Friday, August 31, 2007

Five to the Mennonite conference

Raph, Jonathan, Nathalie, and Camille (with little Susanne) left about 7 pm last night to get the night ferry we'd booked. They're going up to Oxfordshire to a conference hosted by some Mennonites from Wisconsin representing Rod and Staff Publishing House.

The theme of the conference is the family and since we get most of our school books from them, it should be a good time and very instructive. Apparently they have set up an importer in the UK to distribute their books and materials so that ordering should be a lot quicker in the future.

I called the contact man yesterday and talked to him for about an hour. He was quite interested in what we were doing and said next time he came to Europe he'd like to come down and see us. I told him about our new web site but he said that they don't have Internet access -- the church has a policy against it.

I've never heard of that before but it is a nice idea and you can certainly see the sense of it.


This morning Raph sent us a photo of Camille outside the nursing home to say they'd arrived since they were due to have breakfast there with Aunty at half past eight. Here's the shot -- looks like a nice blue sky!

Half an hour later he sent us another one of them all sitting down to breakfast in the main dining room, so I'll show you that one, too.

Finally, here's one of Aunty herself taken at lunch a couple of hours ago. She really looks good in this picture. When I talked to her last night she said she was having her hairdresser come today and it sure looks like he did a good job!

I daresay I'll have more to post about the conference in a day or two but we're expecting quite a blessing from the visit.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Aunty's mail

The other day while on the phone with Aunty, she said she had written me a note but hadn't sent it yet as she couldn't remember my address! If you knew how many years she's been using it, you'd be as surprised as I was -- especially since it was only the one word "Courtiron" that she couldn't remember.

Anyway, this morning a card came from her which I want to post because I'd like to remember it. I have never seen her handwriting so bad and it was sad to notice. It is dated 19.8.07 and this is what she said,

Dear Derrick,

This is just a line to thank you for the lovely day you gave me on Wednesday last week. It was a great thrill to be out again, and it was such a lovely sunny day.

Sadly though I haven't felt as well since and the weather hasn't been as good, with a lot of rain. This is the first letter I have written for months. I was sorry not to be able to speak to you when you phoned on Thursday, I think. Several people told me what a handsome nephew I have.

This afternoon I discovered for the first time that every other Sunday afternoon there is a service in the chapel here. It is very small but was very good.

I may not be feeling so well because my BP is very low at present, but no one seems concerned about it.

This is all for now.
Sorry about the bad writing,

Lots of love,
Auntie Ruth

Songs of the heart

I guess I'm just an old softy. I'm sitting here this morning listening to Jim Reeves sing An Evening Prayer which I think I already quoted the words to some months ago.

There are some songs that just seem timeless to me. I've always loved that song and never listened to it without praying it from the heart at the same time. I feel such a failure and we all are in so many ways. This song touches something deep down; God bless the man that wrote it.

I always say I'm not into poetry but what is a song but a poem set to music? Ah, but the music makes the difference, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Visit to Aunty on Friday

I've just gotten off the phone to Aunty tonight while you were all eating. I thought of a few things that would make your visit more enjoyable for her. Remember that visiting the sick is one of the things that Jesus said in Matthew 25 that He was going to ask us to have done.

1. Camille, I suggest that you print this out, plus the last one I sent of details of the trip, and take it with you.

2. She said she would be very pleased to see you all and she was very glad I called tonight!

3. She is supposed to "have her hair done" on Friday morning so she suggested that you not arrive before 10 am, so please do that.

4. I suggest you get up a little bit earlier than usual and have a cooked breakfast on the boat because you will not find such good food so easily once you are set free in England.

5. On the boat you can pay in Euros or Pounds Sterling. Take a bit of petty cash. In England Euros are not accepted anywhere.

6. I was thinking (for the conference) that it might be nice for at least one of you boys to wear your suspenders. If you want to. Remember, it's Mennonites that are putting on this show and if you look a little like them it will give you an immediate acceptance with them that won't do you any harm in winning friends. Just an idea ...

7. I was also thinking that both you boys should perhaps consider "trimming" (tidying up) your beards for Aunty's sake -- mostly so she recognizes you. You can always let it grow again afterward but shaving your neck and a light trim on the scraggly loose ends might go a long way. Remember that for years I used to shave completely just for her sake.

8. You must take some pictures of us all with you for Aunty. Remind me tomorrow to take some and to print them out.

9. Mum is going to make her one of her special chicken pies that she likes so much. I think she will even make two for Aunty. She can see about getting the extra one put in a refrigerator for another day then microwaved when she wants it. She said to me several times last week that she wasn't very happy with the food.

10. I'm going to call her on Thursday before you leave to see if there is anything else you could bring that would make her happy.

11. As I said, breakfast on Friday will be too early for her so you can mess around for a couple of hours until 10. You may even want to stop in for an hour late Sunday afternoon before you go back. She is quite looking forward to your visit.

12. Aunty is a very strong, positive person but she said that today, for the first time, she was starting to feel a little bit down. Try to be light and encouraging with her, please.

13. She is staying in a place called the Retired Nurses National Home in Bournemouth. It is a saved address on my GPS so you'll be able to find it easily. The docks at Portsmouth are also saved on the GPS.

14. From the ferry to her house is about one hour. You're on your own for finding the conference center but the GPS has good Michelin maps of all of Europe and it works well.

15. Don't forget to bring your new cards that came today.

If I think of anything else tomorrow, I'll do like this; it might be the best way to be sure that nothing gets forgotten.

Have fun,

Dad

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Houses

Been out looking at houses a fair bit lately. There's a house right on the place of Marçon, between the bakery and the bar (nice spot!) that has a phone number up for sale. To look at it from the street, you'd think it were two houses -- and apparently it was, at one time -- but now it is one. The owner lives in Paris; I called him a few days ago and talked to him again today. He's showing people around tomorrow so made me a RDV for noon.

The fact that he has several people to show around does not auger well for me. He's asking 110 K€ and I even toyed with the idea of getting it for a hundred a few days ago, but now I'm not sure. The place has 12 rooms, of which six are bedrooms, two attics, a courtyard and hanger behind the house, and so on. It sounds good.

This evening Gérard came over. He knows we're looking and he knows everybody. Having been a first-aid fireman for nearly 30 years, he knows everyone dead or alive, every road, every alley, every sickness, every family.

He took us out to talk to an elderly couple that are selling. Thing is, they were playing games and pretending to want a million Francs for a house no one would pay half that much for. Michel said he reckoned he was just still attached to his house and didn't really want to sell it. Gérard said he was a liar and that he was just trying to get more than it was worth because he'd sized us up for wealthy foreigners. I'm not sure who's right but the end result is the same; we're not even interested until he can talk sense.

I'm reflecting on the perversity of human nature without God that would cause an 82-year-old man with cancer of the blood to grasp on to what he cannot even keep.

At one point, while listing all the work he'd recently got done on the place (new roof, new shutters, redid the floor tiles, etc) I told him that he could only hope to sell the house, not the work. He said, Well, I'm not going to sell at a loss!

And I was thinking to myself, Thou fool ...


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What will happen then?

I've been thinking. All my life I've always been particular about how things get done, what they look like, how we do it, being on time, and things like that. Over the years I've tried to inculcate that into my children; sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

So a lot of the time lately I go around feeling like some kind of a picky ogre, always telling the little ones not to run in the house, that area is out of bounds, we don't throw things in the living room, we never play with food, we don't talk like that, and so on.

To me, I'm trying to instill values and guidelines for acceptable behaviour of a follower of Christ -- even if the littlest ones don't know it yet, they will. To me, there must be certain dos and don'ts that in some way characterize a Christian family member.

Anyway that much is pretty common to all men in my position I dare say. But lately I've been getting a bit tired (weary in well doing?) and am just deliberately letting certain things slide. It's not that I've given up or changed my mind one bit; I'm just not saying anything about it, to see what happens. Will someone else step into the gap and say or do something? Or will life go on and just adapt to the new modes of living, happier that there are less taboos?

This morning it came to me that that is what will happen when I'm gone. One day I'll no longer be here but life will go on without me. It's interesting when seen in that light because normally, once you're gone, I don't think you get to see what life back on earth is like without you.

God help me to sort out what things are really important and just let the rest slide -- let them do what they want. It's not that I care so very much about my posthumous reputation (though there is something in the nature of man that does care). I just feel that some things are right or better.


But then ... maybe I'm wrong.


Monday, August 20, 2007

A very hectic Sunday

Yesterday was a very intense and emotionally busy day, if I can say that. :)

About eleven in the morning Mum and I went up to the "Upper Room" to meet with Raph & Camille, Lilly, Jonathan, and Nathalie. We had a lot to talk about and this meeting was long overdue. We'd intended to talk before lunch so had asked the children to set the table. We came back down just before five in the afternoon!

In the process, Raph presented his new study "The Law of Christ" and this generated a lot of discussion and practical applications. From this, the conversation quite naturally flowed into the paper that I had prepared last Monday and emailed to Raph while he was in Brittany. This was the first occasion we'd had to share my thoughts with everyone.

Later in the evening Sarah and I went down to the island to talk before bed and we chatted about Eva and her last email to me. We love her and would love to have her come but the price of air fare (especially for just a week!) is horrendous and would not be a wise thing to do. I said I'd write her today.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rumspringa

The Lord has been good to us the last couple of days and in particular last night when the confusion of the past while finally made sense and settled in our minds. Mum and I were up very late with Lilly and about two in the morning Raph, who couldn't sleep, came into our room with a page of his thoughts he'd typed up to share with us.

It didn't take long to get the confirmation of all and the word rumspringa came to me as the description of what we were seeing for Lilly and Michel. This seems like a confirmation of what I just got at the beginning of the week and I'll need to share here. It is has been a very difficult position to see but once seen, seems obvious.

Lilly and Michel need to break free and get themselves a home as near as possible to us and participate at whatever level they will until such time as a full commitment is made by both to fully unite into the body of the community.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Last Wednesday

Well, I need to record my flash visit to England for you: left after work on Tuesday, arrived first thing Wednesday morning and was back in the office mid-morning of Thursday, having spent almost exactly 12 hours with Aunty.


I got in to Bournemouth just before 8:30 and went straight into the dining room on the ground floor where Aunty was seated ready for breakfast -- perfect timing! The staff sat us a little apart at our own table -- the VIP table, she said -- and we were served a full English cooked breakfast that was actually very good. The coffee was hot and the bacon was not too salty, so I was happy!


After breakfast Jackie from the office asked if she could have a word with me while someone else wheeled Aunty up to her room. Turns out Aunty is getting behind in her payments and she presented me with a bill for over three thousand pounds. I said I'd look into it and get back to her.


The center is 460 pounds a week for what Aunty is getting which is called "Respite Care," but only 385 once you sign a long-term agreement, which they call "Residential Care". After giving me some brochures and a little sales job on the place I left saying I'd get back to them about plans.


Next I went up to Aunty's room and we went over all the news from everywhere we could think of, including some of her legal affairs and the problem she's been having with financial counselors from her old church.


After a few hours of all that we felt like we needed to change the scenery and she wanted me to drive her to her home. She wanted to see everything and pick up a few things. I think it had been so long since she'd seen home that she felt like she just needed to be sure it was still there!


Once we got there I wheeled her into her house -- I had her wheelchair in my trunk all the time. She could cross the room with her walker without help (as long as I helped her up and stood there close by just in case) but once we left the building I had to use the chair. At home she wanted to go into every single room and look out every window, just to reminisce and imagine and dream. While there I organized a lot of her papers with her (checkbooks, bills, and assorted mail) and she asked me to throw out a great deal of advertising that had come through the door.


Next it was off to Stewart's Garden Centre for lunch. She used to like to go there and has fond memories of the place but they are mostly based on her friend Jo. We both agreed it wasn't quite as nice as it had been -- the food was very English but the decor is starting to get a little too "fast food" orientated.
Nevertheless, I took her there in her wheelchair and it made a nice day out for her, I'm sure.

We'd planned to go to Sainsbury's, which was just next door, but she was starting to slow down and feel tired so I took her home where she could rest while I went out to Tesco to get her some things she needed (mirror, etc) then back to Sainsbury's to drop off the large volume of trash I'd collected in the selective disposal bins there.


From there it was back to the nursing home where I had a coffee and Aunty a tea which was brought to her room. I explained to Veronica that Aunty had no checkbook but had ordered one and that was the reason for the delay in paying the bill.

She was expecting a team Thursday or Friday to help her exercise to work up her muscles. Their idea is to help her gain confidence (she said once to me, "I'm terrified of falling!") As well she might be, seeing the damage she's done herself over the past year.

Finally, the idea is to bring up her self-confidence enough to where she will be able to return home by mid-September. I agreed with Aunty that perhaps this would be a good time for my next visit to see how things were going.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Home again

I got back this morning, pulling in here just before 11 am -- I took it easy and took my time getting down here. I had almost exactly twelve hours with Aunty yesterday, all day.

I got a note from Bryan just now asking after Aunty and I said I'd write a complete log of the day but for now I have other things to do.

Michel's two brothers and their wives and children (about nine people in all) are due in this afternoon so Lilly and Michel have gone to Le Mans to pick them up.

Guillaume & Martine also called and want to come over and visit on Saturday -- it's going to be pretty tight so we'll see how things go. Microtec started up again after our two-week summer break so there seems to be lots to do. Once I get back in gear here I'll write more.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Aunty's health

After calling every other day and never getting through, I called Aunty again last night but still it wouldn't answer and I kept getting the Tesco answering machine. I tried calling the office again (it had not been answering lately) to get a bit of information but the girl there had been off last week and didn't know very much.

Just as I was giving up for the night, the phone rang and it was Aunty calling me, for a change! She sounded a bit better and I learned she had had her transfusion last Tuesday as planned and she'd finally got her plaster off on Wednesday, for which I knew how thankful she was!

Anyway, she asked me if I could come over. I said I'd check the next day and call her back but she seemed to want me to come tomorrow because she ended up by saying, So I'll see you tomorrow then? I explained that it was too late to leave tonight but I'd get a ticket for tomorrow and see her first thing Wednesday morning.

She still seems a bit confused at times and I have to repeat everything to be understood. But she said maybe I could take her home to pick up some things and I gather she wants to talk to me. So I'm off. I've just bought a ticket on the night boat tonight -- I could almost make this trip blindfolded, but she seems to really want me to come, so that is nice.

I'll report here what happens and how she is. For now, I'm praying for a smooth crossing because there's talk of high winds in Brittany today and rain tomorrow.

Monday, August 13, 2007

On the donkey trail

This morning seemed like a dream with everyone gone. I got together with Jonathan and we listened to a class by Ward Fenley that I've just added to our site -- it's a study on 1 Corinthians 15 and the resurrection. We both found it a little incomplete and at times I felt it was not as convincing as it could have been.

A little later the phone rang and it was Nat asking me to bring out a few things to them, so I prepared some buttered bread and bought some pains au chocolat for them. They'd got as far as Chahaignes yesterday; about 15 kilometers, by their reckoning!



When I got there they were all in a very good humor and delighted to see me! I gave them their breakfast and took a few pictures, of which, this one will give you the essence. The donkeys were both tied to a fence post behind the tent happily grazing. The kids had found a lovely soft grassy field in which to pitch their tent and had had a great night's sleep.

I bought some chipolatas at the butcher's at Jonathan BBQed some lamb chops from the sheep he prepated yesterday. There were only six of us and it seemed strange to be so few, but it was a gorgeous day and we ate out on the terrace and had a great meal. Besides the lamb, there was also a plate full of our own tomatoes -- such a deep red, and so flavorful and juicy. We thanked the Lord for His goodness to us all.

We've been getting email reports of the "Brittany Task Force" with pictures to show that they are all doing well and are happy. I am working on some important thoughts on community life since I feel that we are at a turning point in a lot of ways and there are certain things that need to change. More on that later...

Thoughts on community : decentralization

Over the past couple of years we've all come to realize the importance of living in Christian community. As we read Ehrenpreis and Arnold and others it was easy to see that this was the ideal of God for His people. We saw that, and felt it, and wanted to live it.

At first "community" was a natural growth out of "family" -- from which it logically grew. We never questioned the meaning of community; it was obvious: community meant living together and sharing everything. We rejected individualism and selfishness and struggled to create a form that would help us live as Christ commanded.

Then came the practical questions. It didn't take much reflection to realize that several diverse people cannot live strictly in the sort of idealistic community that had grown organically out of family. It only really might be possible on paper -- for no two people share everything and while what is not to be shared seems obvious at first, as time goes on it is found that things go smoother once a line of demarcation has been drawn. Some kind of schedule needs to be agreed upon and a way of sharing needs to be defined -- especially as the community grows in size.

The next realization was that once you get beyond a dozen people it is not practical or useful or efficient to all live under the same physical roof. So here was another concept (living together) that had to be defined. So we dealt with that and saw that there was soon coming the time when more than one house would be not only desirable but necessary.

And, in a nutshell, that is where we're at today.

I want to carry on from there, because we are today faced with new problems. It seems to me that we need to redefine what we mean by the words "community", "living together", and "all things common".

WHAT IS "COMMUNITY"? Is it living under the same roof? Is it meeting every day at 6 am? Is it sharing all meals together? Is it sharing some meals together? Is it literally pooling all our money? Is it having one bank account? Is it working towards a common goal? Is it working on a common project? All of these? None of these? Stop and ask yourself, right now.

WHAT IS "LIVING TOGETHER"? Is it living under one roof? Is it living under several roofs? Is it living at close quarters? Is it living in the same town?

WHAT IS "ALL THINGS COMMON"? Is it having only one bank account? Why, or why not? Is it sharing a certain amount with brothers and sisters towards a common goal? Why, and how much? Where do we draw the line?

Don't you see that we must, especially as our community grows, clearly define what these things mean to us? We don't necessarily need to resort to a confession of faith (though you can see where the idea came from) but it seems to me that we need to clarify our position for ourselves and for future generations. Do you see that?

So l
et me go about it this way: Now that I've set the stage, I'm going to tell you the ideas that are going through my head and then you can tell me what you think.

1. Community:
It's going to have to be defined essentially by having a common goal, not living together. We have learned that about a dozen is the ideal size for a "household" -- remember the class I did on that a couple of years ago? I think it is still true. I think our "community" is going to have to be sub-divided into "households" based around one family and those single brothers or sisters that might be assigned (for whatever reason) to live and work with them. How we divide things up will take time and patience and prayer.

2. Living together: This is going to have to be understood at the household level. I repeat: everyone in the world can't "live together. All that are of one mind cannot live together, either. Who can? Households. The household needs to become our most basic, indivisible unit; a group of whom will make up the community.

3. Sharing all things: I think that this also needs to be brought down to the smallest unit, the household. I think that we need to define certain common projects that the community will take care of and that the households will finance. But we need to define what these actually are.

So practically, what does all this mean to us? A lot. I think we need to consider the following kinds of changes (remember, these are just suggestions and are open to discussion and compromise):

-- I think we should stop trying to all follow the same schedule.

-- I think the midday meal should be the only one eaten with everyone present (as much as is possible) and the only one eaten at the large dining room table.

-- Breakfast should be a shared meal at the household level. Devotions should be a shared spiritual meal at the household level. We may see each other for the first time when work starts, but that is as it should be because the parents have sole responsibility for raising their own children in the Lord. You know how Mum and I do it; now it's your turn -- we still have four smaller children that still need our direct teaching and example, just as you older ones had.

-- The evening meal should follow the same pattern as breakfast: at the household level. There may be exceptions to all this, of course, but they will only be exceptions if we have a normalized routine. Let's establish the normal, now. Spouses need time to communicate with each other and with their children on a household level and have many tasks and responsibilities that have little or nothing to do with common community tasks. This time is for them.

-- I think that by-and-large laundry should start to be decentralized, meaning it should never get any bigger than a household level.

-- Finances will have to be rethought as well as food shopping. We want to maximum our assets as much as possible and economize wherever we can: I think we should keep and increase the system I set up of getting as much food as is possible delivered to the door. But I think a little more thought and planning should go into how we do it. Household will need a minimum of products to have breakfast and a light evening meal. There will be questions of form but let's first get the content right.

-- Perhaps financial sharing will come about (as it already is set up to some degree) by means of a "rent" or voluntary participation paid to the community via the SCI.

-- Besides the daily meal together (which should include as many households as is practical), we will probably want to have at least one day (probably Sunday) when everyone can rest and play and read and sing and pray together all day; probably at some common location, like Courtiron, wherever we live, and this will probably be Sunday.

-- With this kind of a vision, I see our community like the pellets from a shotgun aimed at the map of Marçon: dozens of households all over the place, as close to each other as we can get, sharing a common vision, participating in common projects (orphanages, bookshop, conferences, translating, etc) but living their own physical lives in under their own roofs and their own fig trees.

-- I think we need to decentralize our gardening and farming projects with each project being shepherded by a household and with the increase of the harvest being brought to Courtiron (for example) as the common warehouse for distribution to all the saints. For example, we might have Raph alone, being really responsible for the buffaloes, Roo alone for raising green beans and making soap, Lilly alone for growing tomatoes and lettuce (we could imagine some advisory input here from Roo), Nat alone for keeping the donkeys and poultry happy (and bringing the eggs to share with all), etc. These are just fictitious presentations; it's the idea that counts. They are also ideas that can't take place immediately; I'm assuming the day that all the Famous Five are married -- probably not so far away as we might sometimes think.

-- There are many more things we could talk about here but they are details (schooling, cooking, farming, the bookshop, outreach, and so on) and right now we need to redefine our direction in the main. Later will come ironing out the details.

Do you see where I'm going with all this? We don't have to change all of this in one day. And we need to consider everyone's feelings and wishes in the matter. But I think it is time we started thinking "outside the mold" in this matter. Lilly is about to get married. If you can't see the change that that will impose on us, think again. Our system has worked up till now because the little ones in our midst were sufficiently little to allow it. But I need to get to know Olly like I knew Raph at his age or what will I tell him when he is 30? And how will he turn out? Already we can see that Christopher needs more parental sample time rather than being just "one of six" small children. And in like manner Raph needs time to raise his children with Camille. Not in a private, personalized, selfish way -- of course -- but as fellow citizens of the Kingdom. We're on the road to creating a monster that is too big for us to keep up with. Nat is run ragged with laundry. Everyone, in fact, could probably say the same thing for their department -- it's too big, too much, too many, and not enough time or people to do it. Well, maybe we are trying to bite off too much and that is why we're having such a hard time chewing it! Now that our web site is up, the people will come, but what will they find when they get here? We have to think about all of this in order to reorganize.

These are radical thoughts and maybe I've gone too far on some points, but these are just suggestions. It may take us six months or even a year to bring about some of these changes but this is the direction I think we should be heading.

Let this be a subject for prayerful discussion over the next couple of days and see how it all sits with you and how you think things might be changed. And then let's discuss it together. Tell me, what do you think?

Dad

PS - Raph, I'm just sending this to you tonight. I let Mum read it this evening but I haven't shared it with anyone else yet. Maybe I will, or maybe I'll read it to everyone once we get back together. How does it sit with you?


Sunday, August 12, 2007

How time flies

Sunday morning. I drove Mats to the station in Le Mans where he got a TGV for Paris this morning. He's going to spend a day or two there with some friends and then make his own way up to Beauvais on Tuesday. We had a real good visit; it wasn't long but I don't know how we could have done more. Yesterday afternoon Michel and Lilly took him out to Chambord because he just had to see a castle before going home.

Just before taking him up there (with Mum) I got Nat, Becky, Christopher, and Claire off on their big adventure. For several days now they've been planning to go out with Céline and Romain and the donkeys, walking around the villages on a sort of faith-trip, not knowing where they were going to spend the night but doing odd jobs for a bed.

This morning they got all their gear together and I took them up the hill to the field where they started loading all their stuff on the donkey's back and within a few minutes they were off!

They had only planned to take one donkey but as they were leaving and waving goodbye (see next photo) the brown one that was left behind (they call him Kiwi) suddenly jumped over the fence and into the road seconds after I took this picture! From that point on they had no choice but to load him up and take him along for the walk as well.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The guest book for today

August 11 -- 07

Thanks for all, it has been a tremendous week for me. All things I've seen makes me humble and thankful to YHWH who is the creator of all. May His blessings bestow over this household as long as you trust in Him and keep His commandments.

Mats Rydin
(Debbie's father)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mats is here


I drove up to Beauvais to pick him up on Tuesday getting back to the house just before seven. We had a good day yesterday and have had lots of time for talking and making plans.

Lilly and Michel have decided on the 22nd of September -- now we're encouraging them to get some announcements out. We've talked much with Mats but he seems to have reservations about his daughter getting married "so young". It is a good visit all the same and I'm glad he came. This is not a very good picture of him but it's all I have at the moment.

We've been working a lot on planning for the conference as well and have sent out a link on our mailing list to the page on our new site that presents Don and the format for the three days.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A warm Friday's activities

We called Don Preston yesterday on our Internet phone and must have talked for nearly an hour. It was very useful going over all the details of the conference meetings, times, translations, etc. He's going to link to our sites from his page.

In the morning Michel, Raph, Nat and I moved chest of drawers from his garden hanger up to Gwendeloaf. Now that the stairs are built it all becomes a possibility but it was a lot of work all the same.

Mum was gone at noon having had to take Becky to piano practice preparatory to her entrance exam for the Conservatory. Since she took Olly with her as well, the rest of us crammed onto the stone table in the garden for lunch.

Most of the rest of the afternoon was given to tidying up odd jobs around the garden and working on completing our new web site, courtiron.fr -- I'll announce it here when it is finally available. Raph doesn't want it up till it's perfect.

Thursday, August 02, 2007