Friday, December 10, 2004



Below is the letter I sent out with my Christmas cards in 2004

Not a lot of news to report this year. My blogging keeps me busy in front of my computer for about 12 hours a day so I have become more sedentary than ever, if that is possible. I certainly go out very little these days except for frequent excursions to local eateries. Neither Judith nor I are keen on cooking so someone has to feed us.

Judith Middleton has now been living with me for some time. I am not sure what she sees in me but it is certainly not good looks. She is a geriatric nurse by occupation so that must make her feel at home with a moth-eaten old curmudgeon like me. She says that if I sat down to dinner with the residents at the nursing home where she works, no-one would notice anything out of place. She is a very kind-hearted soul so that when the more friendless residents of her nursing home go into hospital, she sometimes goes to visit them in hospital in her own time. It probably needs someone that kind to put up with me.

A small miracle

I am constantly in and out of surgery for my skin cancers these days. I just had three lots done at once yesterday. Rather remarkably, all the local anaesthetic the dermo pumped into me seems to have had a lasting but beneficial side-effect: For the last 4 months or so I have had a very sore left shoulder that I could move only in certain ways without pain. I never could work out for sure where the pain came from but it seemed to be tendonitis rather than arthritis. Anyway, six hours after surgery on my OTHER arm, the pain was all gone and I could move both arms any way I liked! I only hope the effect lasts! They put a lot of adrenaline into local anaesthetic so maybe that had something to do with it. Frozen shoulders are a rather common problem among oldies so now you know how to cure it! There are not many instant cures around for anything these days so it may be worth remembering. There was a famous case in America where some sort of surgical anaesthesia cured a kid of his autism so there may be more in these anaesthetics than meets the eye.


My son Joe is now 17, six foot tall, blue-eyed and blond-haired and definitely a young man.

He seems to have inherited my jocularity too. He did a university course in maths this year even though he was still in his final year at High School and got a Distinction (6 out of 7) in it so the Maths Dept. at the University of Queensland have given him a small scholarship to encourage him to study there next year. More about that here. Like his father, he is a born academic. He also seems to be popular too, so he is not really a nerd, though he loves sims (brainy computer games). Rather amusingly, when people ask him what occupation he is aiming for, he always says he wants to be an actuary. That completely stuffs everyone as nobody has ever heard of such an occupation. I think I must be the only person who understood immediately what he meant. But I did teach statistics at the University of NSW for some years so I would.

He has shown no signs of mechanical aptitude yet, though, which slightly surprises me. I was always good at fixing things as a kid and I remember when I was 13 my family moved into an old house that had various old bicycle bits and pieces around and I managed to make a whole bike out of them, to the surprise of my parents. I remember that my father used to borrow "my" bike to go places at times. I painted it a fetching shade of maroon too. Joe is however a keen pianist so perhaps that satisfies his needs to do things with his hands. Like me, he is keen on classical music. Music, politics and history are mainly what we talk about and he does seem to be a born conservative like me. There are some more pics of him here

I went up to Cairns for a week's holiday in August and you can see some of the resultant "snaps" here or here

So there you have it: Aches, pains and boasting about kids -- what else are Xmas letters for?

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