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CHRISTMAS 2009 Greetings from Poynton! Thanks for your cards and letters – unfortunately we don’t get to see some people much at all, and we love catching up on your news. This was the year that Jenny went to live in Japan. She left in March, and is now living in Fukuoka, a city on the island of Kyushu, the most Westerly part of Japan. She managed to find a flat and a job quite quickly, and is currently working as an assistant language teacher in a High School. These posts are funded by the government and are free to the schools, but surprisingly they don’t make a lot of use of her some weeks so she generally has a lot of spare time when she is at school! She is trying to make good use of it and learn more Japanese in her free time. She will be working on Christmas day, as all the teachers have to be in school, although the children are off! She got swine flu a few months ago and made a good recovery. When we talk to her she seems well and happy. Thank goodness for Skype and MSN! Her boyfriend, Taka, is close by – he is living in University accommodation while he studies for a Masters degree. Jenny gets on well with his family – she now gets regular deliveries of rice from the family rice fields. Rachel and Mark are still living in Longbenton, in a rented house. Mark changed his job again this year, when he was approached by Durham university about a job application he had made over a year before! He is now working in the Governance Support Unit and is enjoying being in Durham again. Rachel’s school had a visit from the Ofsted team just before half term, and after frantic effort over a weekend to produce perfect lesson plans, and make sure that everything in the school was just so, managed to be pronounced an “Outstanding” school for the third time. She is now responsible for IT in the school in addition to her usual duties. In April, the leadership structure of Poynton Baptist Church was changed, and Jonathan is no longer a deacon, but was elected to the new Core Leadership Team which has taken on some of the functions of the previous eldership and diaconate. Each member of the team provides a link to an area of the church – Jonathan is the link to the work amongst children and young people. He has yet to cast down the mantle of responsibility for various technical areas of the church, which went with his diaconate post, but is working on it. He has continued to do work on the Heathrow airport baggage systems, which has meant being away from home from time to time although not nearly as much as last year. As we write, the large contract in T4 that he has been working on for most of the year has come to an end so he will be working on other projects until BAA come up with a new contract. Janet is very busy at work, especially as Priorslegh is now a six partner practice, instead of seven, following the retirement of one of the partners on 31st December last year. Another factor making things seem somewhat chaotic, is the fact that the practice has been managerless for the last two months – the new manager will start in mid January, and the days are being counted! Janet is one of the leaders of the re-jigged youth work at the church. The Sunday morning sessions are now including years 7-11. Years 12 and 13 are welcome on a Sunday morning, and also have other groups during the week, and a leadership course that they can plug in to. At the end of June we celebrated our 30th(!) wedding anniversary during a week’s holiday in Pembrokeshire, and later in the year were in Wales again, this time North Wales, with Rachel and Mark, and Jenny, who managed to get home in August to escape the hottest and most humid part of Japanese summer. It was lovely to have everybody together! It was also 30 years since Janet graduated from Leeds and we spent a weekend in Whitby with a selection of other 1979 graduates and hangers-on (like Jonathan). We had a lovely weekend reminiscing over old times and enjoying the various attractions of Whitby. It felt like being students again! Saturday saw us ascending the Abbey steps and visiting the Abbey before retiring to the Magpie Café for fish and chips. After that, time was spent on the beach with donkey rides, sand castles and paddling partaken of by various members of the party. Sunday morning included a

crabbing session and we retired to a carvery just outside Whitby for lunch together before we all set off home. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable weekend – so good in fact that this could become an annual event. Jonathan’s mum and dad moved house last Friday, at the ages of 88 and 83! They have left the house they have lived in for over 40 years, and have moved to a lovely apartment in a new build in Guiseley. At the moment the apartment is still full of boxes, although we managed to unpack several of them when we went over on Saturday. We are sure that they will have to get rid of some of the things that have been packed and transferred to the flat. It is such a challenge trying to downsize! Janet’s mum has been getting much more forgetful over the last couple of years, and last month was diagnosed with a mixed type of dementia. Thanks to the fact that Janet’s brother lives with her, she is managing to live at home. She is still able to get in to Newcastle to shop, and tends to build up hoards of things that she likes, so other members of the family are receiving boxes of shortbread , and Christmas puddings as Richard tries to rationalise the household supplies! This year seems to have sped past – another sign of old age, we suspect! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, and God’s joy and peace as we celebrate the birth of His son. With love and best wishes from Jonathan and Janet. (We’ll leave you with a few pictures from our holiday in North Wales in August.)

Ayres Christmas Letter 2009