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(Christmas 2008)
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Christmas Newsletter 2008

Click here to skip to the supplemental information exclusive to the website.

Share and Share Alike (the regular column of our financial expert)

In the current economic climate the stock market is not generally regarded as the best place to invest - but by monitoring the activities of the Cockburn household one can gain useful insights into which shares are on the way up and which are on the way down.

J Sainsbury plc
With the presence of Hannah on the delicatessen and meat and fish counters during this last year, even if only for two and a half days a week, the fortunes of this supermarket chain have gone from strength to strength. To say that she is single-handledly responsible for the smooth running of her section would not be to do justice to the reality of the situation. However, as Hannah is currently seeking work more suited to her training in biomedical science, the future is less certain. Sell.

AstraZeneca UK
This pharmaceutical giant is likely to continue to benefit from the presence of ace programmer Nathanael for the foreseeable future. Inertia and contentment mean that he is unlikely to stir from his home in Macclesfield for many years to come. With his contribution, the company can hardly fail. Buy.

Royal Mail Group
As Madeleine corresponds with UCAS and selected universities (her top preference being Durham) regarding her hopes to take a Physics degree, the volume of mail in the country as a whole has mushroomed. Buy.

This company supplied the family (yes, all five for a change! - plus the dog) with an excellent base for a week's holiday in Dorset. Team GB were also kind enough to provide regular morning entertainment by winning lots of Olympic gold medals. Unfortunately, the plan to return in 2009 has fallen through because the cottage is no longer available for rent. Sell.

London Waste and Recycling Board
Since Sue has discovered her true calling as a domestic eco-warrior, bulbs have been replaced, electricity is being monitored and nothing is discarded if it can be recycled. Buy.

Nathanael is now the proud owner of a Ford Fiesta and Madeleine expects to be unleashed onto the road sometime in the new year. She is currently kept in check by her driving instructor, but when all three of the Cockburn offspring are simultaneously travelling the highways of our green and pleasant land, then it seems reasonable to prepare for an increase in traffic accident claims and a corresponding decrease in motor insurance profits. Sell.

Apple Inc.
Earlier in the year, Paul converted from a PC to a MacBook. His wonderful new laptop has been described as 'rubbish' and 'horrible' and 'you can't play Towers on it' - but it is surely only a matter of time before the rest of the family come round to his point of view. And where the Cockburn family lead, the world will no doubt follow. Buy.

Bishop's Move *
Devoted readers of our annual bulletins will be aware that next year Paul's term in Orpington draws to a close and some may have bought shares in this removal firm in anticipation of an upturn in business. (And naturally chosen this particular firm recognising that a Methodist superintendent has an essentially episcopal role.) However recent news reveals that Paul will next summer be moving only as far as Horsham, to be super of the Dorking and Horsham circuit. Hardly a long enough distance to bring major profit. Sell.

BUPA Healthcare UK
Given that the whole family are in fine fettle and robust health, they are unlikely to generate any business for the medical profession.... Sell.

Weightwatchers International Inc.
... on the other hand, here's a company some ought to be patronising. Buy.

* Despite the disbelief of the Cockburn daughters, Bishop's Move is the name of a genuine removal firm.

Final point of interest: Although tax-exempt special savings accounts have now been superseded by ISAs, the Cockburns still have a TESSA (and she still has her canine PEP.)

contact details: ******, Orpington, Kent, BR6 ***, 01689 ******

Cockburn newsletter supplemental:

The above is the Christmas letter which was sent out. But Sue thought that it didn't really explain all the key facts for the year, so here they are in a boring but more straightforward format...

Paul is in his eighth year as superintendent based at Orpington church. This year the Orpington circuit (6 churches) and the Chislehurst circuit (4 churches) have joined together, so he is now superintendent of the Orpington and Chislehurst circuit. From September 2009 he will be superintendent of the Dorking and Horsham circuit with responsibility for London Road Methodist Church (Horsham) and Partridge Green Methodist Church. He remains interested in amateur dramatics and cryptic crosswords.

Sue spends her days walking Tessa and looking after our daughters, with weekly trips to see her mother in Reigate and to attend calligraphy classes in Sevenoaks. She enjoys geocaching and repeats of TV detective programmes.

Nathanael is living in the house we have bought in Macclesfield (and paying rent). Now he has turned 25 he has bought a car. Before that he relied on foot, lifts or public transport. His job involves using computer software to analyse data in a form which makes sense to the AstraZeneca researchers. He enjoys books, films and video games. He operates the PA system for the local Baptist church and visits his university friends whenever he can.

Hannah is studying for a few extra modules which will allow her to register with the Institute of Biomedical Science. She can then start applying for jobs in that field. Meanwhile she is working Thursday evenings, Fridays and Saturdays at the Sainsbury's near Sevenoaks. She has been helping the Brownies for a while and this term organised the whole series of meetings on the theme of High School Musical. This year she has expressed her creativity through the medium of a camcorder - making and editing silly film clips. For relaxation she plays piano and watches TV. She and Madeleine are besotted, as always, with Tessa and Strictly Come Dancing.

Madeleine is in her final year of A-levels (Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry) and has been visiting various universities. Her ambition is to follow the family tradition and go to Durham. She has applied to Trevelyan College to study Physics. She has passed her saxophone grade 7. She spends a lot of her time with three friends from school and helping in the church. This year she has written and is directing the Nativity Play. She has passed her driving theory test and has her practical test booked for March.

This year's holiday was in Durweston near Blandford Forum (near Poole). It coincided with the second week of the Olympics which gave us a good excuse to be up early and catch up on overnight news. All three children joined us, and with two cars we were able to work out a schedule of activities to match everyone's taste. Hannah has produced a brilliant video record of the holiday. Two extracts can be found on YouTube at the following links: Trailer / Pizza Hut Advert - and Madeleine says you should check out her music videos while you're there. (On YouTube she calls herself yarmouthbeetroot.)

Tessa continues to be 'cute'.

If you've got this far and want more contact, then all of us except Sue and Tessa are now on Facebook.

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