Friday 28 December 2012

Graham and Dylys' news in 2012

In some ways it has been a year of not many changes – same house, same car, same church, same jobs. We are regularly travelling to see family – most often to Cheadle (Staffordshire) and Leicester where our mothers live, and we have also enjoyed some good  family times in Solihull and Cornwall through the year.

We always get to church early on Sunday mornings as there is plenty to set up. Graham is usually behind a computer, as he records the morning service and publishes it as a podcast on the Bethel web site. Sometimes, Dylys is behind a computer as well, projecting the words for the songs onto the main screen. You will often find her at the door, welcoming people into church, and sometimes she is helping out at Sunday School. She also manages the church building fund. Graham is a deacon and takes minutes at meetings, and manages the church web site. This year he has started taking part in the Conversational English class on Thursday evenings: a facility for people to develop their language skills in a fun and informal way – the students are mostly of Eastern European background.

This year we have both been taking part in a CPAS “Growing Leaders” training course run by the church. We are about half way through the year long course, with a class around once a month, and homework projects between times, along with meeting with a mentor.

Dylys used to be a member of the local hospice choir with weekly practise sessions, but this came to an end. However, she really enjoyed taking part in a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at one of the other churches in town this autumn. It was a three-night production, and the tickets were a sell-out.

Graham used to be more involved in youth work, but other activities have taken precedence in recent years. He still takes part in “Unleashed” youth leader networking events in the town, and one of the highlights of this year, like last year, has been the “Youth Unleashed” concert for which he organised the Powerpoint slides. This year there was a guest band “Crossfya” which made it a noisy evening, and the number of young people who came along was rather greater than last year.

Thanks to Facebook, Graham renewed contact with an old school friend Pete a couple of years ago. In September this year they met and went on a bike ride. The weather was excellent, and they were able to exchange information along the quieter stretches of road as well as over lunch.

We really appreciate our holidays, and this year we headed to Llanrug just north of Llanberis for a week in Snowdonia. The weather was great for walking and admiring the fantastic scenery in Snowdonia – with an exception on one day when we got a thorough soaking! Graham particularly appreciated getting wifi on holiday for the first time – and without leaving the caravan!

Our living room has received the Dylys treatment – she took a week off work in July and gave it a facelift with new wallpaper and paint.

Last Christmas our car let us down: we had to call out our rescue service and consequently failed to make one of the visits to Solihull – but we had the car checked over, and it has behaved  perfectly since then. As usual, we are due to be covering plenty of miles again this Christmas.

Graham and Dylys' news in 2011

We found New Year 2011 to be a humbling time, when our next door neighbour died – he was younger than either of us. He left a widow and two lads, who have been picking up their lives without him. Then in April we had to say goodbye to Aunty Jean – we made the trip over to Loughborough for the funeral, a big family occasion – we know that she is now in a better place with the Lord Jesus Christ. On a happier note, we were delighted to be able to take part in our niece’s wedding: Sandra and Simon were married in Betley near Crewe on a beautiful summer’s day in July.

In terms of breaks, we only managed one trip to Cornwall to see family (a few days in March), and a week’s main holiday in Northumbria (in May), as Graham’s holidays from work are getting fewer and more restrictive. That said, the week in Northumbria was excellent – it is a very quiet corner of the country, very pleasant driving, very relaxing, and a good variety of walks and sights to see.

We celebrated Graham’s 50th birthday whilst we were in Northumbria: on his big day, he chose to climb the Cheviot – a very decent walk, although wind was up and the clouds were down on the summit, so there were no views. Then went out for a meal in the evening.
Conquering the Cheviot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . conquering the Black Bull
Back at home, Graham wanted a bread-maker for his  birthday; however, despite the ready supply of nice fresh bread through the rest of the year, he has not grown big and round like his age.

At our home church, Graham was elected as a deacon at the AGM. We both took part in Child Safeguarding training, and Graham needs to organise a review of our church Safeguarding policy. Dylys is the building fund treasurer, and is helping out in Sunday School and with services at a local sheltered housing centre. Graham continues to maintain the church web site and sermon podcasts.

We both took a week off work in October. We took the opportunity some tidy-up work in the bathroom during that week. We are not sure that we would use grout restorer again – it looks very attractive when it goes on, but it soon cracks and starts to fall off.