4th Estate 2008
John & Noelene Gillatt, 23 Fourth Avenue, Heaton, Bolton, Lancs UK, BL1 4LU - e-mail us
Download the print version (PDF) of the 2009 Fourth Estate from here.

If you click on the little red camera (Click Here) you should be taken to some piccies of the event!


Wot, No Cards

As in the last two years we’re not sending cards again and once more we’re e-mailing as many of the Fourth Estates as possible, plus referring our friends to this website.

As in 2008, the money we save will be donated to those whose lot is just as bad this year as last — the destitute refugees and asylum seekers in Bolton who are being cared for by BRASS (Befriending Refugees and Asylum Seekers), Victoria Hall, Knowsley Street, Bolton BL1 2AS.

Why not help too by either donating to BRASS or by giving to another deserving charity?

UNHCR Delivers

About Time Too!

We promise to not be (too) doting grandparents and bore you, our regular readers, with every poop and pee of our future grandchild. But there is something really special and exciting about being in this “happy condition” for the first time. Claire and Carl expect Jack William or ???? May (after Claire's grandparents) on 15th June. So that's well and truly buggered our holiday plans for 2010!

Mummy To Be Daddy To Be
Mummy To Be! Daddy To Be!

I think, for the first time since Dawn and Claire themselves were born, the prospect of a howling, screaming little thing (and I DON’T mean Noelene!) really does fill us with unbelievable joy.


Old Farts Both!

I suppose that with future grand- parenthood comes the wisdom of age and, as you know, I began my seventh decade in June with my child bride only starting her sixth last January.

It’s GREAT though — bus pass, free prescriptions, free swimming, cheap theatre tickets, winter heating allowance and many more benefits.

So PLEASE PLEASE make sure the Tories don’t win the election next year or we’ll just be poverty stricken oldies!

We celebrated The Boss’s half centenary with a paddle in the River Nile and Old Fart’s “diamond geezer’s” just as you would expect!

Paddling In The Nile Old Fart As You Would Expectg
Paddling In The Nile A Fine Vintage, Methinks!

Places to Go.....

I must admit that the idea of a Nile Cruise wasn’t at the top of my agenda but Noelene’s dreamed of it all her life and, to be honest, it was just fandabbydozy. I have to say that, towards the end, we were suffering from just a twinge of “temple fatigue” but it was even more spectacular than we had hoped or dreamed of. If you ever get the chance or excuse — just do it.

Click Here As you can imagine there were just one or two photos taken and you can see most of them at www.picasaweb.google.com/giblets09/200902egypt. Here are four that we particularly like:

Told You They Weren't That Big Fun At Abu Simbel
Told You They Weren't That Big Fun At Abu Simbel!
Queen Of Sheba! Balloons Over The Nile
My Queen Of Sheba Balloons Over The Nile

Click Here Adios Amigos! - After the anticipation of regularly travelling to Mexico John's two trips to Queretaro this year were, surprisingly, to be his last as "the powers that be" decided that no matter how much you know, if you can't speak Spanish it ain't no good. So I had to say adios to mi amigos Claudia, Pablo, Yarely and many others, at least for now. But it was fun even if the tequila does give you an awful hangover!

Columbia - My last trip to Mexico included three days (well, you wouldn't want to stay too long!) in Medellin and Bogota which, despite their reputation, seemed pretty good to me. I didn't get lost or even threatened with kidnap; mind you, who would have paid the ransom anyway?!

Click Here Viking Land - there are some compensations for no longer heading south. How about heading north?! I must say that the west coast of Sweden and the magic rocks of the Finnish islands, where beer cans grow out of them, are sights you should all see once in a while.

West Coast Of Sweden
West Coast Of Sweden
I Need One Of Those! Magic Rock
I Could Do With One! Magic Rocks - Only In Finland

Iran — went there in December 2008 for the first time and I'm writing this part of the Fourth Estate website late at night in a hotel on the outskirts of Tehran during a return visit.

No one has a good word to say about Ahmadinejad and most don't like the clerics either; there seems to be a feeling that, sooner or late, it'll all boil over and come to a lot of grief.

However, the country is absolutely lovely, the people kind and friendly and it's good to give one's liver a rest from alcohol just before Christmas! One thing that sells the country for me is that there are no American fast food places - no MacDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts, etc; pure bliss as far as I'm concerned!

So, in my opinion, Iran has a lot going for it; mind you, I wouldn't want to be a woman living there and you do get a lot of messages like this when trying to access websites such as BBC News and even my own Picasaweb photos. They must have seen the ones of Noelene in the bath!

Censored!

Here's a rather spiffin' piccie I took last year (actually it's three stitched together):

View from the Estleghal Hotel, Tehran

Next Year — who knows. But Nigeria, Pakistan, India and a bankrupt Dubai are on the horizon along with the very pleasurable job of helping out the Vikings, even though I don't speak bloody Scandinhoven!!


Hello Mother

At The Eden Project

Some of you might think that having your mother-in-law with you for three months is just about the worst punishment there could be. But we were very, very pleased when Merle left the warm and dry South African winter for the cold and wet English summer (eh?), spending all of June to September with us.

Being a considerate smoker, and I would never think of her as anything else, she was often consigned to her smoking gazebo outside the back door until, towards the end of her visit, a "mild summer breeze" blew it away!

We took her to the north (Edinburgh Click Here), the east (Norfolk Click Here and Essex Click Here), the west (Cornwall Click Here) and even the south (Windsor) as well as exotic places and events such as Bolton Market and the Mela Click Here. And, as you may know, she cooks one of the finest lamb curries this side of Rawalpindi; so come back any time Merle!


Seafood Chef   Doing It The Hard Way
Seafood Chef
Cornwall with Merle in the summer was the second time we’d been this year, the first, with Goughie and Julie, was to catch up the celebration of his own “diamond geezer” birthday a couple of years ago with a day at Rick Stein’s seafood cooking school. And didn’t he look pleased, as well as a little “tired and emotional”, at the end of his day! We continue going to Julie’s friends’ cottage in Wales as often as we can and we'll be there over New Year again. We’ve almost finished walking the Llyn Coastal path, apart from the bits that aren’t on the coast and Noelene has decided to show us all how to do it the hard way, insisting on carrying a huge piece of driftwood along the entire route! Click Here

Awa' The Lads!

Click Here Dawn and Jon’s diamond pressie for the Old Fart was a day at the National Glass Centre. So, in November, we stayed on the North Sea coast at Roker, DIDN’T get blown off and John did his thing with lumps of hot glass. It was just terrific, even if some of the pieces were just a little wonky! The day after, our exploration of The Tyne made us realise just what we’ve been missing all these years. The Baltic, The Sage (aka The Slug), the Millennium Bridge (the one that worked first time!), the sculpture trails and the river are just wonderful. Okay, it ain’t the Nile — but it’s well worth a visit and on the way back we saw my favorite sculpture of all time - The Angel of The North.

Wonky Wine Glass The Millennium Bridge, Gateshead
Wonky But It Works! The Millennium Bridge That Worked First Time
Where's That Going To Land? The Angel
Where's That Going To Land? The Angel At Twilight

Click Here Finally, in December we sat outside eating Charo’s wonderful paella at her and Gary’s place in España as she did her Abba Dancing Queen impression!


Zounds, Those Sounds!

Musical highlights of the year were:

Gary Moore APFS - The Wall Chris Wood
Gary Moore at The Manchester Apollo and the incredible (and exceptionally loud - as it should be) 30th anniversary full performance of The Wall in Liverpool by the Australian Pink Floyd Show. We left feeling very “Comfortably Numb”! Click Here Finally, without a sign of a finger in the ear we saw folkie and social commentator Chris Wood at the wonderfully refurbished Band on the Wall in Manchester. Click Here

And we’ve already booked to see Tangerine Dream at the Royal Albert Hall next April - COOOOL!!


Finally

You've hopefully seen the links to our photos by clicking on the little red camera (Click Here) but if you want to see all of the thousands that we've accumulated this year just take a look at http://picasaweb.google.com/giblets09. Hopefully, if we've seen you this year you'll be able spot yourself in one or two of them!

A very special thanks for all the good things that have happened to us in 2009 and especially to our friends and families for their love throughout the year.


A very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all our readers