Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Graham and Dylys' news in 2013

A year of problems

The hall ceiling had to come down
It has not been the best of years for us. Our electric shower went “bang” in January, and soon after we got it replaced we had water leaking from the hall ceiling which had to come down. Decoration of the hall and stairs became essential, and we wonder why it should be so hard to get hold of a decorator in an economic slow-down. We managed to get the job done in early December, and the smell of the paint has had a chance to clear in time for Christmas.

In a completely separate incident, we had a blocked drain and raw effluent coming up through the washing machine discharge pipe all over the kitchen floor. We made an emergency call-out to a tradesman to clear the blockage, and then later called Dyno-rod to inspect the drain. Dyno-rod diagnosed a disjointed drain pipe running from the house to the manhole cover in the front garden (with roots growing through the joints). They finally came to insert a new lining into the drain pipe just before Christmas.

Graham made a series of trips to the GP and hospital early in the year with chest complaints - he was given the all-clear and the discomfort has eased, though without real explanation.

The car also caused us some concern when there was evidence of a leak from under the engine. The fluid was clear, and it turned out to be from the air conditioning system, so it did not affect the driving, but we had to pay to get the air conditioning fixed in order to confirm that this was indeed the diagnosis - it has been an expensive year!

The other “disaster” is that our ancient printer (circa 2000) has stopped printing in colour, apart from a bit of pink - so the Christmas newsletter that we sent around with our Christmas cards this year was lacking the usual pictures - you may be reading this online journal in order to find the pictures! Yes we did buy a new cartridge for the old printer, and ran the cleaning cycle several times, and carefully wiped the contacts with a damp cloth. Graham is expecting a replacement model for Christmas - the old printer had a good life span.

Leadership

It is not all gloomy news - we both completed the CPAS “Growing Leaders” course with our local church this year. There was no final exam, but we had several projects and assignments to review with our mentors. The course has helped clarify our talents and aspirations with regard to Christian service. Leadership can mean all kinds of things, but Graham has volunteered to lead the final church service of the year - the evening of 29 December. In past years it has been announced "no evening service" on that Sunday after Christmas, which seems such a shame immediately after the high profile of Christmas on the Christian calendar.

Graham was on the tech team at the carol service this year, which went very smoothly. As with most services, he has published a podcast on the Bethel website.

Holidays

We indulged in two “proper” holidays this year (an occasional luxury - most years we stick to one main holiday. We spent a week in Lancashire in May and were delighted to be given the keys to a brand new caravan with all mod-cons including the largest fridge-freezer that we have ever seen in a caravan! Graham's favourite day was when we climbed the hills of Quernmore and found this amazing stone structure near the summit of Clougha Pike - an awesome place and really not very far from home.
On the hills of Quernmore
In September we spent a week in Northumberland - we did some climbing and also did a tour of “Flodden Field”, soon after the 500th anniversary of the battle at that site which was prominent in the news this year. We also made a couple of brief visits to Cornwall to catch up with Graham’s family.

Happy days

We celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary this year with a meal at the “Rising Sun” - which is opposite the Council household recycling centre in Macclesfield, so we made a romantic trip to dispose of the rubbish that had been accumulating in our garage, prior to enjoying the meal.

Dylys was short on ideas for presents for her rather significant birthday this year, so she decided that we should go and see Evita at the Lowry in Salford to mark the event. It was a very touching account of a true story, and Dylys is now hoping for a CD to help her recall the experience.

They were not a birthday present, but as a mark of getting older, Graham has had his first prescription glasses this year.

Also on the subject of birthdays, Dylys and Maldwyn were instrumental in organising a surprise 80th birthday party for Aunty Rose in August - we booked the village hall at Checkley and managed to fill it with family members from far and wide - a very successful day.

Due to the complications of finding a mutually convenient time for a family get-together, we met with Graham’s family shortly before Christmas, but plan to spend Christmas Day with Dylys’ family, and to enjoy a few days off work together!

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