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)

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The big shop

 Monday. Day off. Weather unsettled. We need adventure. We also need shopping. Lots of shopping.

« I know, we can go on bus 11 from right outside the flats to the big Carrefour at Rives d’Arcin. There’s lots of places to eat, we can get lunch then get our shopping. »

So we did. We ate Poke Bowls (don’t laugh - it’s just a salad really) at Heiko. (I thought of a guy who came to church with us in North Wales for a while whose name was Heiko.)

Then a quick browse round the vast shopping centre. À door led outside. We went to take a look. At this.

Then back into the mall, off to Carrefour and back home on bus 11.

Heading off to church through the Jardin Public

 On Sunday we missed tram D, which takes us nearest to the church, so we hopped on tram C instead. 

It drops us opposite the Jardin  Public, Bordeaux' most central park, so we weren't disappointed to be able to scuttle through the park and take photos of the flowers on the way.

The weather has been pretty unstable - humid heat interspersed with torrential downpours. Our friends from the tropics say the rainy season has arrived at last! They feel quite at home!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Bordeaux is fractal

 I don’t mean it’s cracking, except in the positive sense of the word. I mean that the closer you look, the more detail you see.

The other evening I went to a concert given by a church choir directed by a friend from the choir I sing with. It was being held in Bordeaux’ finest baroque church, thé Église Notre Dame on thé Place du Chapelet near the Grand Théâtre. I arrived too early, as usual, and spent a happy half hour gazing round the square.

Last summer when we did our Year 1 tour of Bordeaux and heard all about the Terror following the revolution, we were told that the Eglise Notre Dame was chosen to become the Temple de la Raison. Imagine that! 

So I hunted round the square a little and, sure enough, the square was not always named Place du Chapelet (Rosary Square) but carved into the stone is … Place de la Raison!

Another street has carved into it Rue St. Dominique. How odd! Is Notre Dame Dominican? I know another church, Saint-Paul is Dominican.

It turns out that Louis XIV wanted to build a fortress to keep the bordelais in order, so he demolished a Dominican monastery. The Dominicans, undaunted?, built a new monastery which has since the revolution passed into public ownership and use for offices and exhibition space, the lovely Cours Mably.

I walked back to the tram across the beautiful Allées de Tourny, all lined with fragrant lime trees. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Bordeaux is falling down

 well, parts of it.

Some time ago a building collapsed in Marseille. I remember feeling quite sniffy about the fact that a city could let some buildings get into such a poor state of repair that they collapse.

Then last week a building in the St Pierre area of Bordeaux collapsed. But it was an old stone building and was due to be demolished ready for the space to be occupied by something new. 

So that's different.

Then on Sunday evening two more buildings collapsed in the St Paul area of the city. We know the street well, just behind one of the shopping streets.

This time one was unoccupied but in the other nine people had to get out as the building fell down around their ears. One man was left seriously injured. Two more were taken to hospital. Others are being cared for otherwise. Some neighbours were blocked in their houses, while others were evacuated.

At present it's hard to say why the buildings collapsed. The dry springtime? The recent torrential rains? We hope to know something soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

P G Tips galore

 We have been concerned for some time now that our last box of tea bags is nearing its end. It was the last of the four boxes of 240 that we found on Amazon last November. They rescued Christmas.

Anyway, the same company is still selling packs of four boxes of 240 on Amazon, so I ordered them. They came one day later. And by searching through our previous orders we can fairly easily conclude that we get through approximately 2000 teabags each year.

I know we are meant to shun Amazon, but during confinement, and in household teabag crises, they are there for us.

Friday, June 18, 2021

La météo

 is very important just now.

Firstly we've had grosses chaleurs - very high temperatures - with the night staying above 20°C. This means you don't really cool off at night.

Then we've had grosses tempêtes - big storms - with strong winds and hail. It's been quite rough in some parts with flooding in a few areas of Bordeaux.

Now we are heading into an important weekend, because we've been told we no longer need to wear masks in the open air, except in certain situations, and this is a long weekend with the Fête de la Musique on Monday - for which ideally we'd like pleasant, warm weather with a gentle breeze so we can go into the nearest park and play and sing.

Well I have had side-effects

 to begin with we thought it was the heat, but the heat has subsided and been replaced with torrential downpours. So Mrs Davey searched on the inter web and found that the AstraZeneca vaccine can cause diarrhoea. 

Oh joy. Oh bliss.

It has one more evening to sort itself out before I take medication.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Second dose of vaccine installed

 My appointment was originally for 17h26 on 21st June, but 21st June is a public holiday for midsummer, what is called the Fête de la Music. I think I've written about this in the past. We're wondering what form this will take in Bordeaux this Monday under covid restrictions. Time will tell. However, we digress.

So the doctor's secretary sent me a SMS to tell me my appointment would be shifted to the 14th June.

Then our computerised doctor system, doctolib, told me it would be 14th June at 17h16. So at about 17h I started out for the surgery.

This was about 5 minutes too early, but the afternoon was very hot indeed so I wanted to allow time to walk slowly. Not only that but I wanted to call into the pharmacy to get some precautionary paracetamol in case I had a reaction. The pharmacy is opposite the doctor's surgery.

Well as I approached the surgery there was a small ill-defined group of elderly men hanging around outside.

"Good day. Is this a queue to be vaccinated?"

"You have to speak to the doctor."

Even as I spoke the tall, shaven-headed doctor appeared in the door. (my auto-correct changed this to seven-headed. I sometimes wonder what world my auto-correct lives in)

"Good day. I'm a bit early"

"Good day. That doesn't matter. It's?"

"Mr Davey"

"Oh yes, you sent me a message."

"Well, I was so impressed by your efficiency!"

"I only read the message yesterday."

"That's a bit less efficient."

"Yes. It went to an account I never use. If you wait here for a while we'll call you in"

Two minutes later I was assigned a seat in the waiting room.

Two minutes later I was called into the nurses room.

"Good day. I'm right-handed."

"Good day. You didn't have any reaction last time?"

"Nothing at all."

"Let's hope this time is the same. OK, I'm sticking it in (je pique). And, there we are. See you again!"

"See you again!"

Out to the waiting room to hang around for 15 minutes.

"Mr Davey, for us it's good."

"Very well. See you again!"

"See you again."

Sunday, June 13, 2021

On gifting things

 I'm coming round to it. I used to hate the new verb, to gift something to someone, or to gift someone something. After all, we used to have a perfectly good verb, to give. But it is falling into disuse.

"The lieutenant gave the Queen a bouquet of roses" has become "the lieutenant gifted the Queen a bouquet of roses".

"The Queen was given a bouquet of roses" has become "the Queen was gifted a bouquet of roses".

Why not? Who says you can't turn nouns into verbs? And given the general irregularity of the English language, why not replace one old verb with a new one derived from its related noun ?

Anyway it is better that blessing people with things, which for someone from an Anglican background is fraught with misunderstandings, as when a friend once told me someone had blessed him with a puppy. 

I was genuinely baffled. Water, OK. Hand signals. OK. Touches on the top of the head. OK. But a puppy ?

We could even make whole new useful verbs to replace phrasal verbs. 

For example, to car, meaning to convey someone in a car.

With this new and simple verb we would no longer have to say "Richard gave me a lift to the airport." 

We could say "Richard carred me to the airport". 

It has lots to commend it. For example, consider this exchange:

"How did you come to the airport? I bussed it."

"I almost bussed it, but in the end Xavier carred me."

It works, doesn't it! It's logical, simple and economical.

Let's get verbing! Let's see how much we can new today!

The Gardeners

 We are constantly baffled by the earthworks that the gardeners are doing. 

They pile up earth here, then remove it to pile it up elsewhere before once again bringing it back.

They construct roads then destroy them only to construct others alongside the previous one.

They are creating an artificial hill just below our balcony, but alongside it is a deep ditch.

Circular flat areas lie above strangely shaped holes.

The latest excavation for a road unearthed three drainage covers.

We are fascinated, but also anxious for it all to be over and for planting to begin !

Got my shot lined up

 Second armful of AstraZeneca is scheduled for tomorrow at 17h16 precisely. 

I'll leave the house at about 17h. Last time I arrived exactly at the rendezvous hour, and this time I want to be a little early.

I expect to be back at about 17:45, allowing for the walk and for the 15 minutes wait in case of anaphylactic shock.

They'll give me a piece of paper with a QR code to scan, which will then register my Pass Sanitaire in my TousAntiCovid app. 

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Bordeaux summer strikes again

 It's been very hot recently and time for my antihistamines. I went to the pharmacy and asked for enough cetirizine for two weeks. 

"Do you want eye-drops? Nose sprays? Sea-water to squirt up your nostrils? Homeopathic stuff guaranteed to stop you feeling anything at all ever again? Look! We have this!"

The pharmacist indicated a lovely purple box. I took some homeopathic hay-fever stuff once. Then I read the label. It said "Contains silica".

"No, these will do." I paid for my pills and left.

I'm not sure the pharmacy gets my approach to things. I don't aim to remove every symptom of hay-fever by squirting stinging drops in my eyes or foaming waters up my snout. I aim to get things to a point where I can cope without sneezing, sniffing and snuffling every two seconds. If my eyes water a little or itch slightly I can cope with that.

Anyway Bordeaux summer. Well, they say an English summer consists of two nice days and a thunderstorm.

If this is so, then a Bordeaux summer consists of forty English summers in a row.

Here from our lofty perch (fourth-floor balcony) we watch the gardeners moving vast quantities of earth and modelling ponds, troughs, terraces and hillocks. We gaze up and see Kevin our black kite (fr: Milan noir, like the city. "Vous venez d'où ?" "De Milan." "Tiens, ça fait long temps.") making lazy circles in the sky. We watch nasty magpies trying to intimidate a prowling cat. We listen out for ducks and geese in the day and for frogs in the evening. And all this before a single plant is planted nor any tree treed. It's so exciting to think of those future torrential downpours falling on the leaves below.

I scuttled into Bordeaux this afternoon. I wanted to accompany Pat on her walk to her stint in the bookshop, to go into the FNAC, my favourite shop, where I hardly ever go, and then to call to see a friend and arrange a coffee-date. 

On the way back I bought some more socks - I do seem to run short of socks - and then as I headed off to get the tram home some women were walking along with their umbrella up. Everyone was looking at them crazy, but they had the last laugh when sure enough, ten minutes later, the raindrops started. By the time I got home a full-blown thunderstorm was in progress right overhead.

I had neither coat nor umbrella, so I ducked into the multi-storey carpark to get some cover at least, then scampered through the courtyard to the entrance to our building. 

Home and ... sodden.