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"Greetings from . . . ."
Jill & Derek Bevan, Alvechurch January 4th 2009
Lesley Rowe, Kidderminster  December 24th 2008
Lesley Rowe, Kidderminster  November 13th 2008
Jill & Derek Bevan
January 4th 2009

(Dateline  Christmas 2008)


Dear everybody,

This year has, of course, been another very busy year.   But we have now arrived at that stage of life when being busy involves dividing one's time between being a spectator in other people's activities and being occupied with one's own ailments.   We report on life in that order.

Rhian is now a mature adult though we still think of her as our baby.   Since her later school days she has had unfocussed health problems that have gradually got worse and were properly diagnosed only a few years ago.   Well, despite that she got engaged and them married.   Last year the told us that she was pregnant.    This year we were occupied for many months with observing progress as Rhian got bigger, until her bump came out on 17th May.   Tirion is the name (Tirion Alice, actually, from which you will deduce that SHE is female).   Gran stayed down there briefly after the birth.   Tirion is of course wonderful, and all is well.   Our task since then has consisted of inventing reasons for going down to see them.

Nia has acquired Tim, and last year they got engaged;  this year's news is that they are going to get married (I leave you to work out the distinction between the two concepts).   The date is 26th January.  Nia has succeeded in making a career as a professional violinist, quite often playing in Wales.   Since she is based in Manchester and lives in Cheshire, he has naturally played in a string quartet in every wedding worth going to in Cheshire, and has intimate knowledge of all possible locations.   Week-days in January during a recession is super-bargain time for a venue.   This does not mean that it is cheaper;  merely that one can go for a more expensive place.

Catrin (14) and Ellie (12), Siân's children, are to be the bridesmaids.   Tim's mum is making the cake.   As for Jilli, "You'll ice it, won't you Mum?   And make my dress?   And the bridesmaids'?"   Now the pattern chosen for the bridesmaids is an adult pattern, whereas the bridesmaids' ages are such that they do not go in where the pattern goes in, nor out where the pattern goes out.   So a prototype has been made out of scrap material, and last week-end a plane was taken to Sweden for a preliminary fitting.   How many more such fittings do you think there will be?   The house is now filled with the silence of sewing, and Derek is trying (very trying, says Jill)  to be discreet.

Siân married and went to live in Sweden very soon after graduating.   The marriage has failed.   Siân moved out of their house 18 months ago, and now seems settled in her new flat.   Our grandchildren are with her for alternate weeks.   We continue to see them quite often.   We enjoyed a week of rain together in North Wales last summer, and they will be here at Christmas  -  primarily for fitting bridesmaids' dresses.

Derek thinks he must be getting older.   He celebrated 40 years of HER last Christmas, and will talk about ailments if asked (so don't).   The truth is that he is no worse now than he has ever been, though he likes to point out that he is losing the use of some of his fingers.   For this he had a second unsuccessful operation on his hand in January (that is another thing he is not very good at). He has acquired two hearing aids (though through failing memory he rarely remembers to wear them).   On the other hand, he boasts that he still works two days a year and passed an audition to remain in the Choir (can anyone imagine how?   Jill says it is because of her).

Jill continues to work (hurray, says Derek).  She has worked as a volunteer in the local Citizens Advice Bureau for over 15 years, and celebrated her 65th birthday by getting paid employment at  second Bureau (she has not been an employee for over 25 years).  In the summer, she organised us into going on a cruise (with the Vienna Philharmonic, no less).   We managed without zimmers, and Derek very nearly enjoyed it.   The other highlight of the summer was a tour to Estonia with the Choir, where we sang to people who actually seemed to want to listen, and where, wonder of wonders, we were actually able to meet some real Estonians.

Nadolig llawen and all the other things one is supposed to add at the end of a Christmas letter.

Jill & Derek (Bevan).

PS.   Jill says that if she had written this letter there would have been rude comments about Derek.
LESLEY ROWE Kidderminster
December 24th 2008
Caroline is finally in her last year as a student and is at the College of Law in London. She has moved to a flat nearer to the centre of London which she finds so convenient for everything - college, socialising, shopping..... In fact she can walk from her flat to Marylebone station, catch the train to Kidderminster and walk to our house all for less than £16 using her young people's rail card. So we have seen quite a lot of her recently both here and in London.
My experience of teaching in an increasing number of Worcestershire schools continues. It has proven to be very difficult to obtain any kind of permanent contract. So having completed a very enjoyable year at the village school in Blakedown (with yet another inspection), there followed some supply days in a couple of schools, and then all of sudden there has been a spell of six weeks teaching Year 1 in a Kidderminster school followed by two terms teaching Reception children at a large village primary school a few miles away. So very suddenly I have gone from maybe teaching for two days a week to teaching full time.
Happy Christmas,
LESLEY ROWE Kidderminster
November 13th 2008
Cynthia has e-mailed me about the church web site. I've just had a look and I think it's brilliant!! I haven't looked at it all yet, but I've looked a few of the photos including ones of a recent wedding. That looks like a really happy day.
Next step is to get a blog going!???? then we can respond to different features on the website. My church in Kidderminster has a site, but I'm keeping my head down and keeping quiet. I have got involved in a new venture 'Messy Church', which we run once a month after school for children and their families. Like it says there are lots of messy activities, followed by a short time of worship, followed by tea. We are hoping to reach some people who say that Sunday is not a 'good' day for them to go to church. Will keep you posted.
Often think of my days at Llanishen with happy memories.
Best wishes to you and all of the church family,
We welcome Greetings from old friends anywhere at "barbara@tennantb.freeserve.co.uk."  

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