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)

Thursday, October 20, 2022

It has been an eventful week in Bordeaux

 Firstly our collaborators, the Coquerels, had their big formal interview with the UFM Mission on Friday. It went very well and they were accepted.

Then we also had a visit from one of the elders of our old church in North Wales. It’s wonderful to be looked after like this and to let them see something of the work here and how we are doing, as well as to hear how things are in North Wales.

It was my turn this month to present the book to the reading group. I was excited to see that the book we had chosen, The Trees, by Perceval Everett, was on the shortlist for the Booker Prize. It didn’t win, but still… To my huge relief everyone very much enjoyed the book - a detective story come horror story come farce exploring the legacy of the culture of lynchings in the southern states of the USA. The book directed me to the Billie Holiday song, ‘Strange Fruit’. Listen to it some time. It’s harrowing.

In France there are strikes just now, but they have had no direct impact on us at all.

Then lastly in our eventful week, we had our ‘flu vaccinations. The first really painful jab I’ve had in a long time. Perhaps the worst one ever. Still, I had no stiff arm afterwards and no reaction to the vaccine, so it could have been a lot worse.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Rethinking social media

 Facebook is a dream. Facebook is a nightmare. Both these things are true.

When we started Bordeaux Church some 8 years ago in 2014 we had no money for anything, not for a fancy website or for anything else for that matter. So I set up a church website using Blogger and we used Facebook for church communications - a public Facebook page and a private Facebook group.

I accumulated Facebook friends over the years and made a point each day of greetings people on their birthdays, usually in French. I thought that if they saw a "Joyeux anniversaire" from me, then they might be reminded to pray for the work of the gospel here.

But I stayed on Facebook for the sake of the church.

This blog dates from 2005, when we first came to France. In the beginning everything was fresh, new and tough. I wrote about the joys and sorrows, the wonders and the horrors. Part of the goal was to enable our families and supporters to see how we were and to pray with understanding.

Now we're three years away from retirement and the church situation has changed.

There are others now who can take on building a church website, so soon there'll be a new site.

I've passed on the social media rôle to a ministry intern and do not intend to take it back at the end of their time with us, so I don't need to use Facebook so much, except for one weekly live cast and to keep up with the church group.

Blogger has changed over the years. It now seems to me to be much more difficult to post videos and photos, and I don't have the motivation to adapt.

So I've deleted the Facebook app from my phone and iPad.

And as blog posts have become less frequent I don't anticipate ramping this up.

I do need to write one or two articles over the next few months, however, so I may use this blog to test those out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

A quick visit to South Wales

 Our flat in the centre of Bordeaux, conveniently situated very near to the railway station with frequent links to the airport, has a guest bedroom which Pat occasionally uses as an office when she needs to zoom. It is not sumptuously furnished, true, but the bed is large and comfortable and it came in very handy when Catrin came to lodge with us during covid confinement. However guests have been few and infrequent. 

So a couple weeks ago Pat went to Sussex to visit her family. She was able to see her sisters and some of her nephews and nieces and to refamiliarise herself with countryside where she grew up.

Last week it was my turn to fly off to Bristol airport to take the shuttle to Cardiff to see my sisters. They are ten and eight years older than I am, one lives in Cardiff and the other in the Rhondda valley no far from where we grew up.

One of the best things about visiting South Wales is to hear people speaking in my accent and dialect. I quickly slip into it myself. So at the airport I was very pleased when the driver of my bus asked me, ‘Where ‘ew going?’, then said ‘Cheers, pal’ when I’d shown him my ticket. I was heading home, where people say ‘Thank ‘ew Driver’ when they get on the bus and ‘Cheers Drive!’ As they alight.

It was good to spend time with my sisters, to eat British food for a while (I skipped a meal each day to compensate) and to visit Cefn Onn, a kind of arboretum park on the edge of Cardiff near my old homes, to see my first houses, and to visit Cardiff city centre. 

I didn’t get all the nephews and nieces in, but we’ve taken steps to better organise ourselves ready for next time. 

On the bus on the way back a man sat next to me and we chatted briefly. He was from Rome, living in Gorseinon and heading back to Roma for a wedding. A man sat slightly further forward started talking to the driver in Italian. ‘Don’t speak English, is it? Italian? I’m half Italian. My grandfather was Italian. We never knew him. I don’t speak it or understand It.’ she replied. My neighbour leapt - well, more liked leaned into action and reassured the chap that he was indeed on the bus to Bristol Airport.

At the airport on the way back I was able to meet up with a friend of long-standing. We talked for hours before he had to hurry off to his car and me to my plane back to be welcomed at the airport by the gang here.