les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Couch to 5K

 Redid Tuesday's run. 

Better this time. 

Not good as such, but better. 

Good enough to count as done and move on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A phased deconfinement

 So from Saturday 28 November :

Shops can open.

Churches can meet, but only up to 30 people. (The cathedrals are not impressed)

We can exercise up to 20 km from our homes for up to three hours a day.

But we're still confined and we still need to justify being outside the home by carrying a form. Also no restaurants, cafés or bars.

I'm more excited than I should be about the 20km thing - probably because it means we can go to any of the Bordeaux parks by public transport and walk or run there.

As for meeting together, it means we can meet and do our thing, and possibly live-cast a Carol Service. It does rather depend on the hygiene requirements that the government will require. We'll find these out today, I expect.

Couch to 5K


Not going so well. The problem is that I'm wheezy, so I have to stop and use my inhaler mid-run. 

Yes, I do use it before I set out. On the stairwell on the way down from the flat.

There are a couple of triggers - firstly it's suddenly got quite cold, and the cold air can irritate the lungs. Then we are also being warned of a peak of particulate pollution in the area just now, because of the bright, fine weather we've been having. "Asthmatics are invited to stay indoors."

I avoid the early morning cold by running mid-afternoon, but I guess the particulates are probably higher then. 

Still, I just stop, inhale, walk till the wheezing subsides and then resume.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

So today I thought :

 this hospital visit is next week. I had better :

  • Check I have the right forms ready to sign
  • Print out or copy all the various bits and bobs I need to take with me
  • Check the no-residue diet I need to be on for a few days beforehand
  • Check the NHS website to see if there are things explained more clearly there
  • Stick the list of allowed foods on the kitchen wall with blu-tac
  • Also the timing of the stuff I have to take beforehand

Having done all that I got a phone call.

It's postponed till 3 March because covid.

Oh well. As you were.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Insécurité à Bordeaux

 (A growth in crime) :

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I forgot about this

 Last week on couch to 5K I had six runs of 1:30mins each.

This week I have two of 1:30mins and two of 3:00mins.

The total time is the same, but the effort is quite different.

Meanwhile I am encouraged, inspired and challenged by Mrs Davey, some weeks ahead of me, who ran 6K yesterday.

Also, I found out where the prostitutes have gone - a row of white vans parked down on the small road parallel to the river. One lady was sat at the seat of custom but I think she could tell that I was in no fit state to partake of her wares. She ignored me as I went gallumphing past.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

OK, Apple computers are not perfect

Firstly my Mac Mini, a 2012 model, doesn't get the newest release of the MacOS operating system. 

What's that all about, Apple? I mean, it's only eight years old!

Don't get me wrong. The thing is working fine. It did have a little blip a few months ago when the bluetooth connection stopped working, but I took it apart and put it back together and it's been fine since.

But I guess I'm going to have to see how important it is to have that new operating system and if I really need it, I'll have to find a new Mac. It's a pain to think of changing something that's working well, but we do it with cars, don't we. We anticipate problems to come....

Meanwhile my laptop, a 2015 MacBook Pro, does get the new software, so I did the upgrade yesterday morning. The disk's a bit full so I uninstalled some of my big programs, upgraded the software, then installed them again. Now it's running fine again.

It did have a problem - the anti-reflection coating started to wear off, despite my always cleaning it with damp microfibre cloths, I swear. With the advent of Zoom I had to scrub it all off around the webcam, so there was a little shiny spot right in the middle at the top.

After upgrading the software I thought, "why not?", and got the surgical alcohol the pharmacist made me buy to disinfect my arm (don't ask) and cleaned off all the anti-reflection coating with some surgical gauze. Now the screen looks shiny and new and when the computer is turned off you can comb your hair.

I might get it a bigger disk and install it to give it a bit more space.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Couch to 5K

 week two begun

Monday, November 09, 2020

The nature

In confinement it's great to have houseplants, an office, a balcony, but nothing really compensates for walking under the trees and kicking the leaves. In the spring confinement I remember how thrilled I was to find some horse-chestnut trees just in front of the railway station. After confinement getting back on the quays, then to the Jardin Public was very therapeutic.

Of course, soon we'll have more trees than we can shake a stick at right down there at the foot of our apartment block. Maybe by spring? But meanwhile.

Then last week Mrs Davey found a park while out running. It's not a big park. It's cosseted between a school, some apartment blocks and a vehicle testing centre, but it's a park and it's within a short walk of our home.

Next door to the vehicle testing centre is the nearest cooperative supermarket. We must investigate.

Zoom zoom

 Got through a whole service with multiple screen shares and assorted jiggery-pokery without panic and without having to ask for help. Even found the red buttons and stuff.


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Well that's week 1 done of Couch to 5K

 Yes, I've started at the very beginning. 

It is, after all, a very good place to start.

I have one long felt want - to be able to count and run at the same time.

I try to count my repetitions and fail dismally and so I carefully calculate my finishing point to be just outside the block of flats so all I have to do is climb the stairs to the fourth floor as my cool-off, but I mess it all up and finish up by the tram lines with a long walk home.


Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Let's fight it out in court

 We're half-way through the first week of confinement and France is concerned for its small shopkeepers. 

To begin with, just like those stalinist Welsh, they ordered that the non-food aisles in the supermarkets be taped off. They went even further and requested the French to refrain from ordering their non-essentials from US-originated multinational giants and maybe to consider using the various click and collect schemes put in place by shopkeepers.

Now some of the mayors have decided to defy the central government by allowing shops to open in their towns. It's noteworthy that some of these mayors are right-wing, at least in French terms.

They argue that there is very little evidence of people catching coronavirus while buying shoes or books. Most clusters in France have been generated either in sporting fixtures, in family gatherings or in religious ceremonies.

We'll see how it plays out.


 Sunday morning : Why am I doing this? How did I ever do this? Man this hurts so much! Forget it.

Monday : Why did I even think about it? How did I do it before? Have I aged so much so quickly?

Tuesday : Paracetamol is pretty good. I could do it again. Tomorrow.

Wednesday : Why did I fuss so much? It's not so bad. Oh no! Forgot my running around permit...

There'll be no photos, though. I have this amazing little computer thing that you strap on your arm, and it tells you when to run and when to walk by rattling. It means I don't have to take my phone with me when I run.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Choir rehearsal

 This evening I should be in our choir rehearsal. Our choir is a 32 person, four to a part, eight parts choir. We sing unaccompanied and we were currently working on a Christmas programme, using arrangements I've never done before by people like Ola Gjeilo, Jim Clements, John Tavener and so on. Nice stuff.

I'm singing the low bass part. I'm not a low bass really, but real low basses are as rare as real high tenors. People like me do what they can.

We started rehearsing in September, distanced and with masks. It was still good. We were learning parts and learning to cohere and so on. But now we're confined and we can't sing together.

I miss the synergy. When the church meets online we sing, but to do that everyone mutes themselves except the specific accompanist who's doing that song. So it's good, but it's not singing together. You don't get the synergy.

Oh well, we'll be back together soon.



Confinement and stuff in France

 Here in Bordeaux we are entering our confinement with a mix of resignation and resentment. Resignation because we can see that we need to slow the circulation of the virus. Resentment because actually our statistics in the South-West of France are not as bad as all that. We feel that we're in confinement almost in solidarity with the rest of France.

Some of our folk are teachers, and schools here are open. The big difference is that children aged 6 and over have to wear masks in school.

The university is back to teaching online. This is fine for lots of things, but not everything.

Confinement is presented differently from in the UK. We don't talk of "Saving our NHS" but rather of saving French lives. I think that's a significant difference. The NHS is a national treasure, but it is a practical arrangement, and other arrangements might be possible. French lives have a God-given, absolute value. It is quite difficult, though not impossible, to weigh French lives against the economic consequences of confinement.

There's no talk at all of blaming China. French people are pretty clued up about globalisation and the risks of destroying habitats and so encountering new and terrifying diseases.

At the same time there are reports of messages circulating online among the more violent and less law-abiding sectors of society encouraging gangs to attack people who look Chinese, and some assaults are reported to have taken place. 

Alongside this there is a outpouring of rage against France and the attacks on people in Paris, in Nice and in Lyon.

Friends who are teachers are encouraged to hold an act of hommage to M. Paty, but this raises the problem of how to explain to the children what happened without frightening them or exciting gruesome or voyeuristic imagination.

The shooting in Lyon may not be an act of terrorism. The Nice attack certainly is, and is not the first the town has suffered. People are horrified and defiant. People say "Why us?", "Why this?" as they are interviewed on the way to mass. Remember how the night after the Bacalan attacks people were back on the café terraces in Paris. 

Here in Bordeaux I do not sense any atmosphere of fear. We are fighting our own demons, with drug-related gangs fighting in some of our suburbs and noticeably more violence in the livelier areas of the city, "a recrudescence of delinquency", as our newspapers put it.  

Our imams are regarded as being learned and moderate, and the imams of Bordeaux and of Bègles took part in an act of worship in Bègles with the recently-retired bishop of Bordeaux. Meanwhile police entered the mosque in Pessac and the imam's home and seized his computer and various documents.

As for us, I have a small surgical procedure to undergo in early December which was already postponed from April. I'd like that to go ahead if possible. We also plan to spend Christmas in England, our first for fifteen years. I have not yet accepted that this will not be possible.

Confinement for us means: 

up to an hour of exercise per day within 1km of our home

shopping trips to the nearest reasonable shop for essential items (remember that French people are supposed to buy their bread every day)

work from home if you can

keep medical, legal and administrative appointments

only essential trips to help people in need or distress

Sunday, November 01, 2020

And I’m running again

 When we first moved here I stopped running. The pavements were gravel. Prostitutes worked the streets. There was a lot of construction traffic. It felt like there was nowhere to run. Cycling was little better. Everything felt hazardous.

Now we have beautiful wide pavements and the prostitutes have moved elsewhere. Soon we’ll have the gardens below us. Our perfect cycle paths speed us smoothly to nightmarish bottle necks where trucks and buses vie to more down today’s kill. Well you can’t have everything.

But I’m running again.