Friday, 26 September 2008

Blog – Fri 26 Sept 2008

It is always sunny here it seems. I am sitting on a bench by the lake in the park typing this blog. Fish are jumping and a seagull is attacking the heron. People are sitting reading in the sun. Others are jogging round. Some ladies are walking or carrying ridiculously small dogs (about the size of a small weasel).

Here is some good news: at last we’ve received the cards to open the gate to get our bikes in and out of the block. No more carrying them through the main door, through the entrance area, through another door, turn right along the corridor to another door, down some steps in the dark, through another door, down some more steps, along a little path and through another door into the shed. Much less likelihood of breaking legs. And, of course, we’re no longer breaking the rules.

Both of us have completed a section of the language course and will, therefore, start in new classes on Monday (both with new teachers). I have reason to be scared as apparently my new teacher can talk at a rate of 3000 words a minute!

We have had some amazing opportunities to share the gospel recently, especially at college. In fact, I think that, for me, the last month has been the most fruitful time of personal evangelism that I have had since I was a university student (a few years ago). My teacher for the last four weeks is off to Japan for a month and tells me she wants to come along to the church one Sunday on her return as does one of the other students. We talked with a German student today (in a mixture of French and English) who is returning to Cologne tomorrow and have encouraged him to look for an Alpha Course.

We are making friends with the gardienne of the apartment block and her family (husband and teenage daughter). They are Portuguese. They invited us in to their flat for a coffee this afternoon.

Now we have an oven, Gill has had an extremely prolific week cooking, it seems, hundreds of cakes, some of which we both took into our classes today. She has roasted chickens and anything else she can lay her hands on (seagulls, herons, ducks etc). Seriously, it is good having an oven and a washing machine installed and we have started inviting people round to eat: two of Gill’s class mates came round the other night and we have a number of folk from the church plant coming round shortly to eat and talk about the new welcome team which I am going to lead (initially) and for which Gill is, of course, the consultant.

Our first meeting of the church plant is 5 October at 3pm. Gordon is preaching and I am anchoring. I wonder if we might have a full room on the very first meeting. Personally we think it is quite likely. The room is nearly finished (just in time).

I intend to write the next blog after the church plant launch unless there is anything particular to report in the next week.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Just a quickie today:

Our new address is 17 Rue Gazan, Paris, 75014, France

Third week completed at language school. I was given 10-15 minutes this morning to give a talk on anything I liked. I chose the gospel. Why not? Others chose Mind Maps and Canadian film festivals!

William has invited one of his new colleagues from work to our launch on 5 October. Good news.

My teacher say she wants to come along to one of our meetings when she returns from a trip to Japan later in the autumn. More good news.

Our washing machine and oven should be delivered tomorrow so we can move from handwashing (the last 12 weeks) to machine washing and I can eat home-made pizza again!

We are going to visit Charlie Cleverly's old church on Sunday morning having been to a different church last Sunday which we loved.

I am sittiing in the park typing this. It is always sunny here. We have barely had any rain in 12 weeks.

I am trying to organise a welcome team for the new church and shall get Gill to give some instruction when we all get together next weekend.

It is a Paris heritage weekend and we will go to a free classical concert on Sunday afternoon.

I saw an old lady pushing her tiny dog around the park the other day in a little box on wheels.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Photos of apartment

Here is a photo of the apartment from the park. The one with the open window.

This is a photo of our living room, dining room and kitchen with its view over the park from the 5th floor. It has taken ages to upload these from my documents so I am probably doing it wrongly, but it has worked in the end.

I have to get home now to do my homework and so no time to add further pics! Sorry

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Blog – Sun 13 Sept 2008

Two weeks of language school under our belts (I don’t think “sous nos ceintures” works in French) and we are both enjoying it although I have been extremely tired this week (better now).

I have had fun from time to time in class discussions when we have been asked to answer questions such as “is lying acceptable?” or is there such a thing as the ideal man?” To the second, the class were arguing “no” until I intervened with a statement that I know the ideal man and his name is Jesus! They were a bit shocked, but language school must be a good excuse for evangelism surely.

We have done an Ikea shopping trip getting there on public transport as we have no car and asking the kind Gordon Neal to collect us. This has meant we are able now to make better use of the space available in the apartment.

For most of this week summer has continued and it has been glorious to look out over the park.

We are having a few problems with the apartment block regulations: we have no parking space allocated to the apartment. That’s not a real problem as we have no car. We do have our bikes and are using them extensively. The bike shed is the same building as the bin store and is at the back. There are three ways of getting bikes to that shed: (a) through the vehicular access under the block from the road (b) through the ground floor common parts of the block and down some steps (c) hurl them out of our 5th floor window. We have no code or card for (a), carrying bikes down the steps whilst opening a door is tricky and (c) has not been tried yet so (b) therefore is our favoured option, but we have just been informed that taking bikes through the flats is “interdit”. I have asked Mme la Gardienne for the code and a card. She said no. I said why. She gave no reason. The saga will continue as we propose to continue doing (b) until she gives us the code!

I have just conceived a possible fourth plan for the bikes: a visit to the local Bricorama (DIY shop) should do it. A simple rope and pulley system and we’re there. We attach the bikes to the rope outside in the street, go up to our flat and then haul the bike up and store it on the balcony overnight.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Blog – 6 September 2008
I am typing this sat at our dining room table (for the first time since early July) listening to our vinyl LP of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in our apartment overlooking the very lovely Parc de Montsouris. It is so good to be in somewhere of our own again after many weeks in the campsite which we thought at times might go on forever!
A very kind friend of a very kind friend helped us move our caravan to a winter storage place last Friday. At the last minute the small campsite just south of Paris we had contacted told us that they had no space! They recommended another which was far too expensive and we then found a third on the internet which was much further away! Anyway this friend of a friend drove me there towing the caravan and we eventually found the place which is a farm in the middle of nowhere in Brie country. We were told by the locals that it was probably the farm near to the farm where they sell chickens.
We then stayed two nights with a couple in Creteil just south east of Paris and then four nights with William and Hannah Perrier in their lovely house in Meudon just south of Paris. Meudon is at the top of a very steep hill which is a battle on the bikes.
We eventually signed the contract for the lease of this flat on Thursday afternoon at the estate agents office by the Eiffel Tower. You sign every page and sign many copies! We collected the keys and took the underground to get to the flat in order to meet the official of the local government who had to inspect the condition of the flat (in great detail). We then camped here for two nights sitting on the floor and sleeping on airbeds. We had three consecutive meals of ryevita, brie and strawberry jam. Still it makes a change from McBaguette and fries.
Lots of people helped us move our furniture in this morning and we are now unpacking boxes into our very small flat which is about a quarter of the size of our house in Coventry! You are very welcome to come and stay if you are under 2 feet 3 inches in height. The flat has a wonderful view of the Park and is very bright and warm and quiet. I am sure we’ll love living here.
Language school started on Monday. Intensive and very helpful. I have done battle with the subjunctive all week and am left wounded but still alive! Gill arrived very late one morning and got severely told off by her teacher. I have 12 in my class from all over the world (Colombia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Brazil...).
Gill managed to cycled down the road on the wrong side the other day forgetting that things are different here.
We had a good time praying and worshipping at William and Hannah’s on Thursday night with a few others.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Just a very quick post this afternoon to report that at long last we have a moving date!

We visited the estate agents earlier today and have agreed with them that they will let us have the keys this Thursday afternoon which is great news.

This means we will camp there from Thursday night until Saturday when we will hire a van to move our things from storage and get some help in doing so.

Language school started yesterday. Four hours each weekday morning. I am doing battle contre le subjontif whoever he is and he is probably winning!

More news later this week.