Showing posts from July, 2013

I just don't see me getting anywhere with this...

More post-storm blues

Our library is closed after the storm and will not reopen until after the summer break. It was a rough one !

La Méditation de Thaïs, Massenet

Maison de la Bible - devastation !

 We called at the Maison de la Bible to see if the manageress was there so Pat could return her keys. We caught her just locking up along with her husband. "Look !", they said, proudly. Well you've never seen such a mess in all your life ! The carpet tiles are up, the window display area is destroyed - the place is DEVASTATED ! All ready for the makeover that begins tomorrow with painting the shelves white. Pat hopes to go along to help while I have a car reserved to take rubbish to the dump.

Family Fun Time

So today we finally got to spend some time together, all four of us, we charged into Bordeaux to take outrageous advantage of the city and its delights. We started with lunch at the Hippopotamus Grill. It's a long time since we ate in one of these places, but it was great to eat together - we had the Hippodéj - just a main course and a drink. The kids had burgers and Pat and I had steaks with nice blue cheese sauce. The staff assumed we were holiday makers, which was fun. "Where are you from ?" asked the manageress, "are you visiting Bordeaux ?" "We live in Pessac, but we are visiting Bordeaux !". Then off to scour various shops for bargains. We didn't find any. But we had fun looking. Then to Decathlon. I have had my eye on a piece of luggage. Catrin is concerned about her rucsac for camp. Then I had a brianwave ! Decathlon sell microfibre towels, just the thing for solving Catrin's rucsac problem. Then off to Books and Coffee fo

Le culte en anglais

Last night was the last English Service before a break for August. I'd sent out an email pretty clearly urging a 6pm arrival for a 6:30 start, so when at 6:40 we were the Brits and a German student we assumed that that was it and had just begun an alternative plan of songs, prayer and sharing of prayer news when all of a sudden eight more people arrived : Chinese, Iranian, French etc... remember that the buses are perturbed, retarded AND on their summer timetable. So we seamlessly and without remark returned to plan A. Luke 18 : the two men praying in the temple. It was a good  time with good exchanges and grace was explained, recommended and urged on all. Did all understand? Well that I can't answer, though I doubt it.. Yet, anyway. Afterwards salads and chat before dispersing, some for the last time...


So yesterday we hit the road for Mérignac and the new church recently started by the Christian and Missionary Alliance at the Hotel du Phare. Bus 4 to Barrière de Pessac, then bus 11 to the hotel. We found the hotel without too much difficulty (thanks to the GPS built into our phones !) and were greeted warmly by the pastor who was setting up for the service. The service is held in the conference room of a hotel/motel not far from the Rocade. Musical accompaniment was provided by the pastor's wife on guitar and a cellist. Songs were all modern : Baloche Hosanna, Jesus be the center, Open the eyes of my heart, Il est beau de louer le Seigneur (all in French of course). I suppose we were about 15 people, perhaps 1/4 of us French, the rest American or British (there were two Brits. Us), but remember that it's holiday time so numbers were down and proportions were unrepresentative, too. At Cenon there were 20 Dutch ! The service began with a time of meditation of a short Bi

Leaks at the church

Ah yes, I should have thought of that. Storms mean torrential rain and wind. Torrential rain and wind means water ingress. Water ingress means a terrible mess at the church. The Chinese found it and have cleaned it up ready for their meeting. There is another storm due tonight, but we're only on yellow alert so it ought not to be bad.

Redesigning our prayer letter

For a long time our prayer letter has been a sheet of A4 printed both sides, photos, text... But I have always loved three-fold leaflets, the ones that you can stick in your Bible, in your pocket, etc. We did try and produce a prayer letter like that before, but now with the mac I thought we really need to do better than we have. So I h-just spent a happy hour or two figuring out how to use Pages to produce a three-fold leaflet, how to link text zones so that the text flows automatically, how to place photos and put shadows on them, you know the kind of thing... The end result looks like a prayer letter produced by Dorling Kindersley. Just the thing to take to Aber !

Brrr Brrr Brrr

The phone rang. I charged over to answer it. It went dead. A flat battery. Ah ! the charger is unplugged. A couple of minutes later. Brrr brrr. I hurtled upstairs. Just too late. Oh well. I plugged in the charger, brought a charged phone down from upstairs and kept it by me. "Oo-oo, âllo ? âllo ?" Someone outside. It was our neighbour. "None of your numbers work !" I explained. "Have you seen the tree ?" I suggested that we could move it if there were four of us. She said "I'm game", so we all went out and pushed, pulled, tugged, twisted .. and eventually the ladies ended up on the floor with their legs in the air. I pulled at the branch while Gwilym extended the right hand of verticality and nobody took photos. "I'll see to it, there's a company round the corner."

The Catholic church reaching out during the ferias

Read it here (in French - beware the puns, wordplay etc..)

What a storm !

They warned us that last night's storm would be worse than Thursday night's, and so it proved to be. Midnight found us all charging round the house making sure everything that could be fixed down was fixed down, and amazed by the torrential rain, the fierce, gusting wind and the constant flashes of lightning. This morning I read that the central station in Bordeaux is flooded, along with several streets. Here the roof seems OK, we have electricity and internet, and nothing seems to have moved much, except for a huge branch of next door's massive larch, which has broken off, fallen, broken the fence and blocked our driveway.

Jaume Plensa at Bordeaux

A lovely film here .

Chanced upon a most excellent spice shop near the Grosse Cloche

So now I need two things : 1) a recipe for something like Albert's Victorian Chutney 2) the French for names of spices, like 'Allspice berries' also if I could find that recipe I once had for a Christmas marmalade that included pine nuts I'd be very glad ! I thought it was a Delia, but my searches come up with nothing promising.

Some more photos of yesterday


A day with some of the lads

Well, not quite. Yesterday morning Mrs Davey and I were on duty in the Maison de la Bible, and we set up meetings with various folk while we were there : 1) a student who's coming to Bordeaux on the Erasmus programme came in with her parents 2) the parents of a friend came in for a quick cup of tea and a chat 3) one of my French mates called in to catch up on stuff - we used to see each other frequently but now we're going to have to make coffee dates or lunch dates. Then at 12 I had a lunch meeting with two extraordinary chaps who are very active in caring for the homeless. Every Sunday they prepare enough food for about 70 to 90 people and serve it up in a square near the railway station. They do this out of their own pocket and from their own initiative. They're looking for other folk to get involved. It's not a thing for me to be involved in but I'll keep my ear to the ground. After that I scuttled off home through the baking heat, 38°C to find my

Swings and roundabouts

You know I'm applying to do this masters at Vaux-sur-Seine in Missiology and Church-planting ? Well I had this email today that told me that in all probability my dossier will be accepted. However the council of professors will have to meet to decide what equivalence to award - whether my studies in theology with the EMW plus my 22 years of pastoral experience will amount to the equivalent of a degree or the equivalent of A levels. They propose to admit me to the masters program me so that I do the masters studies and the masters evaluations and do a masters dissertation, but at the end I get a bachelors degree. I know that sounds wrong, but this is the sentence : très probablement, vous admettrons-nous à suivre le programme de Master de missiologie en implantation d'Eglises, non pas en vue du diplôme de Master mais de celui de la Licence. So it is more than likely that I won't take them up on their offer. I don't see the point at my age in spending all that t

So we've hired a car...

GULP !!! That means that our forthcoming trip to the UK is officially the most expensive holiday we've had since our honeymoon. And like our honeymoon, it started out quite cheap, but then things kept getting added on ! Still, what we are spending on car hire we won't spend on rail travel. And we'll have a huge amount more flexibility and independence.

The wedding

Well what do you think of that ? Firstly the threatened thunderstorm didn't materialise. Secondly the temperature fell to a very temperate twenty-something when on Monday it had got to about 40°C and today is doing the same thing. We had about 10 - 15 minutes of light, refreshing rain mid-afternoon. In all the wedding went off splendidly. Here's some photos.

Well, tomorrow is the wedding of Gareth and Debbie in our garden.

My day started with a trip into Bordeaux to buy fans. It's been so HOT and we don't have fans. Electric fans. Afterwards I had a rendezvous with a chappie at Porte de Bourgogne tram stop for a picnic lunch and discussion. He assures me he was there, and I was, too, but we didn't see each other so I got to eat rather more chicken, cheese and bacon sandwiches than I had planned ! Afterwards Gareth, Debbie, Rob, Marcus, J-P and sundry other folk descended on the back garden and got everything ready for the wedding - seats are in place, cupcakes made, songs rehearsed, vows planned, etc. etc. Meanwhile I studiously ignored an email which might complicate our UK visit later in the year. Apparently it is no longer possible to add drivers onto a car insurance policy if they are not UK residents. This means that we may not be able to borrow cars when in the UK. So on Thursday we'll look into the real cost of hiring a car. That means pricing up hiring a car and then de

What are you doing on the floor, Alan ?

I'm brushing my teeth ! See !

Le culte en anglais

We were about 16 people, I think, including a couple we haven't seen for a long time and two Iranian chaps, friends of one of our number who has now left Bordeaux. It was hot, so we only sang two songs, but both focused on grace - the Bible passage was Luke 15 and we were looking at how lost the elder brother was, and how Jesus wanted the Pharisees to hear and understand and to come to their senses. Afterwards we ate salads and quiche and stuff - cool things to keep you cool !

Sunday Saga

So we decided to visit the biggest evangelical church in Bordeaux, the ADD République , and to go for the 9h30 service. Easy-peasy. Bus 4 to Palais de Justice , then 16 to Barrière Judaique . The children were catching the same bus 4, but changing for tram A at Hotel de Police to go to Cenon. Well we were proceeding in a southerly direction when this little car came zooming up, pulled in front of the bus and rammed on the anchors. A young man got out and hammered on the door of the bus. The driver had no choice but to open the door whereupon a tall young man in his 20s was revealed, carrying a rucsac and complaining that the driver had not stopped to pick him up. His mother had been driving the car and she appeared protesting loudly on the same theme. "Il suffit de lever la main" All you have to do is stick yer 'and up... The young man and his mother seemed either to feel that this was unnecessary because he had been clasping his bus card, or that he had indeed

Eglise de Bordeaux République

We arrived a bit late so a lady detailed to welcome us found us some seats not too far forward and not too far back. When we arrived a song was in progress that we knew. The music group comprised an electric drum kit, piano, guitar and two saxophones. We sang three songs, I think, with a time where you sing whatever you want and a time of open prayer. At 10 it was time for the message. The youth and students pastor is preaching on the mountains and valleys of the promised land, and this week he was on Ebal and Gerizim. I didn't time the message but it was of substantial duration. The message kind of merged seamlessly into the communion service, but not the way you'd think with Christ redeeming us from the curse by becoming a curse for us - I don't quite remember the link... As the bread and wine were passed round we sang a song that went 'Faisons monter, monter un parfum de louange'. There were few announcements so we were out fairly quickly afterwards, th

The weekend has been hot. Very hot.

On Saturday morning we put up our remaining sheet of toile de verre as the sun beat through the door. I confess to making the last cut with undue haste to get out of that sun ! It's good to have got those two walls done. Then Mrs Davey and the two younglings cycled off to a friend's house - the friend has gone on holiday and offered the use of their pool while they're away. They live further out of Bordeaux, about 20 minutes away by bike. Pat went on her newly bequeathed bike, whose brakes need attention, and all had a good time.

"Saving Eutychus" - A review of a book on preaching, by Gary and Phil

This is a REALLY GOOD book on preaching. No, really ! Many preachers are addicted to books on preaching, and these books fall into many types. There's the classics. There's the "vade mecum" technical manuals. There's the "Simple guides". Then there's those books that come at it differently. For example, I'm thinking of Bruce Mawhinney's "Preaching with Freshness" which is just GREAT ! (And when will we get a systematic theology in the form of a novel...?) And now there's "Saving Eutychus"... OK, I HATE the title. No, I do. I REALLY HATE it. But when I finished the first chapter I thought, "This needs to be printed separately as a leaflet to give to any and every Christian." It's a cracker. In a cracker of a book. There are gaps, of course. For example, two Welshmen would have written of the Spirit's work somewhat differently, I think. Not all the chapters are equally strong - I stru

I just got off the line to the Revenue

They got my tax returns on Wednesday and cancelled the penalty and everything else on my records. They've left me 'live' on the system for the moment, which means that I will get a tax return next year, and I must remember to fill in the residency pages and send in the rest blank. Phew !

HMRC - also received today

1) A bill for £200 for penalties for a late tax return for 2008 (when we'd been in France since 2005 and had no UK income and so no longer received tax returns !) These are the penalties i appealed just a couple of weeks ago. 2) An employment page and notes on how to fill it in. I will need to phone them again. What joy.

HMRC has received my tax returns for 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013

I sent them recorded delivery and got the confirmation of delivery yesterday. Meanwhile I notice this.

Heat stopped play

So our goal today was to get the second wall done ready to pause for the wedding. However poor Mrs Davey was so shattered after the day in the shop that I didn't get everyone up early, which meant that we startedlate, which meant that it got too hot too quickly, which meant we all ended up feeling somewhat nauseous ! Oh well - restful rest of the day, then we have just ONE STRIP to hang tomorrow morning before we sort out the kitchen and living room ready for Sunday and then get everything sorted ready for the wedding. We had planned a trip into town - lunch, Aquitaine Museum and then Pat and Catrin are visiting some foks this afternoon to help them with their French admin, but we'll have lunch at home instead and skip the museum.

Bookshop and iTunes workshop

So today we were covering in the Maison de la Bible all day. Well all day except for the two-hour lunch break, which I put to good use by attending another free Apple workshop, this time on iTunes, and Catrin and Pat spent shopping in the grande braderie ! The workshop gave me some tips and was generally useful. The shopping produced a couple of bags and some mosquito repellent things that we had had trouble finding elsewhere. The bookshop was good - lots of people come in wanting Bibles and you end up spending a mot of time talking about principles of translation, readability, the JWs and so on.. We came home pretty tired, though, because town is VERY HOT !

The Tones of Mandarin Chinese

That's the first wall done

The man in the DIY shop said that this weather isn't the best for putting up toile de verre because by the time you get the bottom lined up the glue at the top has dried... So we decided to make the most of the early morning before the sun has really heated the place up, and to do as much as we can before 10 am each day. So this morning, after watching a Castorama instruction video to get some tips, and after working out how to improvise for the tools we don't have, we got going... And did the first wall ! Great ! So far so good !

Choral, Jazz Duo - Trombone and Guitar

Un atelier bien vif !

The Apple store runs free workshops, so I signed up last week to look at Keynote (like PowerPoint) and this week for Mac OS. Well I arrived pretty early so I could protect my apple account after a cunningly disguised phishing attack ALMOST took me in. I wanted to change my password to something more crypt1c and they have free wifi at the Apple store. Then a lady arrived and set up her computer. Then two guys came up. Then another lady. Then two more. So it was me, the young lad who was teaching the workshop and four ladies of a more or less certain age. I muttered to him, "Bon courage !" He was a good sport and I think he quite enjoyed the moments when the ladies behaved like a sack of cats, all talking at the same time and not quite grasping the four-fingered gestures you are supposed to do.... I learnt one or two tips. Jolly Good !

Sad warning : Série noire de noyades en Gironde : ne quittez pas les enfants des yeux un instant

Read here.

Wow ! I ALMOST have all the documents together to apply to join the masters programme...


Evangelical Church of Bordeaux Right Bank

So we began our survey of the Christian scene in Bordeaux with a church I have long wanted to visit because it is the preferred church of many students now. It's an Assemblies of God congregation with a big staff and three services at the weekend (Saturday evening, Sunday 9:30 and Sunday 11:30. They also have a well-known musician working in the church and it's quite a big church so even in the summer there should be a reasonable number. The church has stopped its Saturday evening services for the summer holiday period. We arrived in good time for the 11:30 service, despite me messing up our route ! We were welcomed by a lady at the door and I was struck by the good mix of ages - not many children, but all other ages well represented and a good mix of people. One chap on the welcome team recognised me and came over to chat. We sat down but most people were milling and chatting at the back of the church. On the screen a countdown appeared - the service begins in 4:26 minut

Perhaps just a little frantic, but what ENERGY !

What can explain this ?

It's 28°C in our sitting room at 8pm, and Mrs Davey, having spent the day cooking, knitting, sewing, charging over to the supermarket and back, pole-vaulting, hopping, skipping and jumping and generally tiring everyone out is now strimming the back garden. I stand in awe. Well I would if it wasn't so hot. I flop in awe. And kind of suspect that it must be linked with the doctor changing her dose of thyroxin.

Horizon programmes on Youtube !

A happy find !

Good teamwork

So we had a car booked from 9 till 11:30 to clear the garden rubbish and get rid of an old, dead 19" cathode-ray monitor, then to get paper, paste and brushes to do the kitchen walls. So 8:40 found me at the bus stop along with two other intrepid voyagers. 8:50. 9:02 finally the bus came (there's a bus every ten minutes, in theory...) So I got the car at 9:20. OK... Back home. All hands on deck to load up the car. Monitor. Garden rubbish. Catrin rode shotgun. We went to the dump. Garden rubbish unloaded. They no longer take monitors. Ah ! To the DIY shop. We found the paper. One roll should do. Paste. The chap was helpful. All was got. Home, with monitor and DIY stuff. Hoover car. 11am back to Pessac with the car. I have time to fill it with diesel ! 11:20 the car is returned. Result !

Hmmm. I am not sure yet if this is an improvement or not

Samsung finally updated the software in my phone to Jelly Bean. I've been waiting for it for a LONG TIME. It's supposed to bring sundry improvements and also to give the right to 50 GB of cloud storage! Very useful when your computer only has a tiny SSD... So my phone updated itself. It took two goes at it, but eventually got it finished, and lo and behold, it asked me if I wanted my 50 GB. YES! Then it got hot and the battery percentage dropped before my eyes ! There's no way it was going to get through a day. I got rid of various programs that I thought may have been running in background and using power. It's also uploading various photos to the afore-mentioned cloud... We'll see !

Family outing

The kids were bored. I know that this is normal for late adolescence, and to be experienced to the full because soon boredom will be a thing of the past. Still... So while I was in the Apple store being taught the wonders of Keynote - and there ARE wonders - Pat was coaxing the kids to the bus stop to come into town for ice-creams at Flunch, then the cinema. It took two goes, but finally she got them to the stop and I met them in Flunch, taking advantage of a wall-socket to charge my phone. We went to see Monster University, which was splendid. My favourite thing was the Randy Newman soundtrack. Most splendid, with some fine tromboning.

Tax returns - the end of the saga ?

Lindsay of the Inland Revenue helpline said, "We don't want people all over the world registering as self-employed and sending us tax returns every year that say nothing." Sounded sensible to me. Then came the killer stroke... "Tell your mission that from me, and give them my name..." Well I know that the mission has discussed this with many and varied people for a long and burdensome time. I emailed the mission, following the Davey principle - one always does what the tax authorities tell one to do - but asked them please not to phone me to discuss it. After three calls to the tax office I had no more to contribute to any discussion of tax. Then I slept on it. The Inland Revenue has already sent me a £200 penalty notice for not filling in a tax return for 2008, which I had not received. What if I didn't fill in tax returns I HAVE received, for 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 ? So this morning I have filled them all in, calculating as best I can

Keynote workshop at the Apple store

So I enrolled for the free Keynote workshop at the Apple store. Keynote is Apple's presentation software, like PowerPoint and all the others. It started at 3, so I met up with trombone-buddy Bruce beforehand and we ate lunch together. Then to the Apple store. There were just three of us, plus the trainer. He took us in an hour through the construction of a Keynote presentation. The workshops are nominally one hour long, but he had a bit of extra time, so we had plenty of time to ask questions. I asked about projection settings, so he walked us through that. In all I was very impressed. So I've enrolled for two more !

Tax returns for 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 driving me nuts !

I am on my third call to the UK this morning. How many days have I spent in the UK since 2006....? Sadly I have lost my 2006 diary.... I can work it out from the blog, but it might take some time... This latest lady just said, "If you live and work in France since 2005, why are we sending you all these tax returns ?" I said, "I cannot answer that." i thought that, since I have no UK income to declare, I'd finish these forms today. No chance !

A nice, crazy, but NOT very productive day...

So Mrs Davey was in the bookshop today. "I'll come in and we can have lunch together !" So I thought I'd tackle my 2008 tax return, which arrived yesterday without a return by date, before leaving on the 11am bus. I also had to phone the bank to check the time of our appointment on Thursday - I entered it in my diary on my phone but something weird happened and I could no longer find it... ring ring ! "Allo?" It was a good friend from the UK. This would be a long call... ouais, c'est vrai, et puis... for rather a long time, till : EEK - it's ten to eleven, I have to go ! I went through the park, calling at the bank on the way. Nobody was answering the phone. It's best to go in person. "Quatorze heures." Thought it was. Into town. Bus then tram. Just in time. Hello dear ! Where to eat? What about... Salad bars ? Let's go see. Finally : Cheverus . Set menu. Good value. Steak and chips. Nice red wine! And

Just as I feared

On the shopping list this week - refills for the mosquito killers. In the supermarket - NONE. Not one pack. Not of ANY brand. It is just as I feared. The crazy rain which has left standing puddles in the parks, followed by the crazy heat has led to a plague of blood-crazed mosquitos. ouch ! ITCH !

Satay sauce

I continue to develop my recipe for Satay Sauce. Here's the present formula : 4 tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce 3 tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter 2 tbsp Soy Sauce 1 tbsp hot water (adjust to consistency desired) Any suggestions for improving it ? One recipe added red wine vinegar. We just happened to have inherited some. We tried it. It was foul.

Le Point has done a recipe for every town on the route of the Tour de France.

Here is the one for Mont St Michel :

A quick report on the weekend

Saturday was a calm, quiet day, but VERY HOT. Sunday morning found us at Cenon for the kids' profession of faith. They basically gave their testimony during the service, having chosen favourite readings and songs, too. Catrin was Psalm 5 and "Shine, Jesus, shine" Gwilym was Revelation 21 and "Hosanna" (Hillsong) Here's a couple of photos.   It was the first service during our sabbatical, so we didn't lift a finger (except to welcome some folk who arrived while everyone was distracted lifting their fingers...) ! Tim preached - his first sermon in French, and he nailed it, as they say. Bit of work remains to be done on ou's and u's and stuff, but who doesn't have things like that ! In the evening for the English Service the usual preach was replaced with those videos with Peter Woodcock - Tales of the Unexpected... The discussion is a bit laboured with second-language English-speakers... Will have to think a bit before next w

Whatever possessed me ?

Why oh why oh why did I decide to follow Alain de Botton's twitter feed ? I must be nuts.

Gospel-centred Apocalypse

A Review of Revelation, by Alun Ebenezer, published by Evangelical Press. So what's your favourite commentary on Revelation, then ? It depends on so many things. Firstly your view of the book of Revelation itself. Then, what you want from your commentary - technical detail and closely-argued defences of positions taken, heart-warming sweeps and glimpses of glory, the hard work done ready for preaching... Different books meet different needs. This book is NOT a technical commentary on Revelation. It is not a book full of closely-argued defences of particular positions taken. It also probably isn't a historic book that will take its place among the great classics of the Christian literature. But it is something really good and really useful. It's Gospel-centred. Yeah, I know. Everything is gospel-centred these days. So much so that soon we'll forget what on earth the term means. I'll tell you what it means for Alun Ebenezer's book on Revelation. He's focused

So where we going tomorrow morning, then ?

Over the years I have sometimes heard folk discussing which church to attend the next day. My assessments of these situations have not always been very sympathetic... But now we find ourselves in that position, to get on with our survey of the church scene in Bordeaux. Well, nearly. Tomorrow Gwilym and Catrin are doing their profession of faith (like giving your testimony) which they didn't have time to do at the time of their baptism the other week. So we'll be at Cenon tomorrow morning. The journeyings start after that.

MacBook Air

OK. It's done. After more than 20 years of wishing to use a Mac, and every time I changed my computer opting for a PC because it was so much cheaper, I've bought a MacBook Air. Of course, there were steps on the way. Firstly the iPhone 3gs, now being used by Gwilym. Then the iPad, which i bought refurbished, and which has done sterling service as a PowerPoint machine and the only computer I ever take on my travels - my PC "laptop" being so big and heavy it would crush your kneecaps. But now the deed it done, the step is taken, I have signed up and gone all appley-eyed... Takes some getting used to, I can tell you ! But the BATTERY-LIFE ! And the PORTABILITY ! (Special thanks to the Chinese group, whose generous gift contributed greatly.)

Conseil d'administration de l'ecole de musique

I resigned from the CA yesterday. I was getting too emotionally involved in the faffing around about who was and who wasn't available to be in the bureau (President, secretary and treasurer plus assistants). I realised that this is too much for me just now, so I decided to let it drop till I can do it without getting stressed out !

Coppelia at the Place de la Comédie

On Thursday evening the tram was going to be interrupted between Quinconces and Hotel de Ville because of a showing of Coppelia on the big screen outside the Grand Theatre. Yesterday I spotted that it had been rescheduled for Friday night because of technical problems. So we decided to go. I was already in the middle of town, Gwilym was working till 7, but the girls came and joined me for an ice-cream at Flunch, then we scuttled slowly through the heat to the theatre. We found a good spot on the steps and heard lots of different voices round us - English, Spanish, etc... The screen was working. I had noticed earlier in the day that it was displaying various scenes from operas, orchestral works, anything.. The ballet was beautifully danced. A crazy man with a djembe decided to dance along (I was ITCHING to hide his djembe while he wasn't looking), our view was interrupted by a group of four BIG people who greeted each other long and effusively right in our line of sight, (Ben voilà,

Thursday of the first week of the Sabbatical

OK. So far so good.  But still there's room for improvement. For one thing I still setting up meetings with the chaps I meet up with. For another I have been interviewing candidates to teach at the music school. This means that some of my missions for the sabbatical haven't been started. And tomorrow I have to do LOTS of tromboning and spend LOTS of quality time with Mrs Davey. But I have progressed well in getting my application together to do the masters in missiology. So I guess one can say, so far so good.

"Prepared by Grace, for Grace", Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley - a Book Review

Can anyone just believe ? Can we just say to people, "Trust in Jesus Christ and he will save you!" ? But save you from what ? And why would anyone believe, anyway ? Why would anyone want to ? What would drive someone into the arms of Jesus Christ ? How do people come to faith ? Why do they do it ? What happens before conscious faith ? Can we describe it ? Analyse it ? Understand it ? Define it ? And how can we both respect people's need to feel their desire to trust in Christ without creating some sense of needing to feel a deep need before we can even hope to be accepted ? How ready does someone have to be to believe ? Who cares, anyway ? Well, we should care. We want to see people become Christians, precious few do, and most people don't have any sense of need of a saviour. A SAVIOUR ? Why would I need a SAVIOUR ??? Nobody was more qualified to think through the whole process of repentance and faith than the reformers and the puritans. They were faith

Xuefei Yang

A guitarist friend at church sent a link to this. Beautiful.

The agony and the bafflement

So it turns out that missionaires are regarded as self-employed in the UK for the purposes of National Insurance. Thus it was that in May, following advice received by the mission and transmitted to us, I registered Mrs Davey and myself as self-employed on the UK Government website. (In France pastors, priests, etc are regarded as employed, and their employer is God. Or so I am told.) On my return from the UK I found : A) A letter from Newcastle saying that my name and title were different from on their records. Please confirm my forename(s) and title. B) Tax assessments to fill in for 2010 - 2013 to return by September. (I flicked through them. I am already baffled.) C) A late-tax-return penalty notice of £200 for the tax return for 2008. So I phoned them up. They stopped sending tax returns in 2007 because we have no UK income and we pay tax in France. I have until 3 July to appeal the penalty. By post. So I am sending it off today. Anyway apparently where there i