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Xmas 2005


The Watson-Laird Gazette 2005


I've been looking back over the history of the Watson-Laird Gazette in recent years since its first publishing. We've seen it change from a Christmas newsletter into a much-valued publication around which people can plan their festivities. From its humble beginnings it has grown into the glossy widely respected publication that you are now holding. At one time it was just a necessary irritant that arrived as reliably as the big fat man in the red suit.

Now our friends ask for it to be published twice yearly and some people even asked for a specific mention. Time has prevented us from meeting this first request, but some people can look forward to their invoice early in the New Year. Early editions of the Watson-Laird newsletter now exchange hands for phenomenal sums on eBay. Many local councils have set up special recycling facilities and we would be happy to put you in touch with one of these in your area.


As you have probably been expecting, this year's letter is bigger, brighter and more full of fun than, well, anything else that's big, bright and full of fun.  All your old favourites are here including Travel News, the Employment page, more Travel News, the impossibly difficult Christmas Puzzle, and new this year, a society page, this year dedicated to wannabes who didn't make it into the pages of Hello magazine.


The year got off to a big start with our annual pantomime, this year it was Aladdin at Wimbledon. Martin had previously arranged for himself and Alice to meet one of the stars of the cast after the show, radio's tame vicar Roger Royle.


The big news of the year surely must be the fact that your editor has secured a new position as crime analyst with South West Trains, the train operating company for London and the south-west of England. In this role he has to collate and analyse crime and disorder statistics on the railway. This started as a part-time position, allowing for editorship of the Watson-Laird newsletter, but soon it turned into a full-time position fortunately still allowing for editorship of the Watson-Laird newsletter.


Other employment news includes the fact that Alice applied for the vacancy left by her former manager, and she is now a Senior Librarian, Collections Management. She has also been very busy during the autumn working with her former colleague Anoja, helping raise money to rebuild a library in Sri Lanka, an area devastated by the tsunami which struck on Boxing Day last year. In this respect Alice and Anoja and other colleagues hosted a fund-raising event in Central London, aimed to raise awareness of the problem, nearly 12 months on. After tragedies such as that, people see many pictures of the immediate aftermath, but often forget that libraries and other parts of the social infrastructure also need replacing.


The highlight of 2005 was without doubt a visit during the summer to Helsinki in Finland, with an additional visit to St Petersburg in Russia as well as an interesting day in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Helsinki was this year's venue for the International Puzzle Party, at which Martin gave a presentation to 200 delegates, on the subject of making mechanical puzzles from food. This light-hearted but innovative subject was well received by an enthusiastic audience.

Helsinki was a wonderful city to visit and Martin and Alice explored it fully in the week before the party. It is a compact city with many green parks and woodland areas ideal for exploring on foot. Frans, one of Martin's fellow puzzle collectors had arranged a five-day visit to St Petersburg. We crossed to Tallinn where we spent an afternoon before sailing overnight to St Petersburg, on Martin's birthday. One of his so-called good friends presented him with a pair of spectacles with a miniature basketball and net attached. He was then expected to try and shake and toss his head in such a way as to flick the ball into the basketball net. This caused much amusement for the many spectators. Our five days in Russia were truly action-packed. We really feel we saw all that St. Petersburg has to offer, including vodka that was cheaper than bottled water, the shores of the most polluted sea in northern Europe and the impressive 20p per journey tube system. The city's river frontage is truly spectacular, the city's architecture is stunning, and all in all we had one of our most memorable holidays of all time.


The year's travel highlights got off to a good start with a holiday in Norfolk and Suffolk at Easter. East Anglia is a very popular resort for our avian wildlife, and Alice flew from one part of the Norfolk Broads to another with great enthusiasm, seeking out our feathered friends.


More recently we spent a week in the New Forest, staying in a very nice bed-and-breakfast establishment where we were well looked after by Serena and her two daughters. We spent many days walking in the Forest looking at ponies and other wildlife, and we have many happy memories of watching Martin rescue a mother from an amorous pig, probably weighing 400 lbs.

Future holidays may now be in jeopardy however, as Martin has now discovered the pleasures of Google Earth. This is a free application which can be downloaded from the Internet allowing the user to look at high-resolution photographs of the entire Earth's surface. He claims that it is more fun than actually going there… If ever you telephone and find that the line is engaged that is probably the reason. Please remember to keep your back garden tidy, as he will be giving it the once-over soon…

Paid Advertising Feature.

August saw the wedding of Alice's friend Lucy, former Lambeth Palace Library “One-Year Disposable”, to former rugby-playing Welsh self-styled heart-throb Simon. The "young" couple jumped the broomstick in style in the Oxfordshire village of Wallingford. Choosing not to have a honeymoon the happy pair then went for a holiday in Wales.


We said goodbye to one of our neighbours, Katrina, (or cat-trainer as the voice recognition software puts it) who has temporarily moved away to continue her studies.


Some late-breaking financial news saw shares in the Gazette soar, with a corresponding slump for NitWits Bank. For the second time in two years, the bank managed to cancel your editor's bank card while simultaneously providing him with a new one. You can imagine his distress on arriving at the front of the queue in the local supermarket only to have his card rejected. When this happened the first time NitWits Bank offered £25 compensation. When irate financier Martin contacted the bank when the card was refused this time, he assured them he wouldn't be accepting such a desultory offer this time. They immediately offered £100 compensation and also sent a small food hamper.


As well as Alice’s work for tsunami-affected libraries in Sri Lanka, Teddington's very own Bob Geldof also conducted a survey at premises in Teddington assessing accessibility for disabled people.

Special Fun-Time Insert


To further your festive frivolities this Christmas we also include the L S D quiz. The sometimes-cryptic answers to all these questions are amounts of pre-decimal money. If you get all the answers correct you should be able to total them up and arrive at £30, 16 shillings and eight-and-a-half old pence. (£30. 16s. 8½d). The only other clue you get is we suggest that you leave numbers 5 and 10 until last. We can't claim responsibility for this quiz but we thought it was so good that we would inflict it on you anyway.

  1. A stone
  2. A bicycle
  3. A singer
  4. A man's name
  5. Sun Pluto Moon
  6. A leather worker
  7. 50 per cent of a pair of pants
  8. Royal head dress
  9. An unwell sea creature
  10. 10.Part of a monkey’s leg

Finally as an additional exciting giveaway bonus this festive season, we include a specially prepared panel on which you can record the serial number of your mobile phone, bicycle or computer. Do remember to fill it in and keep it with your important household papers.  It’s also the only excuse you need for keeping your FREE Watson-Laird Gazette forever!!


Do it now!

Mobile #1........................

Mobile #2........................




For this year's exceedingly difficult Christmas puzzle the object is to cut around the edge of the square, then fold it only along the lines in such a way that the letters spell the word CHRISTMAS, when read  vertically from above. (Imagine pushing a pencil through the nine layers of paper, it would penetrate the paper in the order of the letters of CHRISTMAS). Letters may be upside down, back-to-front or inside out.

And the second one should spell out what we wish for you in 2006, a HAPPY YEAR. 

Avoid cutting your Watson-Laird Gazette, by carefully copying the diagrams onto a sheet of A4 paper! It’ll be easier to handle.

A girl went into a bar and asked the landlord for a double entendre, so he gave her one.

Page 3 Bird

Here's delectable Claire. This well-stuffed young goose should certainly get your gander up! Some people like an oven-ready bird, but this year we'd like you to draw your own goose.

(c) Martin H. Watson, 2005

Printed in Fever Pitch by Mart’n’Al

This Christmas, the eponymous publishers of the Watson-Laird Gazette celebrate 10 years at their present address.

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