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)

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Carol singing in the Christmas Market

 So we went down to the church for 1:45 to have a quick blast through the carols we'd chosen to sing at the market. We were eventually about 11 people, including two small ones looked after by their father, so 8 singing, and it all went off pretty well.

I have one nagging doubt - we aren't allowed to distribute leaflets, so it means we can't hand out anything at all. It means that people see us and that's that. I wonder whether we'd be better off singing in the street near the entrance to the market where we could then hand out flyers to the Carol Service... To be considered.

Do UK churches still have Carol services ? They used to be quite a big thing.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Booster rappel

 So yesterday I tried to make appointments for our third jab. This time we are to be given either Pfizer or Moderna.

There are two ways of making appointments. The first is on Doctolib, and it's the way you make an appointment with your doctor generally. The system for booking a vaccination was swamped. It said we had a wait time of some ten hours.

The pharmacy uses its own appointment system on its own website. It was also swamped. 

Still, yesterday evening we managed to make appointments with the doctor to be vaccinated on 3 January. I did wonder if we could do better, though, at the pharmacy.

This morning, when I woke up, I went onto the pharmacy website and got an appointment for a Pfizer vaccination on 17 December. Yes! I cancelled the appointment with the doctor.

Then when Pat got us she booked an appointment for an injection of Moderna - TODAY! So she just came back from getting it done.

Voilà ! All done.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Covid update

 It was striking to see the discipline of the folks in Porto. In Portugal at that time it was not obligatory to wear a mask in cafés and restaurants, but everyone did. We never saw anyone without a mask. Not only that, but the masks were worn to cover the mouth and the nose. 

Meanwhile the French health committee met yesterday and decided that from now on :

Masks must be worn in shops, cafés, restaurants, concert halls, cinemas, even where the pass sanitaire is scanned.

All adults in France are strongly encouraged to receive a third dose of vaccine from 5 months after their second dose.

However no confinement or curfew is envisaged.

At present it seems that people are responding to this by booking their appointments for vaccination.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Apologies

 I've been neglecting you. I'm sorry.

Part of it is the build-up to Christmas. This year we hope to sing at the Christmas Market as well as to hold a traditional Carol Service and a children's Christmas club.

Then there's the political situation, wherein, according to the French media, the United Kingdom is in chaos, with shortages in the shops, rising cases of covid and a prime minister who becomes unusually incoherent in the face of big business, while in the British media France is in chaos, with riots in the streets, soaring cases of covid and a president like a Greek god who exceeds Napoleon in his ambitions for Europe.

Discussions with family and friends in the UK suggest that both pictures are caricatures at best.

Meanwhile there is the current covid scene in France to deal with. At present cases are rising but hospitalisations are not. Booster jabs are being rolled out and Pat and I will be due for a jab from 1 December, though this may change today as the government committee meets. Otherwise things continue the same. We can meet masked, but cafés and restaurants do not require masks as long as the pass sanitaire is verified. 

We attended a concert of the choir we used to sing with last Friday, and there too the pass sanitaire allowed performers and audience to dispense with the mask, though we kept ours on in the crowded Pessac church.

Meanwhile much of our life is same old same old, and thankfully so.


Monday, November 08, 2021

Porto

 Catrin's wedding was timed for the middle weekend of the Toussaint half-term fortnight, so the following Monday we took a flight to Porto. We had EasyJet vouchers from cancelled lights during confinement that needed to be used up before January. In December we plan to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Norwich, but easyJet doesn't fly anywhere convenient from Bordeaux for that. We're itching to return to Italy, but there were no flights. No flights to Bristol or Liverpool, so no visits to the UK. But Porto was possible, so Porto it was.

The city is fascinating, we managed to do most of what we wanted to do and the only hiccough was that after going through security on the way back we found our flight was cancelled. Some moments of headless chicken impressions got us up to the easyJet check-in desk where they sorted us out with accommodation.

Some years ago we were in a similar situation with Swissair, and felt so badly treated that I really don't want to fly with them ever again.

This time we were given a good hotel room, a flight home at a reasonable time the evening of the following day, taken by bus to our hotel and promised that it would pick us up mid-afternoon for the flight, and provided with a very good evening meal and with a super buffet breakfast. For some reason lunch was not included, so we went to a local supermarket and bought a picnic which we ate in the hotel foyer.  Eu rules stipulate a level of compensation for a delayed flight, but a fellow-traveller told us that it is unlikely that we will receive it - EasyJet will argue exclusion clauses. We'll see.

Some highlights of Porto included the river quays, the bridges, the cafés and restaurants, the friendly people, the food which is good and inexpensive, though perhaps a little hearty. One restaurant owner was particularly friendly and had long conversations with us, telling us where to go to eat the local delicacy, the francesinha. 

The francesinha belongs to that family of foods that includes the toasted cheese sandwich, the caws pobi of Wales, the croque monsieur of the whole of France, and the "Welsh" of northern France. The story goes that a man of Porto visited France and enjoyed his croque monsieur, but felt that something more hearty was needed for the people of his home town. So he invented the francesinha. It comprises, from bottom to top :

a thick slice of bread

a slice of mortadella sausage

a Portuguese spiced sausage sliced in two

a slice of brisket

another thick slice of bread - the whole toasted.

Then, atop that, a fried egg, sunny side up

covering the whole edifice, slices of cheese, I forget which kind.

Then slathered over the lot is a hot, cheesy, spicy, boozy sauce. The heat of the sauce melts the cheese.

It is served on a large plate, surrounded by chipped potatoes.

No vegetables were involved in the preparation of this dish.

We were directed to the Café Santiago to sample this delicacy, though Patricia chickened out at last minute and opted for fish and rice.












Catrin's wedding ceremony

 So Phase 2 of Catrin's wedding was the weekend of 30 October. She and Froim masterminded it, finding a chateau with a couple of gîtes and a donkey named Mirabel, arranging friends to do catering and cake, finding a photographer (mother of a colleague) etc. We simply reserved a Citiz car and helped with shuttling things about.

Catrin had said that she'd like autumn colours for the décor and for the guests where possible. Given Autumn's wide palette of yellows, golds, greens, browns and reds, we had plenty of scope. 

Catrin had ordered her dress from an Italian company that sells by internet. Froim found his suit in a store in central Bordeaux. Patricia shopped the stores and the web for a suitable dress and jacket and I was steered towards a shop on one of the smartest streets of the city. I went at sale time. The guys did the hard sell, trying to get me to buy shoes, socks, bow tie, all from their store. I saw a fabric I liked in a colour that would work but they didn't have it in my size and couldn't't get it. So I went home and looked at their online store - there it was, at sale price. I ordered it to be delivered to the store and they did the trouser hems for me. It was red. Deep red. Maroon. Burgundy. Bordeaux. A suitable gold and black paisley tie came from Amazon. As for shoes, I have my special shoes for special occasions : black Clarks moccasins with a medallion of the Welsh flag on the side - a gift from some friends who found them in a shop in Nottingham.

Sylvain was going to "officiate". I put it in quotes because a religious ceremony has no official standing whatsoever in France. So all Patricia had to do was upstage everyone, and all I had to do was walk about 10 yards from the door of the room to he front. I think I pulled it off pretty well.

I have few photographs, and none of me or of Patricia. If I get hold of any I'll pop them on for you.