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Pat and Paul's Diary 2006

In the run up to Christmas 2005 we had looked at the travel supplement in the Saturday paper and found we could go to an all inclusive hotel in Malta for a cost of just £40 pd if we stayed for 25 days. We had no problem with that and missed a cold January in the Cotswolds although we found a wet Malta. At least the rain, and really I don't suppose there was that much of it, was warmish. Malta is generally rather tired and run down but we enjoyed living across the water from Valetta and being able to visit most of the sights and sites including the oldest standing temple in the world in Gozo. Stonehenge followed some three thousand years later.

for other pics of Malta click here


That 'c' word

At the back end of February Pat had a scan recall and was found to be great with breast cancer. Well, thankfully, not great, as a routine scan found it early. Three months before Pat had taken advantage of the routine breast examination. The radiologist had a suspicion that the scan was 'disturbed' in some way although there was no evident tumour. Her concern was well founded as now there was a tumour, a tiny one but large enought to be excised. Shylock the surgeon took his pound of flesh before we travelled. When we got home Pat had thirteen sessions of radio therapy and there are pills to take, just one a day for five years. Truth to tell the man with the knife was not Shylock, which is just our classical way of telling the story. His name was actually Chan, for some inscrutable reason known to colleagues and kitchen staff alike as Charlie. Pat reports back to him in March 2007, on a year minus a day since the work was done. It had to be then as the insurance cover, which the Bank kindly provides for retired staff, only lasts a year before we have to pay our excess again - and you know how we like a bargain. So Pat lost a little of her body beautiful during the year and will have to return over a period of five years whilst chewing away on Tamoxofen tablets. At roughly the same time Paul gained four new teeth. Other than that there is nothing to report on the medical front.


Southen Progress

Thinking that there was much in England we had never seen we planned an eleven week trip more or less along the south coast using our old yellow van to carry all our gear and giving us a high vantage point to see the countryside.

We started with Paul's birthday party which was held in Woking as our children were still in that area. It was very good to met with friends from many places: interesting to see who had worn the better. It was kind of them to make what for some was a long journey.

for further pics of the party click here

From there we went to Westminster Abbey for Chaplaincy 2006. One of the shows we saw was a history of classical music performed by about seven people in a very intimate Whitehall Theatre. On stage all the time they changed items of costume and played a great variety of instruments all of which was good. What upset me was that after the interval they requested everyone to get out mobile phones and then, rather than asking that they be shut off, engaged them in what was claimed to be the world premiere of a symphony for mobile phones. Why should I be upset? Because two years before I had organised and publicised the real world premier at a Christmas morning service, the congregation having been asked to bring their phones with them!

Following the Abbey stint we spent the weekend at Egham where we were delighted to meet some of the folk we had served whilst ministering there although many in the congregation hearing we were coming had taken themselves of to the church houseparty. The next week was the Christian Resources Exhibiton at Sandown Park at which we hoped our book would be launched. As it happened it was not published until June by which time we had reached Crewkerne having started at Canterbury and travelled through Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Devon and Somerset.




The book is illustrated by our own domestic artist and we still giggle at some of them. For further cartoons click here - for all 57 please buy the book.






At weekends we tended to stay with friends and were able to worship with then. Many nights we stayed in Travelodge at prices of £10, £15 and £26 - you know I like a bargain, only twice paying their going rate of £45. We had a week at Brunel Manor on a painting course planned around the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (with a name like that he must have suffered at school - the Beckhams got nowhere near it).



and then a week by ourselves at Truro Diocesan retreat house at Penberth - maximum capacity 6 - forty yards from the sea a few miles from Lands End.



Having been members of the National Trust for a few years without getting our money's worth we put that right by visiting 53 NT properties. Almost all of them had gardens and it was possibly the very best time of year to see most of them. They are all so different which holds for the houses as well. Without membership that would have set us back over £500. More good value.



We also belong to English Heritage and we visited their properties when they were more than a heap (clearly a very distinguished heap) of old stones. This is Dover Castle with the port below.



We finished our trip with a week at Lee Abbey as part of the ministry team. Paul had never been there. Pat had been there several times although her last visit was fifty three years earlier.

Pat wrote and beautifully illustrated a journal of the whole eleven weeks Pat will be pleased to show any visitors but for just a few pics from our progress click here


The delayed radio therapy for Pat meant we missed our Welsh conference. Nothing daunted we took off for Tenerife in early September and stayed there for just four weeks this year except that for a week in the middle we actually decamped to La Gomera again where, as before, the management allowed Paul to take a Sunday service.Those who have not seen them may care to visit the pictures of La Gomera. In the shot below, taken from our apartment in Tenerife, the ferry is just passing what appears to be the end of the island and is actually Playa del Santiago where the Holiday Property Bond complex of El Balcon de Santa Ana is situated.

Back home in October then, with nothing planned for the whole of the rest of the year until Simon mentioned he had a few days leave due.

We thought it would be a good idea to do a little more walking and so, with the retired man having plenty of time to organise things, two weeks later we took off for La Gomera and spent four days there in November in great walking weather.Every day we walked - for hours and hours up hill all the time or so it seemed. The problem is that the place is so steep that downhill is just as trying and tiring. La Gomera is a round island; it is effectively one mountain with many steep ravines running to the sea. So steep that there are no roads around the island. To get to the next village on the coast entails a journey to the top of the mountain on one side of the ravine and then back again down the other side. We didn't take a camera.

And so to Christmas 2006 which completes our first two years of retirement. Simon was with us with the other children elsewhere. Come Boxing Day they all took pity and visited, other than Timothy and Zuzana who spent Christmas in Prague at Zuzana's family home

for more Christmas pics click here


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