A Year in Just 10 Paragraphs!

Now Where Was I? Anywhere Else? Back to School
Been Anywhere Nice? A Sad Loss I Hadn't Forgotten!
Off to Pastyland Happenings Our (Almost) Top 10
And Viva España

Now Where Was I?

Lost Found Home




I guess that most of you will know by now that one “stupid white man” went and got himself lost in the Malaysian jungle just before Easter and it was mostly thanks to Noelene and a trusty mobile phone that he returned to trouble you once again!

Well, it may have all turned out okay in the end, and many jokes have been told about John’s legendary navigation skills, but it was a bit stressful for us all (even for John) to say the least!

So thanks to everyone for their love, support, for rallying around and just “being there” for us. You can read the full sorry tale at: http://www.gillatt.org/jungle

Been Anywhere Nice?

Well, apart from an extended stay in the Malaysian jungle (at least the accommodation was cheap even if the other guests were noisy) we did do a bit of going “here and there” as usual.

Off to Pastyland!

Pasty Lovers AllIt was an odd year (in more ways than one). No I mean it was odd as in 2003, 2005, 2007, etc. so it was time for the “fandamily” to get together in Cornish Pastyland and a great time we had too. We had wonderful food, lost count of the beer and wine bottles that were taken for recycling, saw some wonderful scenery, had great times and just enjoyed being with each other again. What else are family reunions for? Oh, and a couple of brave souls even went walking with John, but he wasn’t allowed to hold the map. (oh yes he was see photo!). Sister Jan and husband Bryn put on a rather splendid party for us at the caff they took over last year (“The Lounge” in Truro — go there, it’s GREAT!)

And Viva España

Viva EspanaJohn realised that he must be the oldest Englishman who never had a holiday in Spain so to put matter right we went there three times this year! In the July heat we took a long tour via Germany and France to visit Trond and Astrid at their Finca in the mountains near Nerja, slept in our tent at Phil and Gwyn’s olive grove near Granada, and visited Segovia, Guernica and Bilbao (especially Frank Gehry’s incredible Guggenheim). In September we spent a week in Madrid as John attended a conference and, as we write, we’re about to visit Gary and Charo’s house in the south for a long weekend with them and Graham and Anne. We could quite take to this Spanish wine, food and relaxing lark!

Anywhere Else?

Well, John still does the monthly beer run travels to Germany every month and we did get to Finland briefly in the spring. John returned to Malaysia and carried on to Japan in November but he was very careful to avoid any except the human variety of jungle!

A Sad Loss

Goodbye Katy, sob, sob!We’re very sorry to report that, after several years of sterling service, Katy the Kitten has finally been sent to the great Reliant Retirement Home; but not exactly the scrapheap because a very nice man called Chris bought her and used her for transplant surgery! Her engine has been put into a 1930s grass track racer, so she lives on and will probably be driven as fast as Noelene used to drive her down Tudor Avenue! Now she has a bright yellow Escort van — not sure whether it’s “Yellow Matter Custard” or the “Yellow Peril” but it certainly is very YELLOW!


Peace Maaaaaan!!We didn’t get to a lot of live music in 2005, although John saw the superb Runrig early in the year and we went to an excellent Indian classical concert later on. However, one of the best musical nights out was “8 Miles High” as Woodstock was revisited at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre and we dressed as we usually do on a Saturday night! Graham, Graham and John went to the Sunday of the Oval test match where, amidst the gathering gloom, the Aussie cricket team was consigned to the summer’s waste bin (shame about the recent results in Pakistan — oh well, back to normal for English cricket!). Later in the year, John and just one Graham were guests at Old Trafford as Manchester United tried their best to lose to Spurs and met childhood footballing hero Alex Stepney.

Back to School c/o The EU!

A once in a lifetime special offer of an MA course partly funded by the EU Social Fund has temped Noelene from academic retirement and she’s now studying for her Master’s in Public Art at the over grandly named University of Bolton. It’s an 18 month course ending in a year’s time. So soon she’ll be fully qualified to build a big sculpture in YOUR town (just have a word with the Council for her, will you?!). Anyone who’s gone back to studying after a break of a few years will know how difficult it is but Noelene won’t be daunted by it, despite also working at the University as a Technician and running her business — Origins Art (“for all that’s original in art”).

I Hadn't Forgotten!

Bolton MelaWell we can’t forget that there was a general Election this year and, despite falling out with a lot of what New Labour is doing, John still fought the good fight (or good-ish fight) and helped our MP, Ruth to win her own “Third Term”. He also has the honour of next year standing once again for Bolton Council in the safest Tory seat there is — better to be a “beautiful loser”, as Bob Seger sang (“He wants to dream like a young man, With the wisdom of an old man”)!

Nowadays we prefer to get involved in community politics (with a very small “p”) and do what we can for the likes of Bolton Against Racism, The Wholefoods Cooperative, Fairtrade, Friends of Queens Park, the Anti-Rat Run campaign, etc. And to make sure his roots are still intact John joined the Bolton Socialist Club as it celebrated its centenary at Wood Street in the town.

And Finally - Our Top 10 9 of 2005

Recording: “In Your Honour” by the Foo Fighters
Book: “Kate's Story” by Billy Hopkins
Exhibition: “The Matter of Time” by Richard Sera at The Guggenheim, Bilbao
Performance: Runrig and "8 Miles High" (tied)
Place Visited: Spain (of course!)
Home Restaurant: Nouveau Coverdale and "Fourth Ave Bistro", both Bolton (tied)
Outside Restaurant: Taberna Carmencita, Calle Libertad, Madrid
Event: England vs. Australia at the Oval
Party: John's "Back from the Jungle!" surprise birthday party