Wednesday 6 December 2023

Graham and Dylys' news in 2023


It has been all-change this year, and we thought we should get our Christmas newsletter out early because we have changed our home address, and we no longer have a landline number (all contact details are above).

There were several reasons influencing our decision to move: we wanted a smaller, simpler home with less to look after. We wanted to set up Power of Attorney for each of us, which should be less of a burden with a simpler property. Of course Graham is thinking of retirement in the years ahead (Dylys retired from full time work 8 years ago).

We viewed an apartment that we liked in December last year – quite roomy, ground floor, own front door (no communal door), and a garage. We put our house on the market, we had lots of viewings and offers (although all below the asking price); eventually we agreed on an offer, the apartment was still available, we put the offer in, and everything was in motion.

However, Dylys became increasingly unhappy about the apartment. We viewed another, put an offer in, and as advised by the estate agent, we pulled out of buying the first apartment (we were immediately informed that the sellers had accepted another offer). Then we ran into problems: there was competition for the second apartment, and we found ourselves with the sale of our house progressing, but no home to move to!

We viewed a third apartment and put an offer in, which was accepted. However, the searches revealed a Land Registry error and our solicitor advised that we should ask for it to be resolved before completing the purchase. The people buying our house were understandably anxious to complete their purchase, and asked us to consider temporary accommodation. As the owners of the third apartment were renting it out to a tenant, we asked if we could be the tenants whilst the Land Registry issue was resolved, and so we moved in on 26 April, meaning that our first full day at our new address was our 27th wedding anniversary – on 27th April. But there were complications with the Land Registry, and we have been renting the property for far longer than we anticipated. We do get some compensation from the capital for the house, which is in savings and earning interest, but we really do want to complete the purchase.

We never anticipated that the Land Registry issue would be such a long and drawn out affair. The apartment was in need of a variety of work, with which we proceeded, thinking that we would very soon own the property – with hindsight we should have been more careful about arranging this work, as in more recent months we have sometimes wondered if we were going to have to abandon the purchase and move on. But we could not bring our fitted bedroom furniture from the house, and there was no furniture in the apartment, so our first job was to decide upon suitable bedroom furniture, and order it and get it fitted – until that time, we were living out of suitcases and boxes! That job went well – the picture above shows us in our new bedroom.

We ordered a new bathroom and then a new kitchen from a local supplier in Macclesfield (the bathroom in the apartment was simply not fit for purpose). The bathroom was duly fitted. Then, on the day the kitchen installation was due to start, we had a phone call to advise that the quality of the supplied units was not satisfactory and the installation was being postponed. A while later, we tried chasing up for a new date, could not get in touch, and then learned that our supplier had gone out of business. We had already paid for three quarters of the kitchen (terms of installation), and we are now in a long drawn-out process with the administrators to see if we can get any reimbursement! Apart from that, we have had successful installation of replacement windows and replacement boiler.

The office, where Graham spends most of his day, especially when working from home,


New furniture lines one wall of the office



Living room

Living room

Living room

Down the passageway into the living room

From the living room, looking up the passageway to the front door







Bedroom - the furniture is new, Dylys has had the bed since before we were married


Bedroom - showing the foot of the bed. We swapped the headboard and the baseboard to opposite ends, because the headboard will not fit with the furniture units.

Front door, looking into the apartment

Front door

Communal landing, looking down the stairs toward the front door

Looking from the communal door, up the stairs to the apartment

Communal door. Our car is to the right of the door, the apartment is first floor, above the car.

In the bedroom


We moved home, feeling in need of a simpler life, and this year has proved to be hectic. So we are very grateful for two decent holidays. Soon after moving home, we took a week’s break in Wooler, Northumbria. We have been to that caravan site several times before, but not for a good few years. We like Northumbria – lots of wide open space, nice and relaxing, we had some good walks.

Then, for the first week in October, we were down in Cornwall. We were able to spend a day with Graham’s Dad and Val, and an afternoon/evening with his niece Amy. But we stayed at a caravan site on the edge of Looe, and enjoyed the coast walks.

Family events

We went to a wedding, in London. Graham’s brother Phil, and Lau, were married in Camden. It was a relatively small, family affair, so a good opportunity to catch up with family. We made a daytrip of the event, going down by train. Very conveniently for us, the train from Macclesfield goes to Euston, very close to the registry office! The ceremony was followed by photographs in Regents Park, and a meal at an Italian restaurant, all close by. 

We saw many of Dylys’ extended family at Aunty Rose’s 90th birthday party – for which we had the community centre in Dilhorne, the village in Staffordshire where Dylys grew up. Aunty Rose was wearing a wig, which completely changed her appearance, and she thoroughly enjoyed the rather lavish event which was held in her honour.


We really want to see our church grow: the membership is mostly elderly people, and it feels like all the work of the church is falling on just a handful of more active members. Our Children and Families worker started the “Bethel Bunnies” parent and toddler group, taking place on Monday afternoons, early this year. Dylys helps out with this work, and is on the rota to help out with Sunday School. Sadly, the Sunday School is not growing, and some weeks we have no children at all on a Sunday morning.

Last year, our church had a request from a local lady wanting to run a “Baby Library” from the church premises. We did not know what a “Baby Library” is, but we took her on, and quickly learned that it is a swap-shop for local families. It has turned out to be quite chaotic – the original understanding was that very little stock would be left in the building. A substantial number of people come into the building during the week, and the stock has grown and grown, so that our second hall looks more like a warehouse. The lady running the operation sees far more stock coming in than going out, she does not seem able to exercise control over it, and we are afraid that some “donors” are using the church building as a dumping ground for unwanted items. There is a huge volume of stock, it is very untidy and it is blocking access to vital resources. If the lady cannot get the stock level under control, the church will have to terminate the arrangement.

There has been a little intermingling of Baby Library volunteers and clients with the “Bethel Bunnies”, but despite the large number of people coming into the building during the week, we do not see them on a Sunday.