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)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some nice photos of the Tour de France


Friday, July 25, 2008

Downesie reflects on pastoral ministry


hmmm - I am not sure what's happening here !

For some unknown reason things I popped onto the blog yesterday and this morning have not yet arrived. If three posts all the same suddenly appear please forgive me, likewise if it all goes quiet for a while !

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Swan Upping

Wow ! Thanks, Tim.


A thought-provoker


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

Jesus reigns for ever

When oceans vast their depths reveal,
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

Ten good things about $4 gas


Also from Tim, Time looks on the bright side of rising fuel prices.

"Those who oppose him he must gently instruct"


The inimitable Tim talks of this article about the "gift of opposition".

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Daveys of Tip Cottage

This has nothing at all to do with the price of fish, but my high-tech brother-in-law has just sent me some scans of old family photographs. The first shows the house where my father grew up, on the mountainside in Porth. It was known as Tip Cottage because the tip of mining waste was just behind it. You can see just beyond the house the incline where the waste was dragged up the mountain to be dumped. They kept chickens and rabbits and grew lots of vegetables and fruit in the garden.

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.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

So if huge penkinves are common, what about knife crime ?

A BBC report says :


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.

Gang culture

"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

Apprendre le français ... à Paris !

At the moment several of our friends are in Paris learning the language of Molière -

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

France builds nuclear future


Not like in Paris

Our July 14 was a quiet family affair this year. Pasta. Ice cream. With the family.

Not like in Paris :


Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New-style Roman Catholic church being born in France due to shortage of priests


Oops !


A revolutionary walk in Paris


Something to perk you up this Saturday

Marine Band San Diego - Semper Fidelis

Friday, July 11, 2008

The wonder of the bean


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.

Another medical visit, some more vocabulary

This time it is furoncle, meaning boil, as in on the back of my neck for over a week - and enormous, too.

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.

Latest update

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

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Six studies in English Folksong

as English as ... a ploughman's lunch

Pars pour la Crete

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.

Themelios is back


Edited by Don Carson.

Downloadable in pdf format.

Pinch me, am I dreamin' ?

Reading, 'riting and redemption


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

L'entrée des rois, from La Belle Helene, by Offenbach

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

"Ah que j'aime les militaires"

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

Berlioz Le Corsaire Overture John Barbirolli Halle Orchestra

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

Bernard of Clairvaux

JESUS, Thou joy of loving hearts,
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

La chorale tahitienne

Apparently approximately 45% of Tahitians belong to the evangelical reformed denomination, the largest (I mean it's the largest denomination, obviously...) 37% are Catholic. The rest belong to smaller denominations or to sects and cults. Tahitians go to church. The language of the churches is predominantly Maohi ( Tahitian ) though there are 5 French-speaking churches. Maohi has been suffering because of the dominance of French in education and administration but now it is taught in schools and is knowing a resurgence.

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La chorale tahitienne 2

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Tahitians are here !

A choir from Tahiti is touring France doing evangelistic concerts in churches. I went up to guide them to their hotel ( except they had already arrived because they cut out some of their en route stops ) and to guide them to the nearest cafette ( except the hotel man gave them such good directions that I was superfluous ). It was very good to meet them, though, and to get to know their pastor a little.

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.
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Le carnaval romain - à Paris

With lovely views of the city.

The Trocadero is very beautiful but when I walked past it you had to hold your breath. And the Champ de Mars had just been manured. In a hot July !

Friday, July 04, 2008

Catrin's crutches

Well it seems a funny kind of souvenir. On her descent from the dune Catrin's ankle was hurting. After a good night's rest it was much worse. I was off to engage the French Health Service with Ben, so Pat took Catrin to the Clinique Mutuelle near our home.

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

Lunch and the Dune de Pyla

for Oliver's bye-bye birthday bash.

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.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

One says "bonjour". It's what you do.


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

Gorgeous little melons

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Forms. Baffling and challenging.

It looks as if this mobile phone changeover thing is going to go ok

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.

It's a time of farewells

Oliver returns to Newport. Vianca is heading off to Rome.

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.

Farewell barbecue

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Things NOT to say to your wife number 27

"Do you know, we'd save a lot on electricity if you blow dried your hair before 7am"