Another Xmas approaches
- where did 1997 go? It has been a busy year, with a lot of pleasurable
travelling, but seems to have passed rapidly by. Anyway, we are
both in good health and generally enjoying life.
Our year started in India,
where we were on holiday in the state of Kerala, down near the
southern tip of the subcontinent. We spent a week touring the
beautiful interior of Kerala, and a week on the coast at Kovalam,
relaxing. The tour included a memorable trip into the spice hills
of the Western Ghat mountains (on Christmas day we were at Munnar
at 5000 feet) and 24 hours on a rice boat on the inland lagoons
by Kochin. It was Paul's second trip to India in a short space
of time. He flew back from a business trip to Delhi on the Friday,
spent Saturday at home, and we flew back out together on the Sunday!
As well as memories, Paul brought back a gut infection (giardiasis),
which was unpleasant for a short time until antibiotics cleared
it up. It didn't put us off India, though. We'd happily go back
In February we went to
Rome for a long weekend city break. We covered a lot of miles
and visited many churches and other historic places. Paul finally
got to the Forum (he'd been to Rome on business before but not
had much time for sightseeing). We went early to the Vatican
and were the first people that morning into the Sistine Chapel
- It's magnificent now it has been cleaned.
In March we had a week
in Tenerife where, with the help of a hire car, we found a number
of good walks. We got to the top of Mt Tiede (the highest mountain
in Europe at 3700m) - by cable-car. Having bought 'Landscapes
of Northern Tenerife' we're going back to the island next spring
to do some more of the walks.
In April, Paul had a conference
in Monaco, and Margaret was able to go too. We stayed in Nice,
and afterwards spent a long weekend with our French friends in
In May we went on a Ramblers
holiday walking in Crete, based on Khania. This was a very enjoyable
week, and has inspired us to book several walking holidays for
next year (including New England in the Fall). We must have been
feeling masochistic in Crete, though, because on our day off
we walked the descent of the Samaria gorge (16km horizontal, 1.2km
We didn't go abroad in
June! However, in July, Margaret and friend jointly held a hundredth
birthday party. We went punting in Cambridge (with bubbly and
strawberries), then back to Kentings for lunch in the garden.
We were lucky with the weather, and a good day was had by all.
As a birthday present, Margaret went off on a bilingual walking
holiday in the Cevennes area of France.
A young Italian woman came
to stay for 10 days in August to improve her English - which was
already very good. She was excellent company and we enjoyed showing
her some of the sights.
We went by Eurostar for
a long weekend in Bruges to celebrate Paul's birthday at the end
of August. It was our first visit there and we were both very
impressed by the beauty of the old city and its canals. The visit
was made more memorable by arranging to meet with a friend of
Paul's whom he hadn't seen for 25 years since college days. Brigitte
and her husband lent us bicycles and took us out into the neighbouring
countryside, as well as by car to Zeebrugge to see an amazing
sand sculpture recreating the medieval city of Bruges in miniature.
At the end of September
we went to Turkey to a small village called Turunç near
Marmaris.1.e in the next bay but one if travelling by boat or
over the mountains on a narrow, winding road. We took Paul's mother,
and while Paul returned after a week, Margaret and Win stayed
on for a second week. Our apartment was more basic than we would
have wished and Margaret and Win had a couple of hair-raising
boat trips, but the holiday was generally enjoyed. A highlight
was a trip to Ephesus by hire car. The driver spoke no English,
and although we could muster 100 words of Turkish between us they
weren't always the right ones for the occasion. Ephesus was well
worth the journey and we were also able to visit the local museum
where many of the artefacts from the site have been taken.
We're booked to go to Morocco,
again with Mother, for a week just after Xmas, so we should end
1997 like we started it, abroad in warmer climes.
We've entered cyberspace
this year. You can email us on Paul@Hardy.demon.co.uk (or Margaret@Hardy.demon.co.uk),
or visit our web site at www.hardy.demon.co.uk. Paul is fascinated
by the power of computers and the scope of the Internet. Margaret
isn't convinced of the merits of computers and the information
society. She still prefers spoken or written communication (preferably
with a quill pen!). However she has to use a PC as a tool for
her work, and has been heard to say that being able to use the
Internet at home to plan train journeys (using a computer in Germany!)
is very useful.
Margaret is enjoying (on
the whole) her job is as Coordinator for the Forest Education
Initiative. This week she has been to Edinburgh and Perth - and
had a 4 hour flight delay. She works 18½ hours a week going
on 38½. In theory this leaves time for sport and badminton
and she would like to have some Spanish lessons before we go to
Paul is still at Laser-Scan,
as Product Manager for Mapping and Charting products. As always,
LSL has been on the verge of big successes, but hasn't quite reached
them yet. Paul is working long hours (like many of those in work)
as industry tries to grow while reducing staff in the name of
efficiency, but finds time for German classes and playing his
Our ex foster son Barry
(now Dominic Graywolf) is 22, and when we last heard had a permanent
job as a security guard. He has been to dinner a few times during
the year, and writes to us from time to time, but we haven't heard
from him for a couple of months.
We hope you had a good
year in 1997, and are looking forward to 1998 (and beyond).