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Last Month's Newsletter

December 2005

Dear Visitor,

So what happened to the update that was going to be done for the first week in December? Well, a couple of things. One, I haven’t been very well (pneumonia, but I think it’s on its way), and I had no sooner recovered sufficiently to feel that I could at last update the site when the computer once again turned on me, and once again I had to restore it to factory settings, losing all my e-mails and competition entries, and so on, just like before, as those of you who have been reading this all year will perhaps remember. This, I have to point out, is Not My Fault. I know it keeps happening, but it really isn’t. Someone asked me last time if I’d tried an exorcist – I’m seriously considering it.

But once again losing Word files that I had failed to back up was my fault, and I apparently don’t learn by my mistakes, as the following will testify. I file these discourses, for instance, but forget to back them up to disc. When I finally got Word 2000 back in working order (no mean feat, believe me), I found that I had failed to back it up since July. And would you like to know how the July newsletter began? I quote: ‘This update is late because my computer’s software developed a fault that couldn’t be repaired, so it had to be returned to factory settings.’ It’s true – you can check it out!

This time, however, though I still couldn’t back anything up, I could at least read what was there, so I picked winners for last month’s competition, and rescued the addresses of the winners of the previous month, to whom I had never even written, so they should all have been notified by now. I also took a note of any unanswered e-mails and website queries, so if you’ve written in the last six weeks or so, you should be hearing from me soon, if you haven’t already.

Since it’s the start of a new year and all that, I don’t want to let this update run over next month (which I usually do in these circumstances) so this month’s competition will be up over the holidays, with the site being updated (I sincerely hope, given a fair wind) in the first week of January. I hope you can find time to enter. A lot of people write to ask if the video of A Shred of Evidence is available commercially – the answer is no, I’m afraid, but a copy of my video is offered as a prize each month, so you can get it if you keep trying! You can also choose a signed hardback if you prefer, or an audiobook. Runners-up get a signed paperback.

And I would now like to address the following to anyone who is on the mailing list and whose e-mail provider is AOL. For the last two months, all AOL stuff has been bounced back to me, presumably because it’s being treated as spam. So if you want to receive the newsletter (which isn’t always just two lines long as it has been of late) can you get AOL to stop filtering it out or sign up with an alternative e-mail address? Thank you!

I had hoped to get the tree in its full autumn foliage, when it really does (perhaps that should be did) look magnificent, but this year the leaves fell as they turned, so I took a high angle photo to show you the carpet of leaves beneath it. I suspect the tree might be on its way out. In any case, its roots have destroyed the garden shed and I can’t help thinking that it perhaps ought to be removed before it damages anything more important!

In amongst all the irritating things that have been happening, however, I have had a regular tonic – visits from Georgia, who gets jollier and even more fun every time she comes. She has said her first word, and everyone’s heard her saying it now, so it wasn’t an accident. It’s ‘Hiya’, which is entirely appropriate, because she loves seeing people. She smiles all the time, but I think she must be hoping to stand for parliament one day, because every time you point a camera at her she drops the joyous smile and assumes a serious, thoughtful, almost noble expression.

If you want to see her first real encounter with George, go to George’s page, and at the bottom of this page you will find her doing something that I’m sure everyone reading this will have done in his or her time – falling asleep over a book. These are my very favourite photographs of her so far.

I think that’s everything. Thank you very much for staying with me during this year, which has been a little fraught and a little less productive than I would have liked, and for putting up with the extremely patchy updates to the site. I hope to do much better all round next year.

I do hope you have a happy, peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.



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