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, June 26, 2017

The story of Dan and Nancy Painter

On the other hand, maybe we need to mobilise the grey army?

Read about it here.

Man, that's timely

Feeling encouraged and discouraged, hopeful and frustrated in equal measure at the moment about the progress of the gospel here in Bordeaux.

Some years ago we were very concerned for Mérignac. Now there's three or four churches newly there - a new ADD church plant, a CMA church plant and a big charismatic church relocated there from Talence. It does leave a hole in Talence, mind.

Meanwhile, on the more frustrating side, who can dare to come and pioneer in Bordeaux and in its suburbs? Our guys in their 30s need to be assistant pastors in settled churches and work in teams before they can get enough experience to begin church planting. That means they'll begin to pioneer when they're 40 or 50. It's what we did, but it's hardly ideal. We're old, tired out and hide bound, and due to retire before long, and we need young, flexible people with decades of service before them.

I wonder whether we need to lower the entry age to seminaries and training institutions?

Maybe if we took people into seminary at 10?
They'd need a few years work experience behind them, of course, but we used to do that in South Wales in the mines...

Just thinking...



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Back on the trot

It felt good, though a tiny bit ... breathless? ... to be back on the trail this morning.

I didn't run during the heatwave. The government told us to avoid physical effort. Also we weren't sleeping very well. And it was already HOT first thing in the morning.

So it was good to be back out today, even though I had to take a few breathers!


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ed Stetzer sometimes drives me nuts, and sometimes makes me cheer...

but here, I think he is saying something very important.


I walked up the stairs in our house.

Our big, old house with its dark varnished, turned balustrades.

As I climbed the winding flights of stairs towards the attic room I was startled to see all the toys were moving around. No-one else was there, but the toys were just wandering back and fore, randomly.

"What's going on here?" I asked the toys. Well there was no-one else to ask, was there?

"Nothing's going on. You're just schizophrenic", came the toys' reply.

Much later when I woke at 10 to 8, too late for a run, I remembered my dream.

Here's some photos, though












Oh dear! What a gap!

Sorry chaps! It's been one of those times when it's hot, you charge as slowly as possible from one thing to another and lots of deadlines loom large.

Meanwhile we're encouraged, but feel discouraged.

Probably the result of tiredness from the heat, as well as the bigness of our ambitions for the city and the smallness of our resources and talents.

Oh well. Loaves and fishes, I suppose. Loaves and fishes.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When the pharmacy thermometer says 41°C

We're on heatwave alert here. That's when it's over 30 in the day and still in the 20s at night. It means you heat up and you never cool down. Not never. Not at all.

Our secret weapon is shutters, so we open the windows ni the morning to change the air in the flat, then we close everything down and live in the gloom till the sun has shifted from the terrace. Then we can afford to open the shutter on the big window to the terrace and let some light in.

Yesterday when Pat got back from her trip to the doctor (routine, nothing serious) she found the firemen attending to one of our elderly neighbours, a man who lives on the second floor. We've never been able to have a chat with him and he keeps himself to himself, so we don't know which flat he lives in, even. He had fallen on the path outside the flats. The firemen had brought him into the cooler corridors.

Pat took some water out and also gave him our phone number so he has someone to ring, just in case. If we knew which flat he is in we'd dare to knock now and again, just to check he's OK.

The heat is forecast to stick around till Thursday.



Monday, June 19, 2017

I'm sorry but this time we can't help

Escape and Pray sent people to Bordeaux again on Friday and they phoned me for help.

The idea, I think, is loosely based on  Luke 10, and consists of sending folk out with a return airline ticket to a city to meet people, to find out about their situation and to pray. The folk sent don't take any money, credit cards or whatever. They depend on the people they are sent to, who don't know they are coming.

Generally the folk don't know where they will be sent, and don't speak French, so they ring my number, which is on the Bordeaux Church website. At the moment.

Last time it was a group of Dutch guys who arrived on the weekend of the 18th December last year. They joined us for a meal and ended up staying at James' place.

This time two Dutch guys phoned while we were waiting for the judges' deliberation in the music exam.

"I can't speak now, I'm in an examination."
"Is there a meal in your house? Can we come?"

I sent them the address, but it was too far for them to come. They explained who they were. My heart sank. Everyone in the centre of town who could conceivably accommodate them was away from home for the weekend, and we already had a young woman sleeping on our couch.

"Can we sleep in the church?"
"We don't have a church."

In the end I gave them a list of numbers from the www.eglises.org website and hoped for the best.

In the worst of cases they'd be OK sleeping in the streets with the homeless.
It's hot, the city has lots of safe places and there's drinking water available in the squares.

I also contacted the organisation that arranges "Escape and Pray" to ask them not to send people to Bordeaux, or at least to suggest that they please don't phone Bordeaux Church. You know, we're not a big group of people in a country area with garages, barns and spare bedrooms. We're a small bunch of folk on modest incomes living in small apartments in a very expensive city, and we can't do this.

It's pretty lethal out there

but we're hiding inside behind our radiation shields and keeping well hydrated!

Temperatures are set to hit 39°C today (that's in the shade) and we are on heatwave alert, so we're keeping the shutters down and drinking lots!

Heatwave alerts are issued when the temperature is set to reach above 30 in the daytime and stay above 20 all night for at least.three days, I think, which means that you never get to cool down at all.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

It's strange what we Daveys do for fun

So on Friday evening we all took a singing exam.

It made for an exciting Friday because we had rehearsal with the (excellent) accompanist at 15h30, Charlotte from OM was arriving at 16h, then I had a meeting at 17h, then we had the Home Group at 19h, then the exam at 20h.

We reserved a Citiz car, and that made it all go surprisingly smoothly!

The exam?

Well there were 9 singers and two examiners; the director of the local music school and the conductor of the choir I sing in. (I was HORRIFIED when I saw that it was him!)

People sang a wide range of song, from a Stromae rhythm and rap number through Fauré songs through to Mozart opera. It was an entertaining time.

Of the Daveys Pat sang first. She sang a popular song in French called Syracuse, which is a kind of nostalgia for travel. "I'd really like to see Syracuse and various other places before I get too old to store up memories for when I'm in Paris." Rough translation.

Then me. I had a recital and aria in Italian from the Marriage of Figaro, where Figaro is sore vexed that the Count is planning to have his wicked way with Susanna, Figaro's fiancée. It's great fun, with quiet bits, fast bits, loud bits and soft bits, and I quite enjoyed singing it, though I didn't at all enjoy watching the video that Pat made of me.

Then Catrin with a difficult aria I know nothing about in Italian by someone called Giacomo Carissimi, "Vittoria". She sang sweetly and with great fluidity.

While you sing everyone is in the room, candidates, examiners, kit and caboodle, and once everyone has sung you are chased out while the examiners deliberate. Then you're all called in and you stand in a row to hear the examiners' verdict. It's all quite theatrical, but done in good humour.

We returned, relieved, to the home group where people had been discussing why we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, a subject I suggested we discuss in the light of Gwilym's good mark for an essay recently on the subject.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

When the insurance man comes

So the Expert from the insurance company came at 9 on Monday. He may have been a couple of minutes late. At any rate he apologised for his lateness. Then we got to work.

I gave him the list of things taken and all the receipts that I had dug out.

He then added, converted pounds to euros, applied his depreciation rate and ... wrote a cheque.

I hadn't expected a cheque to come straight away. I scuttled off to the bank and paid it in quickly!

Now we're almost back to where we started. We are equipped as regards computers.

The big question concerns what we do about cameras.

Pat had a 2005 FZ3. An excellent camera, though it had only 3MP and is now worth nothing.
The equivalent would be about 300€ for a FZ300.

I had a 2007 TZ1. Again an excellent camera, it had 5MP and again is now worth nothing.
The equivalent? Who knows!

Both of us generally use our phones for photography now.
The best camera is the one you have with you.

Neither of us fancies lugging a big super-zoom on Easyjet back and fore to Blighty.
At the same time a long zoom camera is very useful for weddings, for city photography and so on.
But why pay lots of money for something you'll use very little?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Antony Gormley has come to Bordeaux

Well, his bronze men have.
I'll take a photo some time soon, but meanwhile here's an article about it.

Back on track - well kinda

First a word of explanation.
Hot.

It's hot here.
Very hot.
The kind of hot where you just cat-nap all night, skimming over the surface of sleep like a stone on a lake.

But I thought, if not now, then when.
So I donned my special running socks, my special running trews and my special running shoes, plus yesterday's tee-shirt, and ventured out.

Boy was it hot. Not only that but the first drops of the approaching storm were falling.
But I made it to the château and back, and next time it will be easier.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The hire car

We agonised about hiring a car, mainly because I hate pretty much everything about it. I hate driving in the UK now. I hate the busy motorways. I hate parking in supermarket car parks. I hate driving down rough lanes and driveways. I hate the little stones that fly up on the motorway and knock against some part of the car.

We hired a Kia Rio from GreenMotion - diesel, comfortable, nippy enough and plenty of room. As we picked it up the guy said he'd checked the tyres. We loaded up and set off.

Two days later the tyre pressure sensor told us to check the tyres. We did. One was going down. So we topped it up every two days till we were within reach of the excellent Buckley Tyres, who removed a nail and repaired the tyre.

Apart from that our time with the car was uneventful and we returned it safe and sound.

I've never had a problem with a hire car. In fact, this puncture was the worst problem I've ever had. Pretty good really, eh? But still I hate hiring cars!


Getting back in the swing.

My week is calm, but the weekend is nuts, especially Friday.

Of course, there's a reason for that.
Two conferences to which I am not going, at Bala, and at Evian-les-Bains.

But it means I can catch up a bit.


Arriving back

We left Liverpool on a grey day.
It had rained. It was not raining, but it would soon rain. It was about 14°C.

We arrived in Bordeaux to scorching sunshine and 35°C.

And the lime trees are still fragrant.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

What happened to June?

I packed lots of shirts, two light sweatshirts and a thin nylon pacamac.

Big mistake. We needed thick sweaters and fleeces!


Saturday, June 10, 2017

We're back!

Hi all!
Sorry for the unannounced hiatus.
We've been in the UK for two weeks.
Two cold, wet, hectic weeks.
I'll post a few trivia soon.
But we're relieved to be back in France and WARM and DRY!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Those lime trees

Yesterday I smelt their scent as I walked up the road.
It's wonderful.

Sweet, honeyed, but not strong and insistent, like the honeysuckle, the mock orange or even the roses.
It's more delicate, and the butterflies love the trees.


























I've never seen a French-style CV

but I'm told it is very different from a UK one.

It is bad form to take more than one page. You cram everything into one sheet of A4.

I look forward to seeing one one day!


Ah non!

at the bookshop:

Alors, vous êtes Québécois, monsieur?

Non, quoth I, smiling.

Non, il est Anglais, said the first guy's friend.

Ah non! je suis Gallois.


You could say that

The lady opposite me in bus 4: Il fait pas froid...

It was 40°C.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Oh boy it's hot!

34°C.

It was hot for Ali and Pete in the Street, but not unbearable in the shade of Sainte Catherine.

Then we sought refuge in the air-conditioned Auchan supermarket before hauling ourselves home on bus 4.

Thankfully it cooled off enough overnight to be able to sleep comfortably.

Meanwhile, in the street outside, the lime trees are just bursting into fragrant blossom.



Thursday, May 25, 2017

BWV 11 Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen

for Ascension Day:

So annoying! Really very irritating!

I've gone and booked myself to speak at two churches this Sunday morning at the same time, and separated by about 150 miles (not that the distance is all that relevant, I can't be in two places at once, even if they are adjacent.)

Strangely I was speaking to someone just the other week about how they handle someone's diary when they're in the UK and thinking how wonderfully useful that would be. They can then avoid the cross-country high-speed dashes which are becoming less and less feasible these days, and try to optimise the whole thing.

What's worse is that the agonising decision to hire a car was largely because of a long journey that would have had to be done this coming Sunday and which now I can't do, and don't need to do.

Oh well. A mix of convenience and inconvenience.

But most of all annoyance! What a clown!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Let's have a little season of Fauré songs

You can't always get sublime interpretations on YouTube, but here's Clair de Lune, a song of a poem of a painting of people who "don't seem to believe in their own happiness".

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pessac is all flowery

Mock orange.

Scrambling roses.

Honeysuckle.

You name it, it's flowering in the hedges and on the walls here. It makes the whole town a riot of perfumes night and day.






Saturday, May 20, 2017

Après un rêve, Gabriel Fauré - LISTEN EYES CLOSED

Listen from 1 minute, with your eyes closed.

Conseil National des Evangéliques de France

At the Luther 2017 meeting I bumped into some good friends from a charismatic church on the west of Bordeaux, and we were able to discuss the local CNEF group together and plan to get people to meet up. I followed up with some emails on Friday and we're all set to meet on Monday afternoon. Great!

Luther 2017

There was a meeting on Thursday evening to add some more details to the planning of the Luther 2017 thing. Some things to note include that there won't be any stands representing any churches. Stands will be held by associations, like food banks, etc.. The Maison de la Bible will be there, sharing a stand with the Gideons.

A quiet Saturday catching up

Well that was a helter-skelter few days. Today has been quiet, and that's been good because after the travelling, the evaluation conference and the various things going on on Thursday and Friday we needed to catch up with ourselves.

Now Catrin has a concert this evening. She's doing the first half for a colleague who sings in a completely different style. So at 9pm we'll be at Victoire listening to her. We'll leave at the interval, though. (Sorry Alice.)


Friday, May 19, 2017

Acts29 evaluation conference

took place at Lagny church, locally pronounced by French people as if spelt Langy in English, to my great surprise.

We travelled up by TGV, getting to the station in good time, having a nice drink in a café, being charged "eleven" proudly in English for two 3,50€ drinks by the waiter. And because we had plenty of time we ended up rushing to get our train!

We were lodged with a charming international family and enjoyed seeing these 1970s Paris satellite towns. Milton Keynes à la française? The evaluation conference was intensive and tiring and the weather suddenly became glorious and hot, so when it was time to come home we were glad of a chance to rest before our train, and then to be able to doze on the train.

Sat opposite us were Paul, 1 year old, and his father. They were a most charming couple. Paul was happy and very sociable and his father was patient, gentle and attentive. We were charmed by them both.

Back in Bordeaux it had rained, it was not raining but it would rain. There was no train from Bordeaux to Pessac till the next morning, so we hopped on our buses, 9 then 4, to regain our waiting flat.

Home, sweet home!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Racing a bunny

This morning I got out a little later than usual and was surprised to see my neighbours still waiting at the bus stop. Just after I passed them their bus came, but it did mean they watched me totter up the hill in my startling grey, navy and fluorescent yellow running gear.

All went OK. A noisy bird yelled at me as I passed. When I came to the vineyard I spotted a bunny just a few yards ahead, a sweet little young bunny. He scarpered. There was no hole in the fence. I galloped, the bunny galloped, we galloped together. He had an admirable turn of speed, but little endurance. He kept stopping to rest. So I caught up with him a couple of times. Then he hid behind a waste bin and rejoiced to see me hurtle past.

Ha! When I came hurtling back he bolted and scarpered again. He galloped. I galloped. As before, but in the opposite direction. This time we went all round the vineyard in our somewhat unequal relay race before he found a couple of bushes he could dive headlong into.

Bye bunny!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The café philo

We're on the hunt for neutral venues in the city to hold English conversation evenings, discussion evenings, etc. Some cafés close at 6 or 7. Others become restaurants and really want to serve meals. One of our chaps is looking for places, but I spotted a couple of possibilities that seemed promising.

One is a café run by an association, a club. You have to join the club at a annual membership fee of 5€ before you can buy a coffee, but once you do then coffee is 1€, tea is 2€ etc.

Some days of the week they run a working café, where you pay by the hour and then drinks and snacks are free.

Then there's the workshops. There's vocal workshops, yoga, and a café philo run. I wanted to get the measure of the place, so I went along.

The Café philo ran from 7pm to 8:30, cost 3€ entrance fee, and water was provided to drink. There were about 15 to 20 people present, all ages, though mostly student age. It was set up as one big group with the teacher in the middle keeping the discussion going mostly by asking questions. He was helped by a young woman. The topic under discussion was "Are beliefs always contrary to reason."

I don't think any one person dominated the discussion (he said, rather too hurriedly) though there were a couple of people who didn't say anything at all. The leader said that he would not make everyone contribute.

As evenings go it was OK. It would not be impossible to imagine running an English evening there, though numbers would be limited.


Running this morning had an inauspicious start

I looked out of the kitchen window. It was not raining.
It had rained. It would rain. But it was not raining.

Of course, but the time I got outside, it was raining.

As I walked up to the vineyards I got one of those severe, sharp, stabbing pains that shoots directly up your leg and threatens to make you fall over. It meant nothing. There was no real problem. It just hurt. I stretched and the pain went away.

I got to the vineyards and decided to use my inhaler before setting off.
And I gave myself a coughing fit.

Such are the hurdles to be jumped by the morning runner, before he even begins!

There were nice flowers, though.









Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Le 8 mai

It seemed ironic to me that on the 7th May 1 in 5 people in my town voted for the presidential candidate from the far-right Front National, then the next day we gathered at the Monument aux Morts to commemorate the victory over the far-right Nazi invaders in 1945. Go figure.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Music for the eve of the election

Would you believe it?

So I saw a video of Mad Genius Tips that said that you can make meringues using, instead of egg whites, the liquid from a tin of chick peas.



I remarked on it on Facebook and got some varied reactions, from "Eew!" to, "Yes, and you can make chocolate mousse with them, too".

Well on Thursday Patricia and I saw some cans of chick peas and.. well...

The meringues worked fine! Absolutely fine! Not only that, but a can of chick peas is MUCH CHEAPER than eggs, and they don't come from miserable chickens. And you get the chick peas to use in a tajine, in a curry or in some hummus.

Then the chocolate mousse - essentially it is 150g melted then cooled dark chocolate with the juice of a can of chick peas and 60g of sugar whipped into soft peaks then folded in.



It was absolutely delicious! Really! And so much more convincing than eating raw egg whites, even if they are beaten to peaks.


Thursday, May 04, 2017

French presidential elections

So we're voting on Sunday for either Marine LePen, from the National Front, or Emmanuel Macron, independent.

One wag said it's a choice between Oedipus who killed his father (Madame LePen expelled her father from the party he founded - because of his anti-semitic remarks, I think) and Oedipus who married his mother (Monsieur Macron married his French teacher, 24 years his senior).

The televised debate between the two last night was lively and conflictual.




Last week's frosts

have hit the vineyards hard. Some chateaux say that there will be almost no harvest this year.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

DEntry

Patricia and I went to the Alliance Française today to collect her results from her TCF ANF examination.

She passed, with level B1 in one skill and B2 (higher than B1) in the other, so plenty good enough to submit to the préfecture along with lots of other documents for consideration for French nationality.

Now to amass the documents necessary, get some translated, and submit all to the préfecture.


Crime wave Koralli

Some more details have emerged of the little crime wave that has rocked our block of flats to its very foundations.

A neighbour's mother had been staying in their flat. When she left she popped the key into their mailbox.

She was observed by a person or persons unknown, who then forced the mailbox open and stole the keys.

Our neighbour changed the door lock immediately, but the mailbox remains unlockable for the moment.


Brunch at the weekend in cafés in Bordeaux

No way.

No poached egg on toast is worth those prices, not even at 11 am and with paprika, chives and bacon bits sprinkled over it.


Monday, May 01, 2017

Assemblée Générale

Last night was our AGM. We only have one "official" meeting a year and it's a legal requirement.

We did the usual essential things like the president's report, financial report (that's always a good laugh, our budget is risible) and re-election of officers and stuff.

Then we talked about where we are and how to move forward. And it was a good, positive time.

I always get in such a tizz beforehand. And afterwards just thankfulness.

Well, better than the other way round, I suppose!


Friday, April 28, 2017

It's all a hot mess

Over the brief years of my life I have been too often horrified by the way that preachers can live in a way that is deeply inconsistent with their calling and ministry. Like the bent copper, the abusive teacher, or the politician whose real interest is to line his own pocket, there's something specially abhorrent about it.

My blogging about this is sparked by another scandal AND by the furore in the USA about Mike Pence's espousal of the Billy Graham rule - never to eat dinner alone with a woman who is not your wife.

I got into a little conflict a couple of years ago with a colleague, a woman, who was fitting out a small office at the back fo the church building where we then were based. She looked forward to us sharing the office and working there together day by day. She was very disappointed when I told her that it wasn't going to happen. "You are very strict, too strict", she said. "My mission would never allow it", was my reply. When I spoke to the mission about it later they confirmed that they would not allow it, at least if I was concerned.

Look, the people who have ended up having an affair - or multiple affairs, or looking online for women to date, or leaving their wife and family to set up home with a man, or lying about attending conferences and really meeting up with people in hotels - these people have been amongst the most intelligent, the most gifted, the most praised, the most promising people. If that tells me anything it tells me that anyone can fall. It might tell me a whole lot more, but I don't want to explore it too much. Not here. Not now.

I don't follow any Billy Graham rule, not to eat dinner alone with a woman who is not my wife. Rules may help some people. I don't think they'd help me. You set up a rule and you can always find a way around it. "No, I can't make dinner, but let's meet for lunch..." But it's more than that and less. I want a horror of it all. I want to see it as unspeakably grotesque, sordid, dirty, low, mean, dishonourable.


A church website ... perhaps

It was recently remarked that the 1000+ member church in Bordeaux has a better website than we do.

I replied that the site had probably cost more an 1€ per member, and that good websites do not come cheap. Once a friend in the UK who is a website designer proposed to do us a good price. The excellent price he proposed was £500, which was, obviously, far too much for us to pay.

Anyway it so happens that one of our students is doing a course in human-systems interfaces - kind of - and they have a sort of small business associated with their school of studies. So yesterday I met with another student to sketch out a projected website.

We should get a quote for it this weekend!

Maybe it will be within our means!