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Dear  Jenny and I have decided to write separate letters this Christmas. (We feel that gives us more flexibility.) We are both thoroughly enjoying our life here by the sea. We have now been here for 16 months, and most of the work on our new home has been completed. The pace of life is definitely slower down here in the West Country, and this is good for my blood pressure. Not that I have gone into hibernation. I just do things at a slower pace. Exmouth is the sort of place where people have time to chat, and new residents are made to feel welcome. I have joined Glenorchy United Reformed Church, done several WEA courses including ones on watercolour painting, Devon History, computing, family history and “The Wildlife of the Jurassic Coast”. (Exmouth is the western gateway to this scenic coast-line which enjoys UNESCO World Heritage Status, and also stands at the head of the Exe Estuary, famous for its wonderful range of migrating birds.) The tutor, Rod Lawrence, is a home-grown edition of David Bellamy. Still on the environment theme, I am now part of a campaigning group which is opposing the District Council plan to back a big supermarket development on the Estuary site, which we feel will harm many of the small family shops that are a feature of the town. We’ve had a march and collected 12,000 signatures against the proposal. I am now an active member of Exeter Branch of UNA, and helped organize a big lecture at Exeter University, where Lord David Hannay spoke about UN Reform. We have had a meeting with the Professor of International Studies. Sam Daws, the new National Director, has now been invited to the University, and we are exploring the possibility of establishing a Youth Branch there. Our Ugandan friend, David Luwum, stayed with us when he undertook speaking engagements in Exeter, Exmouth, Ammerdown and Bristol earlier in the year and I am now acting as a fundraiser, in this part of the country, for the education of children who have escaped captivity from the hands of the ruthless Lord’s Resistance Army. I am now on the committee of The Friends of Northern Uganda, so go to London from time to time for their meetings. Another venture is Greenspirit. There are several groups in Devon, and Jenny and I have helped organize a series of meetings in Exeter. For those who don’t know, this is a spiritual movement helping us all to live in harmony with the natural world. This is an area where such things flourish. In the summer Jenny and I went north, meeting up with old friends in Nottingham, and later going on to Manchester, where we spent an afternoon with Vera, my last living relative in the place of my birth. We visited my childhood home at Heaton Moor, which is now owned and beautifully kept Roger and Ruth Rostron, a lovely couple who used to play in the Halle Orchestra before their retirement. Visits here have been paid by several friends and relatives, including my both my nieces. Catherine stayed with us for a few days before she undertook a houseminding opportunity locally. (She has now moved to London.) It was also lovely to have a day visit from my new great niece, Beatrice with her mother, Alix, and also to welcome Margaret, my sister-in-law for a few days. We are both continuing to enjoy good health. Jenny is even looking younger, people keep telling her. I go for regular exercise at the local sports centre and am now having much less trouble with my leg. My bowel complaints have significantly improved, and I have a regular check up with the doctor and the hospital. And finally the big news - we are delighted to be able to tell you that my stepson, Alex, telephoned us on Sunday with the great news that he is now engaged to be married. His fiancée is called Sally. She lives in Nottingham and works in Loughborough as a micro- biologist. Alex is now employed by Notts. C.I.D. as a civilian clerk, so there is plenty of work for him to do! We wish them both well,   Love and happiness to you all,                    
Christmas 2005
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