Christmas News 1997

Messing about on the canal

Adrian feeds a goat in a field

Where's the ideal place for a boat trip in the height of summer? There's nowhere better than the canals in Birmingham. We started in the city centre, went past the University and the chocolate factory near our house and on as far as leafy King's Norton (well, it's leafy by the canal!). The previous week we stayed on holiday near Winchester where we had other watery experiences. It rained all day when we had a day trip on the ferry to the Isle of Wight, where we visited an aquarium and a planetarium. We also went on a tour of a submarine in a museum in Gosport.

Adrian meets Britain's wildlife at Hatton Farm Village, Warwickshire

Election triple whammy!

Miriam sitting on a picnic bench wearing a wide-brimmed hat

Miriam hides from the sun at New Forest Nature Quest

One election a year is probably more than enough for most people, but this year we've been involved in three! First there was the Big One back in May - lots of delivering, canvassing, poster posting, and high drama as the votes piled up and the seats changed hands.

Cut-price candidate

The media unaccountably ignored the City Council by-election in King's Norton ward in July, notable for the fact that Phil stood as a candidate - for the cost-effective reason that we could re-use Miriam's posters from last year. In the event he got a ringing thumbs-down from the electorate, coming either third or second from last, whichever sounds the better. And then...

Winchester or bust!

Following a legal challenge to the General Election result, a by-election was called in Winchester, at that time the most marginal seat in the country. As we had been on holiday there in the summer, and so knew the area already, we decided to spend half term there in October. We had a pleasant week delivering leaflets, exploring Winchester's one-way system and testing the play equipment in all the local parks. It would be nice to think that the eventual 21,000 majority was all due to us, but we suspect others may have contributed a little too.

Eh-Oh! Martin's a Teletubby

Martin's bedroom walls are covered with Teletubby pictures he has drawn. He asks total strangers if they like the Teletubbies. He points out every piece of Teletubby merchandising he sees. Yes, he has become a Teletubby addict. Apparently he's not the only one around...

"Say a letter"

Ah, that means Martin wants to play Hangman again. He loves words and guessing games, so what could be better than a word guessing game? Martin's favourite book at the moment is his dictionary - if you want to know words with silent letters or with no vowels, he's the expert. Adrian also loves words, preferably strung together into a long story book - we once went to three libraries in one day in search of something really exciting to read.

Answers on a postcard please...

Phil: Some people think the full moon looks like a man's face.
Martin: How many people don't?

Another string to Adrian's bow...

Adrian is now in the Junior school, and is loving it. Being in the Junior School brings lots of new possibilities - like learning the violin, which he started a few weeks ago. Both the Infant and Junior schools had Ofsted inspections (in consecutive weeks!) which to everyone's relief (including Governor Phil) went well.

Computer connection

Observant readers will have noticed that we now have an e-mail address. This came about because we wanted access to a computer conferencing system, and the package includes access to the Internet. Don't worry, we haven't turned into World Wide Web addicts, nor have we taken to wearing anoraks. It turns out that the so-called "Information Superhighway" is actually more like a bumpy B-road, and about as well signposted.

More photos...

Martin stands by the underfloor of a Roman building

Exploring at Rockbourne Roman Villa, Hampshire

Roman floor mosaic

Mosaic at Rockbourne Roman Villa, Hampshire

Thatched cottage built over a stream

Fulling Mill Cottage, New Alresford, Hampshire

Looking forward over the roof of a barge along a canal

Cruising along the Birmingham and Worcester Canal between Gas Street Basin and Kings Norton Tunnel

Martin looks excitedly at a goat

Martin among the wildlife at Hatton Farm Village