Saturday, February 28, 2009

379 lurkers

My map at the bottom of this page tells me that 379 different people have connected to this site -- I can't imagine how or why. They must have stumbled on it by accident, save for maybe nine people, which gives me 370 lurkers -- that sounds about right.

Anyway a big hello to all of you today, as we reach the end of February. Our news? I am feeling better every day but am still recuperating in the studio. Raph and Jonathan are leaving first thing tomorrow morning for Tours where they get the train for London. I burned them two CDs of David's testimony to listen to next week. That way we'll be able to stay on the same wave-length together.

Arum came over this morning and we discussed getting rid of the thuyia hedge at the back and sides of the garden. He's going to give me a quote on it. I also asked him to send someone over one day soon to prune the inner hedge. All this will give us a lot more light back there.

We have now vacated the bookshop. This morning Raph, Camille, and Debbie cleaned it out completely, washing down the windows and all. Six years to the month, we were there. The boys got all the boxes of books out of there during the week and took them to the bar end of the hotel. Raph also took down the 'Bibles' sign from street level which we'll put up again on the hotel.

Mattis is now gone. He caught a train from Le Mans early this morning. Christopher spent the night with him at the hotel and Roo brought him over here at 6.30 this morning before driving Mattis up to the station. I think he had a real good time here, lots of music with Becky and lots of tennis with Christopher.

In only two months David Bercot will be here and we're looking forward to that and making a lot of plans. Apparently Ammi & Zack won't be able to come, which is a great pity because I feel it is going to be a real spiritual fruitful time together. Ammi asked me for the children's email addresses as her girls want to write to the younger ones here. Life is what you make is and it's over far too soon. Relationships are what really count and should be encouraged in children while we can.

We got together with Serge to send a little donation over to Eva. She's the strong, silent type but a lovely girl that we love very much. I guess I seldom wrote a lot when I was her age.

Did I tell you that I hired Rebecca? She started in the company in January at the minimum wage for a half-time job. She's splitting her hours with Nat which gives her some time off for her precious animals. (I think we're up to 6 lambs so far this spring with at least two more sheep expecting, Nat says.) So anyway, we have an arrangement that suits everyone and gives another little income to the family. That makes ten at Microtec -- enough for awhile!

I stumbled on an interesting web site yesterday and downloaded a few of their free PDF documents. It's called www.allthingsfulfilled.com and there's some very interesting things there. Like, 'UPC Prophecy Fails' which I found pretty well done.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Comments & news

I guess I'm not used to this. I've had this blog for years without the slightest comment and now a couple from Canada (ahem! you know who you are!) seem to be "checking" here often enough to find my posting to be too slow.

Well, I'm sorry. You have to remember that No news is good news. Even if it's not strictly true. Still, all is well with me, thanks for asking. I just got back from seeing the surgeon this morning for my post-op checkup with him. He said everything was "normal" and different concerns I had were perfectly normal. It's now been almost three weeks and he said I should be good as new in about 4 or 5 more. Whew, longer than I had thought.

Mathis is here visiting us down from Belgium where he's taking studies to be a luthier and liking it. He's a childhood sweetheart of Becky so they're spending a bit of time together when they can. She was hired at Microtec at the beginning of the year -- her first job of course. At the same time she's taking driving lessons but won't actually be able to get her licence till she's 18 after June of 2010. But at least all the paperwork will have been done.

Her working in the family business means that five of us out of ten come from the family which is good to keeping it family-orientated and small.

Raph and Jonathan are going to London next week for a five-day training session on new aspects of Java. Then in a couple more weeks Raphael will have to go down to Spain again to service a good customer we have in Barcelona. Luckily we don't have to actually go there too often or it could get expensive. Jonathan was up all last night trying to get a new version of his CopyCat program finished for a customer in Switzerland -- adding SQL capabilities. If you're interested in CopyCat you can read about it here.

All this makes us sound pretty international but it comes and goes. The vast majority of our income is derived locally but some of our customers are part of larger groups with centres across the country and even further afield.

For example, we have a program that generates manufacturing conditions and loading instructions for makers of steel-reinforced concrete. We started out with making it for a big, but local company but our reputation spread by word of mouth till a couple of years ago we sold the exact same thing to their sister company north of Paris. Last year Pascal and Raph made contact with yet another company in the same trade -- this time between Toulouse and Bordeaux, making a three day trip down there necessary. Some people wonder why we need so many cars ...

We still haven't gotten our yearly results in for 2008 yet but according to my stats we did fairly well and I reckon about a 17% increase on 2007. I'll let you know here once the results are official. Of course as long as personnel is up, turnover has to be up -- or else!

The things I am hearing and picking up through the Internet coming from America are not good. I don't think this will be a good year for that country. Of course, I'm no prophet but I usually know sensible commentary when I hear it and I fear there is much worse times in store. Of course all North America will be affected – as will the whole world to some degree – but I can't help feeling that a "correction" (as the stock market pundits like to call it) is long overdue. I recently bought Peter Schiff's little book. If he's new to you, you can easily find him on the web.

Anyway, I'll not be a prophet of doom and gloom. We just have to do what we can. A wise man forsees the evil and hides himself, says the proverb. We'll see.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

I'm back

Some don't know I'm back and some don't know I'd gone. I guess we need to read up on each other's blogs more often.

Mum drove me to Le Mans last Tuesday and dropped me off. I checked in and had the operation the next day about 10 am. The doctor afterward told me it was quite complicated (it took two hours) but that fixing recidive hernias often are.

I won't do more details here and now—if you've ever been hospitalized, you'll get the idea. I'm very new to the whole scene and I don't really like it. But I stand in awe and the level of competence and the overall care that is dispensed on a daily basis.

Now I start the recovery period for three days after the operation I was discharged and told to "be careful lifting things"—which I will. I thank God most sincerely for keeping me safe.