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Christmas 2016

 

Well, I’ll not beat about the bush and come straight out with saying that 2015 and 2016 have been absolutely crap years. It seems that the good health we all want, deserve and hope for has deserted us !

Over last year and this, five of our closest friends in the UK have been diagnosed with various types of cancer. They have all gone through a mixture of intensive investigations, radical surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and, fingers crossed, are all holding their own. Let us all have faith in modern medicine and wish them all the very best in their recovery.

As I said, crap years. Last October / November / December I went through a long period of breathing problems which turned out to be a fairly unusual iatrogenic lung condition called organising pneumonia which took a while to diagnose and treat. Fortunately things have improved considerably, despite buggering up my exercise tolerance, but compared all those friends in the UK, it was nothing !!!

Talking about exercise tolerance; I recently took Isobel’s example and started walking to improve my fitness and lose a bit of weight but - the problem with walking where we live in Cyprus is that the place is full of hills. It wasn’t long before attacking the hills brought on chest pain, a pain which turned out to be responsive to GTN spray – yes, you’ve guessed it – angina. Cutting the story short, at the end of September I went into the cardiac unit at Wexham Park in Slough for an evening when they performed a coronary angiogram, found 80% narrowing of one of the heart arteries and inserted an artery widening stent. I must confess, watching it all on the monitor was fascinating – even more so when you realise its your own heart you are watching! At the time of writing the pain has gone and I am able, happily, to do the 10,000 steps a day recommended!!

On the more positive side, Isobel is fine apart from her aching joints (haven’t we all as we get older)!! Visits to Slimming World are, albeit slowly, making a new woman of her. As I have already said, she has actually involved me in her diet and exercise program so, you never know, you may see slimmer versions of both of us when we see you next!! Richard down in Newport has just changed his job as an HGV driver and now works long haul nights for Wilkinson’s; as he says, the pay is better and working nights doesn’t give him a lot of time to spend his money!!

In July Rhian, Gareth and James spent a couple of weeks with us here in Cyprus then a week later, with Guy, went off to Florida where they travelled down to the Keys before finishing up in Guy’s dad’s flat in Tampa. What they didn’t know was that Isobel and I also travelled to Florida and were there to greet them when they arrived in Tampa - you should have seen their faces !! They have been trying for years to get us to go on holiday with them so, later rather than sooner, we were there even though they were not expecting it !! We had a great week with them and it brought back some memories of our time in Florida.

Gareth has finished at Caldicott preparatory school and, after passing his common entrance exam with flying colours, started full time boarding at St Edwards senior school in Oxford. Gareth and James are well into both rugby and swimming, so fingers crossed, Gareth will be able to take advantage of his Welsh Rugby schoolboy assessment earlier this year. James has moved up a form at Caldicott and started boarding there in September so Rhian and Guy will not know what to do with their time!! Reading between the lines, James is becoming quite adept at art and drama rather than sciences so, watch this space. Not too sure that Rhian is impressed by both boys communication skills now that they have started boarding; the simple fact is that they are both boys embarking on independent lives. Emails, messages and phone calls to Mum are not their number one priority – until they want something that is !!!!!

Isobel and I have decided to continue renting a flat in Maidenhead because the last 2 years have been great – having somewhere of our own to go to rather than imposing on Rhian and Guy. We are however moving back to the flat in Cookham Road Maidenhead because the current  landlord wanted to increase the rent despite the fact that he has made no improvements to it since it was built in the 1970s. The flat we are moving into is the one we first rented – it’s much more modern and much cheaper !!! Isobel was back in the UK the day after her 70th Birthday to do the packing and I followed a week later to co-ordinate the move. The new address from Feb 1st is at the back of the Christmas card.

And let’s be fair, we are getting older, and taking all the unfortunate medical news above into account, as well as the fact that medicine here in Cyprus leaves a lot to be desired, we think we will gravitate back to the UK a bit at a time. The house here in Cyprus is great but has its drawbacks. It was on the market for a while but, until we get the deeds sorted out, no-one wants to buy it. We do have someone working on the problem at the moment and hopefully will get something sorted before the end of the year. The last thing we want to do is leave a house in Cyprus burdened with problems for the kids to sort out !! Just to give you an example of one of the problems, the water board insists that we lay a storm drain in the road outside. And to go back to the old song ‘to what do we connect it dear Lisa, dear Lisa’ – ‘to the main drain dear Henry, dear Henry’ – but that’s uphill dear Lisa, dear Lisa’ – that is Cyprus for you!!

Plans for the future? Not too sure. Christmas and New Year we will be in the UK and likely to be back before then to sort out things like flat rental, follow up appointments, visiting friends etc. Next year, Isobel fancied one of the European river cruises and I must confess, it appeals to me too so we have booked a 2 week cruise on the Danube from Budapest to Prague via Vienna and lots more in early June.

Talk to you all again soon but, in the meantime, think of and keep your fingers crossed tightly for Jill, Paul, John and Angie. In the meantime, all our contact details are on the back of the Christmas card so looking forward to hearing from you.

With fondest love and best wishes to you all,                                      

Barrie and Isobel

 

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Guess who was 70 this year

 

 

Barrie's efforts at cooking
for St Barnabas Xmas Fete

 

Gareth's New team at Teddies, Oxford

 

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Barrie, Rhian, James, Gareth and Guy
at Caldicott Prize giving June 2016

 

 

 

   

Newsletter Picture Page Where are we Barrie's Book Fig Tree Revenge Useful Links Isobel's Mosaics Doug Davies Colonoscopy ! Interesting Bits Aspirin Flying Doctor Service Holiday Health Poppy Appeal The Death of the NHS Contact Us