4th Estate 2008
John & Noelene Gillatt, 23 Fourth Avenue, Heaton, Bolton, Lancs UK, BL1 4LU e-mail us

Download the print version (PDF) of the 2008 Fourth Estate from here.

Wot, Still No....Last year we didn't send Christmas cards and donated what we would have spent on them to MacMillan Nurses in memory of Anne who had passed away earlier in the year. HandsSo many people who we've spoken to thought that it was such a good idea that we're doing the same this Christmas, we're e-mailing as many of the Fourth Estates as possible and referring you all to this website.

The money we’ll save will be donated to those who aren’t as fortunate as us this Christmas — the destitute refugees and asylum seekers in Bolton who are being cared for by BRASS (Befriending Refugees and Asylum Seekers), Victoria Hall, Knowsley Street, Bolton BL1 2AS.

Why not help too by either donating to BRASS yourself or by giving to another deserving charity?

And I Thought We Were Getting a Fast German Car

I could have sworn that Noelene said she wanted a Porsche but what we've ended up with is a three sided extension around the front and garage doors. At the time of writing, like many of our projects, it's still not complete and the supposedly "automatic energy saving" lights do come on at some rather peculiar times.

Porch in July 08 Porch, November 08
Porch, July 2008 (note the builders' rubble!) Porch, July 2008 (with a few uncleared leaves)

But it does look rather spiffin’ and does help keep the house warm. And yes, I know, one of those speedy German cars would have been polluting, noisy, a target for thieves, etc. but I reckon it would have been cheaper (and much more fun) than the porch!

Two Weddings and.......

Lots of fun! First there was Ali and Graham’s wedding in a very (and I mean VERY) cold New York at the end of February and then in October we joined the Cheshire Set for our friend Beverley’s turn to tie the knot with Cam (that’s his name, NOT his function!).

About 20 of us flew to the Big Cox's Orange Pipping for Ali and Graham's do, were driven around on the wedding day in a huge Pimpmobile with, of course, a glass of champers or two to help keep out the cold, witnessed a wonderfully ideosyncratic wedding ceremony in a Scottish Presbytarian Kirk, had about the best wedding breakfast ever and ended the day boogieing (1) at BB King's Blues Club.

Now you know how Johnny Three Weddings loves iced fruitcake so you can imagine what a good time we had at both wonderful events. Ali’s nuptials were all the more poignant when she laid her bouquet on the John Lennon memorial at Strawberry Fields in Central Park and there were many tears amongst the laughter. Although we only managed to stay on for a day after the wedding we nevertheless saw some of the great New York sights and Noelene, despite the freezing cold and her fear of heights, bravely made it to the top of the Empire State Building and what's more she almost looked over the side!

Those Knees Must Have Been Chilly Forever! Cold Up Here Too! The Boss's Favourite Building
Chilly in Central Park Strawberry Fields - Forever Chilly Here Too One They Left

Places to Go.....

People to see. Well, John’s work “empire” seems to be expanding all the while with now 13 countries plus all of Latin America to which he can administer his technical skills (cause mayhem, more like!) and this year there were yet more places to visit the first time:

Bangladesh — very poor but full of great people and lots of huge bats in the park! Seeing the sunset over the Bay of Bengal was just spectacular.

Dubai - too much money, too many unnecessarily huge buildings.

Sri Lanka– Would be even better if there weren’t armed road blocks every few hundred metres. The whole island, though, did observe a minutes silence to mark the passing of one of my favourite authors, Arthur C Clarke, which was brilliant.

Nigeria — worrying!

Mexico — just wonderful. The pyramids at Teotihuacan were the highlight of a wonderful (business?) trip and the old fart managed to climb to the top of the biggest.

Old Fart With Pyramid To Climb
Sunset - Bay of Bengal Old Fart - Pyramide y Sol, Teotihuacan

Iran — off there next week so look out for a report in a years time! Maybe next year we’ll get to Bridlington (but see below!).

Heading East!

The Coast to Coast RouteUnfortunately only one decent walk is allowed every three years. So in the last year of my sixth decade (work that out!) I plodded over ~310 kms of moorland day after day , mostly in the p*****g rain (sometimes vertical, often horizontal), seeking some sort of spirituality in sore feet and aching limbs and completed the Coast to Coast Walk (the C2C to those of us in the know) in 12 days.

Noelene walked the first nine and the last few miles but, crucially, transported all our luggage and other essentials (the makeup for the TV cameras at the end of the walk, bottle of champagne to crack over my head, etc.) from B&B to B&B. Goughie and Julie also did part of the walk with he and I "leaping like gazelles" over the peat hags of Nine Standards Rigg just outside Kirkby Stephen.

Done It
Wot - Me Lost? The Corgi's About to Cock its Leg!
Cool So's This!

In the Wainwright Bar at Robin Hood’s Bay, the eastern end of the trek, I recorded that I was “footsore, brain dead and comfortably numb!” But it was just FB. The full story and more piccies are at www.gillatt.org/c2c.

No, Not Bridlington!

This Is Where We're Going!I know, you're going to say, "What's wrong with Bridlington?" and I'll now probably get some grief from the folk of that lovely Yorkshire seaside town. It's just that we've just never really felt the need to go there!

To those of you in the know you might remember that in 2009 we both have birthdays ending in a “0” (not a hint, honest!). Although I was all for celebrating Noelene’s by doing the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path or the Southern Upland Way I just can't believe that she thought that it might be a better idea to disappear off to somewhere nice and see some real pyramids instead of those piddly little things they have in Mexico.

So in February we’re heading South East; and I don’t mean to Kent, for a few days in Cairo followed by a cruise down the Nile and all things archaeological. More next year or see www.gillatt.org/egypt some time in April.

In the case of the other old fart the lure of long distance travel just doesn’t have the romance it used to. So we’re having a party instead and you’re all invited to what will be the celebration of the millenium, year, month, err day?:

When? Saturday June 20th from afternoon until late
Where? The home of the Fourth Estate, of course


What Else?

Racing For Life

Yomping In Leverhulme Park
Well, once again in memory of our wonderful friend Anne, Noelene and a gang of her mates yomped around Leverhulme Park, Bolton in the Women’s Race for Life and I collected a fair few quid for her donation to breast cancer research.

Fighting The Good Fight

In May John had the local Tories really worried when he “came out”, declaring himself the Socialist candidate for our ward and once more stood in the local elections. Although, as usual, he didn’t win he was quoted as saying “I do believe that I’ve laid the foundations for a Socialist victory in the years ahead” (or something like that!).

Zounds, Those Sounds

The year hasn’t been musically completely dead either. We’ve seen Eddi Reader (twice!), Eliza Carthy, her dad Martin along with newly reinvigorated Dave Swarbrick and the wonderful Steeleye Span.

But best of all, and just before the print edition of The Fourth Estate went to press we saw Leonard Cohen at the MEN Arena — Noelene for the first time and me for the first time in 40 years! It was amongst the most wonderful of concerts we have ever seen — full of fun, energy, emotion and wonderful, wonderful singing with a superb band. If you get the chance you MUST see him.

Goughie wrote: "

"Went to see the great Leonard last night at the MEN. Despite the venue it was one of the very best gigs I've ever been to. The band was superb, especially Javier Mas on Bandurria, laud, archilaud and 12 string guitar. Backing singing provided by the wonderful Sharon Robinson and two girls from Kent, the Webb sisters was, as you would expect, perfect. And the man himself was in superb form; I've heard all these songs hundreds, or even thousands, of times before but it was like hearing them for the first time. His wonderful sense of humour shone through, he reminisced about his last world tour, 14 years ago when he was ' just a kid of 60, full of crazy ideas'. Not a soul slashed their wrists. Far from being depressing, it was incredibly life affirming"

“Dance me ‘til the end of time”


If you like our photos you can see lots more of them at: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/gaijin1234. You never know, you might just spot yourself in one or two of them!

A very special thanks for all the good things that have happened to us this year and especially to our friends and families for their love throughout the year.

A very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all our Readers