Thoughts at Random 2003

Updated Friday, 05 October 2007

This is a web version of the Newsletter sent out with our Christmas cards. 


Thank you for my £10 Christmas Bonus

IT WAS with extreme reluctance that I agreed to apply for a Disability Living Allowance. It was a surprise when I got it, and even more surprising when I found out that the package included the £10 Christmas Bonus I had hitherto associated with pensioners.

Take a look at my pic. What do you see? A fat me sat on a Pride Go-Go. Where was it taken? France; I borrowed the Go-Go from Newbury Shopmobility and took it on the Berkshire Centre of the Caravan Club rally to Normandy - more pictures on my web-site.

What am I wearing? My home-made T-shirt always produces a giggle as people compare the Then me with the Now me. But hang on, have I got this the right way round? The pics show the physical me, but what about the intellectual me - I hope I have not lost all the ďangry young-manĒ energy I had when a teenager!

What else can you see in the Now me picture? I call it ďJake the pegĒ, the orthotic support on my right ankle-leg designed to stop me from falling. Its like Iíve been here before. I wore metal callipers as a young boy.


PERFECTING the balance between work and play is a challenge for all of us regardless of whether the work is paid or the play is expensive. Time management is not one of my gifts. I do like the discipline of dead-lines. Thatís why I have enjoyed doing the Desktop Publisher (DTP) of St Nicolas magazine since Miles Parkinsonís untimely death last year. I emphasize that I only do the DTP, the hard work of procuring contributions and chasing copy is done by the editor.

I continue being Webmaster of the church website, also those of the Cromwell Singers, Newbury Society and Newbury and District Organistsí Association. Sadly all three have lost stalwart members during the year, Fiona Sankey, Peter Davies and Carl Legg, respectively. Fiona's death from a stroke in her early 40s was the least expected, although the passing of Peter and Carl, who were somewhat older, have nevertheless left a gap, both in the organisations in which they were key-players, and to me personally. Their departures bring an abrupt end to an era in their respective fields - Peterís music-making and role as a civic watchdog; and Carl as a celebrated model maker and organ enthusiast.

Fiona Sankey

Peter Davies

Carl Legg.JPG (19728 bytes)
Carl Legg

How one can go out in the morning and not come back in the evening was dramatically brought home to the family when Philís mother Pat Manley was killed in a car crash. How do you tell a great nephew aged three and a great niece aged two that they will never see their beloved nanny on this earth again?

03 Nov 29 057.jpg (76359 bytes)Cousin Frank Carter (the one severely disabled in a motor bike accident) made it to his 60th birthday and was given a surprise party.

Perfecting the balance between work and play should exercise one and all. The question Iím increasing asking myself is: Will I be ready when Iím called?


WINTER 2003 was a bit of a daze. I was taking pain-killers to relieve my aching ribs, tender collar bone and spasm in my lower leg after my bad falls between Christmas and New Year whilst rallying at Gretna Green.

Behind the scenes and totally unbeknown to me there was a plot afoot to nominate me for a civic award ďIn Recognition of an Outstanding Contribution to the Town of NewburyĒ. Anyway I found myself in Newbury Town Hall in March being presented with a certificate and having my picture taken with the Mayor, Councillor Frances Berry and others who were also awarded with certificates that night.

2003 seems to have been a year of certificates or should I say diplomas? Although Charmian took a break from IT Now! (the free City & Guilds computer courses) I soldiered through and was awarded a Level 2 Diploma for IT Users E-Quals last July achieving Distinctions in IT Principles and Presentation Graphics, but to my shame, a mere Pass in Desktop Publishing! I have since taken Integrated Applications and Internet at Level 2 and Iím about to sit the Spreadsheet assessment. Then thatís it, since I will have completed all the modules that IT Now! currently have on offer. What will I find to do for four hours a week?

CHARMIAN and I have seen much this year and have done many memorable things. Here are a couple of pictures. Left is Charmian by the Disco which we used as our wardrobe and the tent we slept in on the journey down to the five star hotel in Switzerland.

This is the guide whose passion for the art in Florence prompted me to buy a mouse mat with a picture of Botticelliís Venus on it. She also had a marvellous way of bypassing the loo queues. Its wonderful what doors a wheelchair will open and how many want to share oneís disabled loo!

Finally, thanks to Charmian and to all who have ďcared forĒ and encouraged me this year. They and the nature of their help are too numerous to name and list, but include those who have pushed my wheel-chair and otherwise facilitated the practical side of my life.




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