2001 christmas missive

I have previously resisted sending a generic letter at christmas but this year I’m slightly more organised so everyone is getting the same boring stuff!

This year I feel as if things are getting easier and we even managed several weekends away. The children had their first proper camping trip and slept in their own tent stuffed into sleeping bags within bivvy bags. They were as happy as pigs in shit! Andy decided that canoeing is sport of the year. We bought the children wet suits with the idea that they would be able to do watersports without getting horribly cold and whingy. They really liked their wet suits but decided it was more fun to throw themselves into the lake and mess about than paddle their own canoes. They did manage a bit of canoeing at times and here are a couple of pictures [these haven’t made it to the web – need to go and consult the paper archive to work out which ones they were!].

We seem to be making some progress with taking children walking; everyone decided that it really wasn’t sensible to take Michael up Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark (Langdale Pikes). We arrived at the bottom and concluded that none of the adults (or children) really wanted to do the alternative route, so poor little Michael was dragged up one of the Lake District classic grade 3 scrambles at the age of 4. Actually he was very good and even enjoyed himself. The real problem was walking back down when he decided he was very tired and would just lie down and go to sleep which he proceeded to do. By then Andrew was somewhere else entirely, anyone who has been anywhere with Andrew will realise that this is a regular occurrence. It is very hard trying to carry an exhausted child who has fallen asleep on your shoulders down Langdale!

Michael has started school, his main complaint seems to be that he doesn’t like school dinners. He is to be a donkey in the school Nativity play but he’s not about to reveal whether he is the front or the back. Sarah has passed her music aptitude test and so is learning to play the violin. Her teacher has advised me that I should get some earplugs.

We all went to my Medical school 20 year reunion in September. I feel really old now! Actually it was very nice to catch up with friends that I’d completely lost touch with.

During October half term we went to Tenerife with the Florences. Doug was determined that children would walk! He planned a walk in the caldera of the volcano including a trip down some lava caves. After traipsing about over lava flows we eventually found some open tubes and proceeded to explore them. By this time Gail had got Andrew’s dud light and Michael had persuaded Rosie that lava tubes are inhabited by Komodo dragons. Michael was very enthusiastically searching for a dragon whilst Rosie was having hysterics! The children had been promised a swim on the way back but by the time we reached the beach it was almost dark and Michael was asleep. This was actually a good thing as it meant that I was able to avoid a swim in the sea.

We are now down to one extremely ancient dog and one not quite so ancient cat. The cousins have got kittens (2) Sarah wants to know when she can have one but she’s been told she’ll have to look after it all by herself. She was told to practice looking after Byl and Pooh, so for almost a whole day the poor dog was looked after by Sarah. We’ve not heard any more about wanting kittens recently.

Christmas is fast approaching and the children are enjoying the sweets from their advent calendar. Sarah has a good wheeze, she’s decided that all her favourite cuddly toys should get a Christmas stocking which Santa will fill with real sweets. There is a succession of parties and discos at school and Brownies, they’re also being taken to the Pantomime by the school so life is pretty exciting for them. I expect they’ll be very tired and cross by Christmas Day.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and all the best for the year ahead,

Mary, Andy, Sarah and Michael