Showing posts from November, 2012

Thursday was a day for meeting up with people in the city centre

This is my office. The lady serving was a bit surprised when I was back in the afternoon meeting up with someone else. But it's a nice place to meet, comfortable with enough privacy to talk. It was cold at lunchtime but lunch in a café is expensive so I got a sandwich from a supermarket in one of the shopping malls then sat on some steps to eat it, along with about 5 or 6 other people !


So at the synode we discussed what we had for breakfast. I'd had a nice standard French breakfast of really nice fresh bread with super fig jam and black coffee. A colleague had had instant coffee (shudder... ) and those dry toast things... So what do you normally have ? Qu'est-ce que tu prends d'habitude ? Always porage. (Flocons d'avoine) Des flocons d'avoine tous les jours. Oh, that's really nice, oatflakes. You can use them to thicken soup, too. Kwakawat. Mais c'est bon, les flocons d'avoine. On peut les ajouter aux soupes, aussi. Kwakawat. Sorry ? Comment ? Kwakawat. It's a brand. Kwakawat. C'est une marque.

Kids' Club, etc.

Pat's at church helping with a fortnightly Wednesday afternoon Kids' Club. When Gwilym gets home I have to trim his hair, then we'll go off to get a replacement wood-burning stove. I'm quite excited about this stove - it will take longer logs then our old one and the cost of the stove is less than the cost of the spare parts we needed to repair our old one (the grate burned through...) It's been a bit of a saga waiting for it to come in to our local DIY store - but it's there now and we should be able to get it (and fit it ?) this afternoon. If I have trouble fitting it our old stove fitter said to call him and he'll come and sort it out for us. Then we have the FAC AGM at the FacFlat in the middle of town this evening.

La prise de sang

So it's time for my annual blood test to check cholesterol, PSA, diabetes, etc. etc. I have also had a letter to suggest I do a test for occult blood, but I have to get the doctor's signature to do that. I phoned for an appointment but she said to go straight away and I forgot to take the letter with me. Bof. Still, she was a happy doctor. The blood test results will come this afternoon. If there's anything that needs poking around then she'll phone.

Synode Régional

I've always thought that Synod was an interesting word. If you try to understand it by breaking it down into its component parts you don't go far wrong, do you. Syn. Od. Synod. Anyway the Synode Régional was in the charming and remote town of Rieubach, near the Mas d'Azil way down in the Ariège. Here's a few photos. Synodes are not good places for the tummy or the wasteline as people try to present the best of their regional cuisine and also to make people feel at home. I don't know quite how this one worked out, but the first meal we had was a wonderful choucroute . The second was andouillette , but by that time I was feeling the need for lightness, so I stuck to the "salade de magret de canard" starter and let the "pigs guts sausage in a savoury onion casserole" pass me by. I did crack for a marvellously aromatic cheese that looked so innocent but had a strong element of ammonia. It was delicious spread with the local fig j

Best books on the Olivet discourse ?

What have you found helpful, folks?

A nice mild November and a gentle Tuesday

It really has been wonderful weather here. Especially good as we wait for a wood-stove to be delivered to Leroy-Merlin ! They said it would be there last week but it wasn't. The afternoons are warm and sunny. The mornings have a certain nip in the air and the evening is a little chilly. We put the heating on in the evenings but really we're very comfortable. After the excitement of a very full weekend I was pretty jiggered yesterday with a dry throat and an irritating cough. Today I have more energy so I'm back on the case with emails flying to the right, to the left and a long skype call this morning. I've also been doing a bit of planning and reflecting, not too much, just what is necessary. We'll be writing a prayer letter soon, and for that I asked for a bit of clarification from the mission about finances and so on. I've also been ordering some books that I should have ordered a while ago. Catching up generally. This evening prayer meeting. A good Tue

PJB at the Salle Galet

A video filmed by Mrs Davey on my phone - sorry for the dodgy sound !

Phew - what a weekend !

Saturday morning - Church membership class Saturday afternoon - Conference on immigration Saturday evening - Concert with PJB Sunday morning - Preaching at Anglade Sunday evening - English fellowship chez nous. Some good news from the weekend : 1) We begin services in the centre of Blaye on 2 December 2) We also have the prospect of a monthly Bible Study in the heart of Blaye. 3) Attendance almost doubled for the English fellowship with some new folk coming along. Some will come back. Some almost certainly won't, but we need to work out how to move back to the church. Now I am having a quiet Monday and hoping the dryness in my throat sorts itself out !

Francis Schaeffer (Bitesize Biographies) by Mostyn Roberts

As a student in the 1980s I cut my teeth on Francis Schaeffer, reading the big classic, watching the series of films and being aware and shaped in a way by his analysis of the direction in which Western culture was going. "True Spirituality" was always my favourite Schaeffer book, and later contact with his family ensured that his influence on the scene I lived in continued. So it's been fascinating to read Mostyn Roberts' little biography . I know Mostyn and this has added to my enjoyment - now and again his dry sense of humour comes through. It was good to place Schaeffer's formative years in context - the context of the huge battles for orthodoxy - and now as a missionary pastor in France the later battle with neo-orthodoxy is just as live an issue today as it was then. Maybe more so. Schaeffer the man is portrayed sensitively as well as his real dependence on and need for Edith's complementary gifts and character. And just in case you were won

This sign appeared just down the road from the church

A new covered market under the flyer-over just about 50 metres from the church ! Whoopppeeeeee !

On the impossibility of mastering the French language

The more time goes on the more convinced I am that the French language does not yield. You can never master it. French will be nobody's mistress. No sir. Just yesterday in the few little chores I had to do first thing in the morning : 1) I managed to massacre the conjugation of a fairly simple verb. An irregular verb, it's true, but no great shakes. However I messed it up good and proper. 2) I invented a past participle that does not exist. Again a straightforward verb. We are not talking about the subjunctive of paître here. An ordinary, everyday verb. 3) I fouled up a gender, making something masculine instead of feminine. La physique is Physics. Le physique is your physique. Folks often say I have good French. That's very kind and of course I like it when people say that. It's encouraging. But of course, the goal is to have an unremarkable French. One where it just doesn't enter people's heads whether your French is good or bad, it is just tran

Proof of Wales' status as a colonial power


Morning chores

Yesterday being calmer it meant I could catch up on some things that had been waiting for me, like paying some cheques into the bank and paying for Catrin's singing lessons at the music school and so on. Yes. So I sorted things out and then this morning walked over through the park to the post office and bank. It is hard to describe how lovely this November has been so far. Last night the temperature dropped to just about 10°, in the house it stayed at about 19° all day so we didn't bother putting the heating on overnight. The grass in the park is a super green and the trees are all turning colour. Today there's a lovely blue sky and when I got in from my errands I took off my coat and jumper because it's so pleasant. The bank was easy, the music school was understanding. "I knew I hadn't done everything connected with Catrin's singing lessons !" 'Yes - after seeing the teacher you are supposed to come and pay.' Doh ! So instead of te

The weekend ahead

Today seems so calm and normal. So far. Anyway it's time to get on with preparation for the weekend ! It's a full one. Friday evening - Home Group for Bordeaux Centre / South. Saturday afternoon - Conference at the church on outreach to Muslims Saturday evening - Concert with the Pessac Jazz Band at the Salle Galet in Pessac Sunday morning - Preaching at Anglade Sunday evening - English Service at our house Better get down to it !

Another drama over

Plumbers have been. Fixed the leak. Restored the water. Covered by insurance. Phew.

What about that then !

We got this guy coming to the church at the weekend to do an afternoon on outreach to Muslims and to preach on the Sunday. And whaddayaknow ! He's a trombonist and his wife's a flautist !

Careful with Ryanair and Hertz

During my deputation trip in October I hired a car from Hertz via the Ryanair website. It cost £308, which I thought was not bad considering I had almost 11000 miles to do. However that £308 is not the cost of hiring the car from Hertz. What you actually buy is a "Voucher Credit" of £308 which you can put against the cost of hiring a car. The actual cost of hiring the car ended up being £449. That's almost half as much again. So be careful. Apart from that the flight was fine, the cabin crew were friendly, everything else was great.

Here's a Wednesday morning ditty


From the prayer meeting to where ....?

The prayer meeting was an interesting time, with lots of discussion about the upcoming legalisation of homosexual marriage, etc. etc. We finished early enough for everyone to get home through the November chill and left the building. Yesterday was a glorious day. In the afternoon the lizards were basking in the sun, it was like a nice English summer's day. Not hot but pleasant, and the sun was hot. By the evening it was chilly and I regretted dressing for afternoon and not for night. Still. I'd be home by 10 past 10; The tram came and we set off, only to break down one stop along. Technical problems as far as Hotel de Ville. So we set off like the flock of little lambs we were to catch the bus. First the 45 to the station. It came and took us along the right bank water front, past the white vans with their little red lights to the Pont Saint Jean with its view of the gorgeous buildings and Napoloen's Pont de Pierre. Such misery and such elegance side by side. That&#

Student and Eurotoit

So I had a meeting at 3 with a student at the town hall. We found each other - I was wearing my red jacket but he was in black, grey and jeans like everyone else. Saw a few other folk I know, too. He needed to get a Bible so we staggered off to the Maison de la Bible. We chatted about the possibilities of making a few changes here and there, as Bethany Books has done in Shotton. Then we zoomed to the Café Cheverus where I used to do the Advanced English Classes so long ago ! (like in June...) We read together, talked and prayed. Then off to the church to meet a roofer (Eurotoit) who might fix our leaks. ( New ceiling but the roof is leaky ! ) His proposal sounds alarmingly expensive to me, but then what do I know, and he's going to give us a quote anyway. After he went I spent some time reading Mostyn Roberts' charming biography of Francis Shaeffer ( IV ) then got some grub to eat before the prayer meeting.

Plumbing adventure - continued

Well after a few calls to various people the man from Lyonnaise des Eaux came in his van, a young guy in his twenties, very polite and efficient. He got out a metal detector and searched for the meter. And in fact it had not been taken , it had been buried . We dug away and got at it, cleaned it out and turned off the water. What a relief ! Interesting, though. That means our water meter has not been read for a very long time and, in my humble opinion, neither has our neighbour's - it was full of gravel and muck and I had to clean it out before turning off her water. I suggested to her last night that the meter readers had been submitting rélevés fictifs ... So now we await a visit from our plumber to sort out the leaky pipe. I hope that it is a pipe that feeds a hose buried under the lawn that rises to a tap in next door's garden. If so then we can just seal it off and have done with it, and the neighbours will be glad. I've been trying to get that sorted for years

OK, our neighbour's home

and what we think is our stop-cock cuts off her water... She and her husband reckon that when the firm installed the pool they didn't touch either water meter, but she can see that one meter is missing and she understands me when I say it disappeared when the pool was installed. They think that the builder moved it when they built the two new houses in front... So do we have a water meter ? And if so where ? And how do we cut off our water ? Confused ? Join the club ! Anyway tomorrow morning we'll call the water company and get them to tell us where they read our meter.

More plumbing adventures

OK, so this morning Pat said, "Can you come here a minute, Alan..." - words I always dread. There was water flowing from a pipe covered by a kind of concrete cover just outside out back door. I called the plumber and we tried to cut the water off. We didn't manage to cut the water off - no tap or stop cock made any difference at all. And what is more, our water meter is not turning. Never mind, the plumber's coming. He came, he saw, he said "It's got me beat." Basically until next door has their swimming pool installed there were two water meters and stop cocks at the beginning of our drive. When the pool got installed they moved one of them. Theirs, I assumed. (Fool not to check !) Now it appears possible that they moved the wrong meter and stop cock and have, in effect, got two meters and stop-cocks on their water inlet and there's neither water meter not stop cock on our supply. Since we pay by direct debit the same payment every m

And the next plumbing crisis !

There's some kind of leak under the kitchen window outside the house. OK. The plumber will call later this afternoon.

Some photos of the student weekend


Some photos of the town of Maubourguet


Some photos of the premises at Maubourguet


GBU weekend

This weekend I have been the speaker on a GBU houseparty. The GBU or Groupes Bibliques Universitaires are the equivalent of the CUs in Britain. This was a regional weekend for the GBU of Bordeaux, Toulouse and Pau, an area bigger than Wales and having more than a quarter of a million students. The region is served by one staff-worker, Julie. I was amazed at how hard she works and her enthusiasm for the student work ! At the same time she  is as tired and over-stretched as you would imagine. In addition to this, because her financial support is insufficient she's told that she ought to work part-time. Please pray. I suggested that she consider linking to a mission and widening her support-base in the UK. Meanwhile on the weekend there were some 40 folk, happy students, being encouraged to share the gospel with their friends by reading Luke and Acts with them, being challenged to pray for their friends and to see the gospel flourish in Universities. Some super lads from Camero

Two can play that game

ring, ring ! "Hallo, is that Mr Alan Davey ? This is Microsoft Windows Support Department." "Oh yeah, OK, no thank you." "Uh what happened ? what happened ? what happened ? what happened ? what happened..?" (Alan thinks - "Crazy man..! still, if that's the game") "are you really Microsoft ? are you really Microsoft ? are you really Microsoft ? are you really Microsoft ?" Guy hangs up. I must think these phone calls through. Surely it can't be that hard to get from "Your computer is broken and we need to sell you some rubbish over the phone" to "your life is broken and you need something more radical than dodgy software to put things right..." OK he might still put the phone down, but you never know...

I like these times when things go well

I hope it continues ! 1) the walls have dried out after our waste water outlet catastrophe. This means we can proceed with putting up some toile de verre and painting the hall and kitchen. Yellow in the hall. Pale blue in the kitchen. Perhaps with yellow stencilling. I wasn't at all sure that the walls were drying out but on Monday I had a really good feel and I am now sure. 2) the wood-stove needs some spare parts that amount to more than the cost of a new stove. I called our stove fitter and he said "Oh yes, at that price buy a new stove." so I just phoned the stovemonger. The website says they can get one in three weeks. OK. Not wonderful but we could cope with that. The stovemonger's man, however, said they have one coming in on Friday or Monday. Crackerjack ! The stove fitter said "You can fit the new stove yourself, you don't need me, but if you get stuck just call me and I'll sort it out for you and it won't cost much." Then we n

Our support levels - good news

I spoke to the mission on Monday and got some good news. Earlier this year our support was in serious deficit. We peaked (troughed ?) at several thousand pounds in debt to the mission. Things were serious. We needed a large increase in support to repay the debt to the mission and to enable us to continue here. So we scheduled the June and October church visits to help meet this need - normally I do one visit of two weeks, three weekends a year. This year it was two visits like that. I began to wonder how we could continue. Well we are now actually in the black. We are no longer in debt to the mission. It doesn't yet mean any changes to our situation here in France - we still can't change our minds about running a car, for example, but maybe that will change in the future.

Being productive

The other day a pastor colleague was talking about how often he felt his day was unproductive, or at least that there was seldom a finished product, a concrete achievement to point to. In the shower this morning I was thinking over his remarks and how I NEVER feel like that. On the contrary, one of the things I LOVE about being a missionary pastor is how frequently there is a result ! Maybe my previous work experience has something to do with it. I was telling someone else the other day that I have been positively vetted and signed the Official Secrets Act. It was way back in the 1980s when I had a brief but glorious time as an Assembly Language programmer doing extensions to system software for a military application. I had three months to write a subroutine that told you if a computer user had pressed a key. Three months. To get one little piece of code working and integrated into the operating system. And it took all of those three months, I can tell you. Most days I went home

I'm so excited ... and daunted

This weekend I am speaking at a CU houseparty for the Bordeaux and Toulouse CUs. The thème is "to the ends of the earth, beginning with my mates", with the subtitle "and if it were possible to share my faith...." I have two sessions and one sermon, from Acts 1 - 12. Wouhou ! Help me to handle this brilliant opportunity, please !

Rhapsody for Trombone and Brass Band - Gordon Langford


Cleaning up a crashed Jaguar

See here how folks have recently been cleaning up a famous crashed Jaguar in Bordeaux.

The wood-stove

Some time ago, at the end of the wood-burning season, some parts of our wood-stove broke : the glass in the door and the grill on which you place the logs to burn. So some time ago, as the beginning of the wood-burning season waved from the distant pages of the calendar, I went to the store where we bought the stove, armed with a photograph of the serial number from the back of the stove and asked about spare parts. I'll ring the company and get back to you tomorrow. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow crept. No phone call came. I phoned the guy who installed the stove. "They'll get back to you, they will." I left on deputation. I returned. Still no call. I phoned. "Oh yes, sorry, I have been ill. I'll phone them and get back to you." Yeah yeah. So I phoned two days later. "Yes, I rang the company and the parts are available." "Great ! How much ?" "You want to know how much ? I'll have to phone."

Normal service will now be resumed

(Whatever THAT is !)

Paris photos

Paris photos

Paris photos

Paris photos

Christ and the desert tabernacle - a review

I've never been in a church where people spend long months preaching on all the forgotten details of the tabernacle and what they really mean - the number and fabrication of the hooks, etc... So when there was the possibility of reading and reviewing this book I was a little apprehensive. Would I get submerged in all sorts of abstruse details and give up half-way through or something ? Well I didn't. I should have had more confidence in Doctor Fesko and in Evangelical Press ! Instead what I got was a book that took the shortest route possible from the tabernacle to the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking of the big issues in a very helpful way. Dr Fesko has such a simple way of writing that the book is quite surprising. You think that it's at a very elementary level and suddenly you realise that actually you have covered a lot of ground and he's said some very helpful and profound things. I spent a happy while on the TGV from Paris thinking about the relationship between

Paris !

We took a Batobus - a circular tour boat that you can hop on and off - to see the main sights, and we were also able to meet up with Carol and Christina Foucachon - the cherry on the cake !.

Paris !

After the conference we moved from a northern suburb to a western suburb, to Louveciennes. Thanks to the generosity and hospitality of some friends we spent a cuple of days seeing Paris.


The Paris suburbs are not at all as I imagined them. Here's the place where our conference was.

Paris !

So we had to go to a meeting of the MPEF ( UFM in France ) in Paris. Or at least in a suburb of Paris called Ecouen. To get there we took the train from Pessac Alouette to Bordeaux, the TGV from Bordeaux to Montparnasse, then two buses from Montparnasse to the Gare du Nord, then a very psychedelically decorated train to Ecouen. We passed through Saint-Denis which exceeded its reputation, but I didn't take any photos. Here's some photos of the journey, though. We saw a Starbucks, a chain of coffee shops that has excited a profound devotion in Gwilym, so we blew over 10 euros on just three drinks . Let's hope they never get to Bordeaux !