John and Noelene Gillatt, 23 Fourth Avenue, Heaton, Bolton, Lancs BL1 4LU, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1204 843429, us @,, Skype: john.noelene

Support act!onaid No Christmas Cards Yet Again?

Nope! On our tour around South Africa we saw just how poor many of its people still are with vineyard workers earning less than £6 per day and no free education, medical care, decent housing or even clean water in many places. So, as in previous years, we’ve committed ourselves to helping those who need our help most of all and we hope you will too, especially this Christmas, by gifts via act!onaid (

Why we support Action Aid

One of the many shanty towns we passed by in South Africa where the average black worker still earns six times less than the average white worker. This is just one of the reasons why we support the work of act!onaid.

Tree Hugger!

Mr Jack cuts quite a dash these days, especially in his bow tie and wedding best! Now 2½ he’s not only running, chattering 20 to the dozen but also hugging trees—obviously an environmentalist of the future.

We may not be soppy, sentimental grandparents (honest!) but the first “love oo gandad John” was all that was needed to make our hearts melt!

Tree Hugger! 2024 Olympics?
Tree Hugger "Love oo ganma Noeen"

The Walk of The Year

The Ribble Way The Source of The Ribble

This year’s walk wasn’t anything really long but it was rather special. Over the four days of Easter, with Sherpa Noelene on luggage carrying duties, I walked the 73 miles of the Ribble Way from the river’s estuary just west of Preston to north of Horton-in-Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire Dales. And I had a walking partner with me as son-in-law Jon managed to avoid too many blisters and keep me company some of the way. Noelene and Dawn went shopping, as only they can!

My main problem wasn’t the walking but, at the source of the river, trying to find the insignificant trickle of water coming out of a rock which becomes the “mighty Ribble” 70 odd miles downstream!

Off to see the Boykies and Stukkies!

In October and November we headed south for four weeks holiday with the Titters (Gary and Charo) in our aforementioned tour of wonderful South Africa which, despite its still many problems, is an incredible and very lovely place to visit. In our four weeks and over 6,000km we:

Hector Pietersen Face Painting!
Visited the Mandela family home and .... ....Hector Pieterson Memorial in a much improved Soweto Got our faces painted!
Isandlhwana Rorke's Drift Memorial Bought a Carpet
Saw the Isandhlwana and.... ....Rorke's Drift battlefields Bought a carpet!
The Drakensberg Climbing a Mountain
Visited the Drakensberg Climbed a mountain
Walked a Bit Zip Wiring Solidarity
Walked a bit Zip wired in the Tsitsikamma Forest Showed solidarity!
Brandy Tasting Most Southerly Couple Whale Breeching
Wine and brandy tasted (of course!) Became Africa's most southerly couple (for a few minutes!) Whale watched off the Cape coast
In Cape Town
Sunset Over Camps Bay Table Mountain
Saw a sunset (or two) Saw a (famous) mountain
Atop Table Mountain Robben Island
Went to the top of aforesaid "famous mountain" Visited Robben Island
Vinyard Workers' Strike At Kimberley's Big Hole
Almost got involved in a vinyard workers' strike (not my photo) Visited Kimberley's Big Hole!
(where the diamonds came from!)
Big Swing Closed on Mondays Lions
Almost did the Big Swing at Graskop But it was closed on Mondays :( Went to Shumbalala Game Reserve
"Mummy what's that lion doing?!"
Giraffe Cheetah Sundowners
Saw animals from Aaarvark to Zebra - but this is a Giraffe (really!) and this a Cheetah Had sundowners at sunset!
Charo and Mikey At The Voortrekker Monument Fandamily
Had a jazz night in Sophiatown Even visited the Voortrekker Monument Had a wonderful time with the "fandamily"
Came home for a rest!

We're going again in three years, so who wants to sign up for the tour?

Hundreds more photos (including more "Lion on Lion" action (!!) here.

Where Else Have You Been?

Out and about, as they say, though four weeks in sunny SA took up most of our year’s leave. However, we did find time to sit on the beach in Wales at New Year with Goughie and Jules enjoying a cooling ale, to London to celebrate Mr. G.’s “second coming” (of age, that is!), Noelene and Dawn went back down to the Big L to win plaudits for their pasta cooking and we even went all the way into tropical Bolton for the excellent Food and Drink Festival! Who knows what excitement 2013 will bring.
New Year's a Beach At Moro
New Year's a beach! Mr. G.'s 2nd Coming!
Leiths Food Festival
Leith's Cookery School Bolton Food and Drink Festival (why does it always rain?)

It’s in the Genes!

The “old fella” continues his (unspectacular) running comeback and did the Manchester 10k with daughter Dawn, the nearest we have these days to a family running machine, followed by the Salford City 10k in under 50 minutes for the first time in almost 20 years (remember when you could do it in 36 minutes, boy?).

Then Dawn got injured and some $%^&*£ ran a luggage trolley into my Achilles tendon at Copenhagen Airport. So the much vaunted comeback is on hold for a while but just you wait…...

Pops and Dawn

Musical Famine?

Well, not quite and music is always part of our lives but 2012 has probably been our quietest musical year for a long time. Early on we did see the wonderful Joan Baez, now 71, still singing beautifully and still as committed as ever to the causes she’s supported all her life.

Who knows what/who, apart from the Australian Pink Floyd Show, of course, will appear on the horizon in 2013. "All in all we're just........"
Pops and Dawn

What Else?

The two of us remain as steadfastly committed to the cause as ever, Noelene now being Secretary of the Bolton West Constituency Labour Party (we do love a good party!) and John the Chair of Bolton Labour’s Local Campaign Forum.

Oh yes, and the old fella got almost 30% of the votes in rock solid Tory Heaton in this year’s local elections — so on, on, on comrades……


A very special thanks for all the good things that have happened to us in 2012 and especially to our friends and families for their love throughout the year. A very happy Christmas, a peaceful New Year and we look forward to keeping in touch, or even seeing you in the flesh in 2013.

Our love and best wishes,