2 Mauldon Street,
Chifley, A.C.T. 2606

10 Dec 2005

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Dear Family and Friends....

Time to post this message is rapidly running out - and there are a lot of things happening here in Canberra between now and Christmas. Who said retirement was a time of quiet contemplation? I seem to have less time now that when I was working. Wouldn't it be nice to sit down and read a book?  But I'm sure that many of you feel the same way and the last thing you want to hear is my whingeing. So I might as well get through my GOM (Grumpy Old Man) mode as quickly as possible. We have been devastated by our highly conservative, religious right driven, Government's efforts to marginalise some ethnic groups and those with differing religions. The intent seems to be to scare the general population so that draconian laws allowing imprisonment without trial, access to the law, or even to inform relatives, etc. can be introduced. There has been little debate (deliberately stopped), and although I was never concerned too much about civil rights I do not feel that this is the same country that attracted me so much 40 years ago. A really sad part about it is that both sides of politics supported these rotten laws. I could rant on for hours on this subject and many other sad changes that are happening, but must turn GOM mode off and promise not to return there until after I have posted this message.

The good news is that all a number two Mauldon St. (Betty and I + Son Tim and his dog Sampson) are in pretty good health - though grey hair is very much in evidence (even the dog). Tim is not grey but he is rapidly loosing what little hair he has left, a genetic problem I fear as B's brother is not exactly hirsute. All our children and their families (we now have 10 Grandchildren) are also well. Our 3 daughters and Tim are all working in health care (Nursing and Teaching) and I'm delighted that Tim has taken on an enrolled nursing course this year and is doing really well. Betty has photographed a lot of birds in our backyard this year. She brought a seed device to attract them - on the left is a Gang Gang, two Galahs feeding and a Crimson Rosella is hiding behind the branch. They get through one of those seed things in a couple of days

Betty has written up all the family stuff much better than I can, and has combined that with a bunch of photos. Her great efforts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/agfkg . And if you happen to receive this in printed form and you do have internet access - check out http://tinyurl.com/aazy6 for this message with sound and flashing lights etc. {:-))

So what have we been up to this year? We made a couple of trips - 3 weeks in New Zealand (S. Island) back in March. Walked up to the Franz Joseph glacier (on the left). And spent a few days in Nelson and did a bit of family history research (my Father was from there). The flowers were behind Nelson Cathedral.







And then 9 days in Melbourne and on the Great Ocean Road to celebrate our 40th Wedding anniversary in November. It was a really nice trip with wonderful weather.


 On the left is Betty on the top of the Cape Ottway lighthouse which is on a southerly point to the South East of Melbourne. And to the right are some of the spectacular limestone cliffs on the Ocean road near Port Campbell - the clipper ship Loch Ard which was wrecked there in 1878.

Betty has posted pictures of these and other events during the last few years at
http://community.webshots.com/user/jsaxon10 if you are interested.  

In between I have been flat out with my voluntary job as President of the Canberra PC User's group.
A lot happened over the year - we moved premises (had legal battles with the old landlord), changed the monthly magazine to a web based version, employed a new office manager, reduced membership and Internet access fees, and a whole lot more. All I know is that I sent around 7,500 Emails and put in 50-60 hours per week. And that long before the end of my first term - Betty was saying "don't even think about standing for re-election". So after October I became 'Immediate Past President' and the workload has reduced a fair bit. The only problem is that I am now expected to do all the jobs that I put off a year.....

And while on the subject of me (sorry 'bout all that') - I turned 70 in Feb and the children gave me a bit of a thrill of getting up close and personal with a Cheetah. I decided to forgo the bungy jumping, my spine is dodgy enough already.

So there we are - another year has passed in a blur. I do hope we will catch up with many of you during 2006, and we wish you a great Christmas and a superb 2006.

With Love & very best wishes from John & Betty





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