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Xmas 1999


"Well, Alice, here we are, December 20th and an urgent deadline to meet and no Christmas letter.  What are we going to tell everybody?"

"We could start by saying the last few months have been a bit 'stormy' for us both and explain the joke later on. Oh, Martin what are all those sideways words for?" (See below for a 2012 explanation of this.)

"OK. Al, we'll do that. The last few months have been a bit 'stormy' for us both.

"Then you've got the holidays to report on. We went to Edinburgh (wasn't it COLD!!??) to see your brother James in February and to meet his French girlfriend Celine, then North Wales and Anglesey at Easter, when we found that poor sheep all tangled up in wire, and we went round that nuclear power station, and the crazy lady who ran the bed & breakfast in that big mansion who sat at the piano and sang opera to us at breakfast one day, and South and West Wales in the Autumn, then Malta and Gozo in October, where you photographed everv wall, castle and bastion in Valetta.

You can do that bit."

"Yes I'll do that bit, and then you can go on about your 4-day International Puzzle Party in August when you met all those famous puzzle inventors from around the globe, and your visit to that really big collection of 20,000 puzzles at that big house, and the day when everybody set up tables in that hotel at Heathrow and you all spent hours and hours buying and swapping puzzles, and talking about them on and on and on.  Oh, Martin what are all those sideways words for?"

"Yes OK, but I'll use shorter sentences."

"And then you could talk about your latest assignment to Cable & Wireless in Bracknell where you're managing part of that project so engineers can receive their work instructions by radio and computer to install digital TV, and, Martin what are all those sideways words for?"

"Yes that's a good idea, and then you could say that you've finally left Lambeth Palace because you were older than some of the books, and that you now have a new job at the Department for Education and Employment."

"And there was your 'Summer of 42" Birthday Party on that lovely day back in the summer when everybody thought up lists of things to do with the number 42, and don't forget to mention Aunt Idie and Uncle Bob came over from Kentucky and Oh, Martin what are all those sideways words for?"

"You could tell anybody who's still reading, about our weekend away last month in the New Forest, and then you could explain why there are no little Christmas pictures on this year's letter."

"And you could say about how you're spending New Year's Eve collecting the glasses in the pub, and that the builders from hell are still working next door and that we've got one new neighbour and Oh, Martin what are all those sideways words for?"

'So you want to know about those sideways words around the edge of the page?"

“Yes I do, and I've also noticed that there are some more on the back of the page? Why are they hand-written and not word processed?"

Don t ask that one Al, I'm hoping nobody notices. The words make up our Christmas message to all our tnends, family and so on."

But “and new Alice millennium Christmas celebrations merry your" followed by "Martin the From for have and a enjoy' reminds me of a joke about food processors jumbling food and word processors jumbling words."

Well, this is the world's first recyclable Christmas letter. All the folk have to fold it along the lines like in thelittle diagram you may have noticed so thatit is 8 layers thick in a certain way and the first half of the message can be read trom the edges, then turned over for the second half."

And we mustn’t forget to explain that things have been 'stormy' for us this year because Alice has been working on a project called STORM and Martin's project is called STORMS, isn't that a coincidence?

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