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)

Monday, August 29, 2022

La Rentrée

 So the summer holidays are drawing to a close. This week the teachers and children are returning eagerly to their classrooms. New people are contacting us about studying in Bordeaux. And the church's year is beginning, too.

Alongside our "Café Contact Centre", A Coeur Ouvert / Espace Gallien, is almost ready to open. We have tables and chairs, a counter made fetchingly from old wine crates, our swanky coffee machine, enough stocks to start with and we're all set to go on Wednesday 6 September for our grand opening.

There's still quite a lot to do, though, especially in terms of publicity. We need flyers, posters for the windows, a sign above the window, maybe a Facebook page and/or Instagram account.

In the past I would have cobbled these things together but that was then and this is now. Others have better graphic skills than I do, and accurate colour-vision, and so I leave those jobs to other. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Oh the heat !

 I just got back from my forced march to Lidl. I like to scuttle off to Lidl or to Carrefour early, get a rucksack full of food, and scuttle back perhaps a little more slowly.

This morning when I got up I opened all the windows and got the air changed in the flat. As the sun rose I shut the windows and shutters. At that time it was 28°C in the flat. Oh dear!

My dash to Lidl was quite pleasant in the shade of the tall buildings. I aim to walk quickly. My mental image is of an elderly man afraid of missing his train. Of course, once I arrived I started to perspire. The walk back was warmer but I took it slower to compensate - and because of the bag of peaches, cucumbers, peppers, courgettes, avocados, bananas, milk, cheese and butter on my back. As I write the flat is at 29°C and I am gradually cooling off!

We had a storm last night with plenty of light and noise but only a little rain.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Two weeks in Wales

 We flew to Manchester Airport on August 3rd with Ryanair, an easy and uneventful flight, and caught our train to Shotton. Everything was on time and convenient. The train was clean and comfortable and we enjoyed seeing the landscape slowly change from the city of Manchester to rural Cheshire and then to Wales.

We had been asked to "organise" the Missions Hall at the Annual Conference of the Evangelical Movement of Wales in Aberystwyth. Flights in August are predictably expensive but our mission travel fund is there for that. We baulked, however, at paying a thousand pounds for a hire car so it meant travelling by rail. Aberystwyth is accessible by rail, but to go there from Manchester Airport would take a very long time so we took the opportunity to break the journey with a visit to our "home" or "sending" or "previous" church in Shotton, North Wales.

This was a joy, of course, and we got to visit our old next-door neighbour and to see various old friends who we had not seen for five years or more. Not only that, but some folk were travelling down to Aberystwyth and had room in their car for us, so we got to travel together, too.

The conference was a wonderful time - the first in-person conference since 2019, so especially valued. I had a few hesitations about being in a crowd of over a thousand people, known for their lusty singing, but we had no ill-effects and I am not aware of any clusters generated by the conference.

Our responsibilities included :

1) open up and be the door keeper

2) organise the placement of the missions' stands, ably assisted by the wonderful conference stewards who managed to get everything done while I was still making lists

3) begin each day's session with a brief prayer meeting

4) unblock toilets and car-park. (I'm not sure which was the worst)

5) try to provide adequate ventilation in the extreme heat

6) ensure everyone was happy and all went well

7) Pat ran the tea and coffee kitchen

8) be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

We had a wonderful time, though we are hesitant about doing it again. Our resistance to the automobile is particularly difficult in Aberystwyth where there is a very long hill between the Campus where every other meeting takes place and the two, where the Missions Hall was situated. We only climbed the hill once, getting lifts or the bus most times, but coming down long steep hills is still time-consuming and wearing on the limbs. Also the whole thing is pretty tiring. I think the role is best given to someone who is younger and, as we say in France, motorised.

We were accommodated in a student flat and we had a great time with the splendid characters who were sharing the flat with us: a couple from Belgium, some chaps from South Wales and others from all over. I enjoyed reverting to the accent and dialect of my youth for a while. I even had one or two faltering conversations in Welsh, though I stumble over the little words and struggle to find some vocabulary.

Flying back was a little more problematic. Ryanair told us that there were some delays getting through security in Manchester so to arrive early and to consider taking Fast Track. We did both, taking an earlier train and paying 12 euros to have the high speed line at security.

In the event we are diverted away from Fast Track because we were so early for our flight. OK. But getting through security was challenging - my bar of soap was challenged, as well as my canny decision to pack my adapters and wires in a large mug we bought in Aberystwyth. Still, on the third go through we were deemed harmless and allowed to wait for our flight.

Which was delayed because of violent storms over Paris and London. No problem. We took off perhaps an hour late and had a beautiful flight through cloud-free skies before landing at Bordeaux and arriving home.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

A cuisiniste

 One of the little challenges that awaits us with this new flat is the need to fit a kitchen. 

When we moved into our current flat there was just a sink unit. A new, but poor quality sink unit. But it's a rented flat and we knew that we probably couldn't stay here once we start living on our pension. So we didn't fit a kitchen. Instead we cobbled together shelves, drawers and a kitchen island on castors from Ikea Kallax units. Instead of paying thousands we spent a couple of hundred and it's all be very functional.

But the new place is our forever home, and it doesn't even come with a sink, so we have to do something. Not much - there isn't a huge amount of room, and we don't want to change our cooker, dishwasher and fridge, but we have to do something.

So here's the challenge. I am reasonably good at putting things together - I've built wardrobes, desks, beds, tables galore - so I think I could fairly easily construct a kitchen from flat pack. Not only that but we don't necessarily want to commit to hanging wall cupboards. We'll add them if we have to, but we would prefer not to. So all I have to do is construct floor units, screw them to the wall and fit the worktops.

Oh and tiling. I've tiled a kitchen before and I'm sure I could do it again.

Except for the sink. Sinks are complicated. It's not just a question of screwing them together. You have to cut holes in the worktop, seal them in and then connect them to the plumbing. All that I have never done and what's more I don't have the tools. But I do know people who do have the skills and tools.

All this is to say that I am psyching myself up to fitting the kitchen in our new place...