Showing posts from February, 2012

Renouveler les abonnements au réseau bus et tram

Ce matin j'ai fait trois abonnements au réseau tram et bus pour Catrin, Patricia et pour moi. On fera des grandes économies et maintenant on peut circuler n'importe où dans les bus et les trams de Bordeaux ! La dame m'a dit que les abonnements marche d'aujourd'hui. "Génial, ça ! Ça veut dire qu'il faut renouveler que tous les quatre ans !" "Ah non, tous les ans le 29 février." "Mais il y en a pas tous les ans..." "Eh ouais, mais dans ce cas là je suis sûr qu'ils feront le 28..." "Malin, non..."



Next Week

is the BIG MOVE ! In a weak moment I promised Gwilym that if we didn't move to Grenoble then he and I could swap rooms.  At present I have the best bedroom in the house for my study. We did that because the kids were young when we moved here so we thought it best if we sleep next to the front door. We also thought that a balcony and a 10-year-old boy were not a good combination. I told him that I would keep my word and so we have a lot of furniture and books to move next week from one bedroom into another. Thankfully both on the same floor !

The recipe we use for Tartiflette, from

La vraie Tartiflette Plat principal Très facile : Bon marché : Préparation : 15 min Cuisson : 1 h Ingrédients (pour 4 personnes) : - 1 kg de pommes de terre - 200 g de lardons fumés - 200 g d'oignons émincés - 1 reblochon bien fait (lorsqu'on appuie sur le côté du reblochon, le doigt doit s'enfoncer un peu) - huile (2 cuillères à soupe) - ail, sel, poivre Préparation : Eplucher les pommes de terre, les couper en dés, bien les rincer, et les essuyer dans un torchon propre. Faire chauffer l'huile dans une poêle, pour y faire fondre les oignons; rajouter ensuite les pommes de terre. Faire dorer tous les côtés des dés de pommes de terre, rajouter les lardons, et finir de cuire. D'autre part, gratter la croûte du reblochon et le couper en deux (ou en quatre). Préparer un plat à gratin en frottant le fond et les bords avec de l'ail. Préchauffer le four à 200°C (thermostat 6-7). Dans le plat à gratin, verser une couche de pommes de terre aux lardon

You've heard of Jim Eliot. Have you heard of Bert ?


Systematic Theology and Exegesis

Should your reading of a passage of Scripture be informed by your systematic theology ? David Murray talks about that here .

Saint David's Day came early to the English Class

While I was scuttling hither and yon on Wednesday our little Dutch boy (who incidentally is about 6' 3", 1m 91 at age 16) was busy working in the garden. He sorted our logs, piling them all up by the door ready to burn. He cut the grass and took the collapsed wisteria arch to the dump along with the Christmas tree and other debris (including the little pile of bay tree clippings I was saving for barbecues, but hey...) They enjoyed eating lunch in the gleaming, sparkling garden. Well the worker is worthy of his fun, so on Thursday Harriette took the Dutch kids and our kids to the Dune de Pyla, bigger than any of the mountains in Holland. Meanwhile I got set for the English Class which this week celebrated St David's Day with a little clip from 'The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain' about Welsh nicknames, a quiz that peopel did surprisingly well in, and a heated debate about minority languages. If the class got its way then Norway would abol

Wednesday is sometimes quite a full day

In the morning we were busy preparing the Passerelles evangelistic Bible study. After that I ate my lunch and then scuttled off to the church. Before the prayer meeting on Tuesday I'd put up some net curtains I got from Ikea to give a bit more privacy in the business end of the church and I hoped to cut them to length. They're non-fray so hopefully all I needed was a good pair of scissors - I could cut along the weave. However when I got there I found that the plaster-board man was busy working, that the curtains didn't have the kind of weave you can cut along, and that we needed to ensure the sound system would work OK for the film night that night. So I checked the speakers again with the microphone. Fine, both working. Then with music from my phone. Ah ! problem, only the one channel was working. A bit of jiggery pokery followed trying this socket and that, this setting and that. Then I wondered if the cable was caput. A hunt revealed three more cables, two short a

Sunday and Kids club start

Sunday went off OK, I think. We were invited to eat at Harriette's house with the Dutch contingent who had come to help with the kids club - three young people : Els, Heleen and Pieter-Paul, with Pieter-Paul's mother, and also with some other folk from the church who were helping with the club. The evening service lots of our usuals were away, it being university holidays, but our numbers were swelled by the dutch who all have serviceable English. The Kids club took place on Monday and Tuesday and seemed to go off pretty well, with more kids on Tuesday than on Monday.

The coming week

Kids Club Monday and Tuesday. We have a little Dutch boy staying with us - he's come to help with the club. In the student work it's the busy week, with more preparation to do. However I have use of the car in the evenings so there'll be less late-night parading around to do.

Weekend in view

This week has been the quieter week. In addition we've had the visit of Andrew and Heather Lytle from Nantes AND  I have been banned from late night wanderings by Mrs Davey who is keen for my lungs to recover from the hammering they took recently. In fact a lot of folk are unwell, either from this nasty cold or from an even nastier stomach flu. The stomach flu is over quicker, but I think the symptoms are more unpleasant. Now this weekend there's just the morning service at Cenon in French and the evening in English. Fair amount of preparation to do today, though !

PJB concert with TapSwing

Last night we did our first concert of 2012 at the Salle Bellegrave in Pessac in association with the TapSwing school of dance. We did a concert with them some years ago and it was wonderful to blast out our swing numbers while people threw each other round the floor. Last night was a bit more low-key, though the Salle Bellegrave is a BIG HALL. Concerts can be frustrating experiences. There's lots of waiting around for the sound engineers, for example. But having a snack laid on helps (!) as does the chance to chat about stuff in general. We were one singer down - no François-Marie - so Laetitia had to carry the sung items including the grand finale - As long as I'm singing , which ends with a real blast. She rose magnificently to the occasion, and the TapSwing folk were easily our most appreciative audience ever. Also we fielded five trombones and we played well.

Spring is here.

Well the sun us shining. It's Saturday AND school holidays. Catrin is due to go to the cinema with a friend today, but she doesn't know at what time. Gwilym's plans include a fair amount of sleep, I think. They both had good experiences on, their work experience. Gwilym, as usual, came home with a very kind gift from his boss - this time a Zoom H1 digital recorder ! (He says I can borrow it.) Somewhat sadly, the place where he did his experience is closing down in the next few weeks. (Astute readers will link the boss' generosity with the closure of the store, though Gwilym assures me that it is more to do with Virgin Megastore's plans for the top floor of their building...) He's due to do another stage of, I think, four weeks later in the year, so he'll have to try and find somewhere else for that.

Good news after the thaw !

Well, it's not THAT good, but it's not BAD news ! Last night at the prayer meeting it was obvious that the heaters (reversible air-conditioners) were working fine. This seems to confirm what I have heard, that when the temperature REALLY plummets the heat-pumps in reversible aircons can't extract any heat to pump into your building. Hence the heating hardly worked at all at the weekend. Now, however, toasty-warm once more. Then after the prayer-meeting I rushed into the kitchen and opened the hot and cold taps, then into the yard and opened the outside tap, then into the warehouse and turned the water back on. Result ! The taps all flowed, no leaks, the water heater heated the water fine and the toilet flushed again. Yippeeee !

Vincent Lucas - Trockne Blumen - Schubert - Part two

Another thing I like about this guy is that he holds his flute like Bob Dawes, my first flute teacher taught me to, I only had about three lessons with Bob before moving to Cardiff, so eventually went back to a more usual hold. I like the lightness, humour and good sense of this interpretation.

Hmm. Maybe what I heard or read was true...

The church is heated by two reversible air-conditioning units. I have heard that these work very well when the external temperature is moderately cold, but that in extreme cold they can't cope because they work by "pumping heat" from the outside of the building inside. If it's too cold outside they can't extract any heat. Well this may be true, because over the weekend it was extremely cold in Bordeaux and on Saturday evening the heating seemed to have little effect. Sunday morning was the same, so I pumped it up to its maximum setting and left it on all day till the evening service - in theory bringing the room up to 31°C. Well they didn't. Nowhere near ! I think we'll need something extra for cold snaps at least !

Schubert, variations on Trockne Blumen, Vincent Lucas, flute.

I so want to get my flute-playing going again. I was working through this piece at one time. I remember Mary the Flute saying "I think you'll find it sits beneath the fingers quite nicely." Yeah. I have noticed that nobody seems to do all the repeats. It would be SO LONG with all the repeats. Still. This is just part 1. It's almost 20 minutes without all the repeats ! I don't normally like players who move too much, but I like this guy's playing a lot. When the music is martial he stands to attention. Sometimes he takes a big step sideways. Sometimes he goes over and plays to the pianist. It's charming !

Weekend frolics

Stinking cold reached its climax, with coughing, spluttering and other joyous explosions. I sneaked into the Chinese meeting just in time to finish off some stewed vegetables with very strong chillies and then do my talk on Mark 7, the syrophoenician woman and the deaf-mute man. Then I scuttled off home to bed. We were just about to leave the house on Sunday morning when "Aaaarrrggghhhhh" came the sickening cry from the bedroom. Pat had done a false move and her back was in spasm. We left Catrin as nurse and Gwilym and I zoomed off to church. AM my voice almost gave up shortly into the morning service because I sang. Stupid me. So I got some coffee and gave up singing till after the message. Héber read my reading for me and the message went OK except that subjugué in French has changed meaning since I learnt it ! It means captivated by someone's charm - entranced... You have to say assujetti or mis sous le joug . Oh well, it'll be sorted for when I preach that mes

Some snowy photos


Repas en commun annulé

We had scheduled a meal together at church tomorrow but sadly we've had to cancel it. The water supply into the church is frozen so there's no water getting to the kitchen sink OR (and more relevantly) the toilets. Oh well. It won't last. The weather is due to change from this weekend.


Purcells's setting of "In the midst of life we are in death" for the funeral of Queen Mary in 1694.

Oh dear - I saw it coming - I have a stinking cold

It probably comes from parading round Bordeaux in sub-zero temperatures late at night. Although clad in two scarves, cap, hood, quilted leather coat (bargain ! 22€ from Auchan some years ago) etc... you still have to breathe the cold air in, don't you... Oh well. It won't last and the weather is due to change a little from this weekend. And apparently it isn't even exterminating the microbes....


It was -4 in Bordeaux this morning. Yes, I know it was colder where you are, but you're not in the South of France, are you? Big snowflakes were falling in the middle of town as I hurtled off to the FAC flat to prepare for the evangelistic Bible study tonight. I was concerned for a while because if it snows the trams and buses can't run, and I could end up stuck in the middle of Bordeaux. I was glad when the snow stopped. The problem is that we're not set up for it, we're not used to it, we're not insulated for it, we're not heated for it, basically we're longing for next week when the balmy weather returns and we can start having barbecues again. Still. At least all the microbes are being exterminated.

Farewell friends

One of the special things about ministry in Bordeaux is the amount of coming and going, especially in the English-speaking congregation. It means you make lots of new friends and you have LOTS of Facebook friends. However it also means that three months after people leave you just can't remember what they looked like. (Be aware, however, that the man who writes this is the man who once said in the street, "Have you met my wife, ..., what is your name, again, dear?"...) Anyway all this to introduce today's farewell lunch for the Lam family. I remember going with Mr Lam to the housing office at the mairie in Pessac. I didn't hold out much hope, but two weeks later he had a flat all ready for his wife and child to join him here. He's been led a merry dance with his carte de séjour - during his three years as a PhD student he's had a card valid for 3 months, 6 months, 3 months again, etc. etc.. They're off to Germany for a year and it doesn't s

I hate it when somebody tries to con me

even when it's not a huge sum of money and when I catch them out. A guy phoned, saying he came from a church in a city in Spain. He wanted to meet up immediately. "What do you need ?", I asked. "Just to meet up immediately", he said. So I went to meet him and left my wallet at home. I had some loose change for a coffee if necessary. He told me his story, again citing his church and adding the pastor's name. I wrote them down. He said he needed 40€ and he needed it now. I said, "But I asked you what you need. I don't have my wallet with me ! I only have 2€ here." He said "Oh well", and walked away quickly. I went home and looked for his church and pastor. The church exists but it's not at all the name of the pastor. The golden rule. If someone really needs money they'll let you check their story and accept a rendezvous to get the dosh. If someone's conning you they want it now. Tomorrow is too late.

Sunday snow day

Well they forecast snow. "Yeah, yeah", I thought. But when I got up, there was snow. Hmm. Snow and ice are so rare here that the roads don't get gritted. After all, why spend all that money on buying big wagons and storing loads of grit and maintaining the wagons in good order just to use them perhaps once every five years or so ? Isn't it better to give everyone a snow day ? Thus it was that I phoned our person in Anglade and together we agreed that the service there should be cancelled. I then phoned Patrick, who was due to preach at Cenon, and we cancelled there too. SMS messages to everyone. Then we wondered for the English Service in the evening. We hunted for a video message on youtube. We decided on R C Sproul  Afterwards a bit of fun in the snow with the neighbours. By 13h people were needing to know about the evening. There were still no buses or trams anywhere in the city, and almost everyone comes by tram.

Free Concert at the Médiathèque

The Médiathèque Jacques Ellul at Pessac has monthly free lunchtime concerts. This month it was a group called "Scotch Mist" who play ... well ... Scottish and Irish music. One of the guys is actually Scottish. He explained that these are not Scots bagpipes but border pipes.

Brrrr. But we were in the warm for the Bible study

It's hard to haul yourself off through the freezing dark streets. However for Café Philo on Wednesday we were quite a good gang, we must have been almost 20 people. The subject under discussion was conformism, a subject chosen by one of te folk who come long. On Thursday evening for the advanced English we were four, but four of quality. Friday lunchtime saw the believers' Bible Study group grow a little, from five last week to six this week but with a couple of absences. No Church Councils or anything this week, so it's been much more calm and we've been able to plan the year ahead a little. We have decided to go to the Aber Conference together, Gwilym in his youth flat. We started a new little project, too. Friday morning "surgery" at the church. I say "surgery" because it's aimed at getting to know - and be known by - the folk who pass the church every day. This week I huddled in the window soaking up the sunshine, then made a quick

Une implantation d'église à Loches, dans la Touraine

Lisez l'article du Monde ici.

A Helpful Article

Here's a helpful article, though it did make me wonder why the course is entitled ST101 Theological Prolegomena and why for the course they're using R C Sproul's book "The Holiness of God".  It is that one ?  But the article is very helpful !

Trusting God, by Jerry Bridges

Christian Audio's free audio-book download this month is a must-have.  Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. Get it here . Imagine how useful this could be - you could buy the cheapest MP3 player,  load it on and loan it to folks long-term ill or unable to read for some reason or other. You could listen to it chapter by chapter with folk and discuss afterwards. And it's free !

Snow at Bordeaux this morning

Not a lot but there have been a few flakes.

Planning for the summer

It's very cold here in Bordeaux. We're having frosts every night at the moment ! But the thought of the summer is keeping us going ! In June I hope to make some visits to churches and to focus on Wales. So today I need to work out dates. If I can it would be great to be in Wales at the time of the Bala conference. Then in July we will visit the UK on holiday. The kids want to go on camp again, of course, and Gwilym hopes to go to the UFM Family Conference and to the Aber Conference. We will need to do some talking with folks before we can be clear about dates for us all, but something ought to be possible. I also want to send off a short supplementary prayer update.

Fabric at Ikea

I popped to Ikea yesterday to get some net curtains for the church window - temporary measure. The fabrics department is a shambles - they're reorganising it - so no net curtains, but I did see this fabric which I think is wonderful. I'd love to get some and make a couple of screens or something.