Showing posts from 2013

Reading and stuff

I used to read the Telegraph online. Used to. Well, I still do. Sort of. Well what happens is that every day the Telegraph sends me an email of its headlines - a little customized according to my interests - and then I can click on whatever story I'd like to read. It gives me about 8 to 10 headlines, I think, that could conceivably draw my attention, and I click on two or three. EXCEPT that the Telegraph only gives me a certain limited number of stories that I can read without taking out a subscription. After I pass this limit I kick and it says "Oh no, buster ! You want to mug up, first you cough up!" What this means is that : 1) I have to look on Flipboard to see if the Telegraph story will appear there, because Flipboard doesn't seem be limited in this way. 2) I read the story on my mobile phone, because that's not limited, either. 3) I have started getting the Guradian headlines sent me as well. Where I read this article about TED...  Now don&



Monday found Gwilym and I in a mobile phone repair place getting Gwilym's Christmas present fixed. Oh well. Then hurtling round the Simply market supermarket just next door for last minute supplies - the things we'd forgotten, such as extra chicken for Christmas Eve, meat for Christmas Day... Christmas Eve our meal with our ex-naighbour went very happily. Christmas Day the family was augmented by just one person, a couch-surfer who's borrowed a flat for the Christmas period. Gwilym found some pieces of beef that were reasonably priced, then reduced to half-price, so we got them, then started to worry about what to do with them. They looked like steak, but the label just said "viande bovine" (cow meat) in that especially appetizing way... I decided to throw caution to the wind and cook it briefly in a very hot frying pan after anointing with olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. We found the steak knives (!) and had the steak with chips. It was very good indee

The Wise Man, G K Chesterton

Step softly, under snow or rain,     To find the place where men can pray; The way is all so very plain     That we may lose the way. Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore     On tortured puzzles from our youth, We know all labyrinthine lore, We are the three wise men of yore,     And we know all things but the truth. We have gone round and round the hill     And lost the wood among the trees, And learnt long names for every ill, And served the mad gods, naming still     The furies the Eumenides. The gods of violence took the veil     Of vision and philosophy, The Serpent that brought all men bale, He bites his own accursed tail,     And calls himself Eternity. Go humbly…it has hailed and snowed…     With voices low and lanterns lit; So very simple is the road,     That we may stray from it. The world grows terrible and white,     And blinding white the breaking day; We walk bewildered in the light, For something is too large for sight,     And something much too pla

Christmas meals

What with us being in France and stuff it means we have two Christmas dinners, but neither is very traditional. This evening we have our French Christmas meal with our old neighbor, Joëlle and her family. On the menu: Apéro, entrée : we don't know yet, it'll be brought by our neighbour, but it will probably be fishy and gloopy, like oysters or something. It was foie gras with pain d'épices and a nice sweet Cadillac white. Plat : Escalope de poulet avec sa sauce aux champignons (i.e. the brilliant Campbell's soup recipe) et ses legumes. This worked wonderfully well, as always. Fromages : Assiette de fromages affinés. You have to have them, but hardly anyone ate any. Dessert : Farandole de fantaisies festives (Mince pies and an ice-cream log) Our neighbour brought a delicious mega-chocolate log from a patisserie, so our ice-cream log stayed in the freezer. We've been given some really nice wines this year, but we could do with something fizzy. I'll

Christmas Sunday

I scuttled off to catch the no 4 bus (what would we do without the no 4 bus!) and pick up the auto cool car to go off to Anglade for the service. Gwilym was duty musician at Cenon - all the other musical types have left for cooler climes - so we dropped him off on the way. We wondered what to do about the songs, etc. Anglade has a fine electric piano and Catrin could have played, but we decided to take the magic music machine - the Christian Hymns II mp3 files, my computer and our bluetooth speaker.  O come all ye faithful = O peuple fidèle Angels from the realms of glory = Des anges dans nos campagnes Hark the Herald = Ecoutez le chant des anges Silent night = Voici Noël. It worked very well, though we had a false start because people started singing lustily and with a good courage in the introduction for O Peuple Fidèle. Once they get going there's no stopping them, so I had to let the intro finish, the folk stop, then say "That was the intro, now we start&q

Things that are good, and Things that are essential

This is just something that's stewing away, but I think we have a tendency to confuse things that are good for Christians to do, and things that are essential for Christians to do, that is, that are of the essence of being a Christian. This little ponder, muse, reflection was provoked by something what I read in an article by a person who had, for some reason, been prevented from attending church for some time. When they resumed attendance they wrote something that I thought was a prime example of cart / horse spatial confusion. They said : Sermons are complementary to your daily Bible reading. If you want you can pick this up and run with it. I don't have time to write about this till early next week, but for me it provokes LOTS of reflection, biblical, historical, geographical, personal, ministerial...

When extreme positions seem eminently sensible

I once witnessed a conversation that went like this : A. There are so many true stories in the world we decided not to expose our children to anything fictional or made-up. B. So do you think that Jesus knew the sower who went out to sow, and the name of the prodigal son? Jesus made up stories. The Bible has lots of made-up stories. We can usually tell fact from fiction, though sometimes one does need to ask, "Is this a true story?" I mention this in connection with two things : Firstly, the whole discussion of Santa Claus, Narnia, trees, etc... Secondly, to point out that nobody who belongs to a crazy extreme sect says to themselves "Here I am in this crazy extreme sect." From the inside the sect seems logical and the rest of the world seems crazy. And here's the scary thing. There's a spectrum. Sometimes groups of people go nuts to a greater or lesser degree, but the people inside the group can't tell...

Sunday arrived bright and sunny

we went on a visit to Pessac Baptist Church, the nearest church to us and the easiest to get to - just no 44 bus to Unitec, then walk to the church. I introduced Pat and Catrin to the bus driver, who I had seen three times this week, the first time in the company of a lady who he assumed was my wife but in reality I had just met her for the first time. Funny the impressions people get... Anyway after the service, where we sang Christmas Carols with great gusto,, we hustled back home ready for Gwilym, Sally and Harriette to arrive for lunch of quiche, salad etc... Quiches out, turkey in. We'd hunted in the the carcass for the giblets and found only the neck, so we replaced it with halved clementines, enclosed it in foil then popped it in the oven for an improbably short 3 hours, which on our oven means pressing the button three times... Three LONG hours later out came the turkey, impeccably cooked. As I carved it I found the giblets, tucked under the skin at the neck end... Oh

Saturday frolics

began with printing out leaflets for the Carolsfest. One of the BIG drawbacks of the Mac - I think the only drawback, really, is that the Windows printer driver for my printer allows automatic printing of booklets from an A4 document. It's GREAT and as easy as pie. But the mac driver doesn't have the same options. However in OpenOffice there was the option - print as a brochure ! The interaction with the driver options was a bit complicated ) I got one good copy off so I used that to copy the rest. Did 30 copies. Thought we'd need 25. Then three wise men arrived from the east bearing gifts of Turkey, Bandol and tinned Pumpkin pie, the east in this case being Marseille. Lunch, talk, then off they went to central Bordeaux. I washed up and tidied everything away then scurried off to the second half of Trombone Christmasfest at Gambetta.  I was greeted like a returning war-hero, played like a short-sighted idiot and then chatted with Big Band members about why I am not ther

Book Review - The NEW CALVINISM Considered - A personal and pastoral assessment

First some necessary statements : 1) I received the book free in electronic format in return for producing a review. I am not required to write a positive review. 2) I know Jeremy personally : we spring from the same theological stock, I married his baby-sitter. I wanted to say that my wife used to dandle him on her knees, but she tells me this isn't strictly true. But Jeremy did buy a flat from us. You can hear Jeremy in an Interview with the inimitable Shaun Tabatt here . So this is a friendly review. However, sometimes they're the worst. OK. Here we go. I do welcome this book. It addresses some issues that have been troubling me for some time. Issues like : Tribalism . How do we understand and relate to all the various tribes that now exist? Jeremy names but some. T4G, TGC, ACE, 9Marks, R21, SGM, A29, Resolve, City to City, Porterbrook, etc. etc. I was thinking just a few days before starting this book that it would be good to have an infographic relating these d

Soutenance de thèse

Annie was defending her PhD thesis today. It's a public defense, so I went along and sat with the Chinese at the back of the room, just in front of the other PhD students, Annie's colleagues. I was very happy to understand basically what she was talking about - essentially about creating different substrates for stem-cells to bind to and to begin differentiating into bone cells. The techniques for detecting the results were largely greek to me - like confocal doodahs and stuff. But essentially what she was working on was not hard to grasp if you had at least a very basic knowledge of cell biology. Then we all had to leave the room while the jury deliberated. I am sure they played a round of cards, because in a neighboring building a buffet was already prepared to celebrate and the doctorate certificates were printed ready for signing, but anyway after some 10 to 15 minutes were all called in and, all standing, the president read out the procès verbal of the jury, conferring

Wow ! Providence again !

So this morning we dispersed, we Daveys... Pat and Catrin hied them to the Eglise Libre de Pessac, taking the No. 44 all the way. Gwilym was off to Lormont, while I directed my steps to the centre of town and the Temple du Hâ. The Temple du Hâ is right in the middle of Bordeaux near the cathedral and is part of the United Protestant Church of France, recently formed from the merger of the Reformed Church and the Lutherans. I was surprised to be greeted by my music friend, Seb, who I didn't recognize in different surroundings and clothed in a natty suit. "You're protestant ?" He explained that his better half is protestant and that they were there to get their daughter baptized. I haven't seen Seb for a couple of months at least, so it was great to catch up with him. The service was interesting - conducted quite quickly with usually no announcement of hymns and canticles - the organ would launch off and you jolly well kept up. Or not, as the case ma

Parsifal at the cinema

They're doing Parsifal from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in one of the Bordeaux cinemas this Wednesday. The thing is, it lasts for five and a quarter hours. It starts at 5:45 and is due to finish at 11. I don't know.... Perhaps one day.... But five and a quarter hours.

A musical day

This morning saw Catrin's first concert at the Espace Musical de Pessac. She was due to be singing "Le Mariage des Roses", a sing by César Franck. So we scuttled along at 11am, hampered by the locked gates of the park, arriving late, but well in time to hear our girl sing. Hurrah ! Bravo ! Over lunch Pat said, "so what time are you out this afternoon ?" Oh no ! The Christmas Trombones rehearsal ! So I grabbed my red plastic trombone and my music and hurtled out to catch the bus and tram to Forum and to find the rehearsal room at the Ecole Joliot-Curie in Talence. We've rehearsed there before. It took me a while to find them then, but now I know where the room is - and I found a choir ! Then locked gates, empty rooms and no sound of trombones anywhere. After about 15 - 20 minutes of hunting I turned round and went home ! Meanwhile Catrin and Pat had a more fruitful time selling cakes and tea at the Anglican Christmas Fayre and Bazaare

Châteaux Haut-Brion et La Mission Haut-Brion

Yesterday we went with the ex-pat club to visit two of Bordeaux' most prestigious châteaux, and it so happens that they are in Pessac and that we pass them every day on the number 4 bus ! Château Haut-Brion dates from the 1500s and the main house was built then. In the 1800s the château was classed among the premiers crus de Bordeaux, which means it's a very classy and expensive wine. After exchanging hands between various families (notably the de Pontac) the château was bought by an American family, the Dillons, then passed by marriage into the ownership of the Prince of Luxembourg. La Mission Haut-Brion was started by an order of missionary priests founded by Saint Vincent de Paul, who produced fine wine but also lived out their monastic discipline just a few hundred yards from their secular neighbors. In the 1930s the Dillons bought the Mission Haut-Brion, but their improvements and renovations have tried to keep the origin of the château in mind. Here&#

How does she do it ? How ?

Yesterday I made my third visit to the Irish Shop. Not bad after 8 years. Afterwards I excitedly jabbered to Mrs Davey : They've got everything. Everything ! They've got mincemeat, they've got crackers, they've got Christmas Cake, they've got gravy granules, they've got pickles, they've got this Christmas spiced tea that smells like Christmas... Have they got mince pies ? No, they haven't got mince pies.

Huzzah for the Insurance company

I had a rendez-vous at 9h30 in our insurance office at Pessac to talk about various policies, insurances etc... A nice young lady had suggested back in August that I make an appointment towards the end of the year as various new contracts were going to become available that might suits us very well. So in I went, talked with a lady who at first I dreaded a little - you know the type, the lady of a certain age who gives every appearance of having achieved unmatched excellence in dragon-taming... Anyway, she was the one who said "Monsieur" so up I went. And she proceeded to refund us 100€ at a stroke, reduce our monthly payments quite dramatically, AND we won't pay anything till March. Bravo, Madame, and "huzzah!" for the insurance company.

Last but one visit to the hospital

Yesterday morning we met up with an American missionary couple who are coming to serve, either in Toulouse or in Bordeaux, to start with alongside the existing church, then to bring a church-planting team in three years time. It was good to talk with them in Pain and Compagnie (other cafés were closed). Then to the hospital. The doctor was very pleased with the progress of Pat's thumb. Essentially, the part that she sliced off has regrown in the moisture of the plastic dressing. The smell was impressive, but so was the lovely pink healing. Now we switch to a pansement gras , that is, a dressing with vaseline, to encourage the skin to form nicely. Two weeks of that, which Pat can do herself every other day at home, then a last visit in two weeks time to ensure all is well. Pat came away with enough gauze, tubigrip, etc, to dress a small defeated army !

Hhhhmmmmm - providence

We hummed and we hahed. Which church to visit on Sunday morning ? Catrin would be with us. What to do ? Gwilym would be at our church in Cenon. Maybe we'd return to Lormont. Or maybe to the Eglise Libre. Or Lormont. Or the Eglise Libre... In the end we decided on the Eglise Libre and took the 44 from just round the corner. We got to the church and went in, found a place roughly in the middle. Then a woman came forward from the back of the church - Patricia ! Alan ! Our friend from language school, that is 8 years ago in my case and from Marie-Anne's class in Pat's case had spotted us and came up to say hello. "It is my first time in a protestant church in France. Yes, at home we are protestant, but I didn't go very often, but this weekend I just felt I wanted to go to church and this one is near." She sat in the row behind us and after the service I introduced her to the young pasteur stagiaire. I also mentioned her to some other folk who w

‘Calvinism’ – Latte? Cappucino? Americano?

So which is yours to be, the ‘Calvinism’ of the 5 points, a ‘doctrinal Calvinism’, a ‘Calvinism’ which identifies it with Calvin’s children, who went their own way when the discussion went beyond Calvin himself, or the ‘full package Calvinism’, which is not a full package at all, since Calvin’s view of the magistrate’s role in upholding the Reformed faith has been excised from it? (And in this roll-call \’Neo-calvinism in its various guises has not even been mentioned. ) Whichever it is, no-one can stop you calling your choice ‘Calvinism’. You see, unlike ‘Cadbury’s’ or ‘Chevrolet’ or ‘Calvin Klein’ ’ there is no copyright or trademark that covers the use of the word ‘Calvinism’. Any more than with \’inerrancy\’ or \’justification\’ or any other central theological term. Irritating, isn’t it? Via The Wanderer Via Helm's deep See also me  ! (I'm especially pleased that the great Professor Helm and I both independently ended up with Humpty, though he relates it to a

Un Pibal, deux Pibaux

I have seen two Pibaux at close quarters this week. This represents 10% of the total number of Pibaux in the world! The first was just outside Mollat, the bookshop. It was being ridden by a gentleman who was discussing his itinerary with a woman. While he was stopped I took a quick photo and it is this photo that you can see below, with his head cropped to preserve his anonymity and to focus more on the Pibal. The second was being ridden near the cathedral : we were both waiting to cross the road, I saw it and said "Un Pibal !" The lady riding it was very chatty and said that, yes, it is as good as they say it is, that no, it is light and she happily carries it up steps and so on and yes, the footplate is useful for carrying children and you can still pedal even with a child stood thereupon. Jolly good ! Here we have a photo of one of the pibaux, plus a vidéo with Philippe Starck

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Hanging gardens of Bordeaux Sun and shade - sunny means cold A Pibal ! the Bordeaux Bike by Philippe Starck Brrr... It's COLD ! Festive traffic ! Festive pedestrians !

Guess where

Today we're meeting up with two students who have asked to interview us as part of their research into the diets of ex-pat-Brits what live in France. Guess where we're meeting ?

We're in

Cold, but sunny. There's a friend who calls me in spates, this week was a spate, so on Thursday evening the phone rang, I thought it was him, I picked it up and waited. Nothing. I waited some more. Still nothing. "Âllo ?" "Just ringing to say that your application for membership of the International Club of Bordeaux has been approved." Just in time for us to go to the reading group in a café in the middle of town. (See, this café thing is not just us.) This month it was "The Stranger's Child" by Alan Hollinghurst. I enjoyed parts of the book, some parts were quite funny. It reconciled me a bit to Ian McEwan. I went off Ian McEwan when his books started to resemble, to me, propaganda on various moral issues of the day - Amsterdam was the most blatant, for me, but Saturday was the same really, and after that I gave up for a while. Anyway perhaps that's what some literature has to be about. Propaganda for one or other view on m

Café crawl

Dan On Thursday we went to check out a restaurant run by some friends of ours - he's French but he's worked in China and she is Chinese. The restaurant is kind of Asian-French-Fusion. It was also a kind of postponed birthday lunch for Pat. So we went off and found Dan , (the restaurant's name). The meal was exquisite, the restaurant pretty and intimate, the staff small, our friends were manning the kitchen and quickly realized we were there, it was a super time. No coffee, thanks. Afterwards we had a rendez-vous with visiting dignitaries from one of the UK missions, so we hastened off to the cathedral where we'd said we'd meet them at the base of the bell tower. A happy hour of discussion ensued at the Cheverus , the café where I used to do the advanced English conversation. They had another rendez-vous at 15:30, so we delivered them back to the bell-tower, then Pat and I separated. Hot Chocolate. I had half an hour to get to Les Mots Bleus , so I dawdled

La Passion dans l'art

Tuesday evening FAC and GBU held a presentation in the public rooms in the centre of town on the depiction of the crucifixion by artists through the ages, with special reference to Michelangelo. It was expertly given by Julie, the GBU Staff Worker. Here's some photos.

At the hospital

At the A&E for Hands department last Thursday night we met a charming nurse and doctor who said," We'll use a special protocol which involves just covering the wound with a transparent plastic dressing and leaving well alone. It will macerate and it will smell, but you'll see, within quite a short time the flesh will grow to fill the wound and the skin will grow back. It's the best protocol for this kind of wound to avoiding scarring and loss of sensation. But it will mean coming back every week for us to redo the dressing." So yesterday we went back. Pat's appointment was for 4. There are 36 ways of getting to the hospital from here so I chose one that allowed us 20 minutes to find the department once we got there. It meant the 4 to Barrière de Pessac, then the 11 to the hospital. Champion. We arrived at the hospital and, with our dim memories of the site on a dark rainy night, quickly found the fire escape style staircase we used to get out of t

Sunday night

Several new folk at the Evening Service, which was on 2 Samuel 7, the humungous promise to David. David's prayer has long been a favourite passage. We were about 23 to 25 - really it isn't easy to see how we could get much bigger in our home. We have 38 chairs if we use them all. We have fitted 30 people in our home, but with chairs in tight rows... It may be preferable to find another venue. We'll see...

Way to go, Jésus

Sunday morning found me and the kids at the Mérignac church plant. It was my third visit. The first time there were 16 folk, last week 12 and this week we must have been about 30. Todd and Terri and Tim and his wife (name forgotten - Tina ?) were there. Todd led the service and Tim preached. I like them very much. Tim says things like "Ca m'a fait la semaine" and "Way to go, Jésus!" The chap who preached last week came and gave me a big hug. Well a small hug. He's a small chap. Pat stayed at home feeling somewhat dizzy. Time to stop the strong painkillers, she thought...

At the hospital

When I got back from Synode I discovered that Gwilym's foot was "just" sprained and no x-ray, cast or amputation was necessary. Good. Pat's thumb was not a huge hindrance to life, though it did exempt her from washing-up duty. She didn't seem very distressed at that. Today we had to go back to the hospital to get the dressing changed. The doctor was very pleased with the wound's progress. "Yes, nice and smelly ! It's doing very well" Jolly good.


At the synode I fended some surreptitious messages concerning Bordeaux Church's first ever  Thanksgiving Meal. "I'll be late with the green beans". "Is it OK for me to come?" "Can I bring a friend?" In the end there were about 25 people, some of whom we'd never met before, and it seemed to be a good time. Pat said, "There was no spiritual input, except I read a psalm of thanksgiving and someone prayed." Well, anyway it was a good time, and on Sunday we ate left-over turkey, mash and sweetcorn.

The Synode of Montauban

So 8:45 found me high-tailing it to the railway station where I hopped on one of our super regional trains to Bordeaux Saint-Jean. I sat in one of the curved sofas and zoomed along above the Pessac streets that sped by below me. Then onto my train for Montauban. Grey skies, sunny orchards, the canal, the coloured stucco of Agen, I was soon trotting through the cold streets of Montauban to the Temple de la Faculté where the Synode would be held. A fine meal with the Commission Exécutive, then the delegates arrived and the Synode began. Discussions about our international relationships, the ethical challenges of our outreach, finance, of course, the life of the churches, good meals, fun with the delegates, some serious discussions in quiet corners, fin bref, a synode. Then back with Christophe, Patrick and Harriette in the Harriette-Wagen and restored to the bosom of my family.

Book review - Preaching ? Simple teaching on simply preaching. by Alec Motyer

Quite simply, this is a great book, even a wonderful book. Somehow in very few pages Motyer manages to provide instructions and examples on understanding the text, organizing ones thoughts, presentation, the preacher's devotional life, pastoral care, prayer - it is not easy to think of an area of preaching that he does not address. Of course, it's a short book, so you won't find a seminary level course on hermeneutics, exegesis, homiletics, historical theology of preaching or whatever. But I dare to think that the seminary that set this book at the beginning or at the end of its pastoral training would be doing something very useful indeed. Why is the book so good ? Motyer writes with humility. Hurrah ! At last a book written by an acknowledged expert who does not proclaim himself an acknowledged expert ! He confesses his struggles. He does not parade his great learning - after all this is the author of the magisterial commentary on Isaiah. He writes with humour. Someti

What !!!???

Well the good news is that Catrin thinks her Bac blanc went OK. She says she wrote a lot anyway, and since they mark by weight then that should be OK. HOWEVER... We got a phone call at about 5:15 - Gwilym was on his way home on crutches after hurting first his knee, then his foot playing rugby this morning. So Pat phoned for a doctor's appointment and he's in for 16:45 tomorrow. Meanwhile I leave for the Synod of Montauban on the 8:45 train and get back Saturday evening. And we have the Thanksgiving meal here on Friday evening. Hey - it's fine ! Hurdles are for jumping, aren't they !

The crust and the core

I couldn't possibly agree more with Kevin DeYoung's blogpost here .

Pat's unusual birthday

Poor girl ! What we imagined was a happy morning at Maison de la Bible, followed by lunch at Dan, a new east-west fusion restaurant owned by some friends here in Bordeaux. Instead Pat's lying in bed with most of her thumb and I'm making appointments to be seen in weeks to come and making a quick dash to the pharmacy for painkillers. Still, Pat does like a lie-in, and I will be able to crack on with my reading, so it could be a whole lot worse.


Gwilym phoned 15 and talked to them about Pat's thumb while I looked for different ways to stop bleeding. My favourite - pressure and frozen peas - was near the top of the list, and they told Gwilym that we had to go to urgences. At Hôpital Pellegrin there's a special department for A&E Hands, so that's where our friend Rhian took us. She dropped us by the sign "Urgences Main" and we followed the arrow. Then the next arrow. Then the next arrow. We found a reception area, deserted apart from a small group of zombies disguised as humans who wandered aimlessly, hopelessly, sightlessly round the entrance door, attracted by the lights, perhaps.  A guy in a white coat was smoking outside. "You work here?" "No." Perhaps he just likes white coats. Another guy came along. He was very tall and walked quickly and purposefully. "Can you direct us to Urgences Main?" "You have to go upstairs, look there's a lift, it's u

Sunny morning, ghastly afternoon.

The American folk are hosting a Thanksgiving meal at our house on Friday so Pat and I wandered off to Picard to look for a turkey roast. No turkey roast, but we got some turkey. Anyway it was a lovely morning. Here's some photos. The afternoon was back to rainy greyness. Then Pat decided to make "tartiflette" for tea, and to slice the potatoes rather than dicing them, using her mandoline. It has a nice handle thing to stop you slicing your thumb. If you use it. Thus it was that at about 8:30 pm we were in the HANDS A&E waiting for the doctor to come and decide what to do about the wound on the side of Pat's thumb. They are using a special kind of dressing that encourages natural healing of the thumb by keeping it moist under plastic wraps. We'll be back there once a week, probably till Christmas, to get the dressings changed.

How to get the seeds out of a pomegranate (mild bad language alert)

A spot of domestic science

Prayer time at the Maison de la Bible

Tuesday is Pat's day at the Maison de la Bible. She wanted to be home waiting when Catrin got back from her Bac blanc (mock A level) Science exam so she asked me to take over from about 4. Always keen to get into the city centre, I went in after lunch and explored a little before hieing me to the bookshop and sending Pat on her way. Catrin's science exam went OK. She said "They must think we're really stupid, the exam was easy." Meanwhile at the bookshop the supporters and volunteers were gathering for the monthly prayer meeting. To be honest with you I was a bit of a spare part. I held the stepladder for Joel, advised a lady who wanted an ESV, helped select books for the book table at the second-hand fair, etc... Then it was prayer meeting time. Every group has it's own prayer meeting habits. I remember the encouraging grunts of South East England, for example. In the MB prayer meeting one mistunes quietly to the others pray then all give a he

A walk by the autumn vines

Not far from our house the vines of Château Pape Clément begin, so this morning we took a little stroll up to the second-hand bookshop at Monteil to try and flog some old books of the children's, then came back alongside the vines.

Report on a chilly weekend

Saturday was a sunny but chilly day. The temperature has suddenly fallen here and we are due our first first tonight (thinks, must cover the outside taps today). Catrin had PILES of homework to do. Apparently the kids have so much work to do at the moment that one girl caught sight of the French teacher in the corridor of the lycée and burst into tears ! So Gwilym went to the youth group on his own and had a good time cycling, wii-ing and studying Psalm 23. Meanwhile we had a nice visit from one of the retired pastors of the UNEPREF, Maurice Raetz, who was on his way to Cadaujac to stay at the Arragouets and preach ta Cenon on Sunday morning. Sunday found me on the road to Mérignac to visit the new church that is part of the CMA (or in French AMC). I booked a car to go which cut the journey time from and hour and a half to half an hour. So I put my card against the windscreen. Nothing. Ah - perhaps I booked it from 10 and it's not quite 10. After 10 I tried again. Nothin

International group

After the walk on Thursday we were almost ready to join the international group and so have the right to attend the book group together. We still had to : Find two members to sponsor us, one a founder member Fill in our application forms Read and sign the rules and regulations So I emailed two members asking for sponsorship and we downloaded the forms and rules, read, completed, signed. The two members said yes. OK, we are off. We can send off the forms and await the deliberation of the executive committee. Meanwhile we are OK to go to the book group in November.

Don Carson - Watch me...

Watch Me! from on Vimeo .

A rather unusual day !

This morning I went on a walk round the centre of Bordeaux with the International Club of Bordeaux. The circuit was just 6km and it was scheduled to take 2 hours, but we dillied and dallied, stopped for photos, explored alleys and gazed at hidden houses with roman pillars. The most surprising thing was the weather ! Gone was the blanket of grey that has smothered Bordeaux' skies for the past week or so. We had fluffy white colds and even some blue skies. Very nice ! At 12 I met Pat at Maison de la Bible and we came home for lunch. Then this afternoon a rendez-vous with one of the Chinese students to talk about things in the Christian scene in Bordeaux. It was a useful meeting which will doubtless feed into our reflections for the future.

A visit to the quack

Off to the quack this morning, for two reasons. Firstly when I went to see him some months ago we forgot to put ventolin on the prescription. Oops ! And now it's the fungus season I do need it... Secondly our health people have sent me a thing to get a flu jab. Que du bonheur, as one says.

Credo Magazine - Quote from an interview with James M. Hamilton Jr.

You note that there have been a variety of reactions to the Enlightenment’s impact on biblical interpretation, and that even many of the conservative responses to these challenges have begun with the same assumptions found in the more liberal camps. You respond by distancing yourself from these reactions, claiming that biblical theology should be a bridge into another world, namely, the world of the biblical writers. Why is it so important for us to cross that bridge and to breathe the air of the biblical writers? I’m trying to say in different words what John is after in 2 John 9 when he speaks of abiding in the teaching of Jesus Christ: “Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” How do we conceptualize living in the teaching? The biblical authors are building a symbolic universe in which they intend believers to live. They’re trying to move people into that world, and help them inhabit it. We want to live in the world as conceived by the biblical authors,

Remembrance Day

The day started with us getting the house back straight after Sunday night, then scuttling off to Pessac centre for the ceremony. On 8 May, 14 July and 11 November the buses have little flags. They're a cheerful sight. The ceremony went well and started on time. For eight years I have been baffled by the fact that the Remembrance day service never seemed to start on time. I know we talk about the Bordeaux quarter of an hour, but surely you'd start the Remembrance Day ceremony on time? Well they have been started on time. I spotted in the Pessac newsletter that the ceremony is announced for 11:15. Why not 11? I don't know. Anyway, the Marseillaise was masterfully interpreted by the Société Musicale de Saint-Martin under the baton of Jospeh Clémens. And the rain held off for the ceremony, though many kept their plastic macs on, just in case. Afterwards some friends came for lunch. Home-made bread, blue and runny cheese, and ham. I had a Skype meeting sched

A happy Sunday with a happy English Service

Faced with inclement weather we decided to take the easy option and attend the Pessac Baptist Church. It's a traditional, conservative church led by a missionary couple, the Bixbys. The message was focused on James 2:21. After church we went home and Pat got lunch ready for the return of the kids from the ADD in Lormont. Then a quiet afternoon before getting the place ready for the English Service. This means : Clearing the decks - airer must be put away as well as all extraneous papers etc. Huge plastic table brought in and put end to end with our family table. Bring in the chairs and sort out the lighting. Printing out any extra songs we plan to sing that are not in our Christian Hymns books. We were 23, including our visiting preacher and our visiting preacher's wife. The message was from Joshua 1, and addressed the question of God's will for us, God's promises for us, and so on. Afterwards Leek and Potato soup and rolls, followed by a "fusion"

Winter came suddenly

yesterday. It was about a week late. It usually gets cold suddenly on or around the 1st of November. Oh well, in fear and trembling I turned the heating on last night. And it worked ! :D

Birth of a family tradition

Well we greatly enjoyed our American pancakes during half-term, but that was then and this is now. Weekday breakfasts in term-time are taken on the run, with a 6am rise and a 7am bus to get to lycée for 8am. Pancakes don't fit that schedule. Nothing sociable fits that schedule. But Saturday. That's a different matter ! So begins the new habit of Saturday brunch. Pancakes. (We may even introduce bacon or sausages at some point.)

The Power of the word

"When  I  use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you   can   make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all." I have been amused to see two blog posts in the past few days, written by two of my favourite prominent presbyterians, both discussing John Piper and both asking the question, "Is John Piper really reformed?" Kevin De Young's blog post is entitled "Is John Piper Really Reformed?" and it can be read here . R. Scott Clark's blog post is entitled "Is John Piper Reformed? Or Holding The Coalition Together (Updated)" and it can be read here . That two prominent presbyterians differ ought not to surprise us, especially in the USA. In Wales the waves of revival and gospel blessing

Sunny Montauban

We needed a couple of things - sheets of plastic, paper for school, so I hit the bus 4 and popped into Auchan, then inspected the Christmas Crackers at Hema - They're OK - they come with hats, mottos and a game of "Who am I" where each has a sticker with a name on it. Then to Bradley's bookshop for Remembrance Day poppies (none were in evidence) then Desigual for a spot of colour therapy (Bordeaux gets grey and depressing in the winter) then to the bookshop to transfer the paper etc. to Mrs Davey. Quick cup of coffee and "Ton père va comment?" at the bookshop, then hightail it to the station for a quick MacDonalds before catching the 12:47 to Montauban. My order was placed in the electronic booth thing at 12:27. That'll be fine. So I was surprised to find myself hurtling along the platform at 12:45 without my Chicken McSandwich. There were HORDES of people, talking to the staff was impossible, it was carnage, carnage I tell you. Oh well, I'd ha

Today I take the train again to Montauban

Last time I went it was Sunday, sunny, beautiful, ten days ago. Now it's wet, rainy, damp, gray and overcast. Oh well. It'll be good anyway and good to see the chaps of the South West Executive Commission. I'll get back L A T E tonight.

A sabbatical from Facebook

I haven't been coping with Facebook ! It's been making me anxious and unhappy, so I have stopped using it. I haven't deleted my account. Also things will still appear under my name - from Twitter and from Instagram. I'll scuttle in like a ninja first thing in the morning to greet the birthday people. I'll also need to use the Android Facebook Pages application to update the Bordeaux Church page, but that's OK.

Climate change ?

Well we're sat here in our gloomy living room with the doors to the garden open having moved logs from one pile to another ready for winter. Pat is reading Sherlock Holmes and knitting. I am reading Greg Beale and blogging. Catrin is in her room cramming Joseph Conrad passages. Gwilym is in his room crashed out. But it's November 6th and the doors are open and it's 18° in here. I wonder whether we have moved from a classic four-season system to a new two-fold dry and rainy season climate ? Still, the bird are happily eating the pyracantha berries and for the moment there is a pause in the rain. Calm contentment !

Mrs Davey tells me that Hema, the new Dutch shop in Bordeaux, has Christmas Crackers !

Yipppeee ! Vive les Dutch !

Is the tram dangerous ? Is it more dangerous than buses ? (in French)

Read the statistics and a comparison here . For them as doesn't read French it turns out that although 10 people have died in accidents connected with the Bordeaux tram network since its inception in 2003, the trams are as safe as one could expect of a similar network and considerably safer than buses.