Showing posts from April, 2024

A quick trip to the UK

We've never really been present at the heart of the life of our wider family. When we married I was already in pastoral ministry (= no weekends) and living a long way from our folk, so when we came to France the situation didn't change all that much. Now we feel fine about leaving things at the weekend and we have more freedom than I think we've ever had, so it was a special joy to spend time with my folks in South Wales. The occasions were firstly the appointment of my nephew, David, as bishop designate for the see of Bardsey in the diocese of Bangor in North Wales, and my 65th birthday.  We flew to Manchester because flights to Bristol either left too early or arrived too late to be practical. The journeys were eventful - flights were delayed and trains cancelled, but we got where we needed to be and all was well eventually. David made history by being the youngest ever bishop in the history of the Church in Wales. I'm never sure whether the history of the Church in W

Le potager partagé

Our apartment block has a roof-garden, laid mostly to lawn by surrounded by fruiting shrubs, a couple of hazel trees and with four raised beds. This is overseen by a company which put shared vegetable gardens in various office buildings and apartment blocks. We'd wondered whether we could actually use the raised beds or whether the produce would be taken and distributed to the poor of the parish. It transpires that we plant and look after the beds, with plants supplied by the company, grown in their nursery in nearby Bègles. We are also supposed to cut the grass. So yesterday two chaps from the company came and supervised our planting of herbs in two of the raised beds, including mint, thyme, rosemary, chives, hyssop, sariette , lavender and strawberries.  In May we'll be planting up tomatoes, courgettes etc... Meanwhile on ou balcony we've sown some cut and come again lettuce (laitue à couper), some tomatoes ("it's a bit early!" said the chaps) African marigo

A blanc

 I have a milestone birthday coming up - at least it USED to be a milestone. Now I suppose only the decades are really milestones because the others keep being moved. Anyway... For the occasion, and another family event, we're going to see the folks in Cardiff so I decided to get a special haircut. My favourite barbers had no slots, so I went to another well-ranked barber near the Musée d'Aquitaine, where I learned some new things. 1) Skin fade = à blanc Thankfully I am quite good at guessing what people are saying from the context so I didn't get a skin fade. 2) The haircut I do at home is not that much worse than the one you pay an arm and a leg for

To assemble the Ikea chair

15 minutes of light work, including turning it upside down to tighten the bolts. To break up the cardboard boxes to go for recycling - 30 minutes of hard labour! But I got them all in the recycling bins!

Retirement - the plan

Patricia and I are approaching our expiry date, and we plan to hand over our work here while we can. This involves our retirement. We hope it will happen in stages : 1) French pension I believe and trust that I have just requested my retirement from the French pension system. From request to retirement is forecast to take 6 months, so assuming all is well then we will start drawing our pension in October 2024. When this happens we will reduce our living allowance from UFM accordingly. This will reduce our support needs greatly - firstly because of the smaller living allowance we'll receive, but also because we will stop contributing to the pension and sickness scheme. 2) Computing pension From my decade in computing I have a stakeholder pension plan from which I will request my retirement once I have spoken to Pensionwise. I have a telephone appointment for the 2nd of May, so depending on what they say I could conceivably retire in June or July. When this happens we will reduce our