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Greetings to our

Family and Friends.

The Year that was 2017

We are writing this rather later than usual as we have just returned from a most enjoyable trip to the South Island. We went to the centenary of Bishop Julius House where Allison was a resident 55 years ago!! It was good to catch up on friends from that long ago and great to stay with Robyn who we have met up with many times over the years at orienteering events. Ian also caught up with some old Bish friends as he was at College House for some years before Allison arrived at Bish.

We took our bicycles down with us and continued south to cycle the Roxburgh Gorge and the Clutha Gold Trails, and then on to Arrowtown where we had two days cycling in that area. Then on to the Catlins - an area reasonably new to us - a pleasant quiet time. While down south we managed to catch up with Ian's nieces Barbara and Trish (and were distressed to see/hear of Barbara's continuing hassles with insurers about her New Brighton house) and with Allison's cousins Leslie, Christine and Jenny in the Christchurch area and with Dorothy and Averil in Cromwell and Alexandra. As our generation gets older it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the younger generations.

That was our second trip to the SI with our bikes as we took them to Nelson before Easter. We spent some days in Collingwood and visited Farewell Spit. This was on Allison's bucket list because despite the fact that she grew up in the Motueka/Riwaka area this venue had eluded her. After a couple of days in Kaiteriteri we passed through Motueka and joined Helen and Bruce Dryden for lunch to celebrate Ian's 80th birthday. The rest of the week was spent based in Tahunanui with our Kapiti cycling group.

The weather looked OK at the end of this so we farewelled those who were going back to the ferry and travelled to Greymouth where we organised a last minute ride on the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Greymouth, through Kumara, up to Cowboy Paradise then back to Hokitika. This was a magical trip - the weather was superb - the lakes and water races sparkling. We got a shuttle back to Greymouth with the intention of taking the bikes further south the next day to ride round Lake Mahinapua but as it was pouring with rain the next day we set off back to home.

Earlier in the year we visited David and Trudy in Gerringong (south of Woolongong and Kiama in SE NSW) and did a bit of tiki-touring after celebrating David's 50th (two months earlier) and Ian's 80th (still then a month away) with a weekend at Huskisson on Jervis Bay. The rest of the family thrive.

Kaye and Andy's Rachael is enjoying an income after five years at university and Joe has completed his Health Sciences course at Otago University and has been accepted into physiotherapy next year. He is a keen footballer and tramper and hopes to specialise in sports physiotherapy.

Susan, Bill and their family continue to attend many orienteering events (although we ourselves have not competed for over two years). They have bought a section in Havelock North with the intention of moving there when the boys finish school in four years time.

Graeme, Rachael and family have been out of their home for much of the year while their (new - well really quite old - 1900ish) home has been getting a major re-build. They hope to move back in at the end of January when they will have a home with a magnificent view over the Wellington Harbour.

We continue to enjoy life and are blessed with many friends. Ian misses his choir but the chronic pain in his upper back prevents him from standing still for very long at all. He has had many, many medical investigations together with a variety on physiotherapies but to no avail. He now tries to manage as best he can. Walking can be managed for up to an hour on good days but cycling can be tolerated for much longer periods.

Allison continues to pay bridge (badly - while Ian goes cycling) and organises and leads two walking groups. Ian is not the only one who used to walk but now takes his bike- he enjoys the company and always arranges to meet the walkers for lunch.

Meanwhile the garden is not an attractive occupation and we pay a helper to come in every few weeks to do the hard work. Allison has also been seconded to a walking/cycling advisory group to the local Council which is quite interesting.

We look forward to an extended family pre-Christmas gathering on the 23rd at Kaye's place and a slightly different group of extended family at Susan's on Christmas Day. Our thoughts are with all our friends and family at this time and wish you all a blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy 2018.

Ian & Allison