2009                                     HOME

What a year!  Don’t get me wrong we’re fine and well, well, as well as can be expected for young septuagenarians.  This is Michael writing.

I decided to write this résumé as the year progressed but here I am on the 18th December 2009 wondering what I can write.  I’m going to look through our 2009 photos to remind myself about some of the good times.

We spent Christmas 2008 at Trudie’s for lunch and moved to Steven’s for tea.  A few days later we had an immediate Swarbrick family, i.e my brother and sister, children and grandchildren, get-together at Gregory’s.  Damian was with us, also up from London, for a few days.

On the 28th December, Damian took us on a walk through the nature reserve at Wigan Flashes, which has been created out of the remains of the coal mining waste lands.  The Leeds & Liverpool canal is on their right.
2nd January - An optimistic group of boaters trying to get through the ice, unsuccessfully. 

Our first walk in the new year was along the Leeds and Liverpool canal form Botany Bay to the pub at Top Lock Wheelton with our niece Helen, who was up from London staying with her parents.  We had lunch a the pub, a real ale pub, and Helen, a real ale buff, enjoyed some of the local beers.

We belong to the Friends of Cuerden Valley Park and here we are on the first meeting of 2009, “Winter Bird Watch” a general walk through the park looking for birds.

Our 'big' boat all forlorn.  Would I start work on her again this year, not done anything since 2005!

Jaja’s still in the football team, Euxton Villa Under 10s, but things aren’t working out.  Lloyd has had to give up coaching them due to pressure of work and the new coach wasn’t up to scratch.  Jaja was no longer enjoying playing.  He’s a really good goalkeeper.

Early morning on the 31st January, the sky from our bedroom window.  Storm approaching?


It’s snowing in London!  Damian’s new friend in her back garden.

grebesWe’re in the park again, 24th February, we were fortunate to see the Great Crested Grebes courting.

A couple of days later and the lake is frozen over.

9th  March.  We were on our way home after visiting my cousin Norma on her ‘farm’at Samelsbury Bottoms, we’d been looking for old photos as I was having a fleeting moment looking into  the past.  This is Roach Bridge Paper Mill.  One of my earliest memories is going there with my dad in one of Dallas’ wagons to pick up a load of huge rolls of paper.  The mill’s closed now.  The weir has always fascinated me.

We started our oil painting classes again,

Michael’s attempt

Sue’s latest.

I spent a week in the middle of March, we had some lovely weather, stripping and re-varnishing the mast. this is inside the Club's white container.  Is this the start of greater things?

14th April.  I think this was our first venture on to the water this year at Glasson Sailing Club?  You can see Jaja and Ethan’s hidden by me.  It was Ethan’s first ever sail and he loved it.  Unfortunately, his twin Jordan, who had been looking forward to today, was confined to bed!

A week later, Jaja sailing on his own.

dawnchorusEnd of April, we're in the park again.  This time it was very early morning listening to the dawn chorus.

The beginning of May was the highlight of Michael's year.  He was invited to take part in th annual race round the Isle of Man on Chablis.  Much to our surprise we came second in our class but startlingly we came second overall

Here we are shortly after rounding The Point of Ayr. I was the 'sail trimmer'.

On the water again at the end of May.

A few days later at Cuerden Valley Park fair - Trudie having a go at falconry

Earlier in the day we had helped with the setting up of the stalls. It was a glorious day. We spent time on one of the gates collecting entrance fees.

We're into June now and we were at Jaja's school watching him take part in a sponsored run, for school funds I think  The glorius weather is continuing.

It's getting towards the end of June now and we're at Jaja's sports day.

Jaja's doing well at school and is very well thought of.  We're hoping he'll get to go to the secondary school of our choice.

It's the end of June and Steven and Trudie's half-brother Matthew's wedding

Steven & Marie

Jaja 'scrubbed up'. He loves big occasions.

Early in July we watched the Leyland Transport Festival.  This is the works fire engine, which I remember from the good old days.

There was a lot of Tennis on our TV this year so on some of the bad weather days this summer we watched TV

One of Michael's favourites, since she won a grand slam doubles with Jamie Murray.

July was a bad month.  There was a terrible injustice at the sailing club.  A member was effectively thrown out based on false evidence but as 'lips' were sealed we don't know all the details but it was sufficient for Michael to give up all his sailing club voluntary work.

We had three wet and windy days at the sailing club at the end of July.  This was the last day, Jaja, Ethan, Jordan and I in our old GP14, borrow back for the day.

28th August - David's GCSE results.  David, Alex's son, our eldest grandson, got the results he needed to gain entrance to Winstanley College in Wigan.  David had had troubled times and opted for home tuition for his last year at middle school, I think that's what it's called.  We were all concerned for him.  His other Grandma paid for his tution at an organisation in Cambridge.  He worked hard at home and we were all relieved when he passed with flying colours.  He appears to have settled down well at Winstanley and is once again enjoying school.  All reports say he's doing very well.

30th August brought the retirement party of one of Michael's old work colleagues and friend Brian. We had a lovely evening with some old friends.

The next day we went to the wedding of Alison and Paul's son Chris. The best wedding Alison has ever been to.  It was very nice.

Paul, Alison, Kathryn (A & P's daughter), Richard (Kathryn's partner), Chris and Nichola outside the hotel where the reception was held. It was in a lovely setting.

We really enjoyed it but the music was a bit loud for us again.

With the sailing club taking a back seat we began a long overdue blitz on the garden.  I organised the tools first and then we began cutting back in earnest.  

Sue helping Trudie to use our sewing machine. Sue is a skilled trouser leg shortener for all the family, except me who is a standard off-the-shelf size.

It's the beginning of September now and we were on one of our regular visits to Anglezark and Rivington.  This is a family we met on the way up to Rivington Pike. One of the boys was struggling with his asthma so Sue let him have a couple of puffs of her inhaler.  We later had lunch in the Rivington Church Hall Cafe.

Damian came up for a visit and we had a day out round Liverpool's Albert Dock area.

Posing outside St. George's Hall.

At the beginning of October we were invited to Dorie's 90th birthday. Dorie used to live next door to Sue in Dunstable.

Dorie, aghed 17, with Sue's parents' house in the background


Sue greeting Vivien, Dorie's niece, her bridesmaid of over fifty years ago.  The first time thay had met since the wedding.  They were both really thrilled to meet up again - a delightful surprise for both of them!

You can see my ever expanding belly.

Dorie's present was a spin round a race course in a racing car! For her hundredth birthday she wants to parachute from an aircraft!

We enjoyed a period of good weather and made excellent progress in the garden but we had a week of rain in October and suddenly it was winter so all work came to a halt.

Jaja had settled down in a new football team but he lost heart and has now given up playing for that team.  He is now in the school team and enjoying playing football again

It's halloween now. Sue on a bench at the lake in Cuerden Valley Park.

That evening for the first time we had no 'trick or treaters'!  So we've been getting fat on the tin of chocolates we had bought for the purpose.  Surpringly we've still got some left!  Michael's trying hard to lose weight, he's in the obese range of the medical weight chart, by eating less and walking more. At last it seems to be working.

November was a grim month here, cold, wet and windy.  We we're invited across the road to Susan's, another Sue, bonfire party together with Jaja, his friend Noah, Trudie and Lloyd. We all enjoyed it, particularly Noah who said he'd never been to a bonfire before.  The fireworks were spectacular.

Michael managed a sail round the lighthouse on the Dart and again at the beginning of December on the Topper.

Jaja & Michael on the Dart earlier in the year

Michael on the Topper last year.

The first weekend in December saw us helping out at the Cuerden Valley Park Christmas Children' fair. The fair raised about £350 to go towards the park's educational activities.

The next weekend we were at Richard's 65th Birthday Party in Buckingham. They had arranged a lunch for the immediate family at the Vine House, Paulerspury.


Georgina is the 3rd from the left, she's disappeared off the bottom photo?

Sue, Richard & Auntie Kath

Nici, Nigel, Alistair, Janice, Julie, Lauren, Robert & Caroline

20th December.   Trudie took us on our Christmas treat to the pantomime in Bolton:


Cinderella was lovely but boy were the sisters ugly!  Sadly Prince Charming, he was a good singer, looked anything but charming and none of us fancied him.  Michael was very disappointed because in days gone by the 'Prince' was always a delicious young woman with beautiful legs.

21st December - View from front door.  We don't usually get a lot of snow here, they do all round us but we seem to be in a good situatuation - we're only a few miles from the sea as the crow flies and only 75' above sea level.

22nd December - Jaja tore hinself away from the computer and started to make a snowman.  We came out and helped him.  We'd had more snow last night.  It normally doesn't stick but it's very cold.

Now for some sad news: Michael at last gave up the dream and sold the unfinished big boat.  He had made no further progress since the mast in March and had lost some enthusiam for the Club where it was berthed, 30 miles away from our house too.  It had become a millstone round his neck and was causing concern trying to prevent it deteriorating.  He advertised it on a 'boats for sale' web site and out of over 1200 hits had three enquiries.  Fortnuately one was from a small traditional boat builder in Pembroke.  He and his wife were so enthusiastic about it that we let them have it at a give away price because we liked them.  I'm sure Denys would have approved of them too.  They are going to keep in touch and let us sail it when they have completed it.

Everyone is well and reasonably happy. Sue and Steven have had a few health problems but they are both well.  Trudie is still working full time and making a good impression with her employers - Lancashire Police.  Marie is still working all the hours available to help pay off their mortgage. Steven is happy at work and working hard at home getting their house round to how they want it.  Lloyd is also being worked hard but enjoying the challenges.  Alex is more or less looking after her mum full time now.  Damian is still enjoying London, no way will he come back to the North.  We are busy despite being retired and time is flying by, much too fast. We've been so tied up with the family and things that we haven't been able to get down to Dorothy's, Devon, or Frank and Daphne's, Cornwall, this year.