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Photograph by Alistair Pryde of Words & Pictures,

Ask not for whom the hound roos; she roos for thee.
(From: "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." John Donne, 1624)



The Christmas Tree on the grass near Brodick main street.
It was cold!

Remembrance Day Wreath-laying at the Act of Remembrance,
Churches Together service (The Parish of St Mary, Gainford)

The first half of December for us wasn’t very exciting really. We had our usual round of sittings and so on for Court; and some meeting – many of which began happening in person. It was very nice to begin to reengage with real people (rather than screen versions) again and it made us realise that human contact really is important.

As the month moved on, things started happening. Lois got elected as Deputy Bench Chairman (sic) for County Durham and Darlington Justices’ Bench – very much an honour. She also got elected as Chair designate of Trustees for the Hospital of God at Greetham which is her charity. The two are not connected. 2022 is going to be busy for her, we think! Ian got selected to join the Bench JTAAAC (look it up!) and had a tooth out; the two are also not connected. We went to Doncaster to visit family and heard a rather excellent pun about those who refuse vaccinations … “Vaccine refusal goes up with the density of the population.” Think about it! The visit was really nice and, again, it was great to talk to real people in person – albeit masked-up … mostly. Ian spent most of his time outside the pub we met in, while the others lunched, because they didn’t take dogs, but that was OK.

We attended a lovely carol service at Gainford (the place where Ian laid a Remembrance Wreath last month), again on the village green. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to attend one, and it was absolutely delightful. Being outside meant that we were all Covid-safe and could sing our hearts out; which we did. Tara wasn’t sure what was going on and was certainly very unsure about the church bells ringing out – she hasn’t heard the like before! But once she opened herself up to the “vibe and energy” of the event she had a great time. We have been invited to a Blessing of the Animals in the Summer, so Tara must have impressed them with her behaviour.

Ian from ISWORX came round to do the flooring for our new enclosed porch – just the step to be built and then that’s finished. Ian also made and fitted our “memories board” for the porch, of which more later when it starts to fill.

Towards the end of the month we set off for Arran for Christmas. See the travel blog about that … when we write it. It was a really terrific stay and a much needed rest from our hard retirement work (seriously!) We have at last sussed out the ferry and how to get Tara on and off without trauma. She’s fine getting on and up the stairs to the “pet lounge” … she is NOT ok getting back down the very steep, narrow, busy and slippery stairs back to the car deck. So this time Lo walked her off and Ian drove off, meeting up (as it happens) in Ardrossan Asda which is only a short walk away. Tara genuinely loved this approach and it made the experience MUCH better for her.

As I write this, we await the midnight fireworks but have a plan to help Tara cope with those.

So, 2021 ... for Hannah, a shockingly poor performance by Edinburgh Napier staff, fantastic support from Sunderland staff for her PhD and PGCE, a successful course, a new permanent job and moving into a new flat. For Ian & Lois, four separate holidays to the extremes of the country, back to work part-time for Lo (temporarily), four significant official appointments and a new successful business. Not bad.

Happy New Year to everyone and here’s to 2022!!

Today is: 2022
Site last updated: Friday, December 31 2021

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