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(Open letter as a word document)
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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
Royal Mail Group
London Waste and Recycling Board
Bishop's Move *
BUPA Healthcare UK
Weightwatchers International Inc.
* 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Final point of interest: Although tax-exempt special savings accounts have now been superseded by ISAs, the Cockburns still have a TESSA (and she still has her canine PEP.)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 ******
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.