1992 has been quite an eventful year for us. Margaret's dad Arthur died in January. He had been taken into hospital in Blackpool with pneumonia in November last year. Although he survived that, it accelerated his long-standing blood disorder. We moved him to a nursing home near Cambridge in December, and he died peacefully on January 13th. Over 100 people came to his memorial service in Thornton.
We were lucky to be able to sell his house quite quickly, so came to an end of our frequent trips up to Blackpool which had been a feature of 1991.
On the lighter side, we have enjoyed a variety of holidays this year. In Tunisia (Hammamet) with Paul's mother in February, the warm sun was a real contrast to winter in the UK. In Majorca (Cala D'Or) at Easter, the beautiful coves and azure sea were very memorable. On Lake Garda in Italy (Malcesine) in August, the highlight was a day in Venice which still has a magic unlike anywhere else. Finally, in Morocco (Agadir) with Paul's mother again in October, the contrast was between the excellent modern hotels in Agadir, compared with the souks of Taroudant and also seeing a tree full of goats on the way.
Our real treat however, will be that we are flying off to South Africa on the 17th December for a fortnight around Cape Town and along the Garden Route. We didn't have much of a Christmas last year, and promised ourselves something special for Xmas 1992. More about that in next year's letter!
[Paul] I am still with Laser-Scan, as Chief Programmer. LSL has had a turbulent year with low and high points. In July we made 10% of the company redundant, including one in six in the software department. It brings it home to you that job security is not assured when the people at the desks on both sides of you get sacked (one of them after 17 years with the company).
Then however, a month later we got the biggest order ever, to supply a mapping system to the government mapping agency in Mexico. This was part of an international consortium headed by the Canadian mapping agency who use our kit. Maybe I'll get a trip to Mexico next year!
[Margaret] I'm still working 0.6 of the week at Potton Middle School in Bedfordshire. I've given up the late evening stints at Trinity College Library, but have now volunteered to be a relief librarian at the village library instead.
I had the opportunity offered by Bedfordshire to spend two weeks in a French school to improve my French teaching, so I went to Beauvais in the Oise departement. I was pleasantly surprised by the region, having wrongly assumed that the area north of Paris was flat and boring. I spent a day in Paris, and visited Monet's garden at Giverny. After being home for just four days, I returned to France, this time to Le Touquet and encumbered by children.
In the summer we again had an Italian student to stay to improve her English. Once again we were lucky and enjoyed the fortnight she was with us. We took her to various places, including a day at Sandringham which neither of us had visited before.
We are both attending Italian evening classes at the Village College. Our little knowledge came in very useful in Malcesine. I also attend a French conversation class and a Women's Sports class, as well as playing badminton once a week. We are still members of the Sunday Sports Club and the Drama Group, though our involvement with the latter has been limited to selling tickets and for the last production, organising the raffle!
In August when we were wondering about moving house, the local postman noticed that we had been getting information from estate agents, told his mother, and she came round and offered to buy our bungalow! After a month of viewing modern bungalows, thatched cottages, and converted barns (how my father would have laughed at that) we concluded that:
We have now embarked on a small extension to the dining area. Work began three weeks ago and it is hoped that it will be finished by Xmas. The amount of mess and the dent in our bank account seems in inverse proportion to the small amount of space we hope to gain!
Our ex foster son Barry is now 17, and is living in Cambridge. After an abortive period of study with the Regional College, he is currently doing a part-time ITEC Business Studies course, while working part time at a firm of solicitors.
For holidays next year we have planned to visit Gran Canaria in February, and Tuscany in May, both for the first time, as well as returning to southern Spain and Majorca.
We hope you have had a good year in 1992, and are looking forward to 1993.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year,