Showing posts from March, 2019

On Mothering Sunday

Catrin visited the baby unit at the orphanage where she's volunteering this week. One of the infants there was found at about a month old, abandoned in a plastic bag. There are social and cultural reaons for this abandonment of children that Catrin explained to her mother but that I didn't really hear. But this Mothering Sunday it reminds me of all those who for a variety of reasons, always powerful, always strong, maybe overwhelming, but surely never sufficient, have abandoned their children or killed them, and now live with that act in their past and their person. May they seek and find pardon and peace.


Yesterday evening Arpège gave a concert of Monteverdi motets and instrumental interludes at the church of Saint Severin (l'Eglise Saint-Seurin). This is the choir I joined briefly last September, but left because of the impossibility of committing myself to weekend rehearsals. They're a really good choir and to be honest I found their standard a bit daunting, too! Anyway the motets were all psalm settings and so the concert took the form of a kind of "vespers light" without all the Stella Maris stuff, or bits from Song of songs dubiously sung to Mary. They were accompanied by an approriate little group of baroque instrumentalists with a portative organ, two baroque violins, a cello, a bass and a theorbo! If you've never seen a theorbo then it's worth googling it. They're quite spectacular! The church is large, chilly and the acoustic is not at all resonant, so it's important to sit quite near the choir. We were travelling to the church by bus,

Ville morte

It's the twentieth Saturday of vandalism in Bordeaux and to mark the occasion the Toulouse vandals have decided to travel up to help their hooligan chums in Bordeaux to smash up the town. (In French one talks of the casseurs. ) So the new mayor has asked shops and businesses to close up and the Bordelais to stay at home this afternoon as he fears real nastiness.


Strangely, although our bedroom has a lovely bathroom attached to it, it has no built-in wardrobes. The other rooms do have them, but share a small shower room.  Go figure. Anyway we hung our clothes on those metal-framed things you can get and left some in boxes and waited for the augurs to be auspicious in order to get some wardrobes. Much measuring. Much perusal of Ikea catalogues. More measuring. Calculations. Finally I knew which ones we should get. Some more waiting. We needed the coincidence of funds to purchase them and time to construct them. This week the planets came together so the wardrobes were delivered at 12 on Thursday afternoon. Yes - instead of reserving a pool car and wrestling the seven (7) heavy two metre boxes around myself I opted to pay for two hulking guys with a van to bring them into the flat. There was one narrow unit and one broad one. The narrow one went together easily, and there was space in the bedroom to construct it in situ. The broad one nee

For those who understand French

This radio programme talks about a French family who recently left Colchester to return to France, a Frenchman who swore allegiance to the Queen, and an Englishwoman who took French nationality. Listen here .

The difference Apple makes

We switched to Apple in 2013. Yesterday Apple held a keynote event which I think had very little relevance to us whatsoever. However it coincided with the release of updates of their software for iPhones, iPads and laptops. When we had Windows PCs I dreaded updating the software. It would take hours - sometimes all day - and sometimes you would have to abandon halfway through and start again. When I had Android phones I looked forward to software updates - sometimes for months, sometimes for years. Sometimes the updates just didn't come at all. Now with Apple they announce the update. 30 minutes later all everything is done.


My father's strong views on British politics, usually expressed in unparliamentary language, are being utterly vindicated.

The health of the household

Mrs Davey's angine virale is slowly calming down. She has moved back from the spare room, though has not yet achieved a full night's sleep. Mr Davey's share of the same infection is still mild and irritating. Vocalzone pastilles are very useful. Miss Davey has occasional bouts of nausea, the explanation for which is still proving elusive. Young Mr Davey seems in rude health.

Back almost a week

and the blog is so quiet! It's because of various things: 1) Mrs Davey is unwell. She's been struggling with what we thought was 'flu ever since we got back from Zurich. Yesterday she went to the doctor and was diasgnosed with "une angine virale" - a viral sore throat. It's made everything swell up around her nech and throat and given her a rough time. Incidentally that means neither of us is sleeping very well! But though I'm not as well as I could be, I'm not affected as badly as she is. Maybe because of my 'flu jab? 2) Meanwhile there's lots to do, notably in preparing for the visit of our friends from Grace Baptist Mission the week before Easter. 3) At the same time we're preparing for our Annual General Meeting in May, at which time we need to change a little the structure of our association. 4) Still, at least from our point of view, there's nothing to do to prepare for the next few years in France. We've done all we


We arrived at the airport in good time, dropped off Pat's bag and went through security. Our plane was delayed because of problems with the de-icing machine at Zurich. No problem. We had an hour and forty minutes for our connection at Zurich. Half an hour. An hour. Finally our plane came and we boarded. We got our snack - an apple strudel and a drink in our Starbucks mugs, but this time the flight was smooth. What awaited us was not quite so smooth though. "Connecting flights information - here are the gates for various flights - could passengers for Bordeaux please contact the ground staff." When we arrived at the airport there was just time for a mad dash for our flight, so we looked at the departure board. Nothing. No departed. No late. No nothing. Pat went to get her bag while I waited to talk to the ground staff. I received a text message, saying our flight had been cancelled. "Then you need to get a hotel" said the ground staff, ushering me i


You can't travel to Florence without looking around at all, so at the end of the conference we booked an AirBnB right in the heart of the city for one night. I looked at the guides and talked to one or two people. We didn't fancy spending lots of time in queues for museums. One of the Italian staff at the conference said, don't go in the museums. Explore the squares. It's an open air museum. So we arrived in Florence at about 3:30, I suppose, and deposited our bags in the super little apartment, then went out to explore. Top of our list was to climb up to the Piazzale de Michelangelo, so we wandered slowly along the river, then crossed the ponte vecchio and climbed the hill, then the steps. we were pretty tired after the conference and we had second thoughts half-way up the steps, but we persevered and were rewarded with the famous view out over Florence. Afterwards we wandered slowly along the river and through the streets via the Piazza de la Signoria and it

Centro Evangelico Poggio Ubertini

The European Conference was held about 25 kilometres outside Florence at a conference centre with glorious views and a delightful history. The centre is on the brow of a little hill surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. It is the heart of a farm complex that in the 18th century belonged to a noblewoman of English birth. On her death she bequeathed her estates to the churches to be used to strengthen their witness. We stayed in dormitories, but with one couple per dormitory, so Pat and I had a choice of eight beds and our own little shower room. We'd never seen Tuscany before and we quickly understood why people fall in love with it. We'd never experienced ordinary Italian cooking, either, and we doubtless gained at least half a stone in the three days we were there! So delicious! These conferences are quite hard work, though. Our sessions begin at 8am, before breakfast, and continue till 9pm with a couple of hours break in the afternoon. One afternoon we tried to

It's all go isn't it! This time, Florence.

Once in a while our mission organisation holds a European Conference. We've been once before, a long time ago, perhaps in 2007 or thereabouts in Tossa del Mar near Barcelona. Since then we've been prevented either by ill-health (once we set off for Barcelona in our car but had to turn back because of Pat's back problems) or by lack of school holidays or because of the cost (flying four of us in March from Bordeaux to Istanbul was hugely expensive). So it was a great joy to be able to meet up with old colleagues and friends, this time just outside Florence. We bought our plane tickets in a hurry, and before we realsied how easy it is now to get from Bordeaux to Charles deGaulle, so we had a farily early flight from Bordeaux to Zurich, then from Zurich to Florence. Once there we had to find the correct bus for a little town called Cerbaia where we would be collected by car. In true Alan fashion I stressed about finding the bus to Cerbaia and managed to master "l'

Driving licence

Good news today about exchanging my driving licence. In the event of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without an agreement the French government will put in place a legal framework allowing UK citizens resident in France to continue to drive using their UK licences until a permanent arrangement is found. So no rush to get the forms in before the end of March. (I think they may have been swamped with applications.)