Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Our annual round robin.....

Happy Christmas to all our friends!

He had a fantastic year as far as business was concerned. The credit crunch has meant a fair amount of belt tightening at home though so there was no holiday, but he has done the usual amount of travelling for work. He continues to work in Northampton but now spends more time in the City which he quite enjoys.  He continues to supervise home groups and has various other roles at church which keep him busy. Dave really enjoyed the company of friends old and new this year and is just about getting used to his eldest son being away at uni.  He has formed a lasting attachment to his cat Archie and is looking forward to watching Scotland beat England in the Six Nations in person next year.

Still at 6th form college, off on a management training course next year. Doing more craft stuff now that I have time and have finally joined a Book Group. Doing far too much socialising but am very happy and enjoying life. Church is still a big part of what I do – catering, singing etc. Missing Jonny, but it hasn’t been as traumatic as I thought – more of a relief in some ways! Less washing, less cooking,  smaller food bills, less ironing……..

Finally packed his bags and left home! Has spent his first term at Aberdeen Uni and has survived. Works as a barista in Starbucks, leads worship in his new church, cooked a Christmas dinner for 21 of his fellow students in halls (they all lived to tell the tale!) and has found time to really enjoy studying History. He also visits Dave’s parents every other week. I wonder if their living in Aberdeen had anything to do with his uni choice!

Is 13. Enough said. He plays trumpet in two orchestras now and endures the rugby team at school. He really likes his friends and his ipod touch. Or whatever screen he can find! Doing well at school and about to make his options choices for GCSE. Absolutely loved the snow and disappeared sledding for two days with friends! Has missed Jonny loads (not) and vies for Archie’s attention with his Dad. Growing fast, size 13 feet in the Gagel tradition and 5’ 10’’ for those of you who like to keep tabs on this kind of thing.

Dorothy, Jane’s mum, is still going strong and spent the summer in California with her sister. She was 85 this year and is as independent as ever

Dave and I will be celebrating 25 years of marriage next year.  We hope to see some of you when we get round to partying!

In the meantime, as always, have a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and let’s hope the New Year isn’t as bad as everyone is predicting!

Friday, 10 December 2010

A Tale of Three Protests

The Student
Cool placard, sprayed with a Banksy style Dave ‘n’ Nick entitled “liars”. Fun day up in London, day out of college.  Excitement rising, so many of us – stuff the establishment –education is our right – fight fight fight! Barricades down, police lines broken – so this is why the ‘rents go on about the 80’s. Lost my Jack Wills gloves. Lost my girl in the crowd. Kettled for hours. Weird people around – students? Fires. Really cold tho. What the hell is going on? I really want to get out of here. Tube station closed. Walked for miles. Freezing on train. Thank goodness for home…..
The Royal
Early evening. A palace somewhere in London. The tinkle of ice cubes in a very stiff G & T can be heard above the hum of the wardrobe mechanism. “I’ll lay out outfit 27 ma’am”. “Fine. Remind me – which one is that?” “The teal green satin ma’am”. “Do you know, I’m quite looking forward to tonight. I know Charles hates all that lowbrow stuff but I quite like Michael MacIntyre and Take That. Not sure about the rapper though, absolutely no idea what they’re going on about”. Peals of rather horsey laughter. Some time later, in the royal car gliding through Picadilly on the way to the theatre. “Not looking forward to this at all – all those b***y celebrity types stealing one’s limelight. They all blame me for Diana y’know”. The rustle of The Racing Post is heard. “Shush, Charles, I’m sorting through the runners for the 3.30 at Chepstow tomorrow.” Lots of crackling on the protection officer’s radio.  “Is there a problem Stevens?” “No sir, just sorting out the route through the protesters.”
Crash. Splat. “Charles!”
The Book Club
I’d quite forgotten how glorious English pubs are. I went to one last night. One minute you’re in the dark and the cold; the door opens and you’re greeted by an enveloping rush of warmth, laughter and the smell of something good cooking. Chewing the cud with the book club for three hours, we decided that we would be out protesting against uni fee increases if we were young. We are part of the hard pressed middle. Not rich enough to pay our children’s way through uni; not poor enough to qualify for loans. Just hard working and aspirational enough to want our children to have the sort of opportunities we got for free. Perhaps we should close some of the poorer performing uni’s and make the ones that are left, free.