Happy New Year everyone! i’m at home in London waiting for the fire brigade to come – very exciting – a piece of lead flashing has half come off our roof in the recent storms and looks in danger of coming down and killing someone. So hopefully the men in the big red engine will come soon with their ladders and whatnots and take it down. Then we’ll have to get someone else in to mend the roof. but that’s another story.
Wow, they’ve arrived! The emergency services are indeed wonderful! And they’ve taken it down. And they’ve gone! Job done!
Meanwhile I was looking at some of my old newsletters – written in the days when I used to write to loads of people ; and this was in 1998. My children were young. I was younger.
Here it is!
” I have never done this before, so I am not quite sure what to write about in a Christmas newsletter, as what I really would like to do is to find out what you were doing since you last wrote – but as time seems to be at a premium for everybody, and I haven’t actually written any letters this year (nor received many – I wonder why- but thank you for yours if you are feeling aggrieved) – I thought I might try.
Why have I been so busy? Easy. Three children, full time work, full-time husband, parents, going to the theatre, a little private tuition, translation work etc, etc. Someone once said that the more you do the more time you have, and in a way it’s true, but I’m no Margaret Thatcher, and I need just a little more than four hours sleep a night — so I aim for a minimum of six.
But what have we actually been doing?
Jacek travels a lot – he’s in Switzerland at the moment and this is probably his fourteenth trip this year. I think he enjoys them, but they’re very hard to plan around as usually he’s given a maximum of three days’ notice – and sometimes it’s just a question of going tomorrow. It’s no good asking what he sees, as most of the factories where he trouble shoots keep him busy, and then it’s back to the hotel, which vary only slightly, apart from Romania, where it was like something out of a hammer horror film, just short of the blood dripping out of the taps!
We’ve travelled a bit together as well, not just to Northolt and back (where I teach) but to Poland – for his granny’s funeral – she was 94 – but in the summer we had a superb time in Tuscany for a week, but getting there and back was brilliant – an afternoon and night each in Ghent, Bingen, Como, and Montecatini, and then two nights in Chamonix and in Paris. It was terrific, the food, the atmosphere and the highpoint of Paris for Andrzej and me was the Musee Grevin – a waxwork museum set in an old turn of the century theatre in Montmartre, with appalling waxworks but the most enchanting son et lumiere illusions. We were all locked into an eight sided mirrored room – not good for claustrophobia – plunged into darkness, and then the eerie music began, and then we were transported into the jungle the desert and the tropics by a variety of lights and tricks. Very old-fashioned and kitsch and fantastic.
Before the holiday, though, we had a big party where we raised £600 for Medical Aid in Poland and Amnesty International.. Thank you to everyone who came and /or donated. I tried to write to some people, but I know I didn’t manage everyone. Sorry.
We’re going to do something similar next year, I hope, so please try and make some time if you are anywhere in London.
Kasia, who is now almost 17, has also been doing her bit for charity, and raised about £200 for Avert, (AIDS) just by dying some of her hair bright blue. We had a little trouble at the hairdresser, who is a bit more conservative than us, but eventually he did it and she looked quite stunning. I have no idea what gave her the idea, but it seemed to work.
She also managed to pass 10 GCSE’s quite well, and has now changed schools to do her A levels in English, politics and the media.
Andrzej is now thirteen, and also doing well at school.. He seems to be especially good at music, German and Latin and really enjoys acting. He went to Germany for a few days in October to stay with a family and had a fantastic time, exploring all the local Macdonald’s’s, visiting museums churches markets and the highpoint the Europa theme park – the only member of our family who likes scary rides -we actually don’t know about Marysia yet.
She was four in April, and started school in September. She has taken to it like a duck to water, to coin a phrase, and seems to be the only one of our children who has some sort of affinity with mathematics. Early days I know but a doting mother has a right to say what she thinks. Marysia is , it has to be said, spoilt rotten by all of us. She is quite delightful, and so everyone gives in to everything. Let’s hope she appreciates it in her old age.
I should like to have time to write more – my new year’s resolutions are to answer letters – so please write to me – and to read more – so please recommend some good books.
We’re off to Poland for Christmas – apparently it’s -20 degrees c there so I don’t suppose I shall be walking very much – but I can’t wait to go. I hope you have a peaceful Christmas.”