Wakeman's news for 2008

Horseman's Hill Barn, Uplyme    Thursday, 17th December 2008

Just as last year's missal records, I'm racking my brains trying to think of something newsworthy that's happened since this time last year, with limited success so far. However, like limpets in their grooves on the beach, Pete and I are pretty comfy in our settled ways!

We actually had a weekend away in September, to visit a friend's art exhibition in Henley. I met several old chums from my ICL days, and also a schoolfriend - we spent a lot of time reminiscing about the silly things we did as kids in Windsor. We stayed with other friends in Winnersh, and it was a salutary experience rejoining the normal world for a day, rather than our rather isolated rural surroundings. It's hard to remember that once we used to accept that it could take 30 mins to drive a couple of miles because of all the Reading traffic - in Uplyme, I think there's congestion if there are two cars in front of me on the way to the post office! We also had a couple of trips out - the best one was a clear sunny February day when we went to see a snowdrop wood on Exmoor, which was one of those magical days you remember fondly for long afterwards.

In the summer, I joined several of my pottery friends (interested in, not made of) for a raku day, which as usual involved gossiping and larking about, filthy smoke fumes, excitement at what came out of the kiln, and lots of food served in dishes and bowls made by the participants. I was most pleased with a "moon and stars" platter that I made: the black parts are where the smoke has darkened the clay.

But apart from that, it's been our unexciting but comfy routine of work and DIY, shopping trips to Bridport on Saturday morning, and not much else. Sam and Leonie are still living in Bath and Manchester respectively, and (fingers crossed) both in stable employment in these rather troubling times - if we are to believe the media, anyway. (Actually, one of my regular writing clients has ceased trading, which shows it's not all hot air - a bit of a blow but we won't starve. I am applying for the job of Parish Clerk, which has a fairly measly salary, but is part-time and done at home, and has the big advantage that the council is unlikely to go bust!) Pottery sales hold up at a couple of my regular venues, but seem less positive at others. Stuff you need to dust is hardly a priority purchase in times of need!

Pete is now a great uncle with the arrival of his sister's first grandchild, Aidan. My sister Faith and her partner are well on with plans to start a centre for growing and selling lavender products in Alresford - and she's been making some lovely crocheted tippets in the shape of foxes etc. I asked her for a skunk, which is now draped round my neck on cold days in a fetching and entirely odourless manner. Brother Tim has several business irons in the fire, and I hope that 2009 will be the year at least one of his ventures takes off - most are still in development now which seems to take inordinate time with patents, CE marking, safety checks, endless meetings etc. Brother Paul, Cathy and Millie continue their very full life with various foreign trips and holidays - he's 10 year younger than me so can keep up with the pace! (Mum suggested they went to "Lapland in the New Forest" instead of the real thing this year - fortunately they didn't, and as you probably know, it closed down in ignominy a few weeks ago. Close shave though...)

Mum has acquired a companion recently - a lovely tabby cat who is very insistent that she should play with him and brush his fur a lot of the time. It's nice for her, as she says that going home to the empty flat can be very dispiriting, but now there is someone pleased to see her. She's going to Faith's for Christmas (near Winchester) - Leonie and I will take her to catch the train on Tuesday then brave the supermarket for some last minute groceries.

By late Christmas Eve, Sam will be home as well, so I shall be in seventh Mummy heaven, all my little chickens back in the nest for a few days.

That's all folks! I hope your year has been happy, healthy and either restful or full of exciting things, as you desire.

Lois  x x x x