Christmas News 1998

Border incidents

Martin stands behind a table covered with Viking pots

Martin among the Vikings

This summer we stayed in Flensburg, in the far north of Germany close to the Danish border. Our first attempt crossing into Denmark failed because it was closed - or at least, the frontier post was. When we did get across, we found Denmark to be a hazardous place - the main danger being of falling asleep driving along dead straight roads within the low speed limit.

The area was once a Viking stronghold and we visited a town where a replica Viking settlement is being built. Further west is Frisian country which looks exactly like Holland - we spent a day on the island of Amrum, where the Frisian language is spoken (not by us, though). The east coast has lots of beaches which we were able to visit when the weather got hotter in the second week.

Amrum has its own website at

Swings and roundabouts

This year has been a real rollercoaster ride for Adrian. On our summer holiday we went to Tolk-Schau, a small leisure park in Germany, which had a small rollercoaster, which Adrian liked. Then we went to Sommerland, a bigger park in Denmark, which had a bigger rollercoaster, which Adrian liked even more. In October Miriam took the boys to Alton Towers... you can guess the rest. Martin prefers giant slides, rowing boats and aerial slides - and he's not the only one.

Martin's memories

I went to Pizza hut in Southport. It had an icecream-factory. I went to a cafe to have tea. I slept on a bed in Southport. I went to Germany on a ship that I can sleep on. It took two days to go to Germany on a ship. I slept on a ship. I went to Tolk-Schau and Sommerland. Sommerland was bigger and it had more things. I went on a ship to Amrum and on a ship back to Germany. I slept at the top bed on a ship. I stayed on the ship for two days. I went back from Germany to England at Harwich.

Adrian enthuses (with subtitles)

This year has been the best year this century. (apart from 1994)1. Have you ever been on the Haunting2!? It is amazing and Sommer land brilliant! This year a beautiful year!

1 1994 was a good year because lots of good films were made then, apparently.

2 A ride at Alton Towers.

A message from Miriam...

The first half of the year seemed to be taken up with fighting the Liberal Democrat corner in Selly Oak - hard work to stand still! The Tories crept up to 5 votes behind us - demanded a recount then found they were 6 votes behind! (Sorry, that's not funny if you vote Conservative but I can't resist a dig at them!). I remained, not a Councillor, in second place and have decided, due to time pressures not to stand again in an actively-fought seat for the time being.

The garden temporarily benefited from my change in activity but not for long.

In the autumn I was asked to take part behind the scenes in the church's Alpha course (What is Christianity really about course). I have also found more time to read - especially about prayer.

My work as a Practice nurse has continued at the same surgery in Smethwick working 10-12 hours weekly. Maybe it is time for a rethink as I have been there for 8 years. Watch this space!

Phil's techno travels

My year started with 2 weeks in Germany - not by my own choice, but necessary for work. My colleague and I worked at the customer's factory during the daytime and spent the evenings eating our way around Dachau, where we were staying. The culinary experience was enhanced by the list of restaurants that I had downloaded from the Internet before we went. (We also booked our summer holiday by email - so technology can be useful sometimes.)

Being a school governor continues to offer new experiences. This year I was on a selection panel to appoint a new Head teacher - I got time off work for this as I argued it was free management training!

The weeks of the World Cup were especially hard going. It required stamina to watch all those matches, but I did my best.

In September I spent a few sunny days by the seaside - at the Liberal Democrat Autumn conference in Brighton. The highlight for me was attending a fringe meeting on Northern Ireland where David Trimble was one of the speakers.

More photos...

People walking and sitting on the pavement in a street with old buildings

Historic street in Ribe, Denmark

Side view of Ribe Cathedral

Ribe Cathedral, Denmark

Martin on a balcony with the town behind him

Martin in Flensburg, Germany>

Martin crouching behind a calf lying down on grass

Martin makes a new friend at the Ribe Viking Centre