les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Doing my CV

If I am going to do this Masters I have to send off :
  • Passport photocopy (that's OK)
  • A copy of all my diplomas (well that would be OK if I could find the A4 binder they are in ! I found my school reports though) 
  • CV (I have just spent a ridiculous * amount of time doing my CV)
  • Compte-rendu de ma vie spirituelle (well that'll take some typing, that's all)
  • Certificat médical (to show I am strong enough to study - means a trip to the quack)
  • A letter from someone in the hierarchy of the church (that might cost dearly!)
  • A cheque (oh well, what did I say).

Mrs Davey is very good at finding things. I hope she can find my certificates or I am sunk.

* I first typed ricidulous, which OUGHT to be a word.....

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just in case

They're humidifying the streets in Pessac.

Just in case.

Don't want the place to dry out inadvertently.

Catrin's school play

Catrin's class done a play yesterday, Poor Beck, wot wos wrote by someone called Joanna Laurens, and have been done by the Royal Shakespeare Company. It's a post-apocalyptic reworking of the myth of Myrrha. The class did very well and I found the play very poignant.

It's all about the consequences of forbidden love. People (ok, Wikipedia - but even Wikipedia is people in the end) suggest that the Myrrha myth, being about the disastrous consequences of incest, is a kind of boundary marker for civilisation. Civilised people do not commit incest. Uncivilised people do.

It made me think. What if a civilised society decided to permit incest, voted on it in its governments, legislated for it, declared that it was no longer taboo. Would that mean that civilisation had crossed the boundaries, or would it mean that that society had now become uncivilised ? What does it mean when ancient markers are removed or displaced ?

I can't imagine that the play was chosen to provoke discussion about the redefinition of marriage, but it could have been.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rendezvous pour un café

I was meeting up with someone on Tuesday morning in the middle of Bordeaux. Inhabitually early - will wonders never cease ? - I arrived with a little time to spare. A nice opportunity to wander round the posher end of town where I cannot normally go - this morning the security guards were dozy.

Then it RAINED ! LOTS !

So I took shelter in the Nespresso shop. These photos show the Nespresso shop.

Perhaps I ought to make clear that Nespresso is a patent capsule "espresso" coffee machine. Just in case you think it is some kind of minor deity or something.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fête du fleuve

So Monday being my day off we decided to go on a jaunt into Bordeaux.

It's the Fête du Fleuve (festival of the river) when tall ships visit and a single-handed yacht race is due to start later in the week. We took the bus and tram to Stalingrad just the other side of the rivera and had a slap-up lunch in a transport caff, then hopped on the river bus to cross over to the hangars, then a leisurely walk past all the closed shops (closed on Mondays) before scuttling back to Pessac via the hypermarket.

We know how to live, us !

Monday, May 27, 2013

A BIG weekend

I really wasn't sure about last weekend.

  • Friday evening - a church members' meal.
  • Saturday - Church council meeting.
  • Saturday evening - preaching for the Chinese
  • Sunday morning - baptism service at Blaye
  • Sunday afternoon - Church Annual General Meeting
  • Sunday evening - we cancelled the English Service !

Not only that but we've had ghastly weather. Rain, rain and more rain interspersed with periods of cold cloudy greyness. And cold.

Such that during the council it was suggested that we postpone the baptism by "at least a year" !

Anyway Sunday dawned bright and sunny and warm. The water was cold but we were quickly reheated by vast quantities of Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Gwilym and Catrin were baptised, along with Samuel, a young chap from Bourg in the Blaye area.

Here's a photo montage made by Fritzie :

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Solas in Europe (Golau yn Ewrop)

A walk home from Pessac

I had to return an Autocool car this morning and since I hardly ever use my camera I decided to walk home from Pessac centre and take a few photos.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Members' evening

The apéritif

Plus du peur que de mal

Another student has gone missing in Bordeaux. That sets the context for our little drama.

Pat : Alan, Catrin's school says she isn't there.

Alan : What, but she left hours ago. I'll phone them.... ring ring ... hallo, yes, our daughter left for school hours ago. I have sent her a text message but she hasn't replied. Of course, in class her phone is off, but if she isn't there. So what do you suggest ?

10 minutes later they phoned back. "Oops, she accompanied another pupil to the nurse and the teacher forgot and alerted her absence."

Alan : Phew ! OK. Plus de peur que de mal. (more fear than hurt ... for when kids fall down or whatever)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

View from the study window

Please note two things :

1) It is not actually raining. (here they say that just means it has just stopped raining and it is about to rain again)

2) Sheep !

Almost bought our tickets out of here

Mrs Davey and I were in the centre of town. I had been to buy a study Bible for a baptismal candidate. Pat had been to change some money at the money-changers. We met up to come home and crossed the road to the bus-stop.

The little man was green, but it was also green for people turning left. The idea is you show your intention to cross, the car stops and you cross.

It was all going so well - until the car behind failed to stop.

Bang- jolt - jump.

Phew... All OK.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

These guys !

Well really the chappie in the middle.
He just reassured me about my infrequent blog posts.
Now he's suggesting that I do further study.
Who is he ? I love him !


"I don't understand pastors who have the time to blog regularly"

What a relief to hear that just as I opened Blogger !

Anyway, be that as it may, and be my blog posts as infrequent as they be, here's an update on the weekend !

The Great Multilingual Pentecost Service took place on Sunday morning.

Here's a photo of the congregation, or at least some of them :

The folk are always keen to hear the Chinese sing.

 We sang some songs simultaneously in Chinese, English and French : In Christ Alone, What a Friend We have in Jesus, All Heaven Declares.
We had a visiting preacher, an American, Mark Mylin from Montauban:

Afterwards we came down like the wolf on the fold and a large quantity of fried rice disappeared before our very eyes :

There was a brief session where the changes before us were sketched out - one lady subsequently asked me about my health and was relieved when I told her of my symptoms. "Ca s'appelle le burnout", she said, relieved because she thought my end was near.

In the evening we discussed the future for the English service and talked through various options. We decided to maintain the meetings, at our house, but to ensure that we take some weekends off and to use recorded ministry at least during the sabbatical.

It was a good Sunday and I think we all made progress under God's hand.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

An interview between Shaun Tabatt and John Crotts, author of the little biography of John Newton

Author Talks - click here

June visit plans

Sunday 9th June Widcombe Bath am and North Bradley pm.

Monday 10 June - Wednesday 12 June Bala Minister's Conference.

Tuesday 11 June Ebenezer Mold

Wednesday 12 June at Borras

Thursday 13 June at Rhuddlan

Sunday 16 June Pontardawe, Swansea, Llanelli. (I have vague misgivings about this... Can I do the miles in time?)

Tuesday 18 June Aberystwyth

Wednesday 19 June Shrewsbury

Thursday 20 June Clydach, Swansea

Sunday 23 June Swindon

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I KNOW that I shouldn't talk about this on the blog because 17 experts will emerge from the dust and give me conflicting advice which they promise solemnly to be true and legal. Anyway...

The UK Government in all its wisdom has decreed that missionaries are self-employed and must register in all the world to be taxed. Thus it was that I found myself in the entrails of a government website answering sundry questions that I do not understand ("Are you a share fisherman?" I hope that if I were I should know what one is, so I answered "No"...)

The upshot of all this frenetic activity should be lots of computing power to achieve nothing as we are tax resident in France anyway.

"and it all makes work for the working-man to do...."

Anyway, I have done me and now I will do Mrs Davey.

Thanks for praying

for Antoine Schluchter and his family. Antoine's daughter was abducted yesterday- her car was later pursued and a man apprehended but there was no sign of her, until her body was later found.

Antoine was president of the Union Nationale des Eglises Protestante Réformées Evangéliques de France and pastor at Aix-en-Provence before returning to his native Switzerland a few years ago.

C'est avec beaucoup de tristesse que nous vous annonçons que le corps de Marie a été retrouvé sans vie cette nuit. L'identification formelle est en cours. Une veillée de prière pour la famille Schluchter va être organisée ce soir à 18h30 au Temple de la rue de la Masse où Antoine a été pasteur avant de partir en Suisse. Nous vous informerons de la date de l'enterrement. Nous restons mobilisé dans la prière pour cette famille durement éprouvée. Face a de si terribles événements nous nous réfugions ensemble en Christ notre unique espérance "pour notre vie comme pour notre mort".

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Let the list stand as a testimony against us !

We had a list of five things to do these holidays.

They are written on the kitchen notice board.

Then Pat was ill in bed,
we had a church regional day,
the kids went away,
we had people round,

you know how it is.

We have done NONE of them. NOT ONE !

I laughed and suggested we leave the list on our notice board like the Ten Commandments in old churches - a testimony against us of the broken law.

Just as well we had no illusions to shatter !

Pretty ditties - Planets 4 - the one we all wait for !

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

On changing my translation

On arriving in France we were faced with the decision of what Bible translation to use. Here's the ones we considered :

Segond 1910 : The daddy of them all. Has the status of the AV.
Français courant : Kinda like the Good News translation
Parole de Vie : This is a useful translation using a restricted vocabulary and simple French
Semeur : We really like this version because it is very clear and it solves every problem. That's why we didn't use it in the end...
Colombe 1975 : Lots of conservatives use this, especially RBs, but I didn't like the way it did Paul's sentences.
Genève 1979 : In the same vein as the Colombe, but I preferred it.

We settled on the Genève. There's myriad other versions, TOB, NBS, Darby etc. etc...

Then in Africa I read Acts 16 especially where the apostles were beaten. My colleague afterwards said, "That's a very odd translation..." It turns out that a particular word that was probably completely innocuous in 1979 has now acquired a rather unfortunate connotation.

I thought. Then I decided to try out the passage on a few folk to see what their reaction was. "Ah non, ça ne va plus..."

So I am in the process of changing to the Segond 21 - the new translation in the same family as the Genève.

Some things it does I really like. For example Acts 12:1 : En ce qui concerne les réalités spirituelles, je ne veux pas, frères et sœurs, que vous soyez dans l'ignorance.

I'd probably prefer "choses spirituelles", but I can live with réalités and at least they haven't bottled out and gone with dons.

Oh yes, and it's gender inclusive - probably in the same way as the new NIV.

Some things are a pity - we have lost Jesus' yoke (son joug).


Pretty ditties - Planets 1

These little videos are quite nice. You'll need to listen to the whole movement afterwards. Perhaps I'll find some links later !

Monday, May 06, 2013

Action-packed holidays for the children

We had so much planned for these holidays. We won't achieve half of our list, but we will get some things done. We are determined !

Meanwhile the children have been on a young people's sleepover last weekend, then on Wednesday they go for a mini-camp linked with our churches' Ascension Day event down in the Lot et Garonne. Then next weekend they're invited on the Bordeaux Christian Union's weekend at Rochefort in the Charente-Maritime.

Meanwhile on Saturday evening after the wedding Pat and I sneaked out for an anniversary dinner at the Moroccan restaurant. We've always wanted to go there, but it's really expensive so we reserved it for a special occasion - like a 20th anniversary. We both had tajines - Pat had chicken with chick-peas and onions and I had lamb with prunes and almonds. Jolly nice.

A beautiful weekend

So the threatened bad weather did not materialise, and instead we had a glorious Saturday evening for the wedding, then on Sunday morning a lovely journey up to Blaye (the kids were on a youth sleepover) to the service in the Maison des Associations (the Old Courthouse) then a nice evening for the English Service at our house.

Today has been restful. Just an elders' meeting in a café in Bordeaux, and a couple of walks through or round the park listening to the cuckoos. We watched a gruesome murder mystery on YouTube and I read a little and listened to funky American Christian radio (I wonder if those probiotic pills work...)

Up and at 'em tomorrow - Bible Study in Blaye !

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Mariage today in a park somewhere in Pessac.

I am not sure exactly where and the park has no address, but it's just after the municipal greenhouses !

On the diagnosis of lumbar problems in camels

Life is nothing if not interesting !

 Them as reads our prayer letters or as reads this blog will be aware that we plan to take a sabbatical soon, and will also be aware of a certain dysfunction that has recently overtaken us. In discussing this with folks on the left and on the right (not politically, silly...) it has become clear that one must identify and distinguish various factors in dealing with such a dysfunction.

1) the dysfunction itself. In my case it was an inability to cope with certain topics of conversation - for example, one man said to another "we have a good team" and I went and hid in the toilet. Let us call this the breaking of the camel's back.

2) the stimulus that provoked the disproportionate response of hiding in the toilet. Here it was certain topics of conversation, but also certain tasks which became impossible to undertake. We may call this the agent déclencheur, or for short, the straw.

3) why the camel was suffering from lumbago already. In the camel analogy the implication is that the camel is carrying a load which is too great for the beast to support. I am sure that this is true in our case, though I am still reluctant to admit it, even to myself.

Another suggestion also needs to be considered - that a camel may be bearing a load that is within, or at the limit of his capacity, but that he has borne this load for too long and with no respite. On placing "the straw" the camel's back breaks.

Discussion with the aforementioned folks revealed that we have not been disciplined with regard to taking enough holidays and, I hesitate to confess this so openly, we have sometimes worked even while on holiday, preaching or speaking about the work here.

Not only this but who would have thought that there was wisdom in the old "fours years on the field, one year at home" pattern of missionary life ? Who, indeed, except generations of missionaries, missionary agencies and churches whose opinion we did not heed.

So after eight years in France we're going on furlough. We'll stay in France but we'll be doing something completely different.

We are looking for some study to do - I found something VERY APPEALING in the area of missiology and church planting... Pat has found something VERY APPEALING in the area of Sydney (by correspondence).

We are planning a survey of the Bordeaux Christian Scene.

We will reflect and consult and pray concerning our future - again something VERY APPEALING has already come to light.

Thank you for your prayers for a good recuperation.

Thursday, May 02, 2013


It is looking very likely that we will take a sabbatical from 1 July to next Easter. I'll keep you informed as things unfold !

Once you send out a letter in French never go back and read it again...

EVERY TIME I reread something what I wrote in French I find either an error or something I could and should have expressed differently ! I think one needs the attitude of the artist. The painting is finished when you declare it finished, and you must never touch it again after that. Otherwise you'd never stop !