Showing posts from October, 2011

Happy Toussaint !

This weekend is quiet here because it is the All Hallows Holiday. I know that sounds like something out of Harry Potter, but it is true. 1 November is All Saints' Day, or All Hallows, and that's why 31 October is sometimes called Hallowe'en. In France 1 November is a National Holiday, and because it falls on Tuesday this year that means lots of folks have gone away for the long weekend. I did meet up with a student on Saturday, and then was on taxi duty taking the kids here and there. At church yesterday we were a decent number, nevertheless, with some new students, too. The English Service was quieter because some of our regulars were away. Then today we did a big shopping expedition to BricoDepot to buy plasterboard and glass fibre to finish dry-lining the remaining walls in the church. We were a numerous gang and brought some chaos to the bank holiday weekend crowds at Brico-Depot. Meanwhile the kids went off with Harriette, our Dutch youth worker, to buy materials

You have to laff !


I LOVE France, I just LOVE France. It's the BEST, honestly, it is.

How many Welsh supermarkets suggested buying a bag of prunes to share with your mates while watching rugby ?

We went to see Tintin in VO (Version Originale)


On the way home from the supermarket,

that familiar crunch and absence of clutch pedal... Again.. Got home safely through crazy traffic. Thankful for safe conduct home and for PG Tips tea. ...


Some of you may have noticed that Alan has spent two weekends in Grenoble this month, one with all the family. This is because the Eglise Réformée Baptiste du Grésivaudan (  ) has asked us to consider with them the possibility of moving to Grenoble to take up ministry there. Please pray for the ensuing discussions and for wisdom and grace for all concerned.

A village near Grenoble and a sad wartime memorial

These photos were taken around a village near Grenoble. The memorial is very touching. It says : Opposite this cross Pierre RIBEAUD was mortally wounded by a bull on 6th August 1941. He was 72 years old and in the full strength of his age.

A Quiet Blog

The blog has been quiet because we have been on our travels again, this time all of us to Grenoble. We got back this evening. Normal blogging will be resumed as soon as possible !

Friday again ?!!?

that means getting set for the weekend. Today's big good news is that for the next two weeks it's Toussaint School Holidays, so no more getting up at 6am or 6:30 for a week or two. Hurrah ! However we do need to get Gwilym his first suit and formal shirts so he can suit up after Toussaint. Yesterday's English Class seemed to go great. About half the folk come to the café for conversation beforehand. Maybe people LIKE formal settings better... makes you think.

A new thought on plagiarism

Saw this quote from Dave Burke : Nick stuff; steal good ideas shamelessly from pastors and churches you know are good at what they do.  The Bible says that this is perfectly alright, “The things you have heard me say… entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” [2 Timothy 2:2].  Do not steal anything else; pastors ought to remember the 8 th  commandment. 

More on French suicides

I commented before on the number of suicides in big French firms like France Telecom. There's been another outbreak of suicides, this time by self-immolation, that is by pouring petrol over oneself and setting fire to it. A high-school maths teacher burnt herself to death in the yard of her school in Béziers. A 77 year-old lady set fire to herself in Talence, that's the next town to ours. These are very strong statements to make, public and violent.

Wimp !

"When do we light the wood-stove ?" (Alan) "I don't know, when it gets cold, it's not cold now, it's 20° in here, you know..." (Patricia) "Is it ?" (Alan, shivering)

We're thinking of going to see the film ( Attention ! En français !)


Good for nothing Monday

So the match, well let's not mention the match. Even the French coach isn't happy - he called his team 'sales gosses'. Then the funeral - Blaye is so different from Bordeaux - the little church building was packed with people and Dai the postman, our technical guy up there, had rigged up a speaker outside. We sang without accompaniment , "Compte les bienfaits de Dieu" and "J'entends ta douce voix" and people sang very well. It was a cheerful, hopeful funeral and I know Madeleine would have been happy with it. The cemetery was the nicest I've seen in France, too, out in the flat part of the Blayais, with a nice open sky. It kind of reminded me of Hawarden cemetery a bit. A lady asked if we were able to go back to her place for a coffee, but we had to rush back to Bordeaux for the Chinese meeting. The Chinese meeting was a joy as ever, four new folk. Chinese is easy to follow when people sing because one character = one word = one syllable.

The weekend ahead

As Pastors go, I'm a bit unconventional so it may have been a surprise to the funeral director that when he phoned I was on a bus. However, that's how I learnt that one of our "mamies" passed away yesterday. She had been ill lately and was perhaps about to give up her home and depend on family, but there was no hint of final illness or anything.  I had been thinking about French mamies, they are an impressive lot. Wonderful, strong women of conviction, ready to encourage the young, deeply thankful and with a very natural piety. Since the lady we just lost was born in 1920, it doesn't take a genius to link the catastrophes and triumphs of the 20th century and these ladies that all that experience has produced. This lady was always at church, zooming in with her zimmer frame from the taxi she shared with her friend who's even older than she. That's how to do it !  Dik was halfway to Holland when the funeral director called, so I'll be privileged to

Secret of a happy marriage

We never argue. How could we ? We've divided up the responsability for the various decisions we have to make. I make all the big decisions, like who should be president, whether to build new nuclear power stations and the route for the new TGV line. Pat makes all the small decisions, like where we should live, where I should work, whether to buy or rent a flat, etc. Simple.

Pourquoi notre vie de couple est si heureuse

C'est tellement simple ! On partage la responsabilité pour les décisions qu'il faut prendre. Moi je prends toutes les grandes décisions, comme qui doit être président, si on doit construire de nouvelles centrales nucléaires, la route de la ligne LGV... Ma femme prend toutes les petites décisions, comme où habiter, quoi faire comme boulot, acheter ou louer un appart et tout ça...

The week in view

Sunday morning I was preaching at the Eglise Baptiste de Caudéran, and the pastor there had invited us to eat with him and his family. It was a very agreeable time and Gwilym and Catrin stayed for the day - there was a concert on in the evening. Meanwhile at Cenon we had the English Service and there were some super new folk from every corner of the world. Monday morning was our special time - breakfast at Ikea for Pat and I. Tuesday the week gets under way with preparation and also planning for the first weekend of Toussaint when we plan to travel to the east as a family. Wednesday student surveys, then a visit to a church guy, then café philo planning, then étude biblique on Philippians. I'll eat a MacDonalds salad at lunchtime and I have a pot noodle thing and a banana for the evening. Thursday morning prayer-time with the student team, then student surveys, then prep for English class in the evening. Friday is prep for the weekend. I am to preach in English for the Ch

Vide grenier

Gwilym's school has a car boot sale today and we very foolishly said we'd have a table. The idea is to de-tat the house a little and maybe even sell our tat to other people. Some is, after all, British tat, and therefore has that exotic quality people are looking for in their purchases of tat. It starts at 8am though. I can't imagine that many parents will get there for 8. At present I can't imagine that we will, either ! Still it's something that we can do together as a whole family !

Why it's quicker coming back - attention ! en français !


Le spectre de la rose - Les nuits d'été (Berlioz) - Anne Sofie von Otter


Agua de beber

At the airport a 330ml bottle of water cost over 2€. That's so expensive, isn't it ! Imagine if every time you wanted a drink it cost 2€ just for the water ! We're amazingly lucky in this house. We have water piped to four different rooms, and it's all good drinking water. When we need to carry water with us we just put some in a bottle - it's all so easy. We pay for the water, but it's nowhere near the price of bottled water. I knew a couple who used to live in a house like my grandfather's, a house where there was no mains water. Their water was excellent - mountain spring water - but you had to take a bucket and walk to the spring to get it. Millions of people in the world don't have anywhere to get fresh water, not at any price or any distance. Today I'm thankful for water. And for all it represents. John 4 comes to mind.

Grenoble - mountain scenery


Grenoble, glacier and paragliders


Grenoble's 4th century Baptist heritage


Visit to Grenoble

A while ago I visited Lausanne to preach at the church there and to attend some preaching seminars given by Stuart Olyott, who has since become the pastor of our 'home church'. The Lausanne church is part of the nascent francophone reformed baptist movement, and it's been a great blessing to be in touch with these guys. This led to a visit to Grenoble to meet up with the church there and to preach on Sunday. Grenoble is a beautiful city, set at the confluence of two alpine valleys. The valley floor is at about 200 metres (or so I am told) but the mountains around rise to over 2000 metres, so you can imagine how dramatic the scenery is. I saw my first glacier from afar and was generally captivated by the beauty of it all. So that's why people fall in love with the Alps ! It was great to meet with the church, which dates back a little more than ten years and was planted by David Vaughn. David's is a name I have known for many years - he's well-known in RB circ

Grenoble also