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Xmas 2002


Christmas Greetings from Martin & Alice, 2002

It was the week before Christmas and all was not well in the Watson-Laird household. We’ll get the BAD NEWS over with first.  Martin started a wonderful new job in January and quickly got a pay rise and promotion and new responsibilities, but they weren’t suitable, too boring, so he’s been looking for a new job since the summer.  Then Alice’s job was made redundant last week, after two and a half years, so we are having a long cosy Christmas together, writing job applications for each other. Alice and her boss were reinterviewed for one position, and she had to do a presentation on Monopoly to the MD who was posing as an alien.

The rest of the year has been wonderful. We kicked off with a week in Glasgow in February, Martin’s 2001 Christmas present to Alice.  The Gorbals and Trossachs were wonderful. At Easter we had a ten day holiday in North Norfolk, as far north as East Anglia goes, staying in a wonderful house in Thornham, overlooking miles and miles of coastal bird sanctuary.  We had a long weekend away for Martin’s surprise destination Birthday Bender in Cambridge. (He’s now a scratchy worn out 45!) Martin found a stall in the market selling a teak puzzle from Java weighing ten pounds which Alice bought, and carried it all round the town for the rest of the day.  In August we went to Antwerp in Belgium so that Alice could visit museums and art galleries. Rather conveniently the International Puzzle Party took place at the same time, so Martin enjoyed Antwerp as well. He spent most of the summer making 100 copies of his “Watson’s Tribulations” puzzle to exchange at the party. We met many old puzzle friends from around the world.  In the autumn we had our last holiday, in Durham City, very erm, bracing!

In the summer an old school friend told us about Geocaching which quickly became our new hobby. See the web site for more details. It’s a sort of treasure hunt with a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, which is a sort of electronic compass. People all over the world hide secret boxes, typically Tupperware boxes, and publish the exact coordinates on the Internet.  It takes you to interesting people and places.  We now know we live at 051N 25.957, 000W 20.764.  Alice says she’ll stick with the post code.
As we write this we are hoping that Alice’s brother James and his wife Celine deliver their expected baby in the first days of January, or else we will have to do extra Christmas shopping!!

The last couple of weeks have been a bit chaotic, so this year the puzzle is a bit routine,  See how many words of three or more letters you can make from the word CHRISTMAS.  Each of the nine letters can only be used once. Plural nouns such as CATS are not allowed, but plural verb forms such as HITS are allowed.  No proper nouns.  Allow yourself 10 minutes.  Martin got about 40.  There are at least two 7-letter words in Chambers, one we have never heard used. We’ll put a full list on the web site after Christmas. Remember to keep in touch with all new developments via the web site at which Martin radically updated in the autumn (and it’s not just puzzles!).  There are often new photos of fun and frolics.  We hope to add a pair of 2003 calendars to print out, showing pictures from 2002, (one of family, friends and places, and one with puzzles) with details of important events (actually, just our birthdays!)  It should be available before the end of 2002. A copy of this letter is on the web site.

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