Saturday 4 January 2020

Graham and Dylys' news in 2019


What a wet latter half of the year! Last year we became aware of an overflow from blocked guttering at the back of the house, and paid for a builder to clear the guttering.

So in all that wet weather this year, it was obvious that the problem was back again. The builder’s recommendation had been to get the roof professionally cleaned, but that is hard to stomach in a semi-detached house where the guttering on the rear collects rain and debris from both houses and the overflow was on our side. We explored various options, but felt that the simplest solution was to invest in a ladder so that Graham could climb up and clear the blockage on an as-needed basis. There is an angle-bend at the top of the downspout assembly, which is easy to take apart once it can be accessed – it is the short vertical section above the angle bend which is prone to getting blocked.


Cnicht - near Porthmadog
We managed two holidays this year: Combe Martin in Devon in the spring, and Porthmadog in North Wales in the autumn. The south westerly direction for the spring holiday gave us opportunity to meet up with family in Cornwall before we settled into the holiday accommodation.

We are delighted to have now had five holidays in succession with near perfect weather (the odd shower on one day for some of the holidays, but no days written off due to rain) – a remarkable achievement for holidaying in the UK!

Mum moves into a care home

We are so grateful to Graham’s sisters who took on the bulk of the hard work and made some difficult decisions. Mum was becoming less and less able to look after herself. Karen was having to arrange for various people to make additional visits to Mum’s home. There were awkward phone calls. One evening, when we were about to go to a church meeting (which Graham was due to lead) we had to make an emergency trip to Leicester instead, spend the night with Mum, and Graham had to request the time off work the following day.

Of course Mum did not want to go into a care home. The first few weeks were very difficult, but thankfully she has settled down. For us, the journey to the care home takes a good couple of hours, and we are seeing her every few weeks.


We continue to be active members at Bethel Baptist Church, and we really want to see the church grow now, as it is getting more difficult for a small fellowship to keep up with all the practical duties. The church advertised for a children’s worker to join us this year, but did not get a response, and we plan to try again next year.


Graham has been working for Waters Corporation in Wilmslow for the past five years. He is pleased to be able to cycle to work regularly when the weather is expected to be fine (and apart from a break over the winter). He managed a longer season this year, and goes swimming once a week outside of the cycling season.

Dylys does various voluntary jobs, with a few changes this year. Her favourite job is as part of the “Open the Book” team, visiting various schools on Thursday mornings to take assemblies. She is encouraged when she meets children on the street and they excitedly ask, “You are the Open the Book lady, aren’t you?”. Besides “Open the Book”, she expects to be doing some extra work in our local hospital over the coming months.

Graham and Dylys' news in 2018

A hard few months

Dylys’ Mum had been seriously unwell since the summer of 2017. In the early months of this year, Dylys was making daily trips to see her in hospital in Stoke on Trent, or at home in Cheadle. The Lord called Mum home in April. Dylys also lost a niece and the niece’s husband in tragic circumstances just before Mum passed away – several funerals in April.

A shiny new toy

We kept our old Hyundai Getz for ten years. Over the years, the battery had let us down on a couple of occasions during the lifetime of the car – we found it flat and had to call the rescue service. Air conditioning feels like a con – in the UK there are so few occasions when we really benefit from it, but it seems to need servicing on an annual basis if it is going to work at all, and it just does not justify the cost. But overall, the car had served us very well.

Servicing was getting expensive in recent years – always something requiring replacement, and it usually came to light shortly after the annual service. In the autumn of this year  we knew that another bill in the order of £500 was likely, so we changed the car. We now have a bright red Hyundai i20. The Getz served us well; it felt quite basic but was perfectly adequate. The i20 has all manner of gadgetry, and we have to wonder whether it will all last as long as the old car did.

Health and exercise

Last year, it was Dylys who tripped on our stairs and struggled to get around for a few weeks. This year something happened to Graham’s knee. The symptoms varied quite a bit over the course of the year, sometimes making it difficult to walk, sometimes difficult to get up or down stairs, and for a few days, difficult to operate the clutch in the car. Fortunately, it had little effect on Graham’s cycling. After the symptoms had persisted six months, he requested that the GP arrange an x-ray. When the results were in, the GP advised that there was no serious damage and recommended a course of physiotherapy. The symptoms then subsided before the course started, but Graham went through with three sessions and is trying to keep up with the prescribed exercises.

Graham was really grateful that the knee problem had not affected his cycling unduly, as this is his preferred exercise. He managed to cycle to work on 123 occasions this year, compared with 98 times last year, and he thinks that he has cycled a greater total number of miles this year than on any previous year.


Much of the country enjoyed a long, warm, dry summer this year. Consequently we had two excellent holidays. We enjoyed new scenery around Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales in May. Then we stayed near St Ives in Cornwall in September, the Cornish location motivated in part so that we could see Graham’s family, including a new great niece Rosie.


Dylys looks after the communion and manages the rentals at our church. Graham has been an Elder for several years, but our constitution defines a maximum term of office, meaning that he was obliged to take a very welcome break, starting from the AGM in May.


Not much change from last year. Dylys is officially retired, and does voluntary work for “Open the Book” (Bible stories in schools), the Hope Centre (Christian coffee shop), the Hospice shop, and for the Macclesfield hospital. Graham continues as a Software Engineer with Waters Corporation in Wilmslow.