Showing posts from July, 2010

It's an ill wind that blows no good

Well the car is being tackled tomorrow. Friends have loaned us a car for this week. Meanwhile we have been able to visit one old friend who is terminally ill and who we thought we would not get to see. Also I am preaching in a new church plant tomorrow evening. So the plan now is : Stay in North Wales (Shotton and environs) this week. Drive the loan car to Shrewsbury next Sunday where I am due to preach. Drive back to Shotton and leave in our car from Shotton. That way if the car breaks down we can just say "Take us all home, please !"

Mon bus ! mon bus !

There's always someone worse off than yourself, isn't there...

OK - car won't be done till Monday

so we're working on a way of getting the kids to camp tomorrow ... kind of deals with the "what if it breaks down on the way home from camp" worry, though !

UFM FamConf II

Tearful farewells to the Griffins. Did our talk on church work in Bordeaux. We DIDN'T do our 4-5 year review meeting after I pointed out that Pat and I could fly overnight Bordeaux to Bristol at fairly small expense. All we have to do now is hope that there ARE flights Bordeaux to Bristol in November. Another matter for prayer regarding the car : That it not break down while the kids are in camp. Repatriating us all is one thing. Trying to do that when the kids are in Tywyn and us in Merthyr would be a wholly other thing !

UFM FamConf

We had a good day at UFM and so did our old friend Rhys I think. We missed the main address but since the speaker had had the audacity to 'diss' the Welsh AND the French in one foul sweep maybe listening on cd will be better anyway. (some people, eh?) This morning's mission, should I choose to accept, is it to tow the car down to Peter's for him to change the clutch cable. OK off we go.

Oh I DO hope that

this clutch cable is the right one, and that it gets fitted ok, and that it gets the kids to camp, us to Merthyr, back to camp, to Shrewsbury and to France OK !

A paradox, a most ingenious paradox, or False Economy

We buy Geant Casino loo-roll. It's wonderful stuff, impregnated with aloe vera, great for the nose when you have a cold. And one week it was on bogof (buy one get one free). We bought two packs and stacked them in the smallest room. And our looroll consumption ROCKETED ! At one point we were using a roll a day ! And there's only four of us ! So we hid all the loo-rolls except for one in use and one spare. Our consumption dropped to normal levels. We have noted the same effect with super-size economy shampoo. The big bottle doesn't last much longer than the small one... You have to be crafty in this game, don't you !

So it's plan D

Plan A was Monday to Friday at the UFM FamConf. Plan A was foiled by the clutch cable. Plan B was to hire a car and scuttle on down to the conference Tuesday to Friday. However I need to be here Wed and Fri to sort out the repair. Plan C was to hire a car to go down to FamConf on Thursday. However we'd need to be able to pick up and return the car within walking distance etc... Plan D emerged at the prayer meeting. Our old friend Rhys will take us to FamConf and spend the day there too. Another part of the plan emerged, too. Instead of driving down to the mechanic's without a clutch we'll tow the car down. It'll be easier on certain junctions ! So the kids are happy about getting to FamConf, we can do our powerpoint and have our interview, Rhys will have a good day, too and I am a lot less stressed out !


En route to UFM Conference and 5-year review...

the clutch cable went on the car... Oh boy ! Anyway our car insurance in France includes breakdown cover. We had a choice of being repatriated to France or continuing our journey and taking the car to a garage - so we have returned to Shotton, I've ordered a left hand drive clutch cable and the car is booked in with our old mechanic, Peter, for Friday. Many thanks to our guardian angels : Ben who came to encourage and feed with Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the Harneys who have welcomed us back to their home having thought they had just got rid of us for another two years !

Walking back from church in Bath


Crossing Boulogne to Dover


Paul and Siân's wedding


Paul and Siân's wedding


Keswick music

has DONE MY HEAD IN. I like saxophones. I play in a big band where there's six of 'em, but we've had only sax this week and too much of it. Silly songs. Followed by Don Carson's messages sometimes the effect is almost grotesque. for example, "There's no one like Jesus, we've run all over, we've looked all over, we've travelled all over, there's no one like him.." Healing drums. Did you know that the djembe is regarded in Africa as a healing drum and that Christian drummers use it to heal people in this country ? You do now. I heard it from the platform in Keswick so it must be true. But we have also sung some grand hymns and songs and you know what ? The better the song the better the singing !

Keswick Ministry

Don Carson on Matthew in the morning - sometimes good, sometimes great. Wednesday morning was the highlight for me. More details when I can ! Evenings various guys on 2 Peter. Sometimes guys don't identify or communicate the big point of the message. It seems to me that even if you decide to do a 'bible reading style walk through the text' you still need to decide what is The Message you want to get across.

Keswick weather

It's been pretty good really. Monday it emptied down but since Wednesday it's been lovely.

I think my concern is...

that when we only really think of Jesus as our King there's a whole range of emotions, feelings, sentiments that are neglected... For example, our Shepherd feeds us, leads us, cares for us. Our brother loves us and watches out for us. Our friend is always with us and available to us. Our prophet teaches us and makes us wise. Our priest prays for us. And so on... I just wonder whether sometimes Christians don't feel loved, and whether it all comes down to oughts, shoulds and musts...

Jesus my King, King, King, King, King, my King, King, King and King...

I am in Britain at the moment and so I am thinking. (Oh dear...) For some years now in Britain we have been rejoicing in the Kingship of Jesus. It's goes with the "big picture" view of biblical theology, Two ways to live, Christianity Explored and all that. And it's good. But it's not all. And sometimes I wonder if we are suffering a little from a skewed and inadequate view of the Lord Jesus Christ as a result. Even his Kingship is viewed solely in terms of his being our boss and master, rather than our champion... More later - my time's almost run out on this terminal at Keswick. Newton's words are Jesus my Shepherd, Brother, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King, My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, Accept the praise I bring.

The beautiful melody "Stardust" sung by Mivhael Bublé

Greetings from North Wales.

We had a lovely journey up via the Brecon Beacons to Northop Hall where we had been expected the previous day. (No, Pat had phoned to say that our coming was somewhat delayed.) It rained, though. Lots. And it hasn't really stopped. It's turned into that fine drizzle that lasts for months on end. Tomorrow a friend is getting married. Whoopppppeeeeeeee !

Bonnes Fetes a toutes et a tous !

Should the words of the Marseillaise be changed

Nations born or rebuilt out of bloody conflict sometimes end up saddled with rather violent National Anthems. When we hear our western cousins singing about the star-spangled banner or our compatriots vowing to fight till blood flows in the fields, then "Confound their politicks, frustrate their knavish tricks" seems pretty mild. Perhaps it's time to rewrite the Marseillaise ?

Durands for Brittany

Last night was a special service at Heath Evangelical Church in Cardiff who are sending Emmanuel and Esther Durand to serve in Guingamp in Brittany alongside our friends Emmanuel and Maria Hartiel. It was good to be there and to be greeted in Welsh, French and English by the various old friends I met.

This "Facebook" mularkey

Good or bad ? Blessing or curse ? Whaddayathink ? You'll be aware that I think the new technologies of communication are to be used as best we can for God's glory. There's a few things to note : Facebook is a public medium Anything you put on your status update is there for all the world to see and ponder ! So only put there things that you are happy for everyone to know ! Facebook is a soundbite medium It's not easy to explain yourself. So if you put on your status "Family crises are driving me nuts" then be aware that you may provoke at worst speculation and rumours, at best phone calls and concern... If the problem is your grandson's ingrowing toenail then "Family crises" may possibly be an overstatement. Try and be clear. Facebook is open to misinterpretation Pat and I once looked at the choice of marital status options available and noted that one was "complicated". We consider that all of life is complicated so we

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no. 2

Once in a while you come across a recording that completely changes the way you think of a piece.

Tricks of the trade

You know, don't you, that you can set up an entry to be put on the blog at any chosen date and time ? I use this when travelling to try and keep a trickle of entries coming to the blog, especially when there's noone at home ! (I didn't REALLY type this in at 2am !) Then you can link your blog to Facebook and periodically your blog entries get copied over there, too. This has a downside in that people think you're using Facebook more than you are, except when the system goes nuts and copies over 20 blog entries in one foul sweep !

Lots of FREE John Piper books available in pdf format


Reading : Le mal fait-il partie du plan de Dieu, de John Piper

It's a translation into French of Spectacular Sins. Spectacular Sins is available in English free here. In French it costs 15euros (185 pages) but I figured it is worth it because I'll pass it around once I have finished it.

Bath - walking home from church


Claudia Quintet

In England

We're in England. We drove up to Boulogne, leaving Pessac at about 9:50 and stopping every two hours like they say you ought. The first aire de service was a gem. Shady picnic tables. Nesting boxes for the hoopoe and the owl. Wild flowers and calm. The second was a horrid treeless shop and caff thing. Nasty. The third I don't remember at all ! Basically now you pass from motorway to motorway, taking basically the A10 then the A28 until you reach Rouen. Then you are drawn inexorably into the city centre and traffic jams. It took us almost two hours just to cross Rouen because of roadworks, contraflows, accidents; the lot. It was good to see the sea and Boulogne afterwards. At the B&B hotel we checked into our usual four-bed room with mezzanine over the bathroom. We didn't book breakfast, 24 euros for bread and jam for four seemed steep, so instead in the morning we scuttled off to the local Auchan to buy chocolatines and briochettes, fruit juice and ice tea. 6 eur

Monty Alexander in Marciac

Monty Alexander (thanks Mark)

Crossing the channel


Some of these days

Almost like being in love

The Griffinettes and the plums

When I got back from the lycée I found that the Griffin van was all loaded and our house was occupied by Griffinnettes, Pat, Catrin and Jenna. They were just off to the park with a picnic so I joined them at lunchtime and noticed ... a plum tree, covered in delicious little plums, so ripe they were falling to the ground. Right there in the park. Well as good burghers of Pessac of course that means they are our plums, and very nice they are too !

Gwilym's inscription for Lycée

I took it round there first thing this morning. Again it was pointed out that I had no exéat, but I said that the lady I phoned on Friday had told me that since he was leaving the privé I should not embêter myself with that. The lady came out. "Il quitte le privé, je m'enfoue." ('He's leaving an RC school, I don't give a monkeys' would be a reasonable interpretation.) Exeat comes from the Latin and I am pretty sure you'd find it in stage directions - it means 'Let him leave'. I have certainly seen the plural exeunt in Shakespeare for when everybody must leave the stage. I looked up exéat in French afterwards. It does, indeed, mean a certificat de radiation ! Full marks and go up a class ! Gwilym starts at 10:15 on Thursday 2 September. They get shown round, get their timetable, then get divided into teams for sports on Friday morning. Then there's a bit of stuff about rules and regulations, then the parents come for a tour of the sc

Hop, c'est parti.

The Griffins' stuff was all in the van within two hours, due largely to the Herculean efforts of Vincent and Benénuts. The house is now in the process of being deep-cleaned to a hitherto unimagined profundity. Meanwhile the Griffinettes, having spent a happy day here have gone 'home', though they'll return very shortly bringing their pizzas with them as there is now no furniture at their place. Despite all fears and doubts, the 7 1/2 ton van was plenty big enough to contain a serious amount of books, sofas, beds, lego, etc. etc.

Nouveaux mots

flagada - tired out, washed out (fam) Perpette-les-oies - an imaginary, inaccessible place, for example where you may be expected to go to collect your degree certificate and so you don't bother..

A lovely day

It was a special day. We shared the good news of the green light for signing on the purchase of the building. Friend Maxime was visiting from London so he was there for the culte en anglais. And we said goodbye to the Griffins. The church had contributed very generously and also given ideas of what to get - and amazingly we were able to get everything suggested. From the colleagues in MPEF we got the excellent "Dictionnaire de la Théologie Biblique" from Excelsis. Preached am from John 8 - si le Fils vous rend libres vous serez réellement libres. The liberty of being a child of God. Pm from John 9 - one of my favourite chapters. We were supposed to go for a lunchtime picnic with the Griffins and some other families but Catrin was spending the weekend with a schoolfriend and we didn't know what time she'd come home. So it was that we ended up with 20 people coming back to our place for a sudden lunch of turkey in Provençale sauce, lentils, salads, rice and sundry o

Now you have to guess, right ? Guess what bus Gwilym will be able to take

to get him within a few blocks of his lycée in September ? Have you guessed ? What do you think ? Yes ! The Number 4 ! The Davey family all-purpose bus !

Wooohooooooo !

The go-ahead has been given to sign on the building, the building round the corner with the massive warehouse behind. The national fellowship are buying the place and funding the works. We then will lease it from them at our maximum rent until we have paid for the place.

The good news !

They have solved the mystery of the rain of poo falling on the town south of Dax. It comes from house-martins which are nesting there in profusion this year. They eat on the wing (of course, flies etc...) and also let fall their waste from high above. Cheeky little things !

This is great for listening to the silence in between the notes

Ecoutez bien le silence entre les notes.


I found my certificates !

Degree, A level, music, the lot ! All of a sudden I feel qualified again ! (if only that was all it took...)

I hate computers...

So why is my laptop going so incredibly slowly ? The answer seems to be Google Chrome browser which all of a sudden is unable to open Gmail. An update perhaps ??? Still OS4 is working well on the phone. Except the Telegraph application which has a new OS4 compatible version awaiting approval from Apple... Still, there's Firefox on the PC. That's working OK. And who needs to read the Telegraph anyway.

Oh dear !

Acid rain is one thing. This is quite another. Dax is far enough away for this not to affect us. Yet.

Ah bon !

France is going through a series of slimming down cuts in public expenditure. At the Elysée no more garden parties. The number of government websites will be reduced drastically. Meanwhile here 's a whistle blower on stupefying wastefulness in public life. I remember when I started in computing getting a letter from a student friend who'd been taken on by a major software house. They'd rejected me. Anyway she'd been there three months and had been given NOTHING AT ALL to do. I hink they later laid her off, along with all who joined the company with her. Meanwhile where I worked we were doing lots of training but in between we were told to sit at our desks and look busy. I got lucky and got some benchmarks to do, but it was a couple of months before things got going properly. But can you imagine when it's like that ALL THE TIME...

Dîner chez le professeur principal de Gwilym

Yes, I know it seems a bit unexpected but Gwilym's teacher phoned us up a while ago and gave a little status report (which is above and beyond the call of duty) and then asked if we would like to go and eat chez elle with a friend who speaks English well. Of course we accepted. Then we messed her about a lot with dates, partly because I work evenings and partly because of the EMA last week. Anyway we went last night and had a lovely little delicious dinner. I had to explain protestantism, and we talked about lots of other things, too. It seems that Gwilym made quite an impression on the teachers and she's hoping he gets a good result (une mention) in his brevet. He was one of the few to get the Marshall Plan, the Treaty of Rome and the Treaty of Maastricht in the right chronological order, apparently. Well it's not enormous but it's a good start. We'd like to invite her in return but we might have to make sure the children are not around that evening.

Or read it with friends. Keeps you going...

Read what ? Read this.

Wow, that was scary !

I woke up and thought it was Friday ! The thing is that every day more forms arrive to be filled in by the beginning of next week. I am still working on the forms for Gwilym's lycée. All we now need, I think, is four passport photos and insurance for him at school. The latest are the forms for the music school. OK, let's get on with it ! Not to mention preaching at the weekend, French am, English pm... :-) .