Showing posts from March, 2018

The Gironde Estuary


Lifestyle changes - again

The faithful reader will know that I am not afraid of incorporating the assured findings of recent scientific research and the latest fads of the snake-oil vendors into what I so ambitiously call "my life". Also that I am not usually shy of sharing these fascinating snippets with you, gentle reader, though I did spare you, I think, the inclusion of nuts into my daily regime - something that caused me long reflection. Long story short, chocolate nut porage, with walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and almonds. Carry on like this and I'll be adding fish-oil and chopped liver to my morning oatflakes. Anyway, moving swiftly on, I'm trying to sleep longer. Our wild social agenda prevents me going to bed earlier, so that means staying in bed later in the morning. But I've always got up by 6:30! But good men get up early! Everyone says so! But I go running at 6:30! Aha. Leaving aside any pretence at being a "good man", whatever that may mean, and the steely g

Am Abend da es kuhle war


We'll long remember this Easter

Daniel Liechti is a missiologist who works for the Conseil National des Evangéliques de France to encourage new churches. He says, "We'll long remember Easter 2018... If usually Christians, with their faith in Jesus who died for them, are not always understood, by the example of Arnaud Beltrame, giving his life to save others, this act is seen in all its strength and its love."

What fun!

Yesterday we celebrated four years of Bordeaux Church in the centre of the city with a day conference, a nice lunch and an evening barbecue. The speaker was big Guillaume Bourin from Paris who I first got to know some years ago when Gwilym went on a week in Belgium with him.  The day went well, and then came the time to come home. We cleaned up and left for Pessac in luxury in Rita's Fiat Panda. No bus 4 for us that night! In fact, no bus 4 for anyone, because of the Bordeaux Marathon which was being run along a substantial part of the bus' route. So we set off for home, guided by Rita's GPS in her phone. Pretty soon we arrived at the end of a street where we could not proceed because of the marathon runner. Some drivers hooted, others shouted, one got very rude, apparently, when told to reverse. "Does your sister reverse?" he said. Anyway no-one could go forwards so eventually even the most recalcitrant accepted the inevitability of regress and we careered

Life is improving all the time here

First a new public toilet in Pessac. Then a pedestrian crossing exactly where we need one by the stop for bus 4. Now a new public toilet is going up at Hotel de Ville. Bravo!


We're entering a period of strikes, prompted by the current climate of austerity in France. A friend who is a civil servant explained it to us. Civil Servants' pay has been frozen for some years, with just small index-linked rises, but their pouvoir d'achat (ability to buy) has been eroded. In addition they receive various allowances linked to their status, but these allowances do not count towards their final pension, so they are concerned about retirement, too. Meanwhile railway workers are the main antagonists against the government, pointing out that while they have to live with pay freezes, members of parliament and the government have not had their pay frozen. What's sauce for the goose is, after all, sauce for the gander. So today sees a BIG demonstration in the heart of Bordeaux and from the middle of next week the railway workers will be striking two days out of five, with a calendar of strikes published lasting up to the end of June.


The airbnb that we were staying in had a little kitchen that was fine for preparing breakfast but we didn't cook any other meal in it. That meant eating and drinking in various different kinds of places, and being served by lots of different waiters. They came from Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Italy and France. All were excellent and all said that they were very happy and that life was good.

We have just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary

with a short trip to London. We stayed in a super little AirBnB at Queen's Park, within easy bus and underground reach of the city, and we were able to visit the Shard, the British Museum, to watch some street performers at Covent Garden, to catch Choral Evensong at Saint Paul's, to ride on a 1962 Routemaster bus, to visit the Imperial War Museum, to visit our lad, Gwilym, at his church in Harrow, to visit our nearest church in West Kilburn and finally to explore Borough Market, having lunch with Gwilym once more before an undulated flight back to Bordeaux. Here's some photos:

At the bank

to open an account for the church. "Oh no, the president of the association has to be here. It's the president that opens the account." "But he's the treasurer." "No, the president" The president is on holiday for a couple of weeks. Oh, it's only delay.

Mother tongue interference

Secrétaire. serck-rett-air, not sec-rett-air ...repeat until you can no longer say it wrong...

Spring has come to Pessac

One day it was -4°C and the next 16°C. Thankfully that was the day we flew back from icy Prague. It means lots of daffodils and yellow mimosa. It means some forsythia - not as popular here as in the UK. It means the start of the blossoming trees. It means beautiful sunsets. It means people are starting to get over their colds and coughs. Sadly the beautiful buds on the magnolias were all frozen by the beast from the east, so no magnolia blossoms this year. Instead there are withered brown dead buds. And everything looks more cheerful and hopeful.

French is a crazy language

The French language has a lot of character and tends to set challenges for you. Some people profess to be rubbish at French. Others show a high degree of expertise. For example: Did you know that when you say on page 41 in French it is expressed as "à la page quarante-et-un" and definitely not quarante-et-une... Une is an article, not a number. Numbers do not change with gender. But you'll often hear people say, à la page vingt-et-une, or à la mesure cent-trente-et-une. Did you know that French does have a neuter gender, but it hides it behind the masculine. This was all explained to me this week but it got very technical so I pretended to follow while quietly zoning out.

Praying in Prague

Last week was the International Christian Communities of Eurasia Prayer Conference, which was held in Prague. Pat and I went along for the first time ever. The conference ran from Wednesday lunchtime to Friday lunchtime, but flights meant that we flew on Tuesday and returned on Saturday. Prague was going through a period of extremely cold weather though the dryness of the air meant that there was little snow. I have never been so cold in all my natural born days. We had lots of warm clothing, but my hat and scarf combinations generally left my cheekbones exposed, and they froze. We flew Air France, Bordeaux to Paris, then Paris to Prague, which gave us the right to a bag of pretzels and a sandwich on the way, and pretzels and a pineapple and coconut sponge cake on the return. We stayed together in a nice hotel with very powerful heating. It was -14°C in the street and +26°C in our room. The hotel served a buffet breakfast of the usual euro-miscellany and then made up sandwiches and