Luuk jetted off to Germany for work this past weekend, so the kids and I went to stay with our friends. They have kids and a big house for them to run around in. Louis relishes having lots of kids to play with and adore (and who adore him). Elena was her smiling usual self and enjoyed watching all the madness ensue from her increasingly steady vantage point – sitting up!

Marcelle and I had grand plans to work on her website but in the end there was other work which needed doing first. I also got a little editing and writing done. In the middle of last week I started on a new story and it has consumed me somewhat. (Between that story and staying elsewhere for the weekend is something of an explanation for my sudden lapse in every-other-day-regular blog posting.)

There’s some kind of magic when two families get together and spend a decent chunk of time together. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t, but when it does you kind of meld together into one big family for a while. You help with each other’s kids and everyone pitches in with food and housework and entertainments.

Obviously it was a good weekend. Just a shame Luuk had to be in Germany and miss it. (Though if he’d not gone we probably wouldn’t have been staying at the mates’ place to begin with…)

Saturday night I had a bath – first time in well over a year! I love baths and we don’t have the facilities in our little apartment. After the kids went to bed I had a lovely peaceful soak and then us grown-ups watched ‘Rock of Ages’ – a musical starring Tom Cruise… I know, way to sell it. It was hilarious but bad. So bad it was good… but probably only if you’re in the right mood.

Johnny spent the entire movie on the internet. I managed to figure out a transition in my story. The music was pretty awesome and we had popcorn to go along with it. And peanut slabs! It’s been such a long time.

Sunday morning we went along to the Hillsongs Church in Paris. It’s something of a night-club atmosphere on first arrival – black painted walls and floors, thumping music, loads of people, and a bit of a rabbit-warren in the lower levels where the kids program was.

But they’re well equipped, that’s for sure…


Headphones for the little ones. And they did the trick…


Elena slept on Johnny for the entire service. My arm would have fallen off but I suppose rugby comes in handy for something.


It was very different to the style at our little old-school Anglican church, but one of the very cool things about this place is that it’s all bi-lingual. Some bits are in French and translated to English, others are in English, translated to French. Très cool!

We came home (when I say home I don’t mean our place…) to a killer roast. Killer to the lamb!



Chops and veggies and awesome apricot sauce. Even garlic bread to go along with it. Well done Johnny.

Then there was cake. And while the kids napped we watched ‘Argo’ – a great improvement on the previous night’s film selection. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the end yet because we had to be home in time to get picked up for our church. Two in one day! I know, I know, but I was semi-involved in planning the service (something a bit more creative and out-there than usual) and I was also on reading (Deuteronomy 26 is a mouthful – all those parentheticals…) so we weren’t skipping it without real reason.

It was snowing but we bundled the kids up and got home in time. The creative service went off beautifully and the theme, love, was right on the mark after our lovely weekend. The sermon at Hillsongs was about the importance of family and it’s true, family is wonderful when it works, though that’s no great revelation.

The evening service theme was chosen with valentines day in mind, but we were invited to think more broadly of love – love for anyone and everyone (family, friends, strangers and everything in between) and of all the wide variety of ways we might show love to those people.

Like, for instance, inviting another family to come stay all weekend. Thanks guys! I’m feeling very loved – and lucky.