Showing posts from January, 2017

All these restaurants and fast food outlets are within 100 yards of the Porte d'Aquitaine at Victoire

Speed Rabbit Pizza Le Break is a pub - it was closed Kebabs Japanese - this place had sparky woks in the window! More kebabs Burritos Thai food Yet more kebabs A bagelerie A Lebanese restaurant - I love the name Chick'n'links - I think it's kebabs, though Take away wok food Asian restaurant Japanese Not sure - looks Japanese to me, or Korean West-African Another wokerie

I stumbled across this

when I was looking for a video of Catrin Finch playing the Goldberg Variations. I listened to it while working yesterday and put it on twice at the Maison de la Bible this morning. This woman's story is just astonishing. A real 20th century story. At a time of sadness and madness this kind of thing helps tremendously.

"Rigueur au fond, fantaisie à la forme"

That's what someone said of French music, apparently.

Alerte gastro

Wash your hands thoroughly, people. There are bugs around. Mrs Davey has succumbed. She's OK but resting and staying at home today.

Hit the road, Jack!

Those nasty, hard frosts have stopped for a while, to be replaced by the traditional warm, winter rains of Aquitaine, so about 6:40ish found me hurtling helter-skelter along the little roads to the château and back. Of course it was a slog after such a long time not running, but it felt good to be out again and to be back on track.

Giving out tracts on Sainte Catherine,

a chap came down eating his way through a tub of chocolates. I offered him a tract, which he took. Then he turned back and gave me a chocolate. Nice, too!

I probably ought to clarify that fact that Penelope Fillon

actually comes from Monmouthshire, the Welsh Alsace-Lorraine, the part of Wales that has been disputed for centuries. There is this difference. The Welsh think it should be part of England and the English want it in Wales.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that Bach never actually heard a sewing machine

From the utterly excellent "All of Bach" collection:

I turned down marrying someone again

The last time it was a dear friend who needed someone to conduct a wedding in Slovenia. In Slovenia! I put him in contact with people who could find them a pastor in Slovenia, but nobody was available. But I can't go swanning off to Slovenia to conduct a wedding! I advised them to distribute different parts of the ceremony to different family members and guests. You don't need a pastor to marry you. It isn't a sacrement or a church ordnance. You don't need diddly squat. It's fine. This time it was about an hour from here, a couple we don't know who I believe live overseas are coming back to France to marry because she's French. It'll be a great opportunity for someone to minister into an important moment in a couple's life, but it isn't a service that we can provide. I gave them some contacts that may be able to help.

I'm so excited - not

Well I've ordered my new glasses. I'm allowed, I think, a new pair once a year if my prescription changes. It has changed, so I've ordered them. This will be my third pair. My first were little, rectangular, wire-framed things. Not very prominent, but they did have an unfortunate tendency to cut grooves into the sides of my head. My second are the ones I am wearing. They are rectangular but larger and with a more prominent grey plastic frame. Essentially they make me look like Joe 90. But at least they don't do the groove thing. The ones I have ordered are round but with arms that poke out a bit. Essentially nordic theologian glasses. Like Bonhoeffer used to wear. The firm I order my glasses from has this natty website where you can superimpose the glasses onto your face using the webcam in your computer. It all sounds very good, but it didn't predict the grooves in my head and I didn't spot the Joe 90 resemblance. Oh well. Vanity is a bad thing, anyw

Oh boy it was so cold today

and I, fool that I was, decided not to wear my big, thick, padded, leather coat that I got for 20€ from Auchan in the sale and that one day I will have to leave to someone in my will because it will outlast me, but I decided to wear my thick-ish Blacks fleece. Bad move. The fleece was hopelessly inadequate and it looks funny anyway. But then so does the leather coat. But at least I look funny and warm in the leather coat. Anyway. I was on duty in the Maison de la Bible but things were very quiet because of the bitter cold! Still, three more weeks and we should see things starting to warm up.

A wee Monday ditty


So relieved!

Saturday evening at about 5pm, the sudden thought comes - quickly, without warning, unannounced, as if from nowhere - "You should have been on duty in the Maison de la Bible this morning, the 21st of January, and you forgot to go." Anguish and terror seize my heart with a strong, swift, vice-like grip. I dare not look in my diary. I tell Pat, 'I think I forgot to be in the Maison de la Bible this morning." "Oh dear. What does your diary say?" I dare not look, but look I must, so I brace myself, take a deep breath, poke the little square and up it comes. Nothing. There is nothing noted for that morning! Relief is short lived, a mayfly, a shooting star of hope. "I bet I forgot to note it in my diary!" Like a gambling addict in a bent casino, which essentially means any casino, I know I cannot win. "I'll ask Catherine." "No, don't worry about it. There's nothing you can do now anyway." I listen to

Oh dear. Perhaps it's them...

Adorable couple come to church late December. I have my funny turn, as in I can't see them properly and forget momentarily how to read! Adorable couple come to church again yesterday! Shoddy message... :-( Still, we sang well and folk prayed well.

Them as can read French might appreciate this magazine from the Institut Biblique Belge

Acquired tastes, from France24


The eye test

Again it's really very cold here. I'm typing at 11:34, the sun has been up and bright a long time and still there is frost on the roofs where the sun is shining! I've just got back from my annual eye test and on the way back, in the sunshine, my breath still condensed in the freezing air. My phone says it is -3°C right now. Could be. It often is colder here n Bordeaux than in Shotton where we used to live in North Wales. My theory for this is that Spain blocks the effect of the Gulfstream from us while bestowing upon us the storms of the Bay of Biscay. At the moment we are on yellow alert for grand froid (big cold) while northern Brittany is not. Good old Gulfstream, eh? Please correct me gently if I am wrong. 50€ for an eye-test! But we should get that back. The doctor said (you get seen by an optometrist first, then a doctor who has a good squint at your retinas) "Well, your myopia is getting worse, as is your presbyopia, but that's all to be expected. I'

I just need you to know that I tried

6:35 am found me at the corner of the vineyard, ready to rock, ready to roll, ready to run. Yes! Let's do this! I'd been impressed to see no frost on the ground or even on the roofs of the houses. "It can't be that cold", thought I. Then I began to run. OUCH! It was FREEZING ! I had a woolly hat on, but my FACE! And the TEARS! I briefly, oh so briefly considered running in a balaclava. Then I turned round and went home.

Some photos of the new meeting place

Looking out of the front door The open front door with our banner This way To the end of the corridor through the courtyard That's the place Welcome! a little kitchen no cooker, but coffee makers and our kettle Pat gets the table ready for pre-service coffee and post-service snacks Sit in the middle, please! And yes, there's a piano! Did I mention post-service snacks?

A wee ditty for a Monday morning


You learn something new every day!

If someone asks you "Comment est votre transit?" the right answer is not: "ben, dans le tram."

I think she will promise us -

a "Hope and Glory Brexit". I'm quite excited about the Prime Minister's speech tomorrow!  Remember, if she does say that, you heard it here first.

Couch to 5K

As I came back from my early morning exertions the two mistresses Davey were preparing to leave for theirs. And as I gallumphed alongside the vineyards my thoughts went out to the many friends in all corners of the world who will be out running either today or tomorrow in my worldwide running revolution. Bonne route, chers amis, bonne route!

Disturbing news

I have this funky mobile phone contract that I really like. I've been on it for two years now. It's not the cheapest I could get, but it has two advantages that I appreciate a lot. 1) It gives me the same amount of calls and text messages anywhere in Europe that I have in France, and half the amount of data coverage. Typically French contracts give you a limited number of days, but with me doing church visits and us spending holidays in the UK, plus me needing to use my phone as a sat nav, then this "unlimited" cover is very useful. 2) Premium Spotify! This has been wonderful! Then I had a message informing me that my Premium Spotify has a two-year limit and I must within the next few days switch to unlimited internet access at weekends, video games, TV programmes or films to watch on my phone. None of those are of any interest at all to me. Oh well. Farewell Spotify!

Pat's head scan results arrived today by post

A nice CD and prints of the various slices that the scanner took at 3mm intervals. And a report saying that they found nothing sinister and all they would normally hope to find! Jolly good. Thankful.

First meeting in the new venue

Well it all went pretty well. We got there plenty early and opened up, fixing our banner to the grill of the shop front (which belongs to the premises). We sorted out the kitchen, heated water for tea and coffee and I set out the room. We were a decent number with some new folk there for the first time. So far so good.

Gwilym is back in the UK

We took a photo last night of the four of us. Now trying to get a photo of the Daveys is a bit like trying to get a group shot of the cast of the Muppet Show after a successful performance. Not simple. We took about 20 shots and this is by far the best: Today we took Gwilym to lunch at Flunch - a big canteen-style restaurant in Mérignac - then to the airport. Easyjet says his flight left and landed on time. He's back in the UK. Meanwhile at Villa Koralli lots of people have been moving out, including Sumo's owners! He's gone! To Lyon!

What? When? Hang on... where, exactly?

So can you confirm your text for the youth service on January 29th? I have Colossians 2. Also we'll be choosing songs this week so we need to get things straight before Glen leaves for New Guinea. So read the email I received yesterday. More or less. Names and destinations changed. But I'm preaching in Bordeaux on January 29th. Anyway, where could this be? I replied. Who? What? Where? It transpires that I am not the only pastor in the world who goes by the name of Alan Davey. As well as a prominent civil servant in the Midlands and the bass player for Hawkwind, Google reveals a Pastor Alan Davey in Toronto and in New Zealand. Both in Baptist churches. Both very cool guys. Maybe I should write them...

Pat's progress

is good. She has LOTS of paracetamol to take, but is taking very little. She has spectacular bruises in sundry places and the limp on her head is going down. We phoned about the scan and the results are in the post, from which we conclude that there is no cause for alarm.


There are unconfirmed reports of snow in Bordeaux and in parts of Pessac. LATE UPDATE:  it was what is called "industrial snow", where the foggy cold weather colludes with particulate pollution from diesel engines and from heating systems to form little frozen "snowflakes" that originate just tens of metres from the ground and fall like snow. It is no more dangerous to your health than breathing the particles themselves, and performs the useful function of flushing them out of the atmosphere...

At the post office

"This has to get to England as quickly as possible." "Chronopost!" "OK, how much is that?" The chap left the counter and looked at the chronopost shelves... "50 euros" "A bit less quickly..." the chap laughed... "Priority, 5,50€." "That's the right speed!"

2016 - a year of division

I suppose that Brexit is by nature a vote for division since it was a vote for leaving a union, to exit the European Union. But here in Bordeaux in our International church the US presidential election also played its part in our feeling that 2016 was a year for division. People say that these votes revealed the deep divisions that exist in the UK and in the USA. OK, perhaps. And in 2017 we have a French presidential election which will be contested by an as yet unannounced champion for the Socialist Party, by François Fillon for the Centre-Right "Republicans" and by Marin LePen for the far-right National Front. François Fillon is much further right than his rival candidates in the party. It's interesting to me to note that the past presidents of France have said that they want to unite all the French, and indeed, M. Sarkozy did succeed in uniting quite a lot of French people in protests against him. There have not been protest marches against M. Hollande, but the cou

Catrin is now doing Couch to 5K

as are some other friends here and there. Run, folk, run for your life!

Coming home

At about 3:30 the call came to collect Pat, so Catrin got together the things she needed, Gwilym carried the bag and we hied us away to collect the Citiz car - I'd reserved it from 2 till 8 in readiness. The Clinic Mutualiste is about 2 miles from our flat down roads we never take on the university campus. The folk there were very nice and we were there perhaps 10 minutes in all. The head scan had perhaps shown a little something but nothing to stop Pat coming home. We were told to phone on Wednesday to hear the verdict of the head honcho. So back home, two bowls of bolognese sauce (no spaghetti) prepared by Pat in the morning, but doctored later by the addition of Alan's two secret ingredients, then an early, peaceful, restful, quiet night.

The patient is recuperating nicely

Well after two big bowls of bolognese sauce ("did you add anything to this?" "why?" "it tastes really good" "ok, yes, I put in my two secret ingredients...") and a peaceful evening spent dozing on the sofa and watching detectives track down murderers, Pat slept early, long, deep and peacefully.

Well that's one way to start your new year

We decided to go this morning and worship with our friends at the brethren assembly - without contacting them first, of course. The service starts at 10am, and it was a bit of a scramble to get out of the house and catch that 9:18 bus 4 but we made it, Pat striding off like Scott of the Antarctic on a summertime practice session. We got to the building and found it all locked up. Oh well. So we considered our options and decided to return home. We just missed the return bus 4 and hoofed it off to get the tram from Quinconces. While steaming across the tramlines, Pat tripped, took a tumble and bounced her pate off the hard, hard floor. I got her up and off the tram lines. We sat for a while and decided to get on the Pessac tram, but that's when the nausea set in. She also had a goodly sized mound on the back of her bonce. So at Victoire we got off the tram and I phoned for medical assistance. A bit of how's your father - how does one say again that one tripped and hit one