Showing posts from May, 2011

So the forms are filled in and the cheques written.

The prayer letters are printed out. Next the haircut and the packing and the list-making and list-checking over and over again. Oh, and buy more printer cartridges - those prayer letters eat up the ink !

How brilliant is that !

A friend has offered the loan of a car while I am in Britain. It's a car I am familiar with, a good though somewhat elderly Seat Leon. Wonderful. I cancelled the hire car I booked yesterday.

CNEF Gironde committee meeting this morning

in the very impressive premises of the ADD media ministries headquarters. A happy blest time during which we talked about the plan for a "Together for the Gospel" type conference next year in Geneva. :-)

I don't believe it, I did it again !

EVERY TIME I PAY IN A CHEQUE IN OUR LOCAL BANK I go and leave my card in the machine... Well I've done it twice, anyway. It's because I get all stressed about putting the correct printout in the little envelope with the cheque and keeping the almost identical second printout that is your receipt, and so I forget to take my card back. Clot ! Still, the cashier had quite a deck of forgotten cards. She said I am not the only one who does it, not by far !

Well the plan almost worked

Our friendly JWs called. I asked if they could please do us a favour and take a photo of the four of us. They obliged and took about 9 or 10. We chose one to use and I thought, "Business-card format, that's the thing !" So this morning I've been faffing about with stupid visiting-card websites who ALL say that they can deliver after I have left for Britain. They say this after you have spent lots of time doing the design of the cards and just before you pay for them... Oh well, there's a machine at Géant-Casino. Perhaps that'll work. If not it'll be a case of printing somewhere in the UK.

Photo..... what a problem

I mentioned that we Daveys have trouble with photos. First problem is that we are seldom all in the same place at the same time. Second problem is that when we are normally there is no camera present and anyway one of us is sleeping. Third problem - when we are all there, awake and with a camera who's gonna aim the thing and fire...? The last photo of us all together was at a wedding in North Wales. The chappie was the official photographer, paid and everything, and he had this enormous camera with a massive lens. I thought that if anyone could do it, he could, and even today I persist in this belief. Except he couldn't, which means nobody can. In some ways it's a very charming photo but all you can see of Gwilym is his hair, Pat's smiling like she's hoping to swallow the camera, lens and all, and Catrin and I look like we're stifling laughs by thinking sad thoughts. You couldn't stick that on your fridge. Unless you wanted to do a strict diet, I

It's all go, you know !

The government is concerned. For four consecutive months the death rate on French roads has risen. Knowing as we do that speed kills, the government has decided to take measures to incite the French to kill their speed. 1) Exceeding the speed limit by 50km/h will become a criminal offence rather than a civil offence. 2) Speed radars will no longer have warning signs placed just before them. 3) Radar warning devices are to be banned. 4) The position of  fixed radars will no longer be published. Great has been the outcry ! After all, the leading radar detectors are French made ! People will lose their jobs. There have been demonstrations. Also the removal of the warning signs for radars makes it look as if the government is after money. Won't people suddenly spot the radars and slam on the anchors, leading to more deaths, not fewer ? Anyway, after protests from many MPs the government has halted the removal of the warning signs. Watch this space !

Woohoo !


Well here we go again !

I am sure you're all aware that there's a volcano in Iceland that is threatening europaean airspace once more. I am due to fly a week tomorrow. Oho. Oh well, we prepare anyway - maybe it will all blow over...

There's not enough music on this blog any more


Mittérand, Strauss-Kahn, Sarkozy etc.

I don't comment much on politics. I find myself in the enviable position of not being able to vote for the government of the country in which I live, while being almost completely out of the touch with the country where I could conceivably have a postal vote. Lovely ! However I can comment a little on the Strauss-Kahn thing and the coincidences that probably make some people think it's all been a conspiracy. ( Here's a BBC correspondent's article) 1) Strauss-Kahn is from the Parti Socialiste and was seen as the opponent most likely to beat Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential elections. 2) France's last socialist president, François Mittérand, was elected in 1981 and this election was widely commemorated a couple of weeks ago. 3) Remember that left-wing and right-wing in France are not like in the UK. France's socialists have always liked the good life. I live in a town with a left-wing town hall but they are seen as champagne socialists. It's all relati


Sunday morning found me in Anglade. Samuel came to say goodbye to the folk there. He declined to preach as he has lots of work on with his studies. Then in the evening it was good to welcome some visitors from Ramsey, not so good to say farewell to Simon and Robyn and also to Andy Cheung, off to spend the summer with Kitty in Martinique. The English services will shut down for most of the month of June. Simon will preach on June 5th, then the next service will be in July.

PBones launched on an unsuspecting Aquitaine.

Wednesday saw two orange pBones taking residence with Renaud, one en route to his colleague and co-conspirator in Les C pas C. Then yesterday the yellow pBone went to join Théo's Banda, soon to be embellished with black PVC tape to assume the Banda's black and yellow colours. We still need some for the nippers who are learning trombone, for Mathias and Yannick (that makes 5) plus however many we can get for the music school's ongoing trombone project. I explained the practicalities of me buying from the UK - paying up front, paying two lots of carriage, mates in UK posting on, me then recuperating my money some weeks later, plus the limit of three pBones per order and the general lack of stock. "There's a limit to what I can do." We're very thankful that there's a worldwide distribution deal !

Friday's storms left us a little unnerved

because after cleaning the church and putting it back together (chairs, lectern, communion table, etc) ready for tomorrow I left Pat and the kids there for the teenage group and came home for a brief session of reading before heading off to the music school, then the park at the town centre. The town band was founded 150 years ago and so there was a marathon celebration concert in the park - three stages and groups of all sorts singing and playing. We were on at 18:40, so we met at 17h15 at the music school and loaded the drumkit, foul yellow wooden music stands, baritone sax, piano, amps etc into the various cars. To be honest our car alone takes half the stuff. I frightened the folk by telling them that we were thinking of changing for a Mini... Then off to the park. All went well and there was no rain. Enough cloud cover to stop us baking.Pat joined us in time for the concert. Each group that played got a bottle of red wine and each person got a commemorative cotton shopping bag

After Thursday's crazy day Friday was rather calm, except for...

Pat went to the ladies' meeting in the morning - a morning of prayer and I met her at Hotel de Ville to go to lunch with Simon Farewell and Robyn Morison. After lunch we walked happily through the back streets to the tram stop to get back to the car which was parked at Unitec. We got close to the tram and some spots of rain started to fall. We hopped on. At Victoire an incident was announced that had stopped trams running between Saint Nicolas and Doyen Brus - basically the bulk of the journey we wanted to make. We discussed turning round and doing a complicated journey by bus and tram or just waiting. Sometimes the incident is cleared quite quickly. As we discussed the skies opened and a fierce hailstorm ensued. People climbed on the seats of the tramstop to get out of the water and we decided to sit it out. "The washing is on the line", said Pat. Anyway after a while we changed our minds and made a couple of dashes through the downpour (I had my folding mac) and t

"Well you were tired..."

Yesterday began with the great world of Davey High Finance - finding the 6€ (that's FIVE POUNDS) that it costs for a school meal in Catrin's school. Then off to the Apple Store to see about fixing my cracking iPhone. The genius - that's what they're called, you go to the Genius Bar - said, "we could fix it for €200 euros, but you're right, you could just glue it". She then told me all about the wonderful things that happen at the Apple Store. There was a little wide-eyed wonder about it all, but I kept remembering that it's a sect really and you mustn't be drawn in. In fact it all reminds me of the Mormon temple that I visited once in Preston. We were doing surveys at Victoire at 11:15, so I found myself outside Andy's pad and dropped in to use the loo and to talk about how things are going. On the tram to Victoire a very vocal man got on telling everyone loudly what time it was and getting it wrong. Two women were trying to find our positi

Surveys on campus and JW conversation

Surveys on campus - boy, the campus is getting DESERTED ! We did talk with two Italian girls who would have found FAC really helpful this year but who are about to leave Bordeaux. Then my JW friend called round. He has been intrigued to see that the UN has changed its slogan to "Peace and safety" (apparently. I just looked on the UN website and I can't find it. He probably read about it in a magazine.). Is this not a sign that the return of Jesus is imminent ? I explained again about millenial mania, and this time I mentioned Harold Camping. We'd already just agreed that Jesus had forbidden all attempts to work out when he would return. I'd like to know if there is a polite, persuasive and piercing way of saying "You have to realise that you have joined a millenial, heretical sect." A way that is clear but that will not send him running for the nearest Watchtower.

iPhone problem

This phone has to last till Christmas at least. That'll be just two years. I think that at Christmastime I may be able to change for something else. However, the case is giving cause for concern. There's a splinter of plastic poking up just by the volume button, and I think the screen has sunk a little in the top right corner. So this morning on the way to do surveys I am calling in at Bordeaux' brand spanking new all singing all dancing huky dory and dinky doo Apple shop. I hope they applaud as I walk in through the door. Must remember to grin.

Well batter me bodhran !

I got on the usual bus but at an earlier stop. At Palais de Justice two familiar figures appeared - two of my Hungarian gipsy jazz musician friends from last week: the bass player and an accordionist. "Musicians ?" I said, to see if they'd remember me. "aye" said the accordionist. "where's the others ?" "oh you're that pastor..." We talked a bit more. You just never know, do you...

Visit to the doctor

I arrived a bit early for my appointment so I sat in the car reading the next chapter in Derek Thomas' book. It began, 'Are you ready to die ?' I thought, "Oh come on, it's only a check-up !" Anyway the doctor is happy, she suggested I stop my asthma treatment since my breathing is so good, that I have a go at daily low doses of aspirin (like they suggest in the UK) and that I have a blood test before seeing her again in November.

Duck Son and Pinker are closing down in Bath

A wonderful old-style music shop which probably had more stock than turnover... Oh dear ! Another one bites the dust ! I had a HUGE disappointment when I went to Rowlands music shop in Cardiff last year.  It was one of my favrouite haunts in my twenties.  You could browse through these massive folders of sheet music and find gems and bargains galore. It has turned into a kind of minimal Ikea-theme-styled virtual shop.  Two nice girls, two music books, a couple of recorders and a lot of blonde wood. Bof.  Don't you just hate the internet...  Except that you can find everything you want if you just know how to google, and sometimes you can download the pdf straight away. Maybe it's progress after all.

It had to be you - cool jazz from Shawn and the Wolf


The weather is beautiful here.

As I type I can hear the birds in the garden and the traffic on the distant orbital motorway. When I took Catrin to her much-loved solfège class at 7 last night it was 29C at the pharmacy in Madran, so it's good in the morning to fling the doors wide open and change the air in the house. Today's mission is to continue sorting out the UK trip ( today especially the train journeys involved and start on accommodation ), to visit the doctor for my six-monthly suivi, to prepare for the FAC Bible Study this evening and then to go and lead same.

Forthcoming church visits in June

1 - Grove Chapel, Camberwell 5 - Widcombe, Bath am, Emmanuel Cardiff pm 7 - Llanelli 8 - Bethel Cardiff 9 - Cefn Hengoed/Bryngolwg 12 - Pontefract am, Leeds RBC pm 13 - 15 Bala Conference (Don Carson main speaker :-) 15 - Ebenezer Swansea 16 - Bethel Clydach 19 - St Bart and Sav, Blackburn am, Deeside pm, Flint après-pm 21 - Cardiff Bay 22 - Child's Hill (22-?) 24 EMA 26 - Glasgow (on waiting list for the first two days of EMA !)

Woohoo !

I've been sent a review copy of "How the Gospel brings us all the way home" by Derek Thomas. Only slight problem is that I can't read it during the sermon because it's I who am preaching.

For this weekend...

Saturday Christianity Explored with Chinese Pre-Baptism group (in French) Preach on Jesus' baptism from Mark's gospel for Chinese group (probably in English with Mandarin interpretation) Sunday Preach on praying for the church from Colossians 1:9-11 (in French) Preach on Romans 2 : 1 - 16 in the English Service (in English)

Gwilym has an interview at Saint-Genès school. Hurrah.

Well today was the day I didn't have an interview with the Commission des Ministères at Nîmes

I was due to catch the 10:01 train from Bordeaux to arrive at Nîmes at 14:54. I got to the station in plenty of time. I got some money for lunch and tea, then went to see what platform the train would be on. Because a ticket inspector was attacked last night there was a strike and the train was delayed for "probably" an hour and a half. Hmm. Lots of other trains were cancelled. I phoned the commission. We cancelled. I came home, strangely very, very tired after psyching myself ready for the interview that never was.

So we're not moving house - or not yet anyway

A chap who lives about 20 yards from the church used to come to the prayer meeting for a long while. He said he was moving in the summer and would be selling his house. Three bedrooms, built in a little space between other houses, hidden away in a courtyard you got to it through a little gate. Very cute, but no off-street parking. It'd be a long journey for the kids to school. But we'd be on the doorstep for the church, with all the pros and cons that that entails. It's in Cenon, an area that's supposed to be cheaper than Pessac. We tried to guess the price. His house is a lot smaller than ours, after all. I said we might be interested. He said I could come and look when they were ready. We thought it might be cheap enough for us to not have a mortgage... Anyway while I was in Lyon the other week he phoned. It was on the market with an agent. Oho. Someone came to see it the first day and bought it straight away - for the same price that we paid for this house. Aha !

Inscription for Lycée Professionnel in Bac Pro Vente/Commerce

So after trying and trying and trying to phone the Lycée to find out about enrolling Gwilym - one afternoon ringing every 1/2 hour with no reply - I gave up and decided just to submit the form that was available on the website in pdf format. Aha. In pdf format size A3. How can I print half a pdf file on A4 paper ? How can I do booklet format from a pdf file in A3 to A4 paper. I stared. I clicked this option, then that. I tried booklet printing using the printer driver - it came out tiny. Then I remembered that Acrobat has a select tool that enables you to cut part of a page and use it as an illustration. So I cut the whole page and pasted it into an OpenOffice document. That printed but not very well. Then I accidentally clicked on print after selecting my area of the page. It printed neatly ! Eureka ! So I printed the other page, too and filled in the form. We needed all Gwilym's school reports from this year - he's only had one so far, and all from last year - we coul

Thought for thinking about

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.


My life just now ? Photo 26. And why no 26 ? Because I like to have a drink. Later... So you say you still believe as a muslim, but you don't practice and you drink. What does that mean for you ? Well I suppose I'll go to hell. Does that bother you ? Not really, I mean, even if you practice and do everything right you can't be sure of going to paradise - Allah could still say no. One day I'll start being a good Muslim, do the sacrifices, do the prayers, stop drinking.  You know, Jesus came so we could be sure of going to heaven. He's the real sacrifice. He came and lived a perfect life and then died to take our guilt so we could be reconciled to God. OK, I understand. Once you're reconciled to God then your life changes. You can't change your life to be reconciled to God. You are reconciled to God through Jesus, then your life changes. Have you ever read the Bible ? Would you like a Bible ? No, I have a lot of books I've never read. What abou

EMA DISASTER - Wednesday and Thursday fully booked !

Oh well, I have booked for the Friday and we'll see. Maybe there'll be a cancellation or something.

They're setting up these shelters all over

the supermarket carpark. When finished not only will they protect your car from the blast of the sun, but they will also generate electricity. Natty, eh ?

Well we're getting there (Church visits 2011)

I've just booked the flights. It's very different this time. Normally I fly to Bath and get a hire car, drive around to where I need to be then drive back, dump the car and fly home. This time I begin in London and end in Scotland, with a spell in London again near the end. So I'm flying Gatwick and Glasgow. I will need to hire a car, but not for the whole time I'm in the UK and I don't really want to be saddled with a hire car while I'm in London.

Sweet Dixie at the Médiathèque Jacques Ellul

Sweet Dixie at the Médiathèque Jacques Ellul

Sweet Dixie at the Médiathèque Jacques Ellul

The affair of the plastic trombone

Vigilant readers will be aware that for my birthday present this year my dear and indulgent family bought me a new British-designed wonder - pBone, the plastic trombone. I showed it to the prof de trombone at the music school. He showed it to the director, himself an ex-trombonist who was forced to give up the instrument because of illness. They showed it to the profs of tuba and of viola, then to various trombonists from divers august ensembles and disreputable street-bands. The upshot is that demand far exceeds supply. I know personally at least 20 people who want one, plus there's all the others I have never met, but there's only one trombone here and it's mine. This situation is not much better in the UK where as soon as the website puts stock online within 15 minutes all is sold. Not only that but the company does not deliver outside the UK.  A good and devoted friend sent the trombone on to me here. I recently secured another three. One is on its way to France

Sweet Dixie at the Médiathèque Jacques Ellul

The English service

was an encouraging time last night. As we peered at our small print Bibles in the deepening twilight I talked about  God's diagnosis of the problem of this world from Romans 1:18 ->. It's a diagnosis that is both alarming and comforting because it tells me that this is not the best of all possible worlds and that I am right when I think that something has gone deeply wrong with the world and with me. The beginning of the good news is the accurate analysis that only God gives.

Preaching at Blaye

This weekend was greatly rearranged due to the indisposition of the wife of a member of the group who were coming to visit the church. It meant that I preached at Blaye on Paul's prayer for the Philippians (1 v 9 - 11), the message I preached at Cenon last week. It was good to be at Blaye and to meet with the folks. Numbers were down but it's the 8th May, a public holiday when there a remembrance day ceremonies at the town squares. Were it not a Sunday I'd have been playing in the town square at Pessac.

Preaching for the Chinese

I worked out that if we preached once a month, and if I interleaved with Dik, who'll do a different series, and if I spent roughly two messages per chapter of Mark, it would take me roughly 32 years to cover the whole book. Since the Chinese students stay on average for slightly less than that (!) another approach would be needed. I pondered Christianity Explored. I reflected on the excellent "King's Cross" that I am reading. I perused the structure that we learnt for the Mark Experiment. I thought "Eureka, that's it !" So on Saturday I preached on the introduction to Mark and on the fact that the Christian message is Good News about Jesus Christ announced by God over all the history of the world. I kept it short and snappy, knowing that either François or Andy would be translating into Mandarin for me. I overdid it. I forgot that Mandarin is a very economical language and that long sentences that drag on and on in English become just one syllabl

Sweet Dixie at the Médiathèque Jacques Ellul

Free music at the library

In the whirling swirl that is a weekend I noticed a free concert at the Pessac library given by Sweet Dixie, a New Orleans-style jazz group. From 11h30 to 12h30. Deal concluded ! Thank you very much !

Lagrime di San Pietro -

Lagrime di San Pietro -

So you're together ?

I approached the bus stop and the first thing I saw was the double-bass. I'll never moan again about taking my trombone on the bus. He had it strapped to one of those folding suitcase trolleys and he pulled it along by the neck. The guy next to him had a piano accordeon. Oh, and that guy over there had a guitar strapped to his back. Another piano accordeon. One younger, better-looking chap just had a rucksack. I assumed he wasn't with the others. You're together ? Yes, we're musicians. Really ? What kind of music ? Hungarian gipsy. At this point I was glad I didn't have any money on me or I'd have bought a CD of Hungarian gipsy jazz. Ah, there's my bus. They all got on. We carried on talking. They are genuine hungarian gipsy jazzmen and they live about 300 yards from us. They play in the squares near the cafés of Bordeaux. The young chap had a clarinet in his rucksack. His good looks won't last, not if his uncles are anything to go by. Today they&

French food

After the English Class last night (all my advanced group seem to have gone home, so I planned out messages on Mark for the Chinese in the café) we talked about French food. The food in France is very very good, but you do have to get used to it. For example one of the dishes at the Colloque was poached eggs in a big dish of creamed spinach, served with rice. It's actually very nice indeed, but I can't imagine what a gang of British pastors would say if presented with that. Another day we had artichokes gratin as part of a meal. Really nice, but the first time in my 52 years that I've eaten artichokes. Or the wonderful French beef that you have to eat with your eyes closed. The knife cuts through it so easily and it's very very tender, but even someone with dodgy colour vision can see that it has not been, as we say, "cooked through". The best dish of this area is undoubtedly magret de canard . It's like very, very expensive, so it's a real hig

Some photos of this week

I should take more photos.

A different sort of nuts

Ah - oh dear. The president of the central committee of our group of churches (l'églisebureau central) can't come this weekend, his wife has been taken into hospital. This means that the various meetings of the weekend have been cancelled, except for the church council which has been moved to Saturday afternoon. So the revised Davey schedule looks like : Sat 14:00 Church council Sat 18:00 First message on Mark for the Chinese ( English or French, interpreted into Mandarin ...) Sun 10:30 Preach at Anglade in French Sun 18:00 Preach at Cenon in English I'll cancel this week's Pre-baptism Christianity Explored group for Saturday afternoon

Next weekend will be pretty nuts, too.

We have a visit from a couple of folks from the powers that be in our group of churches. The goal is firstly to check that everything's OK. Secondly to check that we're all working together for the future. Thirdly to give helpful advice, reflection and prayer - accompaniment. Also we are going to look at the way things work between pastor, council and church. It means a lot of work preparing and lots of meetings next weekend. There's so many emails flying around that my wifi just started smoking. I am still unclear about when I should be where  ! It's probably my age.

A mad mad mad weekend

So Saturday morning there was a meeting for church members. We left the house late and then realised that we had promised to pick someone up on the way. Aaaarrrgh ! Still we were not the last to arrive ! Saturday afternoon the Chinese group baptism preparation study - exams and holidays have impacted dramatically on the attendance, but we had a good and useful time anyway. Then home quickly to pick eveyrone up for : Marc l'Expérience ! Sunday morning I was preaching. In between zooming around the accompanist and I discussed songs and so early on Sunday morning I got my readings together and also worked through my notes. As always, when you're specially stretched God gives special help. The afternoon I took the teenage lads to Marc l'Expérience and I was glad to see some other folks from church there - I think it's something a church could do at Easter as a support for the Easter services and outreach. In the evening we cancelled the English service because the

Marc l'Expérience

So at the weekend the students from FAC (that's us), from the GBU (the CU) and from the youth group of the Assemblée de Dieu put on the Mark Experiment. Some years ago a young guy working with students in Austria discovered a structure in Mark's gospel that enables the gospel to be memorised fairly easily. (Essentially the famous "Mark Sandwiches" with knobs on). The young man, Andrew Page, started teaching the structure of the gospel to student groups and also proposed that the gospel be dramatised by a small group at the end of weeks of study memorising and working on the gospel. The book "The Mark Experiment" was published, then also in French, in Spanish and in German. I got in touch with Andrew years ago when we were first doing Christianity Explored in Deeside. Then he kindly sent me a copy of his book in English. I moved to France and we kept in touch - again he sent me a copy of his book in French. Then we up met in Bath. Here we'd talked o

Le Colloque Biblique Francophone

Years ago, before we came to France, people said "You must go to the Pastorale at Dijon." Yeah, yeah... Then we came to France and people said, "You must come to the Colloque at Belley." Yeah, yeah... For various reasons it's never been possible. For one thing the week after Easter is incredibly popular for conference and retreats, for teams coming to help us and for special projects. Anyway this year, despite the special project of the Mark Experiment, I went along. I thought the Mark Experiment was best acted by students anyway, to be honest ! The Colloque was held at Lyon, which is a long way by train. I looked at Easyjet but just after Easter the seats were expensive, so train it was. Anyway, you see the scenery and you can wander round better. The Colloque was a great experience. There were about 50 people there, 37 men. Some folks I knew, such as Malcolm (Nantes), Alex (Lyon), Régis, Olivier, André, etc.. (Suisse), David (Grenoble), Yannick (Ai