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)

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Great excitement - the inauguration of our new square

 At the top of our road is a large crossroads where four roads meet and the tram crosses. The recent buildings have been built at an angle to the crossroads making a rather twisted open air called Place d'Armagnac. Over the past couple of months this square has been paved, trees planted, benches installed, lighting placed and a drinking fountain added. It's not quite finished.

But yesterday was the inauguration of the square. the Mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic, a lawyer who belongs to the Green Party, was to open it, accompanied by the chairman of Bordeaux Metropole - kind of the like the Super-Mayor of the whole city. That means speeches.

In addition there were to be animations - a food truck serving kebabs and drinks, a bicycle-driven roundabout, the street-band of the medical school Los (Téoporos) and a classical trio of violin, cello and marimba who would play Spanish ad Latin American music in the library adjacent to the square.

A demonstration was scheduled, too, by the cycling pressure groups of Bordeaux who are (rightly) aggrieved that during the construction of this whole area too little attention has been given to safety for cyclists. So they turned up on their bikes with a huge banner and were given the microphone to be able to express their views. About a dozen riot police were there, too, so the whole thing was taken very seriously.

An artist was drawing people's portraits and she did Pat and me, but she gave me blue eyes and made us look like a curious coupling of punk (Pat) and hippie (me), so we were not thrilled with the result.

We enjoyed the music, avoided the speeches as much as we could and look forward to some shops arriving in the square. And better cycle-paths.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Just in case

 The Welsh for ‘resurrection’ is atgyfodiad. To say ‘he was resurrected’ you’d say ‘atgyfodwyd ef’ and the Apostles’ Creed claims belief in the resurrection of the body, ‘atgyfodiad y corff’.

I just wanted to reassure you that these words do exist in Welsh.

I’m praying that Archbishop Justin Welby will tell the whole wide watching world that Jesus has conquered death by His resurrection and that He promises bodily resurrection to eternal life to all who trust in Him, however great or insignificant. 

This is the faith of the church.

(But the music was awesome) 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Long time no blog

Récent events - end of Boris Johnson, beginning of Liz Truss, loss of the Queen - have largely left me without much comment to make. However I will note the following : 

We met the Queen once when she came to open the Flintshire Bridge on a damp and overcast day around 1998. Catrin was a babe in arms. Pat was working at a day hospital and they decided to take the patients down to see the Queen arrive at the civic centre in Connah’s Quay for lunch. I went down with Catrin for moral support. We were stood, or seated in wheelchairs, at the corner of the square. The Queen’s car arrived and she got out. Immediately she scanned the scene and, as soon as she could, she made a beeline straight for us to chat with the patients. It was brief, it was small-talk. We thanked her for coming and talked about how we hoped the bridge would help reduce traffic through the town centre (it didn’t) and she said how much she appreciated coming to open something useful. 

One friend from years ago got a job as a footman at Buckingham Palace. He saw that the royal household was recruiting from inner city council estates. He lived in a small village in the Home Counties, but he applied anyway and got in. After a sheltered and modest upbringing; he had a lot to learn - for example how to distinguish different types of drinks! 

Another friend saw a job advertised as one of the housekeepers at Buckingham Palace and applied. She enjoyed the interview and was given the job, but based at Windsor Castle. She got a super little apartment in one of the towers of the castle and enjoyed her work very much. One of her duties, apparently, was to lurk outside the Queen’s sitting room and, whenever she left the room for any reason, to rush in and plump up the cushions. I thought how irritating I would find it to get the cushions just as I wanted them only to find that someone tidied and plumped them all up whenever I ‘cough cough’ left the room for any reason.

Both said that after a couple of years the royal routine was terribly monotonous. Both worked for the queen for a few years, but then were happy to stop. The Queen, of course, had to embrace the monotony and function within it.

We were so glad of the Queen’s open testimony each Christmas. We would always listen. Here in France it would be at 4pm, just the right time for a drink and some cake, and we delighted to watch the reactions of our friends from all over the world as the Queen spoke of the Saviour with the power to forgive, and so on. 

I am personally astonished at the ordeal that her children are having to bear as they take part in ceremony after ceremony, in the public eye, each move being filmed. I would be traumatized. I so hope that after the State funeral they can take some time to quietly catch up with themselves and hide away.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Linguistic shenanigans

 So over the summer while we were in the UK we were able to think a little about our decision to stay here for retirement. It’s a hard-headed decision, based on where we can most easily afford to live, where we already have a life to live and where we might conceivably be most useful in the future.

But of course, that means that we are not retiring to the United Kingdom, and we are not retiring to Wales. Had we returned to Wales I envisaged getting my Welsh back up to a reasonable level. Years ago I read contemporary novels with little difficulty. Now I struggle.. a lot..As for conversation, I don’t know any Welsh-speakers here in Bordeaux. But then I haven’t looked for them. So I can tackle, and am tackling my reading by getting the old familiar books off the shelf and getting books from Amazon in kindle format. I’ll also make a few trawls for Welsh-speakers in Bordeaux and see if they come up with anyone.

I continue to work on my French, of course, and hit situations still where I am uncomfortable. For example, on Sunday I read ‘celui qui est humble’. Do we do the liaison or not? I ask our French speakers. They don’t know. The Frenchman on the Caudéran omnibus would almost certainly not do the liaison and would definitely feel that it doesn’t matter either way, but … hey … I’m obsessive. So I work on things like that.

But we now have a German side to our family. That’s a whole new world of challenge. So I’m looking for a way to start learning German that does not break the bank or the diary. The university does classes, but they’re too expensive. The university of free time (our equivalent of the university of the third age) does classes, but there’s no beginner German this year. The Goethe institute is expensive. Looks like some kind of online thing, then.