Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
at TED. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtSE4rglxbY
He asks so many good questions and makes so many pertinent and perspicuous observations. And in such an entertaining way.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
As I scoured the supermarket shelves I wondered why there were no sandwich boxes anywhere on display. Slowly, too slowly, the image of a French sandwich appeared in my mind's eye.
It's about 3 inches in diameter and 12 - 18 inches long, cylindrical and very, very crusty. It's half a baguette, slit and stuffed with ham, cheese or whatever.
It is not two slices of Mother's Pride with marg, Spam and brown sauce.
They've got freezer boxes. I hope they last the week !
Why can't we produce a Bible in English for £1.50, or even for £2.00 ? With the greater volumes of production possible, why not at £1 ?
Monday, July 27, 2009
Without the gospeleverything is useless and vain;without the gospelwe are not Christians;without the gospelall riches is poverty,But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made
all wisdom folly before God;
strength is weakness,
and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.children of God,It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.
brothers of Jesus Christ,
fellow townsmen with the saints,
citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven,
heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whomthe poor are made rich,
the weak strong,
the fools wise,
the sinner justified,
the desolate comforted,
the doubting sure,
and slaves free.
It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone.For, he wassold, to buy us back;he was
captive, to deliver us;
condemned, to absolve us;made a curse for our blessing,he died for our life; so that by him
[a] sin offering for our righteousness;
marred that we may be made fair;fury is made gentle,In short,
darkness turned into light,
sadness made merry,
misfortune made fortunate,
force forced back,
war warred against,
the abyss sunk into the abyss,
mortality made immortal.mercy has swallowed up all misery,For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.
and goodness all misfortune.
If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things.
And we arecomforted in tribulation,This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.
joyful in sorrow,
glorying under vituperation,
abounding in poverty,
warmed in our nakedness,
patient amongst evils,
living in death.
From Calvin's preface to Olivétan's French New Testatment (1534).
Quoted by Justin, Tullian, and others ! Thanks chaps.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Here in France we have a rather awkwardly worded arrangement of prescriptions "for one month, renewable for 5 months". Does that mean a prescription lasts 5 months or 6 ? You see the issue. I'll tell you, it's 5. This time was my last renewal. Mr prescription has just run out.
Anyway last time I saw the medicine woman she say 'before next time you get blood tested, ok, I have results when you come.'
The awkward thing is that this means the blood test and doctor's appointment fall in August, and I am away for some time in August. So, I imagine, is the doctor, and it wouldn't surprise me if the blood letting lab were closed for August, too.
Awkward, these calendars, no ? I feel some phone calls coming on.
Friday, July 24, 2009
So put a password on your wifi network NOW.
I think this doesn't exclude the sharing of connections via Fon and Free, though if somebody with a password uses your connection illicitly would you still be liable ? I guess so...
Dik and Hetty will be renting a flat in Bassens.
I assume and hope they will have it in time for 5 August.
Voilà, enfin, une location est confirmée.
Dik et Hetty ont signé sur un appartement à Bassens.
On assume et espère qu'ils auront les clés pour déménager le 5 août !
"Now shall I reinstall and everything", I thought, "nah, let's just take the PC apart, pop in the card and see what happens"
And it just worked ! Brilliant !
Hurrah for Ubuntu, Canonical and Mark !
Well that's my little computing project for the university hols ended.
I hope when in Britain in September to "pop" down to LTS for a day of their Calvin conference. I especially would like to hear Prof Paul Wells' session on Calvin and Union with Christ.
Thanks to Michael F Bird for this link.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
From now on you can be fined 35 euros on the spot for the deposition of insalubrious liquids in the public highway. You have been warned. ( Source - Sud-ouest )
Last night at the prayer meeting we left the door open because we needed a bit of air through the room. A small child was riding his bike back and fore outside. A lady came up and looked in as we talked. I waved to her.
"C'est évangélique ici? "
"Ah oui, c'est une église réformée évangélique."
"C'est bien ! Nous on fréquente les tziganes près de la gare et l'Assemblée de Dieu."
"Ah bon, on a trouvé une soeur."
She didn't come in and pray with us - we were all blokes so in her place I might not have done either.
Afterwards one of the chaps said "Il y a énormément de tziganes dans ce quartier."
"Bien installé et tout ?"
"Eh oui, sédentarisés".
I love the way that a word like sédentarisé can just pop up in French!
I may have to cave in and buy a proper D-link card that apparently "works out of the box with Linux" ( you get a box ? ).
Meanwhile I had a splendid afternoon yesterday helping a good friend buy a new mini pc. They bought a eeepc 904hd. Surcouf have incredible bargains on "netbooks" at the moment and it isn't easy to choose because they all have 160gb disk, 1gb memory, the same processor etc. etc., so you have to choose because this one is marginally bigger, or because the trackpad is rougher, or whatever.
"C'est pas un ordinateur", said the chap in the shop, resplendent in his green Surcouf waistcoat.
"C'est quoi, donc ?" quoth I.
"C'est un netbook", came the swift riposte.
"Mais ça a la même puissance que mon ordinateur d'il y a quatre années qui a couté cinq fois plus cher."
"Eh oué, ça c'est vrai."
"Hein ?" said my companion. "It's a small computer", I said.
"Thanks for your help", said my friend.
"Oh no", said I, "thank YOU. Nothing quite so much fun as spending other people's money !"
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It's ACE !
1 euro for a nice croissant or pain au chocolat, a petit-pain, butter, jam (klingonberry, snoggelwhortle or strawberry) and unlimited tea/coffee/chocolate etc. 3 doughnuts for 2€50. Just 6€50 and a family of four have breakfasted like kings.
Not only that but we get a chance to spot the brit (always lots of British people in Ikea, I think because everything's exactly the same here as in Warrington).
And we got to size up shelves for our next interim kitchen solution.
We still have the corpse of the PC that was operated on for transplant parts. It needs to go to the dump.
Our old codger (10gb disk, 512kb memory) is now running Uuntu 9.04 very happily and I have seen a website with lots of hieroglyphics to type in to a terminal window that should make the wifi work.
Of the two PCs that came from the church, one shows no sign of life at all. It awaits a post-mortem examination.
The last runs Windows98 from a 10gb disk and "50kb" (REALLY?) of memory. My Ubuntu live CD won't boot in that !
Monday, July 20, 2009
This'll be the first pc under Ubuntu with no dual-boot. It's such a good system. All of a sudden this old codger is crackerjack again. (I mean the pc, not me !)
Saturday, July 18, 2009
They move the first week of August. Please pray that it'll go through OK and they'll be able to move on schedule !
Now I am trying to sort out an old PC for the kids - it has a 10gb disk which I suspect of being the cause for the machine's astonishing slowness - that coupled with XP downloading service pack 3. If I were more brave I'd load Ubuntu on it and put it in the student centre as an internet terminal. After all, the students mostly want to check their mail, check bus and tram timetables, update their facebook accounts, etc. and Ubuntu would be GREAT for that. It'd run faster than XP and we wouldn't have to have kittens fretting about viruses, too.
There's another computer task that awaits me - a couple of old PCs stored in the church to sort out and find a future for.
I guess in the end as long as one goes to the student centre and one stays here and both are as optimised as possible, then mission accomplished.
However we had some wonderful news today - a possibility of accommodation for a chap coming to do his year in France.
Friday, July 17, 2009
We ought then to imitate what people do who determine to migrate to another place, where they have chosen a lasting abode. They send before them all their resources and do not grieve over lacking them for a time, for they deem themselves the happier the more goods they have where they will be for a long time. But if we believe heaven is our country, it is better to transmit our possessions thither than to keep them here where upon our sudden migration they would be lost to us. But how shall we transmit them? Surely by providing for the needs of the poor; whatever is paid out to them, the Lord reckons as given to Himself (MT.25:40). From this comes that notable promise: "He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord" (PROV.19:17). Likewise, "He who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully" (2COR.9:6). For what is devoted to our brothers out of the duty of love is deposited in the Lord's hand. He, as He is a faithful custodian, will one day repay it with plentiful interest. Are our duties, then, of such importance in God's sight that they are like riches hidden for us in God's hand? And who would shrink from saying this, when Scripture so often and openly attests it?
Institutes, 3.18.9 (Battles p.827)
Il nous faut donc suivre l'exemple de ceux qui déménagent d'un endroit à un autre pour y établir une demeure durable. Ils envoient en avance leurs biens, dont ils n'ont pas de mal à se passer pendant quelque temps; ils pensent que c'est bien mieux d'avoir plus de choses là où ils doivent finir leur vie. Si nous sommes convaincus que le ciel est notre pays et notre habitation personelle, il convient d'y mettre nos richesses plutôt que de les garder ici-bas pour être obligé de les abandonner, quand il nous faut partir subitement. Quelle est donc la manière de les transmettre ? Elle consiste à répondre aux besoins des pauvres; tout ce qu'on leur donne avec générosité, le Seigneur dit que c'est à lui qu'on le donne ( Matthieu 25:40 ). C'est de là que vient la belle promesse que quiconque donne aux pauvres, prête à Dieu à interêt ( Proverbes 19:17 ) et que "celui qui sème en abondance moissonera en abondance" ( 2 Corinthiens 9:6 ) Tout l'amour que nous manifestons à nos frères est comme un depôt entre les mains de Dieu. Le Seigneur, parce qu'il est un fidèle gardien, nous rendra le tout avec un très ample interêt.
L'institution chrétienne, 3.18.6 (de Védrine/Wells p.760)
Other parts of France got their fields of crops destroyed by amazing hail that some later had to shovel away, and eleven people were injured.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
So today has been quieter than anticipated. Pat bounced back and ate a hearty lunch of bacon, egg, black pudding, fried bread, chips, tomatoes, mushrooms and hash browns.
OK, not really. She skipped lunch and hasn't eaten all day, but she seems OK. None of the rest of us have been in the least nauseous so I guess it was something she ate. A rogue peach ? At least she threw up before we got to the cinema and even before we got into the tram.
So I have caught up on some letters, emails, forms and stuff like that, and read some more of "L'Institution Chrétienne". The new modern French version is actually easier to read than the English !
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
We went to the 14 juillet celebrations at Bordeaux.
It begins with a ceremony where the hautes autorités (Maire de Bordeaux, Prefet de la Gironde etc.) arrive, then the assembled troops are reviewed by a general in a jeep while Montaigne looks on.
After we all snuggled up to form a corridor running up Quinconces from the river to the Girondins monument and everyone paraded up. Some favourite moments :
When the band played "Land of Hope and Glory"
When a lady next to me said "On est très fière !" to a woman as she marched by. She beamed.
When the police motorbikes came by, blue, then two squadrons of white bikes and everyone applauded.
There were two bands on parade and they gave a brief concert after the ceremony.
My friend Renaud was in the Air Force band, dressed in white.
Then we went down to the riverbank to watch the fireworks barge come upstream and to wait for the fireworks.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Gwilym and Catrin are off to the beach with our neighbour to play with their little nipper, Arthur. Meanwhile Pat is baby-sitting the three-month old and I am stripping a PC for parts !
Tomorrow being Bastille Day there's a military parade at Quinconces ( thinks "what's a défilé in Engish..?" ) followed by a concert which I suspect my prof de trombone will be playing in, followed by fireworks over the Garonne ( 22h30, durée 25 min ). So we'll probably forsake our normal Pessac festivities for Bordeaux town centre.
I also want to get the shopping tomorrow because the supermarkets are currently doing that "Please shop on Public Holidays" thing and offering quintuple loyalty points.
And what do points mean ?
In the evening we were few, but we were quality, including a visitor from Tennessee! Gwilym made his debut as accompanist having learnt "In Christ alone" and "All my days" on the guitar - he played my old 12-string (battered but with a really good action !)
We spent the afternoon with friends from church. Their lad, Gwilym's age, is about to start an apprenticeship as a boulanger. He'll work 5 till 10, seven days a week for six weeks out of eight, then be in school for two weeks. They've had to get him a scooter so he can get to work for 5 because there's no buses at that time of the morning. He'll be paid while he's an apprentice - about half the minimum wage, so he'll be able to pay for his petrol, for his schooling and pay off his scooter. He's 14. He's a gamin, a gosse, but he's going to grow up fast over the next few years.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
So the upshot is that Gwilym has a place at the Lycée Saint Vincent de Paul, and we have all the documents necessary. There's a couple of other kids from church in the same place, one in the same class, so it'll be interesting at parents' evenings and who knows what gospel opportunities will be given !
His old school knows he's leaving and the papers have been adjusted, so all should be OK. We'll need to sort out the best way for him to pay for his journeys back and fore to school on the tram, but we have time for that.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
So we have been waiting to get a call to go and meet the principal of the prospective new school for Gwilym. Then they called yesterday and left a message to go along tomorrow at 9am.
I read this book while in Britain. It was really interesting as a study in bitterness, and how a sense of injustice can rob everything of its pleasure and poison your entire life. Also for its very contemporary philosophy of life - life is worth living for those little moments of beauty, pleasure, joy... I read this one in English while in Britain but now I wish I'd read it in French.
"Entre les murs" by François Bégaudeau. I think I've mentioned this before. I am really enjoying this story of a man trying to teach French in a middle school in the Paris sink estates. I'm reading it in French. It'd be a nightmare to translate !
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
But M. Sarkozy is so like Mrs Thatcher. At present Sunday trading is being debated. France is (paradoxically) more conservative than Britain and I would be more surprised to see this passed in France than I was in Britain.
OK. Baking section. Right, there they are: 4€ per 125g. 32€/kg. About £15 a pound.
However there are also nuts on the ethnic foods section under Maghreb. There they are 5€ per 500g, or about £4.50 a pound.
However there are also nuts by the fruit and veg. Aha ! Same bag of 500g almonds for 4,10€. That's the one to buy !
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Well tis-toi then.
I tried to imagine possible spellings. Tee-bo next door is spelt Thibault or sometimes Thibaud. Maybe Thithois ? Thithoit ? Thithoilt ?
Nothing seemed in the least likely, and Google didn't help at all.
So next time our little neighbour came round I said "Comment tu t'appelles ? Et comment ça s'écrit ?"
A variant of Antony. Luckily he's JUST old enough to be able to spell his name.
I am hoping to visit churches where I am known but where I have never presented the work here in Bordeaux. In May, with it just being a fortnight's quick visit, I tried to keep everything within a fairly small area of Britain. I'd like to do he same this time, though I am very tempted to go down to London also for a day of the Calvin Conference at the John Owen Centre at LTS.
Meanwhile today we hope to do evangelistic surveys near the student centre - but at present it's emptying down with rain. Hmmm. It may not last all day, though it often does !
Monday, July 06, 2009
We had a number of visitors on Sunday. Three guys in the morning and one chap in the evening - a holiday-maker from England on a city break. He'd found us on the internet so we told him about all the restaurants that have been recommended to us over the years, though I reckon that most places in Bordeaux are pretty good.
Today began with good news. The Briennens have a house to rent. Just about 200 metres from the church building and it sounds just fine. We also went and looked at a plot of land for building, but it's not big enough for the kind of church building we would need.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Over two hundred years ! That's a very long time, isn't it, and by and large things have gone pretty well with some notable exceptions that we mustn't dwell on today.
And best wishes. What better wish could there be than to express my fervent hope that you will soon return to the fold. It's not for nothing that we sing of our gracious Queen, you know, and I am sure the door is still wide open.
I know there were problems. There was that issue of representation. Well we could surely take a leaf out of our French friends' book, and incorporate the USA into the UK - the official title would become the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the United States of America. You'd like British Politics ! Fewer balloons but more fancy dress and generous expenses.
And you seemed to think at one time that you were not free to pursue happiness. Of course now things are different - so many of you have found your true happiness outside the railings of Buckingham Palace watching the changing of the guard or following the adventures of our younger royals in the cheaper magazines.
And our anthem. So easy to learn and not at all bloodthirsty - well not the parts that we sing, anyway. We could fairly easily accommodate variant spellings. After all self-expression and creativity matter more than syntax and orthography.
In short, come home, Uncle Sam. Come home.
We love you and we want you back.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Meanwhile the Blaye folk are meeting for a kind of summit to think through a plan for the future. Please pray that God will guide and show the way forward for this community.
Gwilym is now 14 and is far less dependent on us to amuse, entertain or organise him. School broke up last Friday and so far he's been off to the skate-park in Bordeaux with his school chums, off to the pool with another school friend, off to the cinema with his first ever French friend and today a friend from church is taking him to the cinema, together with Catrin.
Catrin is not quite so independent, but she's a reader, thankfully.
We are thinking through family holidays. The children are off to camp in Britain and we are really glad to be able to send them with Ben Griffin. They're getting to the stage, though, where really they have more fun at home with their friends and so on than on holiday with us ! I remember getting to that stage with my parents.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Now I'm reading "Entre les murs". It came out about two or three years ago, was very well received and now has been filmed. It's the tale of a newly-qualified teacher in the Paris housing estates.
Now it is bucketing down with assorted thunder and lightning. But at least we'll be able to think for the prayer meeting this morning.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
I am REALLY looking forward to the prayer meeting this evening because the church is air-conditioned.
In fact I just may move my office down there for a little while...
And my bed !
The weather forecasters predicted storms but we've had a pretty cloudless sky all day.
I'm very thankful for mint tea.