Ruth's Christmas Newsletter 2009

Although I was typically late in deciding it, this year's new year resolution was to be that I make a positive change in my work circumstances, be it by a new employer or an changed role within Global Graphics. I tried - talking with several people within the company, and with some outside, but none of the external opportunities I had seemed to right at the time, and my situation at work has seemingly got worse through the year. The one (very) good thing is that I do still have a job, having survived another small round of redundancies in mid-year, which shows some hope. Work is still something of an issue with me, therefore. I feel trapped and scared; things have been getting me down, to say the least. It being Christmas, I will therefore lay it to one side now. I did manage a lovely holiday this year. I decided on a week's winter break in Egypt, exploring the sights and history of Luxor, the Temples of Karnak and Luxor and the Valley of Kings. The holiday had been organised by Solos, an agency that specialises in single travellers, and we had an ecclectic but very pleasant group. We stayed in a very nice hotel on the edge of Luxor, on the bank of the Nile. The tour guide was very knowledgable and told us much more than we were able to take in... but that's part of the fun, to feel the depth of history and the "feel" of the culture! I have put on my list of possible holidays a trip to Alexandria and Siwa, which would make a side trip to Cairo for the pyramids possible too. Shortly after returning I had another week away, this time with Annabel, Jo and Greg in the less sunny climes of Snowdonia, to visit New Word Alive, a Christian gathering just before Easter. Although I wasn't feeling well it was a very enjoyable event. In "the world" with lots of atheist and anti-religious comment, it can seem as if there are very few who still believe, but events like this show that up - several thousand people there that week, another two weeks there and several other similar gatherings throughout the year, and with a wide cross-section of ages and backgrounds. After the usual Easter celebrations, it was something of a case of back to work as usual. Mum and Dad have for some time been muttering about reducing the clutter in their house, and a few times during the year Jan and I have been down to help. For example, we can now see the floor of the library! I also helped catalogue Dad's geological books with a view to passing some of them on to a museum. My own house has had one major item finished at last: the bathroom is no longer fitted with units in a ghastly shade of pink with grey tiles. I had the whole thing redone using stone-coloured tiles, a dark wood vanity unit and a white bath and sink with proper shower. Jan was spot on with her suggestion of slate styled vinyl tiles, too, which set it all off well. It's lovely! I also started on the project to redecorate my bedroom but that project has stalled as I've been unable to either work out where to put its contents while it is decorated (such that I can still sleep!), or exactly what the decoration is: wallpaper or paint. I'm tending towards wallpaper now and the winter may see some more done there. In the garden, I have done a fair bit of digging and replanting after the disaster of 2008, but although I tried hard to get rid of blackspot on the roses, I fear that it's set in too well now and the only cure is to pull them out. I have had much more success getting rid of the ground elder which last year had taken over, but no doubt it will manage a revival before very long... One very exciting event in the autumn was seeing Liz again, a childhood friend I'd last seen about 30 years ago. Photography this year has been fairly limited. The Luxor trip did result in many photos but unfortunately few that I was pleased with - partly due to unforgiving sun and very tight time schedules - and my mood this year has not been conducive. I have already determined to do better next year. I have not mentioned much about St Johns Players: my participation this year has been more limited, mostly helping with the set building and some photography duties. I am not quite sure yet how things will develop as it depends what happens at work and home. My very best wishes to you all for a very happy Christmas amd a great 2010. Love, Ruth