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Thursday, 13 December 2012


Oh! Yes it is!



We started the year in Tarragona (Spain) where it was warm and sunny. In March Jasmine and Thomas came over for a week’s skiing and I went back with them to the UK to make some arrangements for my Aunt Gwen who is getting on a bit and is now living in an old people’s home in Chard. I stayed with Amethyst in Frome and had a good time with my family. The sunny weather (yes, there was some) helped. Simultaneously Ruth was in Zambia attending the funeral of her ex-husband with 3 of her children, the Vice-President and 500 mourners. Ruth’s son Ben has amicably ended his relationship with Amora, and Ruth's daughters Tanvi and Rachma are living close together, Tanvi doing a PhD at Bath Spa and Rachma is a vicar at Radstock. We were in Spain again in the summer when we went to Bilbao for a couple of days to see the David Hockney exhibition and the Beaux Arts museum. In October we were there again, this time at Estartit, where I had 4 days’ scuba diving among the offshore islands. This time we were joined by Ben.


At the end of October, to mark Ruth’s birthday, we got the train to Paris and saw Stravinsky’s opera, The Rake’s Progress, at the Palais Garnier. We had some decent meals, too. The day after we got back Ruth started work on her novel on which she worked throughout November. 50 000 words in 29 days! She must be up to 60 000 by now. It’s an absorbing read and she hopes to have it published in 2013. Also on the agenda is our getting PACSed. The PACS is the French Civil Partnership and should be quite a simple process, but with us being foreigners and our documents being in English, it seems to be unnecessarily complicated.


The house has shown some improvements this year. I finished our bedroom and, finally, the upstairs bathroom. Between these two I have made a study for myself which has my computer in it, the hi-fi and a rocking chair. When all the other work is finished, I look forward to spending many idle productive hours in this room. I have recently finished building a larder off the kitchen and am now engaged upon making a workshop for myself in the chai, where Ruth’s paintings are stored. This will probably take me through the spring. We also re-equipped our heating system and now have four large (and expensive) air-to-air heatpump heaters providing our primary heating. I also replaced our older electric radiators with up-to-date models.


Our singing activities continue. This time of year is particularly busy as I am in 4 choirs and in December I have six concerts with three of them. In July there was a charity concert in our village church featuring the Maubourguet church choir, The English Choir – where, paradoxically, I sang a French solo – and the village choir which I conducted.


I’m still skiing although I don’t think I am getting any better. I went for the first time this season last Thursday and am going again tomorrow. I didn’t do any sailing this year. The winter and spring were dry so there was insufficient water in the lake. No marathon runs either but next year, to celebrate my 70th. birthday I shall be running in the Barcelona Marathon. My kids, grandson and some friends are coming so there could be quite a good party afterwards. Absolutely my last marathon!


A Merry Everything to Everyone!