We have been attending Bethel Baptist Church in Macclesfield since we moved to the town in August 2001. In January this year we were formally welcomed into membership. For the first part of the year, Graham led one of the housegroups; and latterly has been teaching at Kool Kidz (Sunday School) instead. Dylys has taken up singing in the alternative music group within the church. At the end of August / beginning of September, we had a church weekend away at Quinta hall near Oswestry where the theme was "vision": how our church might be an effective part of the community and draw others to Christ.
Graham has been working with Critical Path in Macclesfield since August 2000. Dylys works at the Office of the Information Commissioner in Wilmslow, and after starting as a temp she was made permanent in January.
and we have been renting a one-bedroomed flat in Macclesfield whilst keeping half of our house contents in storage. We started house hunting in February, and in April we attempted to buy a Victorian end-terrace in the town. The survey was bad and we considered a reduced offer, but the vendors were unwilling to accept that their house was as bad as the survey indicated, so our purchase was aborted.
In June we agreed a price for a modern semi, and in October we finally moved. It is smaller than the old house in Stoke on Trent. We are gradually getting it into shape.
Graham's Mum celebrated her **th birthday in July this year. His sister Karen organised a family party at her house in Solihull. It was a beautiful summer's day and we spent most of the day in the garden. It was the first time that mother's five grandchildren have all been together in one place (well, Elisabeth the youngest has only been around for eight months).
Also in July, Dylys' Mum and Dad celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Dylys organised a family party in a room above a pub in Cheadle (Staffordshire) very close to where Mum and Dad live. Forty attended (the extended family on Dylys' side is much bigger than that on Graham's side). Everything went very smoothly, and the pub are to be highly commended for the buffet.
We spent Christmas day with Graham's sister Karen and her family in Solihull. Two days later, we were at Graham's Mum's house, where his other sister and family were also calling in.
We spent a week with family in Cornwall in March, and were especially pleased to see our four month old niece. The weather forecasts were miserable, but the weather was better than expected, so we did manage some decent coast path walks.
We returned to Cornwall for the best part of a week in September, and the weather was fine and mainly sunny. We saw family again, and managed some good walks around Boscastle, from Polperro to Looe, around Crackington Haven, and from Trevone Bay to Trevose Head.
We spent a week on the Isle of Arran in May. We managed to climb Goatfell, the highest peak on the island, but generally the weather was mixed and we restricted ourselves to lower level walks. It is a very quiet island (on some walks we saw hardly anybody), and it is worth a visit just for the stunning mountain scenery.
On Easter Monday (beginning of April) we did a Goyt Valley walk (which is local to us in Macclesfield), seeing the ruined Errwood Hall, walking below Foxlow Edge, and enjoying the views from Cats Tor and Shining Tor.
On the May bank holiday we repeated the walk that we did on New Year's Eve last year: over White Nancy and Kerridge Hill. Last time we did this walk, it was very cold and the ground was covered in snow and ice. This time around it seemed quite a tame walk in comparison.
On the Tuesday of the Jubilee bank holiday in June we walked around Throwley Moor fromGrindon, a repeat of a walk that we did in 2000. There are some extremely muddy sections, even in June, and Graham managed to slip, fall and plaster himself in mud at one point. Doing this walk twice is enough, and it is not one we could recommend.
On August bank holiday we did a walk from Ashford-in-the-Water over to Lathkill Dale, through the Dale to Alport, and across the fields to Haddon Hall and Bakewell. It was a nice comfortable day for walking. It was not a particularly exciting walk, only odd short stretches of climbing and no really outstanding views, but a good day out.
We will change the car when we have to. We do not like paying a lot of money to get it through each service and MoT; but at 10 years old and with the clock turning over 130,000 on Christmas Day, the car is fully depreciated and we can afford to spend money on servicing. What we really like is the way in which we can get into the car, turn the key, and away it goes ...