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|Peter and Pauline Curtis's 1997 Christmas Newsletter|
We spent the first three months of the year 97 in New Zealand where we had an excellent time. The holiday covered an initial few lazy days in North Island, a long period in the South before returning to the North. There are details on our experiences touring by car, in a campervan and even camping. We also went sailing in the Hauraki Gulf for a week and in the Bay of Islands for a few days.
We have put some of the more spectacular pictures from the 22 films Pauline took into a North Island Picture Gallery and a South Island Picture Gallery now they have been converted to CD ROM. Much of the text was written in NZ on the palmtop and concentrates on South Island - I never realised a small screen led to such short sentences before!
We had just about cleared the backlog of paperwork - an 80cm high pile awaited us - to go off for a week in Wales with a group of friends in a cottage.
We have looked forwards to the time when we could explore the parts of the canal network which are beyond even weekending. At the beginning of May we set off on a major trip in Corinna to explore the Northerly parts of the Canal System. We first went via Stratford and Gloucester to Sharpness then back via Gloucester up the Severn and the Staffs and Worcester to join up with the owners club for a big "Ring" taking us from Red Bull down the tidal Trent, up the tidal Ouse to York and Ripon - the furthest North part of the connected system. We returned via the Aire and Calder as far as the start of the Rochdale, on to Huddersfield then back over the Leeds and Liverpool to Manchester before returning home. The complete trip came close to 1200 miles and took 3 months. A report covering The Northeast Waterways is available with maps showing the journey.
The Autumn has been taken up with general work on the house, garden, visits to friends, OU teaching, updating computers and all the things we never used to find time to do. We even managed to fit in another three weeks or so on Corinna with a trip down the Thames to Teddington, back up onto the Oxford Canals and on as far as the Ashby before returning via Lechlad, the head of the navigable Thames - in all a mere 430 miles.
More recently we have been clearing my Mother's House which was a major task as it is a substantial property covering four floors. This has been an interesting experience and has given new insights into how charities work. We offered much of the furniture to charities in Bath but almost all of it was turned down as unacceptable - even to those with nothing - as it had for example scratches. The same furniture raised good money when sold to dealers!