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, May 24, 2022


 Went to Carrefour for leeks and oats. Found sunflower oil. A big bottle !

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


 "It would be in your interest to tick box 0UU" said the government website.

I thought I had better do it. I could always untick it if it was a problem.

I ticked it. The government gave me lots of tax back.

I do hope that's right ! 

And another Choral update

 The Pizzicati sent out a poster containing the date of the Gjeilo concert. I'm in the UK.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Choral update

 Choirs, eh?

Anyway at present I am back at Arianna and we are rehearsing a work by James Whitbourn, called Annelies. It’s a kind of cantata or oratorio based on the diary of Anne Frank. It’s not very cheerful, though it has some charming passages. I’m also finding it quite a difficult work to get into. I sing low bass for Arianna, thought I can’t remember why.

The choir continues to rehearse at the Pessac library, which is far easier for me to reach than the old Music School rehearsal room, but I’m not sure what they plan for the future.

Annelies is sung mostly in English. English pronunciation is a minefield for the Gallic mouth. Enough said.

Meanwhile another choir advertised for help from any basses, tenors or high sopranos. I looked into them. They rehearse in a part of Bordeaux which is easy to get to by Tram D. You just sit on the tram for about 30 minutes and then walk 5 and you’re there.

They’re a smaller group and thin in tenors and baritones. They need me in baritone for four works, two of which I kind of know. Firstly Ola Gjeilo’s Northern Lights, which is a setting of a latin text from the Song of Solomon. It’s very nice and not terribly challenging. 

Then two extracts from the choral version of Grieg’s Peer Gynt, which for some reason we’re singing in German.  

Then comes Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass, again in Latin. This is much harder to read, with lots of changes of time signature, lots of modulation and loads of enharmonic notes where you get for example G# followed by Ab. Strictly speaking they’re not the same note, and they are written differently because of the harmony, but they’re so close in pitch as to make little difference in a 50 person amateur choir. If you’re used to them you just have to look out for them, but they do have a tendency to throw you if you cannot really read music. And most of our basses are not readers. 

Thus Alan’s helpful remarks like ‘you see how that note is HIGHER than that one? That means you go UP, not down. (Ça monte là, et monter, c’est vers le haut). But THOSE two notes are the same. They just LOOK different’. As well as ‘pp, that means pleine puissance (full power) while ff means faible et feignant (weak and lacking)’

I have three weeks to learn Sunrise Mass, and to begin with I thought it would be a tall order. But we sang through it yesterday and there’s only one passage where I struggle, really, so with a bit of effort I should be able to pull my weight. And the end of the piece is breathtakingly beautiful.


 So on Friday we were meant to be visiting Venice. That still awaits us. Instead we went to visit the ADIL.

The ADIL is a government backed advisory service that helps people with issues about housing. You can go there if your landlord is treating you unfairly, or if your accommodation is insalubrious, or to get advice on insulating your home or whatever. We went to get impartial advice on what we should do.

The advisor was someone who used to be an advocate but who decided to come and work for the ADIL instead. Some of her colleagues used to be notaries. Most have some legal training. She began by of course telling us that she could advise us of the options available to us, but that she could not tell us what we ought to do. I of course said that we were depending on her to do exactly that, and we laughed.

We showed her our situation and by the time we left we knew what we ought to do, namely to take out a mortgage over three years for the shortfall in purchasing the house, plus a little more. That way we pay it all off shortly after retiring. Interest rates are low, and in France you can take out a home loan over a short period. She suggested five years, but we chose to reduce the term.

So on Monday we need to contact everyone involved and get the whole thing sorted out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Canonical relatives

 While we were not preparing to fly to Florence, the Davey clan was gathering in Bangor, Gwynedd, for the occasion of the installation of my nephew to the Cathedral there. He’s joining the bishop’s team working in HR, effectively, after being in charge of recruitment of trainees in the Llandaf diocese. The new job involves being installed as a canon of the cathedral and being installed with Gordon the cat in a splendid house near the Menai straits.

I don’t think we agree about much theologically, We have yet to ind common ground. David is liberal Anglo-Catholic in the Church in Wales. But I hope we can either visit him in Bangor soon or get him down here to visit Bordeaux. 

No gelato for us this time

 We were due to fly to Florence on Monday for the UFM European Conference. It’s held in a brethren conference centre up in the Tuscany hills and is as idyllic as it sounds. We booked a weekend in Padua afterwards so we could visit Venice.

However Pat’s back problem played up while we were in the UK and put our return journey to France a little in jeopardy. So we thought long and hard, then cancelled our Padua pad and our flights.

The down side of this is that we don’t yet get to go to Italy. The up side is a quiet week at home and a chance to come as reinforcements to help out a choir short of basses performing Gjeilo music in about three weeks’ time.

I have a recorded delivery for Patricia Davey

 Our notaire (it’s a cross between a solicitor and a Lord Chief Justice) asked whether we’d received a thick packet of papers from the builder’s notaire.

No. We hadn’t.

All was explained last Friday when the postman rang the intercom to say that he had a recorded delivery for Patricia Davey. 

OK. I descend. I replied.

I did so, to be greeted by a friendly young postman bearing two thick envelopes, each recorded delivery, one to me and one to Pat.

Sorry about the delayed delivery, he said.

Well, it’s not your fault, it’s the system.

He looked at me sheepishly, « well in this case I am not sure I helped the system to function as it should…»

« Oops! Oh well, it hasn’t made a lot of difference on this occasion. »

Posted on April 14th, it’s a packet of specifications, certificates and information relating to the purchase of our apartment. We had 30 days to peruse and to respond.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

The estival hecatomb

 has begun. Thus far have I been bitten on my heel (the VERY FIRST TIME I wore sandals this year) and in the small of my back.

Meanwhile the dengue and chikungunya bearing tiger mosquito has colonized almost the entire hexagon of mainland France, hesitating only before breaching the borders of Brittany or piercing the polar plains of the extreme northerly departments.