Michael's Christmas letter 2010

Dear Freinds and Raletions,

This year I have been using Facebook a little, and when I accepted an offer to make a collage of my "status" statements throughout the year it made me realise what a good year it has been. "This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Or as Larkin put it, in his more gloomy fashion:

Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Speaking of doctors, there have been a lot of changes at the practice over the past two years. Mary Hepden retired in December 2008 and Tim Connery in April 2010, which only leaves Jean Shaw and me of the original four partners who had worked together since 1994. I have just chalked up 25 years in the practice and some days it feels like it, although things have been better since I went part time in December 2009 and stopped working on Wednesdays. I now have four younger partners who have joined us over the past five years. I'm pleased to say that I am very happy with them and think that the future of the practice is in good hands, as it needs to be in these uncertain times.

I've continued to be involved with the music at St Peter's Church here in Nottingham. I started out as Deputy Organist in 1999, became Assistant Organist a few years later, and was appointed to the giddy heights (or depths) of Sub Organist following our residency at Westminster Abbey in 2008. The job remains the same, although I am excited that the new organ is nearly ready. After a three year hiatus in which we have used a temporary and not terribly satisfactory electronic instrument, the new organ should burst forth gloriously at the Christmas Eve Carol Service.

The choir continues to sing beautifully under the direction of Peter Siepmann. At the New Year we sang Evensong at Southwell Minster (our local cathedral), at the late May Bank Holiday we sang at York Minster for two days, and at the end of August we sang all the services for a week at Winchester Cathedral. It is such a joy to accompany our choir in these wonderful buildings. I particularly liked using the 32' Pedal reed at York Minster during a verse of one of the psalms, to illustrate the words "he hath prepared the instruments of death".

In March Gigi and I went to Réunion for a three week holiday, which was made more interesting when Gigi needed an operation while we were out there. But she was in good hands, her family rallied round, and she made a full and speedy recovery. During the year we also visited our friends in Alsace and in Rennes, and had two short breaks in Calais. Gigi came with me to spend the week at Winchester and between services we had a good look around Hampshire, and took the opportunity of visiting an old family friend in Devon while we were "down south".

We have just had a good day at the Shuttleworth Collection (near Sandy, Beds) to celebrate Uncle Gerry's 80th birthday. None of us are getting any younger, and I'm looking forward to making another trip to Western Australia in the Spring to spend a bit more time with Dad and Audrey.

Gigi and I remain extremely proud of our two girls. Emilie is still happily married after two and a half years (no mean feat these days) and is developing her career in public relations while living in Leeds on the edge of Roundhay Park. Marie-Anne is half-way through her English degree course at Nottingham University, has a part-time job selling posh threads to the gentry, and juggles a complex social life with consummate ease.

We both hope that you will have a good Christmas and a happy New Year.

Michael & Gigi Leuty

Email: mike@leuty.eu

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