Monday, 26 December 2016

Mrs OC's Christmas message

I spent the first half of 2016 gainfully unemployed.  In June the time came to seek employment and I now work 4 days a week in a school in Bishop Auckland.  Not only is the school 'a nice place to be', I’m also doing what I like: Management Information Systems and data alongside human interaction. 

A new adventure (or rather new since my twenties)  has been commuting by bike, albeit twice a week.   How technology has moved on!  Aided by the ‘cycle-to-work’ scheme, I now have a 21st Century winter jacket and some amazingly bright-easy-to-recharge lights.  So much so that my ‘dark return route’ takes in an old railway path.  Highlights of the night ride home include the shadowy trees, mottled leaves and a low flying owl.

Our garden continues to evolve.  I’m still growing my beloved vegetables,  whilst gradually improving the rest of the garden.  My 2017 project is to finish the front.  Katie Duff designed the final strip, not an easy task given the John-Emma wish-list.  But she did a ‘Good Job’! (A new Ellam Avenue phrase which we have adopted from Monday pilates).

John and I visit the fells regularly but once there tend to do our own thing, meeting up at the end for tea or beer.  Whilst John very much enjoys all aspects of fell racing, injury has led me to rediscover my love of remote areas (which doesn’t tally with ever more crowded races).  I’m still hoping to run cross country by the end of the season – and satisfy my penchant for 'Destruction' (another Ellam Avenue phrase) - but I’d like to keep the fells quiet and competition free.  That said, I miss the fell folk, so who knows?

Young adults: Emily is learning Chinese in China after 4 years of maths at Cambridge.  Graduating the day of the Brexit result was not ideal.  Alison is in her final year at Oxford where she has plenty of time to visit refugees and work in a cafe.  Cameron is also at Oxford (maths and computing) but he essentially works a standard week.  His running is going from strength to strength, or rather he takes less and less time to go once round the track. 

’That’s all folks!’

With apologies for lateness

Friday, 16 December 2016

Christmas greetings

Audi! (as the cowboy said when he went into the German garage).  Birtley News is back for a Christmas special by popular demand.  

The time has flown by since OC (Old Cheviot) & Mrs OC tied the knot.  We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in November with a weekend at Threlkeld under the shadows of Blencathra with Mike & Julia (baker of our wedding cake).  

OC is still fellrunning, sailing, and birdwatching.  Fellraces have included the Chevy Chase and Borrowdale.  Sadly Stella Genesta has been sold (a tough but correct decision), but OC intends to keep sailing on the Broads.   The birding ranges from goldfinches on the back garden feeder to a hen harrier at Chevington.  

Holidays have included a fantastic week of walking at Ullapool in May (with a fab day on An Teallach shown below), and 10 days on the via ferrata in the Dolomites in September (pictured above).

Over the Christmas period we will be attending services at St John's Church (where we were married), having the odd beer or two in The Station House micropub (at least OC will be), then heading off to Ullapool YHA with friends for New Year.

And for specific news about Mrs OC - see the post above.

And finally:
What hides in the cupboard at Christmas?  A mince spy.
As Santa says when he's gardening - hoe hoe hoe!

OC & Mrs OC wish all their friends and family a Happy Christmas.