Showing posts from November, 2014

Suppression of the Regions

Well I just attended what will probably be my last Synode. The Synode of Montauban was held yesterday and today. I couldn't go yesterday, but I went this morning on the 6:30 train from Alouette. Now there's a story! I wandered happily down to the station and bought my ticket from the machine. 33€. I thought that was very reasonable for a single to Montauban, which is a good two hours away. Got to Bordeaux. Train for Marseille leaving from Platform 3. I hasten thither, hop on and settle myself in. The train leaves the station. A man says over the tannoy, "we remind you that on this train a seat reservation is compulsory". Problem! My ticket doesn't have a seat number on it. I find a little gang of traffic police. Let me see your ticket. Oh yes, that ticket isn't valid on this train. What? The ticket inspector came. I think I have the wrong ticket.. Let me see. Oh yes, that's a TER ticket and this is an Intercity train. But at Alouette t

It's been kinda quiet round here lately

Winter is on the way. They're decorating the Festive Holiday Tree in the middle of Bordeaux.

Que du bonheur!

This morning Catrin left for a school trip to Caen to visit the peace museum, the D-day beaches and the war cemeteries. She had to be at Gare Saint-Jean for 6:40. A train from Pessac at 6:33 gets to the station at 6:40, but we booked a Citiz car and I picked it up last night. 5 am found us all bustling about the house and 6 found us hurtling towards the ring road in the car, to find that the slip road was closed. Quick change of plan, to get to the next slip road would take too long, we headed for Pessac station and got that train. Catrin hurriedly texted her friends to say that she would not arrive by 6:40. We caught the train, alighted, found her friends, then Pat and I got on the next train back. Before leaving we searched the departure boards for a train leaving soon after 6:40 in the direction of Caen, but nothing. I texted Catrin. So what time's this train, then? 7:23. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! While I had the car I took a load of old worthless treasures to th

Imaginary people who really exist

it's so embarrassing I hardly dare confess it. I used to read the reformation 21 blog until they finally drove me nuts with their various antics and I forsook them forever. One of the somewhat less-infuriating antics was their habit of inventing various different characters with crazy names and blogging in that name. A sort of pythonesque humor, I suppose. We all did it, as schoolboys. Except that one by one I am discovering that these fictional imaginary names are real people . No, I promise, they are! Yes, the truth is stranger than fiction!

Pat's Birthday - la suite

After our lunch at Miles we popped in at Maison de la Bible to collect Pat's mobile phone, left there the previous day, then we had a couple hours to get ready quietly for the Bordeaux Church Thanksgiving Meal Invitation Extravaganza. The evening was starting at 7pm at James' flat. I had prepared a Thanksgiving Turkey and Prune Tajine - with chicken instead of turkey because they didn't have any in Auchan the day I looked, accompanied by Cranberry Couscous. Pat was planning to make a Banana Custard Tart, but she was saved from this by having the rest of the lemon meringue pie from the morning. We intended arriving at 6:30, but we waited longer than intended for the bus so ended up arriving at about 10 to 7, just in time to put up the pasting table (call yourself an ex-plumber) and help set up the food corner. 7pm came. One person arrived. 7:15. A few more. By 7:30 we were buzzing' and almost half the folk were there for the first time. James welcomed people. I

It's been a long time since we had a trombone video

Pat's birthday - so far

The day began with a short lie-in as Catrin didn't start till 10 this morning, which meant the girls getting up at 8. Then off to the book group, where I was presenting "The Shock of the Fall" by Nathan Filer. One of the folk had ordered a birthday lemon tart, which was both very kind and very delicious. We then went for lunch at Miles, recently given a joint first prize by Fooding magazine with a restaurant in Paris. Their prices are very reasonable, the team is young and friendly, all was just great. Now getting ready for the Thanksgiving Meal this evening.

Sin is not cosmic treason

Grateful to Ligonier Minstries for this . I was speaking with a colleague the other day and I remarked that for the majority of people, be they Christian or not, people are basically good. Where people will talk about sin, generally they think of it in terms of sin s . Good people doing bad things. Good people with bad habits. Good people who slip up. But good people, hey? If you think about sin like that, then your view of God, his holiness, his mercy, the cross, the price paid by Jesus, all will be affected. But sin isn't like that. It's a declaration of autonomy and independence by dependent creatures. Even that is difficult for us. After all, if Scotland wants to vote for independence, why not? Everyone should decide who governs them and how, shouldn't they? Isn't that a basic human right? That's why it's so important to see sin as the Bible portrays it: as a sickness that infects everything about us as a rebellion against our good and

"This time EDF will pay for the installation of the solar panels"

A couple years ago a guy came to the house to talk about installing solar panels on the roof. He said our roof is ideal. It's big enough, at a suitable angle and faces due south. Here was the deal - you took out a loan to cover the cost of installation, repayable over twenty years and meanwhile the revenue from selling your electricity to EDF paid the load. In twenty years time, quids in! Had we been in our twenties we might have considered this, but not now. Anyway last night a woman rang saying that EDF were looking for homes to install solar panels, and they would cover the installation charge. Now on the phone you can never tell whether someone is from EDF or not, but hey... I recounted the above, and she said, "No, this time EDF pays for it. We'll make an appointment and someone will call in about 20 minutes to confirm it." Twenty minutes later, someone calls. I recounted the above. The person said, "well what we're proposing is the same thing,

Tri chynnig i Gymro (three tries for a Welshman = third time lucky)

Well what a palaver! Bougie-wougie-telecom, the people with whom we have our internet and with whom Patricia and I have our mobile phones, wrote to me a while back announcing BIG NEW THINGS for which existing customers would be eligible. Further details emerged. Firstly new tariffs - for the same price as what I pays now my mobile phone would work in the UK - internet too. This seemed very interesting to me, especially since every time I go to the UK I buy a £15 top up from Three to get mobile phone cover while in the UK. Then a new kind of ADSL and TV box coming out in January, the MiamiBox, which will have most wondrous properties. Well the tariffs came into force on 17th November, so on 17th November I went online and looked. Sure enough, there was the new tariff. It looked fine. I clicked on the place where it said "Change for this". The reply was "We can't change your tariff online. You have to go to a shop." Well today I was in town and heading

Wow! I wasn't sure it would be possible, but

it's Pat's birthday on Friday and I just booked us in for lunch in a little restaurent that was recently judged the best restaurant in France! Can you believe it! Peter Mayle, eat your heart out! By the way, don't tell her.


It has RAINED and RAINED and RAINED here - Saturday night it rained so hard that it was not easy to sleep, so after a lively Sunday I was very tired indeed. So today after doing the week's tweets (for BordeauxChurch on twitter and Facebook page) we had an early lunch and headed off to Ikea! Ikea is on the other side of Bordeaux so to get there we took bus 4 right to the end, then bus 32. It deposited us just outside Auchan Lac and we weaved our way to the recently enlarged Ikea. We had a nice time discussing sofas and chairs and eyeing up shelves. Then off for our free cup of coffee, because we have an Ikea Family Card. Afterwards some replacement bowls and odds and ends, including a brolly for €2.50. Then walk to the tram stop at the end of line C in the middle of the new Ginko Eco-quartier, then change in the Chartrons to bus 4 once more. A nice escape!

So he left us a...

a cake. A brioche, to be precise. Who? Constant, a chap who lives on the street in Bordeaux. He's an old-fashioned homeless guy, he looks and dresses like a tramp and he wanders the streets of Bordeaux. We've met him in Cenon, where he accepts a cup of coffee, but drinks it outside the building. He has come in, but not often. And the first time we met at Dan he came past and was very upset by our presence. "It's a restaurant, not a church", he yelled. But he soon got used to us. The other week he yelled again, the Sunday that Pat and I were in Nice. Was he upset by a voice he didn't recognise? Sometimes we try to give him food, but he always refuses it. At Cenon a coffee. At Dan we don't have coffee, so we have nothing to give him. He likes to exchange some treasure: a glass, a spoon, a metal rod, anything he finds. But we're not in our own place so it ain't easy to swap with him. Anyway, this Sunday, during a moment when I couldn't

Our poor neighbour

came in for a quick coaching session in English ready for his exam in April. His homework for this week? To master the pronunciation of "a thoroughly developed law".

Monoprix, mayhem and malentendu

On the way to the Christian bookshop from the oft-feted number 4 bus one passes through the cathedral square, here known as Place Pey-Berland. One corner of the square has a shopping centre and in the basement thereof is Monoprix. You might think from its name that everything in this supermarket is the same price, but you would be wrong. There are shops like that in Bordeaux, with names like 2€, etc. But in Monoprix the prices vary, normally upwards, that is to say that it is not known for its bargains. In fact the clothes never fit me and they're too expensive. Carrefour trousers and jumpers are fine and Géant-Casino shirts. Auchan is OK for coats. Anyway, I digress. Monoprix's chief attraction, apart from its convenient location next to the cathedral square, is its attractive range of food. There it was that I once bought real scones, and thus it was that my lunch today was Covent Garden Soup Company Chorizo and Pearl Barley Soup. And very nice it was, too. At the Maiso

Some photos

The first photo merits a little explanation. I was at a café with a friend and he likes a "petit café bien serré" a "really strong little coffee made with just a little water". The barista produced a tiny coffee that could have comfortably fitted in your average thimble. My companion laughed a lot, but said it was very, very good.

Book review : The Foundation of Communion with God - The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen, edited by Ryan McGraw

Before we came to France I looked round our straining bookshelves. Something had to give. We didn't know what kind of accommodation we'd have, how much space, whether I'd even have an office. Hard decisions had to be taken. Some books were sold on Amazon. Some books were sold at pastors' conferences and fraternals (fraternaux?) One set of books stubbornly resisted all attempts to sell it: a beautiful 16-volume set of John Owen, purchased in the Mecca of second-hand books in Hay-on-Wye. A friend looked at it with such interest and kindness. "I tell you what, you promise to pray for us every time you open it and you can take the books." Like a true Augustinian, he took the books, he reads them and what's more he has prayed faithfully for us for almost ten years. I can't find room for 16 volumes of John Owen on my shelves. Anyway, now I can get them in electronic format from various sources at various prices. And to be honest, John Owen's insight

Saying farewell

Some friends are asylum seekers from a middle-eastern country and for a time I accompanied them to the various offices that deal with their case, as well as doing introductory Bible studies from John's Gospel ( English, French, their national language, it was always delightful ). We spent some very happy times together in parks and cafés, in queues and in buses. On Saturday we heard that they have been allocated a flat in a town way south of here, so Monday lunchtime found me at the station with a little gang of people to say goodbye. Coffee, macarons and the TGV. Au revoir! A bientôt!

Autumn has finally come, and it's COLD!


The Covenant of Redemption, the Westminster Confession and its Scripture proofs

Someone started a conversation the other day about the Covenant of Redemption and its Scripture proofs, specifically, where from the Scriptures do we find support for the Covenant of Redemption. I looked in the Westminster Confession which, though it doesn't name the Covenant of Redemption, does speak of it and gives a fairly substantial list of texts in support. The 17th century was a time of great development in Covenant Theology, and since the Westminster Confession dates from 1646, its section dealing with the Covenants does not reflect later distinctions, definitions and refinements. Here is a passage from a book I'll be reviewing, hopefully on Monday, which speaks about this :


UNION 2014 - AOTY video from Bolts and Gears on Vimeo .

Retreat - the therapeutic value

Both female Daveys have expressed their appreciation of the therapeutic value of the retreat in Nice. It done them both a power of good. We're all very thankful!

Voyage à la Belge

That's funny. There's nothing on the information board and the train hasn't come. And that posh-looking passenger in the suit and business wheeler-trolley is starting to look agitated. I know, there's an app for SNCF, I'll just download it and look. 1245 Alouette-France - Bordeaux Saint-Jean Train supprimé. What?!?! My TGV for Paris leaves at 13:18. I don't have a hope! Well, I know there's a strike, but when I looked this morning the train was still running. Let's book a taxi. What train are you on? 13:18 to Paris. Us, too. The taxi driver took a while to come. I emailed James Hely-Hutchinson, the director of the Institut Biblique Belge to tell him I had a bijou petite problemette. The taxi driver came, we piled in and he hurtled off to town, regaling us with stories of how he lost and regained points on his driving licence. A reluctant barrier at the station was coaxed into cooperation. People moved aside slowly for the taxi to pass through

Let's stick a harpsichord in a shed next to a dead moped and get someone to play Bach's Chaconne on it

Retreat - on the Wednesday we did an all-day excursion

to Saint Honorat, an island just off the coast from Cannes, where a monastery produces classy wine.

Squirting the sea up your snitch

I didn't take my seawater aerosol with me to the retreat. Today I have a sore throat. Just saying! Squirting recommences in 30 seconds... 29 28

A video from some friends we have yet to meet, the Dulawad

New video about what the Lord's leading us to in France: please pray for us! #a29e @Acts29Europe — Del de la Hoyde (@deldelahoyde) November 4, 2014

Retreat at Vence - the teaching Sessions

John is a pastor in an international church and currently preparing a PhD at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Maybe I should make clear that this name uses "divinity" in a slightly archaic sense, to mean the study of God - like Theology,  divinity is the latin cognate of the greek word theology. It is not a school for aspiring divinities. Anyway, having cleared that up, he did a great job with a difficult task, to introduce Revelation and to  expound the letters to the seven churches in four half-days. He steered a careful course between the rocks of various millennial opinions, eventually professing respect for the amillennial and historic pre-millennial views. Anyway, we were WAY before Rev 20, which is where the discussions heat up. To be honest, the only real problem I had with the teaching sessions was that the programme was perhaps too ambitious. We had LOADS of sessions, sometimes one after the other, and scheduling one major teaching session per day would have

Retreat at Vence - the stated goal of the week

The retreat at Vence was organised by ICC, the International Christian Communities of Eurasia. This is a network of workers and churches who ail to reach internationals in the cities of Europe and Asia. There is a European Board, and two churches at Saint Paul de Vence and at Nice collaborated with a team of workers from Denton Bible Church in Texas, plus a few other folk from hither and yon, to make the week work well. The stated goal was to remove our socks from our feet by the express force of the benedictions imparted. This goal was to be achieved by various means : 1) and it was the first thing we noticed - everyone was really nice and kind to each other 2) teaching sessions of a very high standard taking us through chapters 1 - 3 of Revelation, given by a pastor from Istanbul who is currently working on his doctorate from TEDS 3) comfortable accommodation and good food. We had a flat in Vence with views as seen below. It was basic holiday accommodation, but compares ver