not so hot in the shade. Everyone was in tee-shirts or lightweight things. As we wound our way through the campus on the tram I noticed that there were still huge puddles on the grass from the last downpour we had on Wednesday. I think the ground is pretty saturated ! I was due to come home a little earlier than normal because Pat was babysitting this evening. And at about 5:45 - a MASSIVE storm. It HOSED down. So much so that the trams were running through lakes in the city centre ( so the underground power system works even when flooded ! impressive !) and a friend got trapped in a supermarket when a drain burst and filled the whole place with water. The intrepid Bordelais won't let a small thing like a flood stop their shop

These new little PC thingies

I have blogged before about the eeePC I got and used for deputation. It worked beautifully. What I wanted from it was : 1) to do Powerpoint presentations, which it did via "Openoffice Impress" 2) to show the Bordeaux, Brittany and beyond video, which it did via VLC. 3) to keep on top of emails, especially when some people contacted me by email about visits etc. This it did via Firefox, Gmail and Macdonalds free wifi. 4) to Skype the family, using Macdonalds free wifi - we never did this because I never caught them online but I am pretty sure it would have worked fine. 5) to be light and easy to carry. And it is. The machine does have two drawbacks - the small ( 7 " ) screen and keyboard. However it remains incredibly useful. For example I take it on the tram to the student centre. It fits in my sacoche together with two or three paperback books, my diary, my notebook, my Gideons New Testament and other bits and bobs, and it is fine for the English class, for example, wh

Are these people or animals ? It's a serious question. If they are people then we have the responsibility to share with them the riches of life as we live it "we, the civilised ones", as the spokesman puts it. To enable them to live long and comfortable lives. To become civilised, too. And to share the message of the Bible with them, of course. If they are animals then fine, we can leave them there, try to preserve their natural habitat (which we must do anyway, because it's a habitat created by God) and study them as unobtrusively as possible. Of course - that's the big question for us "the civilised ones" because we have swallowed the line that we are all just animals.

Deep waters - but not TOO deep for grace.

It's been a hard time lately for the folk back home in Deeside. Martin shares some of the things that have helped him as he accompanies the people through the deep waters.

Down came the RAIN !

You know, it can't half rain here ! I thought it could rain in Cardiff, but Cardiff has got nothing on Bordeaux. I remember it raining so hard in Cardiff that the drains couldn't cope and the whole road was about an inch deep in water. Here it rains so hard that the ground in the garden can't soak it up fast enough and the whole garden is about an inch deep in water. Well, I don't think we'll die of thirst, anyway !

ID quotes CJ quoting CH on preaching Yes ! With you all the way.

A venue to buy - or nearly

We had a brief flutter of excitement this weekend when we found a venue to buy - not a bad location, it would have worked ok and the price was OK, too. But we were pipped at the post by a swift buyer. Still, at least it shows that what we need to find is not absolutely impossible.

The last rat

Black Beauty died this evening after a long illness - well, she had a tumour but it didn't seem to cause her any discomfort. Over the last few days she was obviously becoming weaker but she still enjoyed chocolate and cuddling up with Pat and Catrin. Today it was clear that the end was near. These rats really have been excellent pets and I was reflecting today on how various ones have met their end. Designer Rat , a real bimbo, died of heatstroke from not drinking. His death was tragic and he was a beautiful rat though obviously not blessed with common sense. Patch died very suddenly overnight. One day he was fine. The next morning he was gone. Patch was the friendliest rat. Ratty , the mother, lived up to her name and never really liked being handled. She died of old age, though she had tumours, too, but she just faded gracefully away. Black Beauty was most obviously ill, but still comfortable and enjoying life. Nobody remembers how Golden Siesta quit us. It's been useful

The time thing This little piece is about Switzerland. Here Catrin is always at school 8:25 - 11:45, 14:00 - 16:45 but Gwilym has a different start-time nearly every day. Lunch is always 12:00 till 14:00, but he finishes the day at different times too. Next year when Catrin goes to the same collège as Gwilym running them back and fore to school will be more complicated than now because of all the staggered starts. However here in Bordeaux we are muc more relaxed about timekeeping. We call it le quart d'heure Bordelais (the Bordeaux 1/4 hour). An uncanny resemblance to Deeside-Time, which is about 15 minutes behind Greenwich.

kubuntu at last

Well I have installed kubuntu on the desktop PC. I have dithered long enough and after the install party at the Pessac mediathèque last week I thought I should get on with it or resign myself to forever being Microsoft fodder. Step 1 - look at how much space you have on your hard disk. Answer - not enough ! Step 2 - look at prices of bigger hard disks to add to the machine. Here I got a spot of providence. In our supermarket they have a little section where they sell ex-display electrical things. They had a 250Gb hard drive for 20€. OK - that'll do. Step 3 - move My documents from the C drive to the external hard disk - this takes all my photos (there's so many) and all my music files with it. Step 4 - see how much space that has freed. Answer - LOADS ! Defragment and chkdsk the disk to ensure its integrity. Step 5 - pop in the kubuntu live disk I downloaded last week, boot off it and click install. It partitions the disk for you and then does the install. Easy-peasy. Windows s

Finding meaning in your work

This is an interesting article. I'll try and comment on it later.

Taking encouragement where you can

It's been a hard week here for various reasons which I can't go into. It would be easy to become discouraged. So it's important to take encouragement where you can - 1) someone complained about the coffee I made for church yesterday - that it was too strong . Result ! 2) we often get caught in the rain - but at least the rain is warm.

Plan B for the carol service

We still await a final answer for whether we have a venue for the carol service this year. I like to have a plan B and while I was looking round the area I spotted a hall that belongs to the municipality which would be really nice for a carol service, though it is smaller than the place we have asked for. In Bordeaux, with lots of associations, using a municipal hall for regular meetings is pretty unreliable - you're unlikely to get the use of the same place each week. However for a Christmas one-off it may just work, and the town hall may be happy to let us use it for something which is anglophone and christmassy. However, to use a municipal hall we'd have to have formed an association culturelle (1901) , so we may attack this in the next few weeks. Also the municipality is obliged to let associations use a room once each year. Nothing more easy, say our French guys here. Great.

Soirée anglaise

There's a soirée anglaise coming up. I was asked to produce the flyers. This is always dangerous firstly because of my dodgy colour vision and also because I am about as artistic as a plate of stew. Anyway I found a nice silhouette of the London skyline and managed to identify blue and red for the text (red was easy but I was relieved not to have chosen purple or pink for blue) and then unleashed my slogans: Venez nombreux découvrir : l'Angleterre ! Sa belle langue ! Sa culture unique ! Sa cuisine exceptionnelle ! (le repas est offert) Come one and all to discover: England ! Its beautiful language ! Its unique culture ! Its exceptional cuisine ! (free food)

Making a spectacle of yourself - 4

It's Gwilym's turn next. In fact Gwilym's teacher, Joseph, whose best man is our friend at church, suggested some months ago that Gwilym play one of his pieces in an audition - a concert for parents and friends. Once Gwilym understood what an audition was he turned forty shades of white, though he did rehearse with the music school pianist. Anyway, Gwilym has agreed to play in an ensemble de saxos on June 21st. Joseph always has exciting things for his students to play. One time he had them playing the theme from the Magnificent Seven.

Making a spectacle of yourself - 3

My turn next - in the Pessac Music School Ensemble de Cuivres. We are joining up with the music school at Bruges to put on a brass concert next Tuesday evening. The first rehearsal was last week and I was relieved not to be the oldest guy there ( though it is possible that the other geriatrics were teachers, I suppose ). We were three trombonists - me and my mate Thomas and a lad from Bruges. For the concert we will be joined by my current teacher, Ronaud, and my ex-teacher, Slobodan, who began the year at Pessac and is ending it at Bruges. There were about 45 trumpets and 7 horns. But we were still the loudest. Renaud is a Toulousien and now and again he gives me some piece of music terminology then starts chuckling at his own accent. He recently said "Si tu fais un peng fais un bon peng" ( if you do a bum note make it a good one - advice generally not needed by ex-brass-banders ! All our bum notes are corkers! ) He continued, "You know un peng ? a bum note ?" &quo

Making a spectacle of yourself - 2

On Thursday I heard on the radio that the Assemblée Nationale had voted in a law to say that regional languages form part of le patrimoine français - French Heritage. The Bretons are very excited about this because it gives a legal status to their language. Meanwhile Catrin's school has been rediscovering its Occitan roots by learning folk dances and traditional songs for a show they put on last night. It was a typical "Davey evening dash" - the kids got home from school at just after 5 and then Catrin had to be habillée et coiffée (dressed and hair up in a chignon) and at the Salle Royale for 6pm. Well we didn't make it but then neither did lots of other parents. We dumped her unceremoniously then battled our way down a blocked road to wait till our 8pm showing. Well it was lovely. The girls were all so pretty in matching long skirts, white blouses and shawls with lace ribbons attached to their chignons. The lads were all very handsome in waistcoats and berets. An

Making a spectacle of yourself - 1

Pat goes to an association which meets at Saige - a complex of tower blocks and other flats not far from Catrin's school. The association exists to teach immigrant people French - some of whom are illiterate in any language. It's a good way to improve your French and to meet and befriend people. On Tuesday the association put on its show. I had something else on too, so I dropped the family off for rehearsals then went back in time for the show which was entitled "Différent mais pareil" and aimed to draw parallels between the 19th century culture of Les Landes and the culture of the countries the various participants come from - e.g. marriage customs in Morocco and India, the vanilla harvest in Madagascar, sheep farming in Australia, etc. Pat played an Australian sheep farmer's wife and a Landaise bride, to great critical acclaim.

Debussy: L'après-midi d'une faune (Stokowski) part 1/2

This is just unspeakably beautiful. I bet the players loved Stokowski. The freedom he gives to the flautist is amazing. Watch for the interplay between : sound and silence - ooooohhhhh! stillness and movement freedom and structure Hold your breath, watch closely and listen hard.

Zoot ! ¤ 'Eurovision is not a place for culture,' says Sebastien Tellier . Well he's right about that ! ¤ The Muppet saxophonist , not the misspelt mild naughty word . You don't think I'd deliberately put naughty words on the blog, do you ?

Oh well, that's all right then

Last night Pessac was HEAVING with traffic. Everywhere. I had to get over to the Verthamon / Haut Brion area, which should take 10 minutes but I was queued up EVERYWHERE. Why ? Queues at petrol stations, that's why. The fishermen are protesting at the price of diesel µ by blockading the crude terminals at La Rochelle and Ambès. (it seemes likely to me that this blockade will push the price of diesel up, but hey...) So people are panic-buying fuel, queueing onto the road and generally causing chaos. Meanwhile the city centre was crawling with police. Why ? Because of the arrest of Francisco Javier Lopez Pena, the alleged leader of ETA, in the heart of Bordeaux at Cours de la Marne, near the Victoire Baptist Church. You don't want to see what they did to the door of the house to get in ! On the way bac

That's the ferry booked

Well we've booked the ferry for the Daveys' Summer Expedition to Britain. For Pat it's two years since she's touched the soil of Blighty though the rest of us have been there this year on school trips and church visits. As well as scuttling round the country seeing "Rabbit's friends and relations" we hope to be at the UFM Family Conference, which is always a good time.

Best teacher meme

Guy tagged me with the Best Teacher meme. I have to think of the five best teachers I've had. Wow ! I've had so many teachers and all of them have been outstanding. How to choose the five best. I'll take the five that come first to mind. 1) Mrs Rossiter. My primary school teacher. I think it was probably she who worked hard to convince me that I could do anything that I wanted to. I later found out she was wrong when I tried pole-vaulting. I asked her what the symbol "pi" meant and she sent me to ask Mr Evans, who was seven feet tall and had a voice like Zeus. We owe our primary school teachers a huge debt and we can best repay it by praying for primary school teachers now. 2) Geoff Thomas. You learn to preach by hearing preachers. Geoff taught us to forget ourselves in the pulpit and concentrate on getting the point across with as much force as possible. He said "You can't say at the same time that Jesus is great and I am clever". 3) Stuart Olyott.

Nice ? what about Kind ?

We are told that the little girl prayed "God please make the bad people good, and the good people nice." We all understand how she felt. In the wake of Mervyn King's description of a decade of Non-Inflationary Consistent Expansion (NICE) the BBC reflects on niceness. The Bible tells us that God is kind. Godliness is kind.

Children's camps

We looked at the possibility of the children going on camp this year. It's hard to see how we could get them on a camp in Wales ( though the Griffins are checking dates and spaces ! ) But at the recent gathering of EREI churches in the South-West we picked up leaflets for three young peoples' camps in France. They last a fortnight. Pat says a fortnight is too long, though I think the kids would become strong and tough, just like the Milky Bar Kid. However the cost of the camps is pretty high. Apparently many people are eligible for vouchers to send the kids on camp. Our regional youth leader advised me to phone the family allowance people to see if we could get vouchers to use. That doesn't reduce the fortnight, though.

Oops - forgot these pictures !

Here are some photos from 8 May. 8 May is Victory Day (1945) and there's a ceremony at the war memorial at the centre of town. I was waiting for the bus, which was fitted with these little flags. They'll pop 'em on again for 14 July, I think. On 8 may there were no trams (strike, I think) and I discovered the n° 45 from Pessac centre. It's actually quicker than the tram, though less frequent and a bit more alarming. You get thrown round like James Bond's vodka martini.

It's good to make it through that weekend !

A bit helter-skelter, but there we are ! This morning was the inaugural meeting of the English language ministry of the church - at our home and therefore we can't publicise it, but it went OK. We were eight, but because it coincided with the Sunday School picnic then there were at least another five definites and two more possibles, plus some of the anglophone students were away for the weekend, so I guess on a "normal" week we'd be mid-teens. It was a good time and I think probably very helpful for those who don't yet follow in French properly. Then this afternoon preached on Ephesians 2 : 4 - 7 in French, really on being united to Christ in his death, resurrection and exaltation. I used a silly illustration and it seemed to work well. Silly illustrations. When I preached through James (I think it was) I became a big fan of Thomas Manton and his silly illustrations. For example he'd say (on giving thanks) "we should be like hens, who eat and look up&qu

AECW Annual Assembly

was today. Phil sent me a link to photos on Flickr. /8058440@N08/sets/7215760512034 8879/ It is hard to explain his visceral my feelings are for the AECW. It's my folks, my gang. So it was brilliant to see the photos. It looks like it was a really good day, though some of the guys have lost some (more) of their hair. You know exactly who I mean, don't you.

What a varied Saturday !

It began with Ubuntu at the Camponac Mediathèque. I was feeling bad that the "install party" was the first meeting of the Bordeaux Logiciels Libres User Group that I had been to until my good friend confessed that it was just the same for him. Anyway the Heron is very impressive and once I do some moving of files etc. I may well make the switch. Partly anyway. Then home for lunch and preparation for the big inaugural day tomorrow. Then into Bordeaux for an intensive English session with one of my students. Then home for more preparation. My student was talking about how hard French is for him. He feels that he will never master the language - just the technical language for his business studies. Well he is Chinese. Then in the future actually English will probably be more important for him than French. Tomorrow begins nicely here at home with the first of our services in English, then lunch together, then scuttling off for the afternoon service at the centre where I am preach

Splashtop, sub-laptops, Linux and Windows

One of the great things about the little EEE PC is how quickly the thing boots up when you switch it on. Just a few seconds. The PC in my study is so slow ( especially since I downloaded the new upgrade to the virus checker - ha !) that I generally turn it on as I hop in the shower. That way I don"t end up sitting there listening to the rattling of the hard drive. I need to do some serious tuning on that PC. Anyway, two bits of computer news caught my attention this morning: Firstly that Asus are now putting a really small version of Linux in flash memory on their mother-boards ( Splashtop / Express Gate ) The idea is that within seconds of you turning on the power to your PC you can check your mail, access online applications, use Skype, do what you need to via wifi internet. If you need to use your hard disk on your machine you start your operating system (and have a quick shower while it starts up...) Secondly Windows is now being supplied with the OLPC $100 laptop project. The

Apologétique pour la France

This website in French aims to explain the Christian faith.

A swap

Sunday morning we begin services in English in our home - and we'll be working through Ephesians. I am preaching this Sunday morning, and I have to give a message I did in French, but in English. It won't be too bad to prepare - I need to review it and reduce it to a mindmap. However, on Sunday afternoon I am preaching a message I previously did in English, but this time in French. This will be more work to prepare because as well as the review I have to type up full notes. That's why I have as a goal for this year being able to preach in French from an outline rather than from full notes.

He's only a little dwt !

Wot ? No comment ?

It is, of course, utterly brilliant that the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition was won by Peter Moore, a 12-year-old trombonist. What is not so brilliant is that us ex-pats cannot listen to any of the competition because the BBC iPlayer won't play any TV to people wot live outside of her Majesty's domains. So congratulations to Peter - and maybe someone will pop a clip of him on Youtube or Dailymotion.

A quiet blog means a busy week...

Sorry the blog is quiet at the moment. The reason is that this week is pretty busy, which is good. Yesterday started with the UFM team prayer meeting - we meet up to talk about the works we're involved in and to pray for the student work, for the church, for the language school etc. We've been concerned recently for the number of contacts we have who don't have functional French. Some come to church but don't really follow much. Others don't go anywhere. The church has the goal of ministering to different language groups - including the anglophones and the Chinese speakers. A good start has been made via a relationship with a group of Chinese churches in Paris, but the anglophone project has been hampered by the lack of a suitable place to meet. Anyway we have decided to begin Sunday morning meetings at our home in English. Because it'll be in our home we won't publicise widely. We aim to start small and to see what happens. If and when we get a venue of our

Preaching the gospel to yourself - and not just when you are down !

Sean Lucas at Reformation21 :

We took Gwilym and a school friend to Carcassonne ( at last )

in the rain. The motorway passes close to the beautiful Canal du Midi.

Carcassonne is pretty wonderful even in the rain

Really commercialised, like Mont St Michel, but accept it for what it is and it's great.

Ukelele, sousaphone and TWO trombones

Deep joy. Thanks to the guys on the trombone list ( "Saddo !" they cry )for pointing it out.

A video in French where the eee pc is tested in various tasks

SVM TV /// Prise en main de l'Eee PC Video sent by redaction_svm I used the eeePC during my trip to Britain and it did all I asked of it. The addition of an external screen, keyboard and mouse would make the eeePC even more useful.

Olyott prêche l'épitre aux Romains

Stuart Olyott dit que l'épitre aux Romains est la clé qui ouvre toutes les portes des 66 livres qui composent la Bible. Ses prédications sont disponibles en français en format MP3 et cela gratuitement. And you can listen to lots of Stuart's messages in English, too. (No Welsh yet, but give him time)

"Out of the heart" - sin is what we do or what we are ?

Tim blogs : Jesus speaks : Matthew 15 Clean and Unclean 1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" 3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' [ a ] and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' [ b ] 5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' 6 he is not to 'honor his father [ c ] ' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts a

Photos of May 68

Twin Lakes Fellowship Message recordings - highly recommended

Thanks to the MetroCalvinist for the link. (Click on the title of this blog entry for the hyperlink)

Les ponts de mai

Last weekend Thursday was a bank holiday, for May Day (Labor Day). The children were already on their Easter Holidays ( ! ) so it made no difference to them. This week Thursday is a bank holiday for Victory Day 1945. The children are back in school, so they have school all day on Wednesday then they have Thursday and Friday off. This gives people the opportunity to "do the bridge" or "make the bridge". That is, because Thursday is a bank holiday, to take Friday off and have 5 days away for the price of one day's leave. It makes the roads and supermarkets busy.

Bach - Brandenburg Concertos No.5 - i: Allegro

This is just sublime. You'll notice that with these "period instruments", like the one-keyed wooden flute, the sounds comes out very slowly. You see their fingers move, then a little while later the sounds comes. Of course, with modern Boehm-system flutes the sound comes almost instantaneously. Amazing, eh ? I also like the way they are just standing around randomly, like a playground crowd scene from Grange Hill.

They don't write numbers like that any more

The Acrobat Video sent by un-prince The Acrobat J.A Greenwood Arrangement de Wim Maas Orchestration de Jacques Langlois Soliste Trombone : Jean Marie Canardelle, Professeur à l'Ecole Intercommunale de Romilly-Pont Saint Pierre-Pitres

Mai 1968 is known for its graphic art

Here's some posters from the windows of the Mollat bookshop

A video of the baby dropping ritual

Top Ten Books for Christian Students (New Word Alive 2008)

Rassemblement Sud-Ouest

My ever-intrepid sister and brother-in-law came along to the Rassemblement Sud-Ouest of the EREI at Chateau Peyreguilhot in the Lot et Garonne. It didn't rain.

I feel that I ought to point out that we have just two (2) children