Sunday, 2 December 2007

Lovely's Christmas letter

Thanks so much for being interested enough to get this far! This new method of greeting people at Christmas will certainly sort out those of you who have enjoyed reading my letters from those of you who think 'oh God, another one of those boring Christmas notes!' In an attempt to save on postage and the environmental effects of posting wads of paper all over the world I have tried to summarise my news and publish it on-line so that only those who are really interested have to read it! As you can see if you look at the rest of the blog, this year I have kept a kind of on-line diary. However, I decided to spare you the pain of reading through the whole lot and write a summary here! If you should feel inclined to venture further into the blog at a later date don't be concerned by the characters with the strange names. I have not got a new partner, neighbours, friends and family but have loosely disguised them in case the tax department is after them!

So.. this year has seen several events and decisions made but at the end of it I am still in the same job and living in the same house! My health has fortunately continued to be good and I am now really pretty much back to normal. In April we went to Gran Canaria for a week to do some cycling. The weather was exceptionally hot but we managed to cycle most days. That's me in the picture and the long sleeves are not because it was cold but because it was so hot you needed protection from the sun! I felt like I was really back to my 'old self' after 6 days of cycling up and downhill with no ill effects other than the need to go to bed at 9.00 every night!.

Ian (sic) bought a flat last Christmas and we have spent the best part of the beginning of the year decorating as well as trying to get things sorted in my place. The pattern for the year has meant alternate weekends in London and here, which has been okay but perhaps not a long term option if we want to stay sane! Ian also had to make a decision about the land that he owns in France as the planning permission for the house runs out at the end of December and it would never be granted again. He went over at Easter to review the situation and we both did some thinking and basically decided to have a go at it! Consequently we spent two weeks in August looking for a builder and trying to get things started with the house. It was quite a hard two weeks but ultimately proved successful as the builder started last week and has marked out the house and erected a sign. He tells us that the foundations, walls and roof will be finished by next summer. It is all pretty exiting but quite scary if you think too much about it!

As the land is agricultural we must run a legitimate 'farming' business from it and after a few thoughts I decided that I would really like to breed llamas! Strange I know, and when people ask me how I came to decide on that I honestly can't remember as now 9 months later I have read and researched as much as I can, come face to face with several llamas and met several llama owners and breeders and now I can't imagine a time when I didn't want to have them! The photo is of Ian with a llama at Ashdown Forest LLama Park. So, the date to move to France is probably at least 2 years away, but that will go fast! In order to prepare I have also started French classes again and now when we buy things for our respective homes we say 'is this just temporary or is it something we will take to France!

Although my health has been good the same cannot be said for the rest of the family! My sister-in-law's mother died early in the year which was pretty sad for all concerned as she was quite a lively and positive woman and later in year my sister-in-law was seriously ill with acute appendicitis while on holiday in France. Fortunately she is okay now. My mother has also not been too well this year. It seems in the end that most of her problems were due to an under-active thyroid gland causing her get depressed, slow, to have painful joints and aches and to loose most of her independence. It took a while for it to be diagnosed and she ended up in hospital for two weeks; which just happened to co-incide with the weekend that we were packing up her house and helping her to move to a new flat in Windsor. All rather difficult and stressful for all of us but fortunately she is now recovering and is definitely settled into her new home and I think quite glad she made the move. She continues to improve, albeit it slowly and the the move to a new place where there are people around to stimulate her and to keep an eye on her has really been the best decision she could have made, even though it was very stressful at the time for all concerned.
Work is much the same. It was interesting to make a decision to plan to change careers and leave something that has pretty much been most of my life for 35 years now, but I really think the time is right to try another path. I like aspects of my work even now but it would be so nice to think that there are other things that I can do with my life before I get too old! Making the decision to look to move on has been liberating in some ways as it has enabled me to focus on the things at work that I really enjoy and not the things that are supposed to be important and that has been a good lesson.

So, at the end of the year I am looking forward to a rest! We have various family obligations at Christmas and then will just use the time to get things done at home and maybe go out on the bikes if the weather permits. Next year we will go over to France a few times to keep an eye on the building and probably will need to make some plans over the summer with regard to the next stage. This bit is really the exiting bit as we are doing lots of thinking and planning but haven't actually had to make too many changes! I'm sure it will get harder but we will take each stage at a time and see where we get!

So, here's wishing you all the best for Christmas and hoping that 2008 is good for you!
Thank you again for reading this far!
Best wishes
Lovely (sic)

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