This year started with work... lots of it, and I hope you won't mind if I elaborate a bit here. In my last Newsletter I noted that I was working for Global Graphics. I was to work on software plugins for the company's RIP (Raster Image Processor - software that converts text and pictures from a word processor page into dots that a printer or a typesetter can print). The plugins communicate with the "real world" - particularly in translating the RIP's basic output into a form that a printer itself understands. In some cases this is simple, but in most it isn't! I discovered something new about myself this year: I find it quite hard to work when I don't have a good understanding of the "whole". I like to build a mental model of the system and so be able to consider the effect of one part on the others. In my current job, this affects me in that I am dealing with a product that no single person understands completely, so I have had to limit myself to understanding a part of the "whole" and hoping that is enough. Despite this I do seem to be appreciated and I have started making friends, which is good. Outside of work, I have had my hands full with both St John's Players and activities for Church. The players do three full-length plays a year, and I have stage managed all three: Veronica's Room (Ira Levin), Round and Round the Garden (Alan Ayckbourn), and Brideshead Revisited (Roger Parsley, from Evelyn Waugh). It was fun and got me out of the office (although I did manage to bring in a cctv camera so I could "see round corners"!) I also volunteered to be on the committee, which has had its moments, too. It was also very exhausting and for the next play we're doing ("An Inspector Calls") I am standing aside and will just help out; I'll return later next year. Early in the year Susan started coming to church, and over the months we have become good friends. We both took part in the Waste Watchers Holiday Bible Club, and during some free time I was musing about going on holiday, Susan was too, and we ended up having a weekend in Yorkshire, via Lincoln. It was great to get away, and moreover to have someone to talk to while doing so. We both found Lincoln an eye opener and although we managed to visit the Cathedral, the castle and much more had to wait for another time. Those of you who keep track will know that it was my 40th birthday in June this year, and I was determined to celebrate it properly. I decided on much the same as for my 30th: an afternoon punt on the Cam to the pub, and a BBQ type party at my house after. I duly sent out over 45 invites and had about 25 acceptances. I hadn't banked on the weather being quite so wet! By the end of June, the Cam was so full I decided it wouldn't be much fun punting and on the day the forecast was damp and likely to rain. We decided on doing the lunchtime pub visit by car rather than punt. For the party, I'd got my parents and some friends helping set things up and it went amazingly well. I had ordered my birthday cake from a bakery, as I thought it would be hard for me to bake a large one. I chose a 12" square iced chocolate cake, thinking it would be adequately sized - I could have fed dozens! It was lovely though. This year was the first time we did a Church Community Newsletter, published in September, which we produced to raise awareness in the village of the church and what we have to offer. It was a double sided affair, and took a fair bit of putting together. I had help, thankfully, from Jo, who organised contributions, Nic who helped print it, and the rest of the church to distribute it. In all 3,500 copies were distributed, over 3 times more than we had planned, but I was pleased with the result, and amazingly the rest of the church were really keen to do it all again for Christmas! In fact we'll probably do another sometime during the Spring. Also in September my friends Jo and Greg got married, and asked me to take photos for them. Of course I accepted, but I admit I was very nervous when the time came. I was under orders to be unobtrusive, and was very pleased when the Bride's parents congratulated me on being very quick and efficient. There were a few duds, but only a couple mattered at all, and I was happy with the result once I'd reviewed them. More importantly, so were the happy couple :-) I hope you all have a happy Christmas and a very prosperous New Year. If you're in Cambridge do drop me a line so we can meet up.