Next week Bordeaux Church hosts the Annual Pastors' Prayer Retreat of our network of International Churches. Friends will be coming from Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary and Turkey, as well as some from the USA who are en route to Portugal etc. There'll be about 20 of us. It'll be great to show them the city as well as to pray together.
Thursday, February 17, 2022
From yesterday we can go to discothèques, eat and drink standing up in cafés and bars and buy and eat popcorn in the cinema. I guess you are allowed to remove the mask while you eat, but then you got to stick it on again.
Meanwhile it is proposed soon to no longer require masks in places where the pass vaccinal is checked - so no more popping your mask on to go to the loo in a café, for example. At present when you're seated you can take your mask off, but when you're standing you have to pop it on. Unless you're eating and drinking standing.
Oh, look, we're transitioning, OK.
Meanwhile the virus is on the retreat pretty much everywhere in France.
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
So here's the plan for the next few years :
A) purchase an apartment using the equity from our house sale in North Wales, plus savings
B) move in and stop paying rent, so reducing our support requirements for the next few years
C) progressively hand over to my fellow elder in a increase/decrease kind of way
D) retire from UFM at the end of 2025, drawing on our UK and French pensions to live, so freeing up all our support to go to other people
Obviously buying the place is the first step (A above) and we're actively engaged in doing this thanks to the prix maitrisé scheme that makes unaffordable flats affordable.
HOWEVER, at the end of last week I observed in a Facebook group for Brits living in France somebody enquiring about the legal fees that would be incurred if somebody gave them a house. The fees came to 8% of the value of the property.
This served to remind me that I had not seen a detailed breakdown of the legal fees involved in our purchase.
GASP! 8% would sink the project. But I know also that prix maitrisé also involves frais de notaire maitrisés.
I emailed our notaire first thing on Monday morning.
The reply came back.
It's all OK.
Tuesday, February 08, 2022
Well, especially me, as it turns out. Warned by an esteemed colleague in the city of lights that the digestive upset of the weekend could possibly be the initial signs of covid, I decided to scuttle off to Lidl to get some more tests - 6€ for a pack of 5. I walk as quickly as I can to Lidl and back, and it's about a 4km round trip, so enough to get the blood flowing.
I purchased desired tests along with rather a lot of oranges and grapes, then hurried off home. As I neared the entrance to our courtyard I looked up and saw a most welcome sight - the common cranes circling overhead. I took some worthless photos with my phone and just gazed at them for a few short minutes.
Some time in early November the cranes (grues cendrées) fly overhead crying loudly as they head south for the winter. It is the harbinger of colder weather. They never get it wrong.
All winter we long for their return. Usually on a day like this - the first day that has felt sunny and warm enough to open the windows, and to venture out without a scarf with just a light jacket instead of a heavy coat - you can begin to hope to hear them crying their way back north.
But today they were circling silently overhead - a rallying point, I suppose, before continuing their onward journey to the nesting grounds.
The long winter is drawing to a close. Spring will come. The cranes never get it wrong.
Monday, February 07, 2022
Mrs Davey was ill from Thursday and I fell ill on Saturday. We're pretty sure it wasn't covid related. Pat tested herself, but mine was what we charmingly call here a gastro. It led to me sleeping in the spare room on Saturday night so that my frequent risings might not wake Pat. I alerted the lads on Saturday afternoon - we'd met on Wednesday to thrash out the main cut and thrust of the passage for this week - Luke 1:57-80, and I was very much anticipating preaching on it, but it was not to be. Instead the lads took charge like bosses and I was able to sleep most of the day.
Friday, February 04, 2022
So I'm back with my old choir in Pessac. They currently rehearse in a room at the municipal library, which suits me as it is walking distance from the railway station. The Bordeaux railway station is walking distance from our flat, so the whole journey takes me about 1/2 hour walking and 5 minutes on the train.
And to cap it all, I get a lift back!
We're singing Annelies, by the British composer James Whitbourne. From time to time I am asked for my opinion on various English vowels. For example, one passage has the words "countless", "wounded" and "smouldering".
Annelies is a setting of excerpts from the diary of Anne Frank. It has some very beautiful moments. There is a good recording on Naxos.