GB BT38 9DU 2
No. 33
Christmas 2019

Greetings from Carrick.  Thank you for opening this letter.  We send it in the hope that it finds you enjoying the festive season and looking forward to a whole new decade, the 2020s.  As a friend wrote to us recently, we concede “being 80 is certainly more to cope with than just a date on a calendar”.  Yet a new decade is surely to be celebrated.

We have enjoyed very much our travels this past year in Britain and the near continent and hope that they have not finished yet.  A major shock for us has been the unexpected (and unsought) announcement that the World Esperanto Congress is coming to Queens University, Belfast in July 2021.  Its organisers informed Dublin and the British HQ in Staffordshire.  The movement’s leadership did not know our small group even existed.  

The congress could bring between fifteen hundred and two thousand to Belfast for a week and then they will be gone.  We held a U3A summer school in August and had hoped for more than one out of the 350 members, but that probably does measure well enough the knowledge and interest in the language.  We may go to Montreal’s World Congress next July to encourage people to come to Ireland and to receive officially the Congress flag.

Chris continues to paint.  To John’s delight she tackled him again and now he is hoping she will soon return to herself.  You may remember a very dour painting last year.   She has also been enjoying reading teenage literature in French to relax and taking an active part in the U3A French and art groups.  We both find the days fly by and that’s without any grandchildren.  A new set of multistorey university buildings are springing up around our small Quaker meeting house in downtown Belfast.  We hope this might in years to come mean some new people calling in.

We remain deeply depressed by the political situations on both these islands, Ireland and Britain.  We can be proud of neither.  John has been fortunate in seeing the end of his three-year-plus wait for a cataract op.  He is now counting down again for the other eye.  But otherwise we very much count our blessings.  We can relive our visits to Stoupa last year and this year to the Argolid by studying Chris’s paintings of them and other places as we move round the house.  There were more Mycenaean sites than John recalled, but this year we also explored Greece’s vineyards.  Luckily we had Kevin and David to drive us around.  

Best wishes for 2020