Saturday, 19 September 2009

Return of the blog!

I have been rebuked nicely by a few blog readers recently for lack of blogging and that has prompted me to do something about it. I shall attempt to report briefly on the last couple of months...

We spent a total of 10 nights in our flat between the beginning of July and the 20 Aug which included, of course, the Newfrontiers conference Together on a Mission, Sarah's wedding in Leeds, a few days with Gill's father, a day with my parents...then a week at home before driving south to the Newfrontiers Bible Week at Gagnieres. Then the longest holiday we have ever had and finally returning to Paris.

We had offered the use of our flat to Annalisa, an Edinburgh Uni student of Spanish and French who told us she needed to spend two months in France. Given that we knew we would hardly be here we suggested she became our flat sitter. Great deal for her you might have thought save for one thing...

The day before we set off for Rendezvous our neighbours here on the 5th floor moved out of their flat. That, in itself was not a problem. However, theirs had been the only flat in the whole block which had a serious infestation of cafards (cockroaches). So, as the neighbous moved out, they disturbed all their little lodgers and as the lodgers' food supply diminished, the lodgers, not unreasonably, packed their bags and left too. In their case, they simply entered the neighbouring flats, including the nearest (ours).

At the end of Rendezvous Annalisa returned to Paris to find our flat crawling with the little blighters (and some slightly bigger blighters). She was terrified, but brave. She hardly slept for a week and when she did she would wake up to find them crawling over her pillow! However, armed with traps and sprays she began to fight back and, by the time she left in mid August the battle was virtually won. Thankyou very much Annalisa.

The Bible Week was a great time particularly for us as a local church with 95% of our core folk there and almost all camping together on site. It was extremely hot, but that's usual there. I helped with the Just Looking course which was fun. A lady who was on that course received sight in one eye in the main evening meeting. That eye had been blind from birth. Wow. Praise God. Another highlight were the baptisms we held in the river at Besseges at the end of the week. We baptised five folk including one from Paris. We were left wondering how many folk had been baptised there during the days of the Huguenot revival 16-18th centuries.

Our holiday was spent touring in our caravan and hoping to find campsites with available pitches as most had refused to take reservations in advance. We started in mid Provence, near the famour Gorges du Verdon, then we had a wonderful few days at the very beautiful Lac de Serre Poncon further north. Then several days by the appropriately named Lago di Piano in northern Italy and from there we went to the Brenta Dolomites and finally three days at Lago di Garda where we met up as arranged with Philip, Libby and her family and had a lovely time with them. That was not just because they let us have some of their seriously strong Parmesan cheese!

We were very active on holiday with loads of walking and cycling although one cycle route involved an 8 km climb in 34 degrees which, perhaps was rather stupid.

We've now been back in Paris for a month and the church plant has re-started after a long break. In fact, Paris was still virtually dead when we got back as it seems most people refuse to return to the city until the last possible moment at the end of August. There are a number of new folk in the church which is very encouraging and we are starting our first Alpha Course with a special dinner next Friday night. We are hoping for at least ten guests. Our diary particularly for the next two months of weekends is a nightmare!

Gill has an interview on Monday morning for a place on a language course run by the local town hall (basically to determine at which level she should be placed) and I, having applied for dozens of jobs, finally have an interview also on Monday morning, with Berlitz for a language instructor post. It would be a part time position which sounds OK.

With the proceeds of sale from our Coventry house we are buying a maisonette in Kennington South London and hoping to rent it out as soon as possible (ideally to some of Philip's friends from ChristChurch!). That should seriuously help on the income front although rent from a three bedroom place in Kennington is still less than a 1.5 bedroom flat here on Rue Gazan!

We still do not have French social security cover. We hope we get some before we retire.