Sunday, 23 November 2008

Happy Christmas 2008

For regular readers, this is my alternative to those Christmas round-robin letters!

One good thing about writing a blog is that the annual Christmas letter is much easier as I don't have to rely entirely on memory to go through the year's activities! Last year has not involved any major decisions or life changes but has been more about trying to implement the ones that we have already made and move towards a life in France (this being a little difficult as although we did have a builder at the end of last year he had not really commenced any building!) So, we have had several trips over to France to get things moving. Our first visit however, was in March, at Easter when we went skiing. Easter was early and the snow was great and I was really delighted that I could manage a few days skiing without any serious consequences. We stayed at my brother's Chalet in Le Grand Bornand with the family and had a really nice time.

We visited the land on several occasions, the first being in April, then again in the summer for three weeks and finally in October for a week. The prime reason was to try to keep on top of the project as, as with builders everywhere, they need encouragement to keep going and not get distracted by other tasks! It is slowly paying off and below is details of our progress (although note we have yet to acquire a roof!)

Still, the good news is that things are progressing and this time next year I hope we will have clear plans about when we will eventually move there to live.
We have also not been idle at home as we have decided that we will most likely rent out our current homes (as the recession and property collapse makes the idea of selling at the moment rather difficult). Therefore we have been painting and decorating to get the places rentable. There is still a fair bit to do and I expect next year will be more of the same. Anyway, this focus on DIY has meant that my cycling has become a bit more functional in the last year. We did a couple of charity road rides, which I enjoyed and I have gone out on my own some weekends. We also cycled quite a bit on our holidays in the summer. This is something to work on next year as the danger of having a two year plan is that you spend most of the time working towards it and not enough time living!

Next year will see some changes in my family as my sister is planning to get married and although not confirmed it is quite likely that she will go and live in Shanghai for 2 years. This will be a big change for her and maybe I will get a chance to visit! We will also have to give some thought to how to support my mother as she has been providing a lot of care for her over the past year.
Fortunately my health continues to be relatively stable with no real problems to note although an attempt at reducing my medication was not successful. It's quite hard to realise that you still need to take medication when you actually feel quite well.
Work has continued. I can't say that I have enjoyed it all of the time as it is hard to maintain an interest when you have made a decision to leave and it makes it hard to take on anything new. I have not really done much of great excitement or very different from usual except a trip to Ireland in may where I am an examiner.
I am continuing with my French classes as I can't imagine living in France and not being able to communicate. I passed my intermediate certificate last year but this year have been concentrating on conversation classes. It is really about finding the time to practice (which I might be better at if I didn't spend so much time blogging!)
I celebrated my 50th Birthday last week which was a little scary as it does seem very old (especially at the moment when it is winter and we are all trying to fight off colds and flu!). This Christmas we are going skiing with my brother and sister-in-law and coming back for New Year, which hopefully will be a time to rest and recover.
Wishing you all the best for your own Christmas and New Year celebrations.

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