Tina Goes Camping
Tina deserted the family for two weeks during July and August, leaving Phil and Gemma to fend bravely for themselves, which included trying to work out what combinations of Gemma’s clothes were acceptable matches.
Tina had a nice time in Switzerland, despite going with a couple of dozen Venture Scouts and Ranger Guides. They travelled using a combination of Minibus, Ferry and Train, and camped in the mountain valley of Kandersteg. The low point was the highest point – climbing up to a mountain cheesery in a state of abject terror. The high point was visiting “Our Chalet” – the Guide World Centre and somewhere in-between were the international day and watching the Unit white-water rafting.
News from the Loft
The activity that seemed to occupy most free time at home this year was a loft conversion, despite the fact that builders were supposed to be doing the work. As with most building projects, the theoretical and practical timescales bore little resemblance; and at the time of writing, is still not completely finished. And that is without the “Knock-On” effects on the rest of the house, e.g. “Oh well, we might as well decorate the Landing, Hall, Front bedroom, Flower beds” etc. Having said all that, the transformation of a dirty dark space into 34m² of usable study, playroom and guest bedroom space is quite remarkable, and even better, there is a large amount of storage space in the various cupboards around the main room, and a walk-in store for all the stuff that used to be in the loft.
A secondary task has been the redecoration of the front bedroom for Gemma to move in. It is now finished enough for her to move out of her cot into a ‘proper’ bed, and it should give her somewhere to store the ever increasing accumulation of toys, animals and books.
How can you sum up a year in a 2½ year olds’ life, especially the effect on her parents! On average, 95% of the time is really good fun; she’s intelligent, interesting, eats well, sleeps well, talks well (if rather a lot), can count from 17 to 20 (but not from 1 to 5), knows most letters, even uses the toilet most of the time, but the other 5%….. Aaaaaaargh! Yuk! The screaming fits, refusal to do anything, won’t eat, won’t sleep, won’t walk, won’t go in the pushchair, will only eat with a red spoon, won’t stop annoying the cat etc. This is probably a familiar description to most parents, but when you are learning it for the first time, it seems quite a struggle. It’s even worse when those that have only seen the ‘Jekyll’ side say “Oh, Isn’t she good/lovely/well behaved” !
This year has been a bit lacking in holidays; mainly due to too much work and not enough time. We went with four other families to an isolated farmhouse in icy, foggy Hereford for a week last New Year, and had a wonderful time. No rain for a week! Next up was a week camping at our favourite site in the Yorkshire Dales at the end of May. Unfortunately, this was the wettest week in living memory for that part of the dales which somewhat put the damper on things. The only other holiday together was a long weekend in September spent in East Anglia; it seemed to rain for a lot of the time then as well. Must check if our God insurance is up to date. Hopefully we can make up lost ‘holiday time’ next year when the weather WILL be better!
Gardening and Weed Report
Not many changes in the garden this year. A few trees and shrubs gone, but lots more planted. We still have a problem with some Japanese Knotweed, so if anyone has the magic cure, please let us know! It’s amazing that the garden still looks reasonable considering how little work has been done on it.
The business seems to thrive in the recession; the problem is that with only one main employee, work takes a rather large proportion of the available day. Still, work has been very interesting this year; covering everything from testing diodes to developing new uses for CD players and providing hardware and software for emergency mobilisation and communication for the Fire Services. This is now starting to be installed; the Isle of Man, for example, now relies totally on our software to get their firemen to the various fire stations in an emergency. Oh, the responsibility of it all!
This newsletter is replicated verbatim from the original print. Notice the lack of photos (there were no digital cameras in those days) and the lack of colour as we didn’t have a colour printer. How things have changed…