14 December, 2009

Christmas Greetings

9th December,2009

Another year has rolled by and we are still here. For that and all our other blessings we should be thankful. We wish you a very Happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous (post GFC) New Year.

There is just so much of interest around us and, of course, it all keeps changing. I have sometimes philosophised (is there such a word?) that one of modern mans’ great challenges is the sheer weight of data (for want of a better word) which surrounds us and the ever changing nature of all that stuff. We can only deal with this mass by making generalisations (and categorisations) and sticking with them. That then carries the seeds of its own destruction as fixed generalisations don’t allow for the fact of constant change.

So, does that mean that it is all too much. Not so, say I, as I find it very stimulating and its great that I now have the time to pursue the things that I am really interested in, without having to attend to the things that my employment required of me. If you wish to be bored witless and see at first hand what my major issues are, have a read of other items on this blog. You will soon realise that global warming/climate change and water management loom large.

The highlight of the year was our retirement trip to Hong Kong and the UK in July. My wonderful erstwhile employers (Swires) really turned it on for us-you can read all about it on this Blog.

The trip coinciding with the Lord’s Test Match was very fortunate and not entirely coincidental. Unfortunately, the wrong team won. But, after their 5-0 drubbing in Australia in 07/08 (which I never heard mentioned in London), the Poms needed to regain some self-esteem. I will always remember with great pleasure, the scene at the end of the Test. Me standing on the balcony of the Bowler’s Bar of the Lords Pavillion, with pint in hand, surrounded by up market Poms (members) who as they glowed with sheer ecstacy as Flintoff cleaned up the Australian batsmen, discovered that there was an Australian in their midst! The banter was really great. My companion was a delightful liberal Anglican cleric, (one of my mob), who is one of the Canons at Westminster Abbey and who very kindly gave Gail and me a personally conducted tour of the Abbey the following day before we lunched at the House of Lords with our friend and Swire colleague Lord (Mark)Marlesford.

Gail continues to dote upon her first two grandchildren, Charlie and Heidi, and sticks with her never to be missed Thursday child minding.

We are both excited by the scheduled arrival of Susie’s and Hagen’s son at the end of January. We have gained great pleasure from S and H’s enthusiasm for their new home-Gail’s late brother Brian’s old unit at Mosman. It responded wonderfully to a facelift.

Kate has spent all of 2009 living on her own (when she is not here or on the ‘phone). We don’t like her being on her own and continue to seek a “flatmate”. However, being alone has demonstrated to Kate and us, just what she is capable of. Her ongoing employment at Woolworths, St Ives continues to be very important to her.

My formal association with Swire/Clyde has concluded. I came off both Boards in the latter part of the year. I strongly disagree with the strategy for Clyde and with the new management style, but as the kids say I need to “get over it” and “move-on”!

Mike had a job change mid-year. He is fortunate being in the digital communications business and his skills are in great demand. He is now working four days a week for a digital advertising agency and freelancing on the other day.

Given my concern with information overload, this is already longer than I intended. But, it carries our very best wishes to you for the festive season and beyond.
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