The Miramar, Funchal, Madeira
We were drawn back to Madeira this spring with a relaxing break at The Miramar Resort in Funchal. Joan swam, Barrie ran, we walked for miles and read entire books (not unusual for Joan but an achievement for Barrie). Last year we promised ourselves early and late holidays but as the year closes we have only taken this one. Our excuse was the arrival of a new baby, but in reality we should have taken a second break. When we stay in York we tend to fill up our diaries with busyness.
Next year we have booked a river cruise in France with our old friends Colin, Rhona, Richard and Jenny. We travel Eurostar to Paris and sail the Seine up to Honfleur on the channel coast and back to Paris. We are assured there will be excursions along the way to explore France by bike and walking away from the river. We have never fancied a traditional ocean cruise but this one with its excursions seems like a manageable option.
Despite not going away we have taken a day off most weeks and escaped to some of our favourite places in North Yorkshire. Fountains Abbey and Studley Park remain our favourite place, but there’s no shortage of places to walk and cycle in this beautiful county. Dales, Moors, coast, National Trust sites and Harlow Carr Gardens – we are spoiled for choice. We have been able to share some of these places with friends and relatives who’ve visited us during the year.
We enjoyed a long weekend in The Lakes for Joan’s birthday and a visit to Wootton Bassett to stay with Derek and Ann (Joan’s sister) too.
Easter and Alex has his photograph taken at various places around the National Railway Museum for a school project. He had to be pictured reading in unusual locations. Emily joined in too.
It’s always good to have our two older grand-children to visit us in York – their mum and dad are both welcome too.
Alex reading as he sits on the museum’s largest locomotive
Next year Alex goes to ‘Big School’
Earlier we had been to Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate. Lovely day for a picnic.
It has been another successful year for the housing charity that Barrie helped to found in 2010. Restore has successfully established engagement for tenants. As well as simply providing them with a place to live and support to live there, each tenant is now offered a range of activities and opportunities to help them on the way to independence. There is an allotment, sports activities, days away, residential activity holidays, volunteering in retail outlets to name just a few of the things on offer.
A chart from the annual council report of Homeless Services in York shows that more people were referred to Restore than to any other supported housing service in the city. This demonstrates just how important Restore is for homeless people in York. Despite everyone’s efforts it’s sad to see the number of people begging and sleeping on the street increase significantly this year. This is due to a number of reasons but mainly because there is less money for local services, both for housing and for mental health, and the introduction of Universal Credit which leaves some very vulnerable people with no money and nowhere to go.
Thankfully, we have had a successful year of fundraising. Our annual Chase the Sun relay run across the country on the longest day of the year brought in about £10,000 in sponsorship Also bids to a number of grant making organisations have been successful. Each year, in addition to the income from rents we have to raise about £100,000 to pay staff salaries and running costs. I am always thankful for the way this work, started by our faith in Jesus Christ, is provided for by his continued goodness and the generosity of the people who support us.
Joan continues to deliver workshops for children at museums in York. She seems to be busier than ever. She also bakes for the world – providing delicious cakes for just about anyone she decides would like one! As usual three Christmas Cakes are under construction – one for us – one for each of the boys.
Barrie is busy in church, being a churchwarden, the parish safeguarding representative and the leader of a small group.
New car in Studley Park
We said goodbye our old Honda CRV in March, replacing it with a new Honda Civic, which is much more fuel efficient and a more sensible size for us.
The Claremont Terrace Resident’s Association is healthy. We have won a few battles this year to make the area a better place to live – not that it was ever bad. We even hosted a wedding in the street in the summer when the couple asked if the association could put up it’s large gazebo for the event. It was a great day with live music from bands hosted in our gazebo ’till late in the evening.
We are now looking forwards to three family weddings next year. The most important for us being Matthew and Laura’s in August at Laura’s college in Cambridge University. The others are for Jake (great nephew) and Rhianna in April, followed a couple of weeks later by Robyn (niece) and Marcus in May.
Ditching the landline
We are disconnecting our landline phone at the end of the year. So please use our mobile numbers if you want to contact us. Barrie: 07885 297669 Joan: 07810 225831
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Claremont News from last year
Apparently it was our Sapphire Wedding anniversary this year. That’s 45 years in old money. Despite the large number we don’t feel old and whether we look it is down to your judgement.
The event coincided with the end of Alex and Emily’s summer visit to York. Wesley and Deborah had just arrived to collect them to take them home. So we all went out for a meal at Jamie’s Italian. Our waiter gave us the menus and announced that there was no garlic bread! It was met with derision. No garlic bread in an Italian restaurant? What was the world coming to? Was it some kind of punishment for Brexit? Depriving the Brits of an Italian staple food?
Well, we tweeted the shortcoming to @jamiesitalian – after all what does it take? Bread, butter and garlic – none of which should be in short supply at anytime let alone in an Italian eating place.
More worrying was the accumulation of dust in the air conditioning vent above our table. So when the PR dept replied to my tweet we sent them a picture of the vent. Hey presto we were offered a free meal on our next visit! Nice. When we went back (just the two of us this time) the dusty vent was clean. Result.