Showing posts from June, 2012

The pain and the pleasure

House-hunting, eh ! It's so time-consuming and such a faff... So this morning we scuttled off to talk to an agency that Fiona has used and that might just consider renting to the Mitchells. The lady was very pleasant and we arranged to see a couple of places next Wednesday morning. Then we had an appointment at 2:30 to see a flat that I have visited before. It's the landlord who owns the FACflat that the FAC stagiaires stay in, and I think we got in touch with him via Robyn, and Irish language assistant who was here in Bordeaux with us a couple of years ago. I'd been to a barbecue on the terrace of the flat some time ago, and a very nice terrace it is, too. The kind of flat I can imagine retiring to with Mrs Davey if that's the kind of thing we one day do. Anyway there's one or two things to sort out, like when the flat will be available and so on. Then off to the bank to make an appointment to open a bank account. Now it's preparation time for Sunday.

Cockroaches, High Schools, Certificates of Radiation and Rentals

So the fridge broke down on our fridge-freezer. We took advice and were told that fixing it would typically be expensive. Huh. So we borrowed a fridge from a student that had been stored in the warehouse behind the church. They want to sell it but were happy for us to use it while we decided what we ought to do. I returned from the UK on Monday and Pat said, "I find frozen insects in that fridge." I looked. Cockroaches ! Then we found a live cockroach. YUK ! So the fridge is going back to the warehouse and the house smells of insecticide. I hope we have caught it quickly and early enough to avoid an infestation. Meanwhile this morning Catrin got her dossier to fill in and return next Tuesday or Wednesday for Lycée François Magendie. Great. It's almost 1/2 inch thick. Most of it we can do, though some things are sadly impossible (livret de famille, etc...) And we also need a Certificate de Radiation from her collège. Should have seen that coming. Meanwhile the Mi

Blogging is a bit sporadic at the moment

The two weeks of church visits were quickly followed by a missions weekend at Cwmbrân which seemed to go OK, though I had a slight problem with my voice - a bit like a bronchitis that didn't hurt... It was overcome by the mike men and has completely left me now. My return on Monday was swiftly followed by a visit from one of the Deeside elders and his wife, who arrived yesterday. Today we'll take them into Bordeaux to show them the beautiful city. This evening we greet Tim and Suzanne who will camp in our garden while looking for a flat to live in while they study French at the DEFLE from September. Meanwhile Catrin has official confirmation that she's going to Lycée François Magendie American Section from September, and she has her Brevet exams on Thursday and Friday (GCSE equivalent). Saturday we have a day of planning and discussion of the church council, then I preach for the Chinese . (no, on 7 July !) Sunday am I preach in French and pm in English. Also need

A photomontage impression of this past fortnight in the UK


Fatherhood: The Core of the Universe

Fatherhood: The Core of the Universe

Deputation visits June 2012

I have just returned from my deputation visits.  Here's some initial impressions : I arrived in the UK on Jubilee Weekend. From where I stood the jubilee was a splendid occasion for the UK. I don't think that I have ever found the country so endearing. I was a bit underwhelmed by the Olympic torch thing, though. The churches I visited are all so different : churches meeting in schools, in huge buildings, in old chapels, in new hi-tech premises. Churches in cities, in towns, in villages. Meetings with HUNDREDS of people, meetings with fewer than 20 people. I think in all the churches there was a tremendous optimism and joy. People seem content in God. It was a great opportunity to spend a little time with our home church, including two sessions in Bethany Books (meet the non-author !), visits to some folks who are shut-in or unwell, an elders' meeting, etc... We're so very thankful for the folks at Christchurch Deeside. Everyone seems to be having trouble with

Bethany Books

On Thursday morning I'll be holding court in Bethany Books. If you are available and in the Shotton area it would be great to see you.

The joys of motoring.

Cars... Hmmm... In Cardiff my hosts' car is in dock having a head gasket renewed. Their loan car refused to start on Sunday so we lugged my bag through the streets of South Cardiff to the school where the church meets. The car I am borrowing in North Wales has a badly cracked windscreen and cannot be used till Wednesday. Meanwhile my hosts' car refused to start last night with an intermittent fault. This car will now convey me to Newtown this evening. And in Bordeaux the clutch on our car has started making clunking noises. I suggested to Pat that she use it only in case of necessity.

The joys of train travel

So to come from Cardiff up to North Wales I chose the 17:21 Holyhead train. No need to change. Straight through from Cardiff to Shotton. At Hereford we were told that two trains were now hitched together so could we please all move into the first three carriages. So we did. Then the announcer on the train told us were going to Manchester Piccadilly. This perturbed me somewhat. The guard came through and I said,"I used to be on the Holyhead train." "Don't worry. We'll sort it all out at Shrewsbury." And they did. We returned to our hindmost carriages, we're given a free drink, and I arrived in Shotton just 11 minutes late.

Visits to UK - the first weekend

I arrived on the Saturday of Jubilee weekend to find the entire UK looking resplendent, bedecked in bunting !

Arrival in England

The villages look pretty with their bunting and their flags. Everything is ready for the street parties and the river pageant today. But the weather's grotty. Grey and damp. Meanwhile I preach and review a book at Widcombe this morning and then take the 3:20 to Cardiff where I'll be with our friends in the Bay this evening. Missing my family. I hope they're all ok.

A while ago the air-con in the car stopped working.

The little light on the button on the dash didn't light up at all. AND the courtesy light in the front stopped working. AND the cigar lighter sockets stopped working. hhmmmmmm. A fuse ? Maybe, but which one ? Anyway today it's like really hot and stuff, so I went to the car fuse shop and stared at the handbook and guessed which one it would be and bought some - 3.29€ for eight, I think, and then came home and tried to work out how to get at the fuses and eventually found out how and got out the relevant fuse and yes, it had blown. A new fuse inserted, the air con light comes on. Pat and the kids will be very pleased.

Packed and hoping

that my bag is OK as hand luggage. It's quite squishable, so if I have to get it in the size gauge box thingie I am sure I can squish it in !

October church visits taking shape

While preparing and packing to leave tomorrow I thought it might be wise to contact churches about October. Folks have been quick to reply, so I'll begin in Scotland then move south as far as Bradford. It's great to see it taking shape and I'll get to visit Newcastle for the first time ! It's very confusing, though, for my poor little grey cell !


We've been finishing off the year in the English Services by doing Christianity Explained. With a bit of creative adaptation it works quite well in the context of our semi-formal, semi-informal evening service : Song, Bible study, song, talk, song, dicussion and prayer, song. We'd anticipated doing the same kind of thing to begin next year, following up with perhaps a short series of messages on Ephesians. I'd been hoping to find a DVD of Rico's talks when I come to the UK. However then I was alerted to the existence of "Identity", a seven-session course based on John's gospel. We've watched the videos online and we're keen to try it. 1) It's based on John's gospel, more evangelistic in purpose than Mark's. (That might provoke discussion...) 2) It has downloadable videos, with English subtitles ! Great for a group where many are second-language English speakers and where we run on a shoestring. It seems to us that the videos ar

Von Grafenstein & Munzert: Laurent Boutros, Amasia


Maria de Liderlam

I'm generally pretty good at keeping my composure but sometimes I just can't... One example was at the music school a while ago. Catrin was singing with her solfège group. That was OK. Then a lady drummer had brought her husband, a blues guitarist and singer, and a friend on bass to accompany her. The guy announced that they would be doing various blues, the first based on well-known children's rhymes. "You'll recognise them", he said," it begins with Maria de Liderlam ". He started singing. My brain started trying to work it out. Slowly it came. Maria de Liderlam... Marie 'ad a leeder lam. Mary had a little lamb. I started laughing. I fought hard but it was stronger than me. So I had to leave the room quickly, find a quiet place outside, laugh uproariously then make my way back to the room.