Friday, 25 July 2008

Off to Rendezvous

Our last few days in the campsite at Bois de Boulogne have passed in fairly traditional manner with lots of visits to McD restaurants in the mornings and early afternoons, but without success on finding an apartment yet! Still, we are not downcast as we are surviving the caravan life well and we are now off to Rendezvous. Actually we are in McDs again while waiting for Emily's flight to arrive very late from Rome.

The very promising news is that the estate agents and John Beresford between them have found a couple who may want to buy our house!!! We think they are doing a second viewing this afternoon and we hope they will then make a sensible offer. They have, apparently, nothing to sell. We hope there will be some even better news, therefore, in the next few days.

We have had a busy social life this week in the evenings with a posh meal with Gordon and Kerry and others on Tuesday, a lovely time with Amandine on Wednesday and a soiree with three folk from the existing church last night at the end of which they prayed for us which was great.

After RDV we are intending to keep to our holiday plans of three nights in Provence and a few more in the Alps on the way back to Paris. Then it will be back to Bois de Boulogne on 9 Aug. We will need to keep our eyes open during this time in case apartments do at last come up. If absolutely necessary we can end our holiday early and get back to Paris quickly.

Signing off for now....

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Paris update

Blog – 22 July 2008

Since the last posting we have discovered that there are 66 McDonalds restaurants in Paris and quite a few more around the city limits. We’ve now visited most of them and can recommend their double McCroissant and fries. Actually the reason we keep going there is to use their free wifi internet access as the campsite doesn’t have any. Basically, our days go as follows at present:-
· Get up (not often all that early)
· Have breakfast
· Read Bibles and pray together
· Cycle to McDonalds to search the internet for 2 bed apartments in the very particular area of Paris we would most like to live in (near Parc de Montsouris in the 14th arrondissement)
· Come away disappointed an hour or two later!

So far we have not found any apartment which is in this area and which is also affordable and available. It is extremely frustrating indeed and we are very keen to find one and secure it before we leave for Rendezvous on Friday morning (we are picking Emily up from near Orly Airport at midday).

If this doesn’t happen by Rendezvous then we have got some difficult decisions to make. Do we, for example, cancel our planned holiday immediately after RDV and come straight back to Paris to continue searching for apartments? What do we do about the planned removals on 17 August just after Tim and Rosie’s wedding? Mike Emery is due to help us. We don’t really want to cancel/postpone that so we may need to look for temporary storage facilities around Paris for our furniture etc. Do we come back to this campsite in our caravan or do we look for other options? Lots of “don’t know” answers at present.

We do believe that God wants us here. That is so clear. We do believe it would be good to live in the area of Cite Universitaire for many reasons and the prophetic word we received at Brighton immediately after we had been prayed for on the Thursday night, confirms that. We also received a word from someone else at Brighton that one particular door would not be easy to open, but would after much patience and prayer. Is that this?

We have a busy social life this week here before RDV. Tomorrow evening we have a meal with Gordon and Kerry Neal and the two leading couples from Sel et Lumiere (the existing Newfrontiers church here). We will need to discuss how and when best to close Sel et Lumiere. On Wednesday we hope to see Amandine. On Thursday we are seeing another couple from Sel et Lumiere (who can’t come to RDV) at their studio flat in the city centre). Then on Friday we strike camp, collect Emily and drive south.

We are getting to know parts of the city quite well and feel confident on the public transport system (metro, tram etc). We have cycled many miles and I went for a run yesterday in the Bois de Boulogne.

Our French bank account with HSBC is open. Gill’s debit card works well. Mine does not! We will have to go back to the branch in the 15th arrondissement to sort it out!

Talking on the phone is interesting, but on the whole I am managing well. Gill has just bought some Narnia books in French to read.

News hot off the press! The estate agents have emailed us to say that there is a potential purchaser looking at our house on Friday. Apparently she has nothing to sell. Please pray she buys the house.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Brighton Conference and first days in Paris

Monday 14 July
Having had a wonderful few days at the Together on a Mission conference in Brighton which included being prayed for during the prayer meeting on the Thursday evening (we hadn’t been expecting this!), we managed to say a few goodbyes, especially to Philip, and slip out to cycle back to the caravan site where we had spent three wet and windy nights!
We then drove to Dover, but missed the ferry because of huge traffic problems on the A20 just short of the port. Eventually we took the much later one, but then arrived at our campsite for the night 30 miles south of Calais at 11.45pm only to find it completely locked up. We spent, therefore, our first night in France sleeping in a lay-by!
Saturday saw us arrive at the Bois de Boulogne campsite in Paris having only angered a few Parisian drivers by my unscheduled U turns on the road outside the site. The site is huge and almost totally gravelled, but we have a fairly secluded pitch about 1 km from the entrance. There must be dozens of different nationalities (mainly European) camping here.
Unexpectedly there is no wifi (wireless) internet here. Perhaps France is a couple of hundred years behind the rest of the world so yesterday we had to find Starbucks in the city centre!
Our main task for the next ten days is, of course, to find an apartment. Before arriving here we had already been wondering about an area of the 14th arrondissement near the Parc de Montsouris because of its location vis a vis Gordon and Kerry’s house in Issy and general public transport links across the city. Then a friend of ours (Adrian Horner from Kettering) had rushed up to us on Thursday night in Brighton to say that he felt God had given him a picture of us in an apartment overlooking a park with some water. This we believe may be a real confirmation that this is the right area as there are very few parks in the south area of Paris and even fewer with any lakes etc. So we had a good look round yesterday and liked the area very much. Tomorrow we plan on visiting all the estate agents there. Please pray that God provides for us an apartment in that area.
Today is, of course, the French national public holiday and we hope to see the fireworks at the Eiffel Tour tonight. That will need to be after another trip to Starbucks to post this and scour the internet for estate agents in the 14e etc. Of course, Starbucks might be closed today!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Jubilee Farewell and Michael's graduation

We were given a great farewell party by Jubilee Church on Sunday (lots of love and lots of gifts) and we left feeling happy and undeserving! We drove straight to Leeds for Michael's graduation early this morning which was fun. Then an exhausting few hours emptying and cleaning his house and moving him to his new address in Bramley (a few miles from Leeds). Then a quick trip into the city centre and a meal with Michael and Sarah before driving back to Coventry for the last time!

We leave Coventry tomorrow morning for Paris (via the Brighton Conference) which we are really looking forward to.