Showing posts from May, 2018

A potential loss averted

We're moving. (Our neighbour was displeased.) When? End of June. Have you given your notice to the landlords? Not yet. Why? I'm not sure but I think we're on three months' notice. Oh dear. That would mean 1500€ lost for nothing. I checked the documents. They said three months. I phoned the agency. The person we deal with was on holiday so I left a message and emailed them. The agency phoned back. We can give one month's notice by recorded delivery citing the fact that we are in "zone tendue". So this morning I set down to write the letter. In France there are websites that will write the letter for you if you give them the basic information, like the date you're moving and the town you live in. The government site specified that in large towns where people come and go a lot whatever your tenancy agreement says the law specifies that you can not require more than one month's notice. Yay! Once again France rocks! So the letter is writ

My shoes were trying to kill me!

I have told you that Bordeaux was paved by a psychopath who specified slabs in a variety of shapes and colours but which all become extremely slippery when wet. That's their part in the drama. My part was to buy shoes labelled as all-weather walking shoes from my local shoe store. It is required of all-weather walking shoes that they grip in the wet. Mine did not. Thus on Saturday when the storm roared about me and my way was wet and smooth my shoes conspired with the paving slabs to make every step I took potentially lethal. I must have looked an odd sight as I carefully planted my feet vertically and shifted my weight carefully through the heavy downpour, anticipating the movement of the crowds so I would have to make no sudden moves. Well I've lived with these little assassins long enough and the soles were quite worn down so they went in the bin and I scuttled off to find some replacements in the shoe emporia of Merignac. Big mistake. The shoe emporia had the kind of

Sad news

We have suffered a bereavement. Laurence the rat has left us. He was about three years old and recently had surgery because of a tumour on his leg. He was obviously elderly, not the perky, inquisitive rat he once was, but he still enjoyed his food and was still very sociable. Laurence is now resting in the corner of the garden by the hedge, protected by lots of pepper to discourage the local cats. Apparently some people ask whether our pets await us in the world to come. This question has never really occurred to me at all, but it is charming to think of Catrin one day being welcomed into eternal dwellings by a tiny throng of glorified rodents.

The storm

"Orange alert for storms in New Aquitaine", they said. "Yeah, right", but I still decided to look for my black waterproof - unsuccessfully. How do we manage to still lose things in such a small flat? Anyway, I pulled on my cotton jacket and rushed out. It was just starting to rain. The number 42 bus came as the thunder started. We reached the tram top at Merignac, and now it was raining very hard indeed. I ran across the road to the tram stop and was drenched. Thankfully there are shelters, though it was too late by anyone's reckoning. The tram arrived and we rushed on. We went through perhaps four stops before we were told that we'd be held up for a while because of the rain. After about 10 minutes we started going again through roads perhaps a foot deep in water, with cars inching through. At Mériadeck we were told that that was it, the rest we'd have to do by foot. I wanted to pop into H&M but found that the Mériadeck branch has closed.

Home alone

Mrs Davey hath hied her away unto England to spend the weekend with her sister before travelling up for a wedding somewhere like Daventry. (Not entirely sure where that is...) I am joining her on Tuesday. Meanwhile Miss Davey hied her away for a sleepover with some friends in Bordeaux. The house is quiet. Very quiet. Oh well, time to cut my hair. Sorry about the scowl. I need practice taking selfies.

Me and my big mouth

After saying how beautiful the weather has been, how fragrant the hedgerows, how verdant the vines, how perfect the springtime, it lashed down with rain all morning. After talking about my grand solo operatic debut, my pianist pulled out. Ah bon.

About that sermon from the Primate of America

I am so grateful to those who have so wonderfully expressed my thoughts. Now let's move on.

Springtime in Pessac

The vines are green and full of life. The hedgerows are fragrant with honeysuckle and mock-orange. Gentle breezes bring relief from the noon-day sun. The evenings are warm and mosquito-thronged.

It's a bit sad

As you know, gentle reader, that Mrs Davey and I go for singing lessons to our local municipal music school. For us both it's a "get involved, make friends and improve your French" thing, and for me it offers cheap breathing training (I'm asthmatic). There is a financial cost, though not a large one as the lessons are short and subsidised by the municipality, but there's another kind of cost, too. Now and then you have to sing. I mean, in front of people. Last year we all had to take an exam; Three Daveys in a row. Catrin sang some lyric thing about victory, Pat sang a song called Syracuse and I did a bit from Figaro. This year Catrin couldn't continue because of her university course but Pat and I were scheduled to sing a duet. I found something that vaguely fitted our range - a setting of "It was a lover and his lass" by Vaughan Williams, where Pat was to sing the low voice line and I the high voice. I don't have a high voice, but with a

Our house move

In theory we get the keys to the new place on the 22nd June, but meanwhile we have not yet received the letting contract to sign. Hmmm. I am sincerely hoping it will come by the end of May so that we can give in our notice for the end of June here. Meanwhile how will our removal van get near the building? At present the front of the building does not appear to be suitable for parking a lorry, and the roadway is narrowed by bollards and railings. Oh well, there's a month yet. Meanwhile, in another interesting development, I saw on the rental website that the same company has a flat available right in the middle of town, near the Musée d'Aquitaine. It's a good size, has three bedrooms, but has no balcony. I've tried numerous times to contact the company using two different numbers and I've also emailed and left a voicemail but I have had no answer. I guess they're office is closed today. I'll try again tomorrow morning.

We might conceivably need to slow down a little...

Last Thursday was the rehearsal with the pianist for Pat's and my debut in our big duet for the Music School end of year concert at the library. Ralph Vaughan-Williams' setting of "It was a lover and his lass". Very wise choice because if we forget the words we can just make it up and nobody at all would notice and anyway we're sure we'd have the best pronunciation in the place. Our accompanist is a very pleasant lady who made us sing it through 4 times (four). We have another rehearsal scheduled for this coming Thursday. We got home. I idly looked at my diary. Pat? Yes. What time is the concert? Half past eight. And what time is your flight to England? Half past four. Well, she sent a text message to Pierre-Henri. We saw him the next day. He looked sore vexed. How did you not realise? We had no satisfactory answer. But Alan's still here. He could sing alone. Pierre-Henri considered this. But what could you do? We settled on somethin

Baptism - the report

Well last Sunday had everything! A flat-pack furniture baptistery to assemble. A dear friend with whom to test various positions of baptism: both in the pool, from standing position candidate in the pool, Alan outside, from standing position candidate in the pool, Alan outside, from sitting position. Water-play with hoses and buckets to empty and fill the baptistery. Brave fellows running back and fore with kettles, flasks and bowls of hot water. Bright sunshine and menacing clouds that threatened but did not attack. Happy candidates with attentive and loving family and friends. Intelligent children far too sensible to stand on the splash end of the baptistery, despite my urging. A preacher who is director of an internationally renowned theological training institute. Joyful songs sung in English, in French and sometimes both at once. Delicious snacks including wonderful cakes. Hugs, kisses and joyful dances. Then on Monday that dull brain and throbbing back

More on the baptism service

Last night at 6 I went to get the car to go and fetch the baptistery. The car wasn't there. I looked around a little in the streets and car parks, then phoned the service centre. "Oh yes, the previous user will be a little late." About 25 minutes later the car arrived and two types got out and left by tram. I went and looked the car over , started it and drove off. "STOP! FLAT TYRE!" shouted the dashboard. Funny, they hadn't looked flat, but then tyres these days seldom do. I phoned the service centre. "Oh yes, the previous user said that they'd had that flashing, but all had been OK. You can change car if you like to carry on." I needed the length of the Clio estate to fit the baptistery in, so I decided to carry on, but to stop for air on the way. There's a garage near the motorway slip road, so I put my 1€ coin in the air machine and blew up the tyre. It had been pretty flat! Now the dashboard said "Check the tyre pressur

May 1968


What a shock!

I had a doctor's appointment at 9 am. Because my doctor is still the one we had when we first came to France, way over in the suburb we haven't lived in for 12 years now, that means reserving a car and hitting the rocade. How that word strikes fear into my heart! Still, instead of joining the rocade at sortie 13, near our home, I scuttle through the university campus and join at sortie 16. I need to come off at 18, so even if there is a hold up, at least I'm not in it for long. This morning the traffic was fluid, so I arrived at 8:40. Oh well. 10 minutes of music in the car, then into the waiting room. Doctors here are very good, but you do tend to go in late because they spend more time with people than they allow for. Once you understand this it's OK. You just take a book to read and all is well. This morning I was out of the surgery at 9:20 with a contented doctor and the comment to keep doing whatever I'm doing. We also chatted about Pat and the kids in th

Baptism service

OK, here's a little look at the life of a missionary pastor. We have two baptisms on Sunday! It's great! And not only that but we have a visiting preacher, the Director of the Belgian Bible Institute is in town and has agreed to preach for us! So why am I especially asking for prayer? Because on Saturday evening I have to take our carshare Renault Clio estate, collect a collapsible baptistery from some colleagues out in the Medoc and bring it back here. Then at lunchtime on Sunday take it in said car to our meeting place, erect it in the courtyard and fill it with water. I'm told this takes two hours. The forecast for Sunday is wet, but I am hoping for sunshine to warm the water. If not we'll add kettles to take the chill off. Then, after the service, I'll need to empty and collapse the baptistery and get it home again. I've never seen the baptistery. I don't know if it will fit in the Clio. At present there's no plan B! So thanks for

And here's some artists' impressions of what our new flat will look like in a couple of years' time

 It faces a new park that is to be created called "Les Jardins de l'Ars". The Ars is a brook that is currently channelled through subterranean pipes but will be brought to the surface once more to feed the gardens. The terminal "s" is pronounced, by the way. We'll be on the left hand side of the building just about at tree-top level in these drawings. The aerial photograph shows the site a couple of months ago. Building work on the various components of the site has advanced considerably but landscaping will be the last job to be done, I guess. Meanwhile we'll have access via a fairly important road that runs just on the other side of the building from our flat. It'll be wonderful to have an office again, and to have a spare room!

Sorry we've been so quiet!

Here's some nice soothing music!