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This eve-of the-millennium year has been kind to us (despite missing that elusive lottery win!) and we can quietly be thankful of several achievements including, most importantly of all, discrete health. Work-wise, Sandra has developed her career in market research and received very positive comments from her manager. Nonetheless, the career in journalism (AKA delivering papers) continues to back up the erratic nature of market research assignments. Francis continues to lecture in IT at Woolwich College and has been appointed IT key skills co-ordinator, a not insignificant post, given new Government Initiative on GNVQ key skills implementation into A-levels. He has also been awarded a CELTA certificate on completion of his GLAB funded course.

The most significant events of no. 88 were the sudden proliferation of kittens and the demolition of our garden’s majestic but misplaced 60-ft eucalyptus, originally acquired as a sapling ten years ago. We attended several interesting events. It’s difficult to single out any particular one but a recent afternoon and evening of Keralan Kathakali dancing was especially enjoyable (also given the grim weather outside) and a "Cat Cinderella", sung and recited in Neapolitan dialect was quite superb.

W e were not meant to be able to afford a holiday this year but in the event did not do too badly with a highly enjoyable and fracture-free Woolwich College-organised (and therefore affordable) skiing trip to Panticosa in February (our first in over ten years), a weekend in Amsterdam (mostly spent in the magnificent Rijksmuseum) and two weeks in Crete where, despite our expeditions to the interior (including walking the Samarian gorge), exploring the astonishing Minoan civilisation and extensive scootering on vertigo-inducing roads, we even managed to spend some time on the beach.

Musing on one of these beaches I came to the conclusion that I should invest in property and, upon our return, we decided upon the purchase, for letting purposes, of a terraced house, even humbler than our own, at 66 Frederick Place, Despite some complications (including a Law Society’s investigation into the Vendor’s solicitors!) the property was successfully conveyanced and, after essential refurbishing, we are letting it to studious (hopefully!) Greenwich University students.

This newsletter come to you in advance of the Christmas season as Francis is off to the winter wonderland of Salzburg as part of a European Community exchange. (He seems to pick the seasons and locations for his exchanges well – the last one, to the Ligurian coastline in Italy was in May 95!). He will be back, however, for Christmas, presumably wearing Lederhosen.

The publishing sensation of SE18 will soon take place with a launch of the Magnetic Poets (of which we are both members) Millennial anthology. Please order your copy now!

Our season at Rhiwhiriaeth Uchaf, after a poor start, has progressed well with our first Internet bookings. Improvements this year include a completely new fully fitted kitchen and a three-star WTB rating.

Our other interests went well including Sandra’s craft courses, Francis’ Gamelan, our attendance at the Sutton House Music society (where we were offered a loyalty prize!)

In conclusion, we wish you, your friends and family a truly enjoyable Christmas season, hoping this finds you in good health, and send you our best wishes for the new Millennium, hoping we (the human race) all have better luck in the next thousand years than we’ve had in the previous!)