Showing posts from June, 2009

The Foucachons


You know you've hit the big time when you see your name in


Sonata for 4 Sackbutts

Four sackbuts: two altos, tenors, bass. Sackbutt (var. Sacbutt; Sackbut; Sagbutt, Saqueboute) refers to a trombone from the Renaissance and Baroque Eras. 'Sackbutt' is often used in recent times to differentiate a historic trombone from a modern one. Increasing interest in historically informed performance in recent years has revived interest in this style of trombone and its repertoire.

'Ot innit !

29°C in the house, but a lot hotter outside in the sun holding up the guinea-pig cage while waiting for Pat to come home and gather the offending rodents from under their covering sheet. Anyway I am cooling off now. This evening we have the English class end of year party with festive fun and frolics, battle of the tongue-twisters, games galore and all kinds of linguistic trickery. And meanwhile I will pop on a nice video of sackbutts.

The Truman show

We just watched the Truman show for our "family film night". (We do that sometimes on Monday evenings.) All the time as the story unfolded I kept thinking of Susan Boyle and then of Michael Jackson. Anonymity is glorious, isn't it ! Money is a vicious god, isn't it !

What a weekend.

It was one of those weekends where you can't remember everything in the right order. Anyway this was the overriding theme - the departure of the Foucachons and the installation of the Briennens. First event - Friday evening barbecue at the Foucachon's house, which is a seriously old landaise in the middle of the forest not that far from Casteljaloux. We left the barbecue at about midnight and Pat kept me awake (mostly) on the long way home. Saturday was largely about preparation for Sunday and also about the International group's home meeting - also a barbecue, but this time held at the Griffinhaus. We have some visitors from a Chinese church in New York at the moment. Sunday started warm and carried on that way. The church is air-conditioned, and that's just great ! So firstly the morning service. Sammy's last as pastor. He preached on Mark 6 and afterwards we stayed at the church for a picnic lunch, then to prepare for the valedictory / installation at 5pm. I rehe

Instant Concert - Band of the South Australia Police

I remember when this came out. It was a nice new rival to our old favourite, 'Hootenanny'. We didn't do it much like this, though. Not Australians, see. In concerts the MC would ask people to count the themes.

Michael Jackson est mort !

Loud were the words that greeted me this afternoon when I went into the reception area of the possible alternative collège for Gwilym to hand in hsi dossier, all suitably signed and approved, photos in place, stamps, birth certificate, vaccination dates. I tell you - you HAVE to be MUCH more organised in France than ever we were in Britain ! The receptionist is a card, and I walked in on a little dispute where she was trying to get a colleague to believe that the news of Michael Jackson's death was worthy of note.

L'apel et le lycée St Vincent de Paul

OK. We dropped Catrin off at school and scuttled down onto the boulevards to find the appeal centre, and found it with no difficulty - Hawkeye Gwilym spotted it straight away. The waiting was the worst bit - all sat lined up in a corridor. Both Gwilym and I had woken up early and we were on edge. The commissions gathered themselves together then went off into their separate rooms. We were moved to another corridor then after about 10 minutes we were called in. The drill is that the commission get the files that same morning and they read them just before you go in. That way there can be no monkey business. So the chairman introduced the commission - three teachers, one head (the chairman) and two parents. He said "We'll listen to what you've got to say, we'll ask you some questions, take your time and then when everyone's said all they need to say that'll be it." So I outlined our situation and also talked about the possibility of changing school to a more

OK - here's the reflection under way !

Gwilym has two mates at church. Both have recently switched from ordinary 'academic' collège to do a more "vocationally" aimed course. One friend anticipates working in care of the sick or elderly. Another has been considering something in building or in baking. Gwilym has had this kind of possibility in mind - he's mentioned it as we've filled in our fiche de liaison . However when raising it with his form teacher the reply has been 'No, don't do that. Aim to get into troisième and do a bac here and then university.' However, part of our plan for the future is that Gwilym capitalise on his technology and his English and consider heading towards commerce or information technology. Yesterday I was talking with the father of one of the lads who's switching school and he told me about the college and where it is based. It's on our tram line. I looked at the website. It looks like a good place, where there's various directions to explore, i

The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it

Amazing !

OK - am constructing our dossier.

I met with the deputy-head, not at Bellegrave as I had been told but at the main buildings (after a quick car journey and a scuttle to park and pay at the meter). We ran over the form and talked about the situation. She put my mind to rest a little about the maths. It appears that calculations and so on are OK, but now things have to be expressed in French and it is this that poses problems. So I have to write two letters. One to say I want to attend the review and another to say why we don't want Gwilym to redouble. Then I have to attach photocopies of his school reports from this year and take it to the school tomorrow morning. Mr Courau the principal will then append his word and the dossier will go off to central office where I also must appear (with Gwilym) at 9am on Thursday. It started off as OK, but as I get ready to write my letters I am more fed up about it. Still.

It's a mad world.

A very special day at Segonzac

Today the church decamped to Chateau Segonzac in St Genes de Blaye for a special service of baptism. Four folks were being baptised, a young woman from a church family, a young man from a Christian family in the Paris area, a young woman from French Guyana and a Chinese man. We were over 100 to eat (we know because we ran out of plates) so I guess we were well over 100 at the service. A group of young people were singing a song during the service and last night I was really pleased to get a text message saying their tenors needed reinforcing so would I like to sing with them. Hey, this may be the last time I get to sing in a groupe de jeunes ! I am going to milk it for all it's worth ! All the baptisms were very special. But one was especially special for us because it was the first baptism of someone who belongs to the English-speaking congregation and not to the French (we have some folk who belong to both). I remember a similar moment when our first person was baptised who belo

Hey - I think we might make it !

PowerPoint of songs etc is done ready for tomorrow. Rapport d'activités de la famille Davey is done ready for the AGM on Monday. Now I just have to make sure the study is all ready for tonight and the questions ready for the testimony / baptism tomorrow and ... Bob's your uncle ! I can light the barbecue.

Amazing Grace - another French translation

Grâce infinie de notre Dieu Qui un jour m'a sauvé J'étais perdu, errant et malheureux Lorsqu'il m'a retrouvé. Grâce infinie qui m'enseigna Le respect du Seigneur. Et pour toujours, mes peurs, elle balaya quel trésor dans mon coeur. Grâce infinie qui m'a gardé. Elle a changé mon sort. Dans les labeurs, les pièges et les dangers, Me conduit à bon port. Quand nous serons depuis mille ans, Dans les célestes lieux. Nous chanterons, là-haut, resplendissants, Par la grâce de Dieu.

What a Wonderful World - Delfeayo Marsalis

Brother, one assumes, to Wynton and to Branford. Some family, huh ?

Sorry the blog's been so quiet

Times are good, rich and full, varied and challenging here in Bordeaux. The good weather means that we can often get out and do surveys. (Mind you, when it does rain, it CHUCKS it down). I have been meeting a lot of black muslim guys and I have some follow-up to do. The summer promises to be happily full of preaching - in July I'll be preaching morning (French) and evening (English) and for the first two Sundays of August, too. Then we can take some holiday. We have Pat's family coming over for the last week of August but we don't yet know quite what to do with the middle two weeks. Tomorrow we have an International Church barbecue and then on Sunday morning our first international candidate for baptism. Next weekend is a big weekend, too, because it is the last Sunday for the Foucachons and the cérémonie de passation to Dik Briennen who is beginning to preach in August. Meanwhile last night was the final concert this year for the orchestra of the music school - we went on

Gershwin: Cuban Overture (I) (Rattle, Berlin Phil)

Simon gets the Berlin Phil rattling.

5. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

Almost at the end of this piece, now. Lovely vew of bassett horns. "View original post", Facebookers

Phew - done my income tax delaration

It's not that much of a pain in France, really. For one thing it's very easy. We only have one source of income and one other thing to declare. For another, we don't pay income tax anyway. Last year the government gave us money, which was very nice of them. I am not sure that they'll do that this year, but you never know, do you ! However, even though it's easy - the form is one sheet of A3 folded in half and there's no need for an accompanying booklet ! - and even though we don't pay tax, I still get stressed about it ! Stupid boy.

4. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

Facebookers click on view original link.

They take it out of you, you know

these weekends. Anyway things seemed to go OK at the Eglise Baptiste and any fears about my having a funny accent were dispelled during the time of prayer when the multi-national character of the congregation became clear. Then back to Cenon to pick up the family. Despite having quite a long chat with various folk at the Eglise Baptiste, the apéro at Cenon was still going on. That's us at Cenon for you. Lunch, hymnsheet preparation and off back to Cenon for the International service in English. About half our regulars were not there. Some had gone away for the weekend. Technical problems with the tram didn't help. But the service itself went OK. Then back home to meet up with some old friends from the language school who broke the news that they are moving to Switzerland soon. Firing on three cylinders today !

3. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

The next instalment of the Mozart Requiem is the famous "Tuba mirum spargens sonum" with its solo played by our tenor sackbutter. Remember Facebookers to click on "View original post".

Technology and stuff

I need to redo my notes for preaching tomorrow but it's too hot just now. So I'll attack it in an hour or two when the sun has gone down at least a bit ! Meanwhile people have been talking about technology. Tim Challies thinks we should avoid using electronic Bibles and describes the book as the perfect technology. Al Mohler tweets using twitter . I only use Twitter to update Facebook - don't ask me why I do it like that, someone persuaded me to. Anyway I am looking forward to when Youtube, Twitter and Facebook merge to form YouTwitFace. I confess to missing my Palm pocket computer. On it I had several Bible translations together with various Bible commentaries, some great Christian books, including the Institutes and lots of Bunyan, and I regularly read novels on the Palm. I could compare translations so easily ! Not only that but a program taught me French conjugation and tested me. I miss it a lot. Why don't I still use it ? It broke ! I tried replacing it with a W

This weekend

The main items on my agenda are 1) preaching at the Baptist church in Caudéran 2) preaching in English for the International Service. In the meantime there's various things to do relating to the French congregation - especially important to make sure everything is ready for tomorrow morning because I won't be there, though Gwilym will be my able and willing deputy. A bit nervous about preaching in the Baptist Church because they are not used to my accent (!) and so on, though I have friends there so that always makes it easier.

I'm so excited I could feel quite sick.

On top of yesterday being a day of good news we had a good time doing evangelistic surveys on the campus today, with some follow-up to do in the next few weeks (exams start 22 June and continue till early July). And our friend has said he is interested in the flat, and has a letter of support from hsi research lab and so on. The feeling of sickness might be the heat. I had to scuttle into the student caff and get a can of juice, it's so hot in the sun. Time to start carrying bottles of water. Incidentally - our water in Pessac is nicer than the water in Bordeaux proper. Their water is hard and dries out your skin and leaves lots of residue in the kettle. Our water is much softer and nicer.

2. Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

For Facebook readers, you have to click on the "View original post" thingie. Remember to not read the subtitles, but just to enjoy the gorgeous Mozart and watch out for the funky period instruments, especially the extended combat-ready spiky bass trombone.

A day to dream of !

What a day ! If they were all like this I don't know if I could cope with the joy. Firstly - a letter telling us of a surprising conversion back home in Wales. Wonderful. Then - meeting up with one of the chaps from the Chinese group - we are going to prepare studies for the group together at his request, but as I had hoped or even better than I had hoped. Then - meeting up with another chap to prepare for baptism. A very happy time. Then, to cap it all - the chap I accompanied to the town hall to try to find accommodation phoned the office yesterday and was told that there is a possibility of a flat that is just where he would like to be. Amazing !

Mozart: Requiem in D minor, KV 626 / Philippe Herreweghe

Don't read the subtitles. Just listen to the super Mozart and look at the cool period instruments. Lovely bendy basset horns ! Period trombones ! One super long bass with a stick to reach the low positions and a spike to help the guys behind not to touch.

The teacher

For those teaching English here's a rich vein of somewhat off-beat videos from the BBC illustrating English idioms.

Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story, studio-takes. America !

Sensational !

Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story, studio-take of "I feel pretty"


Europe has voted

Picture from 20Minutes / Reuters

A nice weekend

The International Home Group on Saturday evening was graced with the presence of the Reverend Graham Heaps and Mrs Heaps, from Dewsbury in Yorkshire. It was good to have them here. Because it was cold and wet we cooked barbecue style food indoors and ate indoors and we were just too many to fit round the table - some came later, just for the study. In the morning at Cenon we sure missed our students - almost all were at a weekend retreat somewhere in the Landes. Our numbers were boosted by the presence of Jenna's mother and sister from Kansas. Lunch at the Griffins ensued, with us taking a funny route home overtaking and being overtaken by Vincent, Jenna and all in their nippy little silver Clio. Jenna's mum yelled "You wanna join us for pizza". We wanned to but we were already heading somewhere for lunch so we took a raincheck. Then began the fun with the traffic. Liz and her boys were going home by tram and bus, Ben, Graham and Sue Heaps and Hannah were in their car

The air hostess from Rochefort who would have disappeared with her colleagues

From today's Sud-Ouest, the story of an AirFrance air hostess who found out recently that she is pregnant and so was routinely switched from cabin duties to airport duties. She was due to have been on flight AF447 from Rio to Paris, but instead she was on check-in at Mérignac. She says, "Because I was reassigned they had to find another air hostess to complete the team. I know that someone died in my place , and I ask myself in what circumstances. This baby that I'm carrying has already saved my life before I even give birth. I am divided between a double joie de vivre and a sense of blame. " If you owe your life to one who died in your place, if a promised child has saved your life, then you'll understand her feelings of double-joy mixed with shame - especially when that child is the one who died under God's condemnation in our place at the cross. Upon that cross of Jesus my eye at times can see The very dying form of one who suffered there for me; And from

Al's summer reading, D-Day and stuff

Al Mohler has published his summer reading list . I fancy reading the one about the Battle of Britain, but it's a very "guys" kind of list - all about wars and soldiers and stuff. Of course, yesterday was the 60th anniversary of D-Day. D stands for day, hence Jour-J in French. Today the leaders of France, the USA and the UK will meet at Bayeux, Arromanches, etc, to commemorate the beginning of the defeat of fascism in this part of Europe. it's hard not to remember WWII in Bordeaux. I've posted before the photo of the ship scuttled by retreating Nazis that peeps above the water at low tide. Every time you pass the synagogue (which is not often - it's tucked down a back street) you see the long list of deportees - nos martyrs. As you walk down streets it is not hard to imagine troops marching through the city and years of living under occupation. Just about 200m from the Student Centre is the Centre Jean Moulin, the museum of the French Resistance with its poig

Why I like our supermarket

I had just got the money out to pay for the kids to go to camp: 300€ for the air tickets (Ryanair - 40c for the flights, then the rest for the taxes, for check-in, for bags, for air in the cabin, etc...) then the cost of the camp. I thought "Yeah, but don't forget old laddo that firstly the camp admin have given an enormous discount on the price of the camp and then folks in Britain have given money towards sending them." Then I went to fill the car up with diesel. As I finished a chap was putting notices on the pumps. I looked. "For every 5€ spent at the pumps receive a 5€ gift token." I went and asked the lady at the cash desk for my tokens. Yup, there we are. 50€ of diesel, 50 € gift tokens. ( She isn't very happy with the supermarket ! She said "C'est ingérable ! Quand même !" I said 'Bon courage *, ça va être fort aujourd'hui...' ) Our supermarket is brilliant for things like that. We now have 80€ worth of Smiley points which w

It's great to be able to get away from these campaigns

Andrew King asked recently what one calls a country ruled by the media , and came up with "a mediocracy"

Beethoven Variations on "Thine be the Glory / A Toi la Gloire"

A bit of culture and a bit of fun. These Beethoven variations can be quite amusing. He wrote some for flute on Scottish tunes, and one on "Bonnie laddie" has the flute playing nice calm octave chirps while the piano goes absolutely nuts. Surely you're meant to laugh...

Tax time, among other things

It's time to make my declaration for the impôts. Your tax return here in France is so easy compared to Britain. It's just one thin sheet of A3 folded in half, they fill in a lot of it ready for you and all you have to do is pop in the total income etc... You can declare online and that's easy too. Another factor that makes it easy is that we don't pay any tax. Last year they paid us 250 euros and this year they may do something similar, who can tell. So it kind of takes the dread out of it, somehow ! There is one little fly in the ointment - each year the church distributes letters detailing your giving for you to pop on your tax form and I don't have my letter. If I received it it would have been just before coming to Britain so I need to conduct a proper search of the house. Otherwise I'll have to get the figure from our treasurer. That means though that I can get on with the other main tasks of today, preparation for the Bible studies and messages this weeken

Are you feeling starved of culture ?

I have been diligently posting videos from Youtube of various things - but it's on go-slow again, or on strike altogether. Huh ! Well maybe you weren't aware of a gaping void in your life...

Nice weekend coming up

International Home Group on Saturday evening : Philippians 1 v 6 - people come and go but God's work goes on. Preaching in French am @ Cenon, pm @ Blaye : Ephesians 3 v 10 - nothing in the whole wide world is as beautiful as the church.

Check out Dai Meredydd's blog

David Meredith under the Blogs heading.

Frozen peas

In the supermarket in Monday there were no chicken pieces and no frozen peas - not even a space where the peas would have been. Has something strange happened that I don't know about ? Peas flu, perhaps ? 

What kind of King ?

I remember well the Bible study. I was remarking on the naivety of the people when they clamoured for a King. God warned them : "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day

Cash, brash, rash and rasher

I have been swamped with a request to give some reflections on the UK trip. OK. First thing is that obviously we are deeply out of touch with British culture, whether arty, popular or evangelical. So we don't know who are the musicians in vogue, or what films people like, or who is winning the latest talent show or what books the people who know are reading. Mostly I am thankful for this. A lot of it seems to be trendy rabbit-hole exploration. That's great but it's for others, not for me. It was great to be in prayer meetings with lots of people. There's a lot of concern for France, which is great.  It's interesting to see that Christian bookshops are struggling just the same in Britain and in France. The days when a small bookshop made a profit must be long gone. If it's important to have Christian bookshops in our towns and cities then how can we do that ? The newspapers were full of the MPs expenses debacle.  I really miss British television. It was great to