Jo and Ben celebrated their first wedding anniversary and their tenth year together. Jo is enjoying her role at Little Brown. Ben fretted he was going native at the BBC and is now with Ten Alps. They live the dream of an east end media couple life that only Zone 3’s Walthamstow village offers. Yum Yum continues to patrol their manor. Ben was the ring bearer at Soleine and Richard’s wedding in France. Jo and Ben seemed to have started a trend; they’ve been to about half-a-dozen weddings since there. Every now and then Jo and Ben talk of moving from their lovely two-up two-down into something larger.
Kate and Pedro have celebrated their first year together. Miranda’s moving out of the flat signalled the end of an era. Pedro has started a new job with Reuters. Kate continues to like Hess despite their London office shrinking. They had a terrific time in almost-ready-for-tourists Indonesia. They’re planning a road trip along the American West Coast for 2014. If Heather and I are very good, they may even take us to see Lisbon properly.
Heather continues to teach communication skills to children on the autistic spectrum at Jigsaw. On good days she returns home walking on air from working with the children. There are still more good days than bad days; no thanks to the ever under stress NHS – full time work for part time pay. This year she’s been preparing and presenting workshops for parents – and despite her early misgivings – enjoyed it.
John (me) is more retired but less retiring. I posted my retirement notice on LinkedIn mid-year. I’m holding my weight at 85 Kg, down from nearly 100. I ceased my gym membership due to niggling injuries. Instead I’ve upped my treks with Elmo to almost ten miles a day, walking from nearly the Pagoda in Kew to Richmond Park in the morning and then locally in the afternoon. I’ve joined the local camera club and hope to exhibit next year. I deliver leaflets. I follow climate science. I’m an irregular blogger.
As a present to myself for my 60th, Jo, Ben, Heather and I spent a week in Sicily. I’d seen Sicily Unpacked and fancied belting across the island in a Quattroporte. At €1,000 per day we took a step back to a Giulietta instead. We spent a couple of days in Palermo and then a few days touring near Noto from our spectacularly set, five course gourmet meal serving, agriturismo, Avola Antica. And, yes, despite having lived in Italy, I was that tourist, the one who trusts his satnav, drives into a medieval hill town and comes to grief. Vizzini was my drive of shame; rescued by the friendliest and most helpful people one could wish for. We also spent a long weekend in Paris, where Heather relived her Latin Quarter youth.
What would we recommend? Cirque du Soleil in the Albert Hall. The Book of Mormon. Beware of Mr Baker. The Audience. Wadjda. The Commitments. Philomena. Wot! No Fish? Chimerica. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Cicchetti restaurant trail.
Our most unexpected pleasure was the beautiful summer evening we had in Buckingham Palace courtesy of Guide Dogs as posted here. That’s encouraged us to put together a table of ten local dog lovers for their gala dinner in December.
To all of you from all of us, a very happy holiday.