Showing posts from October, 2008

Bibles for church

OK ! Now it LOOKS as if we may have a sizeable proportion of Chinese people coming along who have a pretty good level of English, but not really as fluent as fluent could be. Andy has a Chinese : English Bible which could be just the thing and, guess what, it is available from International Bible Society in the States, either as a whole Bible or just NIV. HOWEVER some people say that younger people (students for example) have difficulty reading the characters in the Union Chinese translation and that they sometimes end up using the English to help them understand the Chinese. Hmm. I need advice from my Chinese Christian friends.

Pat's progress - further on, further up

Things are much better. We hope that next week Pat can get the x-rays done that need to be done to rule out any more sinister causes than sciatica, and that she'll be able to drive again before too long, though that is some days off at present. Now that she's basically able to get up fairly reliably I think I could leave her for a couple of hours at a stretch, so I can resume circulation a bit, too. Meanwhile yesterday a friend took the children to see High School Musical Three (in French, so I guess that is Musical of the High School Three). This is a wonderful thing because otherwise I would have had to have taken them and I think it may have been more than flesh and blood can stand. "What time is it ?" "It's time to go. Come on, we're leaving..."


Marked improvement - she got up for a brief spell. Onward and upward, eh.

Pat's progress - a little improvement !

We have not yet gone onto the opiates because Pat got to a sitting position this afternoon. She attempted to stand, but just didn't manage it. So we thought we'd give the non-opiates another day. Meanwhile the children have had a quiet day and I have been generally looking after the gang "Nurse !" "What's for lunch, Dad ?" and catching up on reading things like EN (as you can see) and listening to the heady mix of Bert Kaempfert, Herb Alpert, Carl Trueman and William Edgar !

Ran Macaulay considers an attempt to rescue Darwin


Pat's progress

well vertically, none yet. She remains immobile, prone. I guess if there is no elevation by this afternoon then opiates here we come.

Don't want to or can't install Openoffice 3.0 ? allows you to use OpenOffice 3.0 from within a browser window ( FireFox or Internat Explorer ) That means you can : 1) try it out and see how you like it 2) use it even on borrowed PCs ( where it is extremely bad form to install new software ) etc.

Of ludothèques and sleigh bells

This afternoon the children were invited to a birthday party taking place in the Canéjan Ludothèque (games library). We've never been to the ludothèque . In fact we've never been to the centre of Canéjan , so I drove down there then zoomed up and down the main road looking for the place. Canéjan , like most of the small towns in this area, is very attractive. Lots of strangely designed bungalows with a very high-tech town hall and some great public buildings: schools, libraries etc. We stopped and asked a man with a moustache that would instantly mark him out as French or possibly Turkish and he directed us. The ludothèque turned out to be a splendid place and the children had a great time playing board games. Meanwhile I took advantage of my freedom to go and buy the children a DVD they wanted. Happily there is a computer-monger that sells these DVDs and that also sells laptops - and one of our team is looking for a laptop so I could do a little window shopping to see wha

Back to Xandros

OK, I am back to Xandros Linux on the eeepc . I liked Ubuntu eee very much, but 1) the volume control for the sound didn't work and the sound stayed at maximum whatever you did 2) the webcam didn't work 3) the SD card slot didn't work. I am sure that with jiggery and pokery these could all have been fixed, but the whole idea of Ubuntu eee is that you just install it and it works - neither jiggery nor pokery should be required. Maybe a later release will work fine.

The doctor came

Probably sciatica. More powerful painkillers and a muscle relaxant. If they aren't sufficient then it's opiates tomorrow. Then once she's mobile again, x-rays.

Boy - imagine that in Spain...

Pat is finding it impossible to rise from her bed this morning because every way she tries to move her back goes into spasm. We await the doctor. Hmmm.

Poor guy !

Today is the day we almost went to Spain !

for the UFM EuroConf in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava. We got as far as Cadaujac (about 10km) and Pat said 'I can't do this...' It's about six hours drive after all and she had started to become nauseous what with her back and the drugs etc. So we turned round and came home. I am quite relieved in a way - next week I am supposed to be at the EREI Pastorale, but there are things that need to be done here, so it'll be good to have a chance to get them done. In fact I had decided that I couldn't go to the pastorale but ... all things being equal ... I should be able to go. So there we are. So as a consolation I decided to load ubuntu-eee onto the little eeepc. Just done that and it seems to work GREAT ! As I type the children have gone to spend time with some friends and Pat is lying on the floor watching a film. We'll spend some time with the children this week, take them to the cinema, maybe to the beach or a castle or something if the weather improves.

Where are you reading this ?

Well ?

Well that was great !

In the morning for the French service we were about 30 I suppose, maybe a few more. I preached on Ephesians 2:8 for Reformation Sunday and the rediscovery of grace. I hope it was helpful for folk. In the evening we were there in the building, a little handful, when I looked out of the door and saw Andy approaching with his gang - his family, some students we already knew from FAC who just happened to be on the same tram but also three Chinese students who he just met on the street. I thought "If I preach from my notes they'll NEVER follow" so I simplified like mad, explained hymns, generally made it as easy to understand as possible and as direct as possible. By the end we were about 20. One of the regular students said "I like it when you preach in English - you're very different from when you preach in French !" Aha - he noticed !

Today is the anniversary of Agincourt

I am keeping quiet about it . I was going to say that the Welsh had nothing to do with it all anyway, but there's the two little problems of the well-known superiority of the Welsh archers and the fact that the Tudors came from Pembroke. hmmm.

Tomorrow is la fête de la réformation

There's a joint service for the Fédération Protestante de France at the Temple du Hâ, but since we only opened our new premises a few weeks ago we are sending a representation to that and maintaining our services : so I will preach on "La grâce seule !" le matin and "Grace alone !" in the evening. Can there be a greater privilege than to announce God's free grace ? Strangely it seems that there isn't a standard translation for Amazing grace - certainly our pianist for tomorrow doesn't know of one, but I found a translation online that scans and with a few modifications it'll be usable. We are due to have a meeting about planning of orders of service in the afternoon and to eat together but I think that it is unlikely that we stay due to Mrs Davey's indisposition. By the way, she saw the doctor, who gave her some mighty potent painkillers, is reflecting on her potassium levels and considering reducing her thyroxin.

More on "probably no God"

They could donate the excess money to atheist-founded good causes in developing countries, perhaps ?

Drogheda Brass Band plays Rimmer's march, "The Cossack"

really fast !

Poor Pat's back's gone

She got something out of the freezer and - hop - agony. Seeing her get out of bed reminds one of "Raise the Titanic".


VAT on the Bibles imported from America. Must remember to send off a cheque.

Cardiff buses - brilliant now !

A correspondent from Cambria fair writes : I could not as a free bus pass holder let the slightly derogatory reference to Cardiff buses in your recent blog go without springing to their defence . Llanishen / Thornhill particularly are now very well served by the 27 (10 min intervals during day) or the 28 (half hour intervals). At the risk of tempting providence I have not up until now had a bus fail to arrive. I went to town on Monday on the 27 and returned on the 28 within the space of about 15 minutes .We even have TVs with wall to wall BBC competition. There's posh!! The standard of the driving seems to vary quite considerably and there would appear to be a competition in certain quarters to see how far you can hurl an elderly person to the rear of the bus or to the front Well yes, Bordeaux bus drivers play the same game, though last night I saw two young ladies simply hang from the hand holds and let the bus swing them wildly from side to side like the clappers. Of a bell. G

La derrière de Londres

You know that I have 'taken up' the trombone ? Well our municipal music school has the responsability of officiating at the cenotaph on Remembrance Day. We conclude the two minute silence with a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise. And I have the melody ! Together with other people. It sits pretty well on the trombone - lots of Bb, D and F. I hope I can borrow a lyre from someone. It'd be a pity to have to buy one for the sake of once a year... And Pat thinks my scheme involving lots of cardboard and clothes pegs would not work. Bet it will.

Hey ! I am typing this on the main student centre computer !

I deleted the indexing search utility thing ( Copernicus ) and now it's doing a BIG SCAN under AVG and lo and behold - so far so good !

Dobcross Band plays the Westminster Waltz

Landslide victory in France

Thanks, Telegraph, for this

A -HA !

I have long suspected that Richard Dawkins "doth protest too much". "Probably"...?

Student centre computer

I spoke too soon . Last night I arrived early for the English class to print out the scripts for a reportage we were going to listen to and ... the computer took a Very Long Time to start up and was extremely unresponsive . I ended up printing from the old laptop in the foyer. So it's time to start removing some of the large items of software that could conceivably be clogging the thing . There's an indexing search utility called Copernic - I am not sure anyone uses it so I'll start with that . But before that I'll take the side off and see what kind of memory the thing uses and if one of the cards brought by Elizabeth's dad will fit. That's my Thursday afternoon sorted out again .

Free Bible Software

Free Bible Software. I use these and they're good. They save shelf space, too.

The brits are buying fewer houses in the Dordogne

The number of Brits buying in the Dordogne is half what it was a year ago. 20 Minutes says that it's because of the poor exchange rate and also because people can't sell their houses in Britain.

Last night was the first English home group

Andy, Liz and Liz's mother were there, together with myself and the two kids. It was a good time of getting to know each other, of Bible reading and prayer. I commented briefly on Acts 2 : 42 - 47. And Liz brought some things that her father had conveyed from Yorkshire. Assorted memory chips ! What about that ? I am very hopeful of being able to double the memory in the FAC computer very soon.

I hate computers !

Well it's been a computer-full time. Thursday afternoon I intended to work on the flyers and leaflets at the student centre and set up a simple student centre website but the PC was really struggling. I spent a couple of hours trying to get the thing tidied up : 1) removing one of the spyware programs.  2) cleaning up some of the old deleted programs. 3) taking out some old unused programs from the start-up procedure  4) replacing Avast with AVG.  Avast's licence ran out in the summer and, unfortunately, when that happens it stops working completely. By the time I realised the problem someone had introduced a trojan horse from their USB key. I found this out when I renewed the licence for Avast and did a scan. However, Avast then decided to update itself pretty continuously and demand restarts.  So I have taken it off and put in AVG instead. When the licence for AVG needs renewal it still works,  it just doesn't update its virus database. I went back in yesterday morning to

Pat's in Britain

Pat flew to Gatwick this afternoon to attend her nephew's wedding in Burgess Hill. She comes back on Monday. It's only two days, really, and three nights.

The Queen visits Google London

for all our American friends in this election year. Remember, you can always come back.

Bordeaux' brilliant public transport

Honestly, today I had to do lots of impossible things involving trams, buses and a large trombone in a massive wooden case - and a few "checkpoint Charlie" type rendezvous with Madame Davey. I thought "if this works out I'll be stunned". It did work out, the buses and trams ran to time, despite a demonstration in the city centre ( it seemed to be made up mostly of police - are they demonstrating ? ). The only problem was a full, bouncy bus and a big trombone. An uncomfortable combination. If I carry on having to do similar manoeuvres I'll have to get one of those cool lightweight trombone cases you can pop on your back as a rucksack. Today would never have worked in Cardiff - the bus timetables were a rough guide for approximative purposes only. I am sure that I remember waiting an hour for a bus service that ran every 30 minutes.. Maybe things have improved there. I hope so. Meanwhile Bordeaux' bus drivers hurl their buses round the roundabouts and th

Bibles just arrived from Colorado Springs (does it ?)

24 NIrV Bibles, English Class, use thereof, delivered from the International Bible Society. They're nicer than I thought they would be - specifically they are bigger ! Soon I hope to order some Bibles for the English services.

What am I supposed to be doing this morning ?

It's my day off and we are scheduled to take some of the new piles of tree clippings to the dump. This is to make way for when we trim the other trees soon and fill the back garden with tree clippings again.  If only garden bonfires were not illegal. Anyway... Last week in the hurly and the burly, the helter and the skelter, someone had a conversation with myself and Pat and arranged that I would be somewhere with them doing something. It meant Pat rearranging an appointment. The problem is that neither of us can remember who or where it was, or what it was to do ! I've phoned or emailed the likeliest candidates and ... nothing. Blank incomprehension. So either we have fallen victim to a very localised mass hysteria, or we are both suffering from memory loss.  YES I KNOW IT IS OUR AGE. THANK YOU.

The Evangelical Alliance gives advice to bloggers

here. I would add what for me is the golden rule of all communication : What you say is not the point - the point is what they hear / read. (not always easy to remember !)

OpenOffice 3.0 is available for download.

It certainly starts up quicker ! OpenOffice 2.4 writer was very slow to start.

Some photos of before and after the morning service.

Beforehand there were some last minute things to sort out. Afterwards there was an apéro - always very popular. We were a good crowd with visitors from as far afield as Lyon and Le Havre ! We were far fewer for the evening service in English, but there was a new face who found out about us from La Maison de la Bible. He came to check us out and says he intends coming for the home group and to bring his family along next time. I preached on the lost boys from Luke 15 - how those words ring in my heart, " All these years I've been slaving ", " I never disobeyed your orders ", " you never gave me ". How EASY it is for us to become bitter, negative and twisted.

Tomorrow is the first time we use our new place of worship

French in the morning. English in the evening.  We'll have two services every week ! Evening services in French one week, English the next.  France doesn't have a culture and legacy of evening services. It takes a long time for people to realise the possibilities and potential. But I remember those calm quiet evenings when we would meet with the church and turn our minds together to eternity as the sun set, hearing from the everlasting word as the daylight dies. Here we go again. Best thing is that the church is on a main road and it has great big windows. There'll be vertical blinds but that won't stop the light from shining out and provoking people's curiosity. Trying to turn from a busy and tiring week to get ready for tomorrow evening, I read David Clarkson's famous sermon " Public worship to be preferred before private. " Here's a section from it : "Here the Lord works his greatest works; greater works than ordinarily he works by private

Strange but true

( You can tell I am tired... ) In French an oboe is hautbois, pronounced o-bwa , meaning high wood (wind instrument). They're called that because they are so loud - I mean historically they played with the loud instruments like trumpets for outdoors ceremonial occasions. (As opposed to the trombones, of course, which played indoors with the soft intruments like the flutes, recorders, etc.) An oboist (that is, an oboe player) is called an hautboiste. This should be pronounced o-bwast , but sadly isn't. Instead you stick a : over the i to make hautboïste o-bo-eest . Stunning, no ?

You bought WHAT ?

It's a long time since I posted an amazing fact, so here goes. The other day when I had one of my colds my nose was streaming and Pat was visiting the pharmacy, so I asked her to see if she could get a decongestant - you know, of the Contac 400 variety - something like phenylephrine. The pharmacist sold her an aerosol of sea water. That's what you use. When you're blocked up you pressure-wash your nose by squirting sea water up it. I was reminded of this last night at the Bible study when someone was talking about their terrible dust allergy.  "I've been so blocked up..." "So what did you do ? Squirt sea water up your nose ?" "Yup. Sea water." Stunning, no ?

See !


English services are under starter's orders

The voluntary interruption of old age. (warning - naughty word!)

Here's my rough and ready translation : Thanks to the voluntary interruption of pregnancy (i.e. abortion) the modern woman can henceforth hold her head high and her tummy flat. But a further new step in the humanisation of medicine can be taken. I won't talk further about IVG but IVV, the voluntary interruption of old age. Observe this septuagenarian of seventy years of age. "I am bored stiff." (that's the naughty word ! Beware of most words that contain m e r d !) What does he have left in life ? "Nothing at all." Is it not our duty to practice IVV on him in order to shorten his boredom ? Yes of course. On the one condition that he himself give his assent. So, sir, do you consent that we practice on you the voluntary interruption of old age ? "Ah no !" Hold this for me for a second.... Thank-you.... Bop. "Aahhhh !" Anyway, at that age they no longer know what they are saying. "Stunning, no ?" This was a comedy sketch. This

Almost ready for Sunday.

Beau, non ?

The Sola Panel | Don’t wait ‘til you say goodbye

The Sola Panel | Don’t wait ‘til you say goodbye Posted using ShareThis

On the other hand (or perhaps "in the other arm...")

I (finally) went for my blood tests at the local lab. Skipped breakfast. Took the list of tests the doctor wants. Signed in. Waited (10 minutes ?) Was bled by a nice guy while we chatted about authority in protestantism and catholicism. He said "Call in for the results tomorrow afternoon. If there's anything you want to ask about ask for me". There we are. Bob's your uncle. 30 hours after they bleed you you have the results in your hand.

What I feared - Flu jab !

Just got a letter saying "Why not have a flu jab?" Because it means : 1) go to the doctor and get it prescribed 2) go to the pharmacy and get the vaccine 3) go back to the doctor and get it put in. Oh well. Have to do it !


This has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the next entry about podcast spirituality ! It was one idea for the name of the International English Services we'll be starting this coming Sunday evening . Another idea was Bordeaux Vineyard . In the end we rejected both ( though I still have hankerings after iChurch ... ) But we begin Sunday 12 th at 6 pm at the church building in Cenon .

Downsie asks about "Podcast spirituality"

For a previous generation "public worship was to be preferred before private." But it's different for us. We can listen to the best preachers in the world ( insert names here according to your preference ) ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................. and we can always have their messages with us in our mp3 players and phones. Surely this is great ! We shop online. We have friends online. Why not worship and grow online ?

Tuxedo Junction

School dinners

"What was for dinner today ?" "Fish thingies and little yellow bits." I bet that on the menu it says "machins de poisson et petites pièces jaunes"

"You must be born again"

Thanks to Al Mohler for drawing our attention to this. (I think that bullhorn = megaphone)

Nightmare ! People get stuck on escalators !

A full Thursday

Yesterday started at "the group" - a twice-yearly meeting for christian workers in Bordeaux and environs. It's a useful forum where we share encouragements and difficulties.  Yesterday we learnt that one church had conducted a wedding for two bikers, and 140 bikers had filled the church for the occasion. Another church is nearing completion of their renovated premises - much better than they were. Some baptisms. Good stories of steady progress. However another church has had its plans to build a church collapse and now the future is very uncertain. An American missionary faces huge problems of support due to the poor exchange rate and an accumulated debt to their mission. The poor exchange rate is knocking us Brits, too, but for this family their presence in France is under threat. I shared the start-up at FAC and the start of English services and the folks seemed enthusiastic and took piles of flyers for their churches. Then off to centre FAC for an afternoon of start-up

When a thing's REALLY worth doing it's even worth doing "badly"

When a thing's worth doing it's worth doing well. But when a thing's REALLY worth doing it's even worth doing badly. Here's an encouraging post from the Solapanel .

Innit marvellous !

I have Ben's encouragement to tell you this story... On Sunday I was reading from Luke 1, and it included the following : 39 Dans ce même temps, Marie se leva, et s’en alla en hâte vers les montagnes, dans une ville de Juda. Ben saw "en hâte" and thought (quite correctly) "in haste", because the ^ is a headstone for a dead letter - usually the letter "s". But just to make sure he leaned across to a Chinese student sitting nearby and said "ça veut dire vite ?" "Non", said the Chinese student, "C'est un petit animal". Ben said "innit marvellous - there's a Welshman reading in French and an Englishman asking a Chinaman what it means."

Reflexion on Old Testament preaching

Luke 25 : 13 - 35. Christian preaching preaches Jesus Christ.  ¤ Apostolic preaching preaches the cross. ¤ I don't mean that whatever question the text puts to us, the answer is always Jesus. What I mean is that the Christian gospel is that we are hopeless, helpless rebels by nature and by practice, more wicked that we ever realised, but that God has come in the person of his Son and lived for us and died for us so that we might live now with him for ever, more loved than we ever dreamed. ** rant alert ** What provoked this post was reading some notes on 1 Kings 8 : 22 - 30 where Solomon prays for the temple. No mention of Solomon being the anointed of the Lord (the prototype Jesus). The temple's significance only being the presence of God (what happened to sin?). The point being "walk before God with all your heart and your life will be successful".  Yeah. Like Solomon. That kinda stuff just lifts the sinner high and bypasses the cross. "You can walk before God