1999 Millennial Message from Graham and Jackie

This year, the 30% travel involved in Jackie’s new job with 3Com really kicked in.  As a result, Jackie has been in France twice, Northern California four times, Ireland three times, Chicago twice, Los Angeles, Stockholm and Munich; away a total of 19 weeks.

Meanwhile, Graham has enjoyed his hi-tech world.  He renovated a PC and has been spending a lot of time working with a new scanner, including working on old photographs, which can be made to look really good.

We’ve managed to pack in a number of shows and concerts this year.  After last year’s letter went out, we immersed ourselves in Christmas, thanks to a Gospel concert at the Barbican – hallelujah !  On Boxing Day we went with Graham’s parents to West Side Story.

We kicked off the New Year with the latest Star Trek movie, “Insurrection”, following that later with “A Bug’s Life”, “Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace” &, finally, “The World is not Enough”.

Jackie tried to interest Graham in Shakespeare – “The Tempest” – but it just doesn’t push his buttons.  Fortunately, one of her colleagues, visiting from the US, was more appreciative of “The Merchant of Venice”.

Graham went to see Plácido Domingo singing Zarzuela at the Barbican.  Jackie went to see Frederica von Stade at la Scala, Milan, just one of those fringe benefits we mentioned.  She also went to the Gate Theatre in Dublin and saw a new play about three generations of women in one family, meeting on a grassy knoll.

We saw Dean Friedman at the Jazz Café, which is a great venue for a small concert; Ute Lemper & then Jimmy Nail on a Sunday night at the London Palladium.

And, last but certainly not least, the Royal Opera House re-opened in December.  The building and the catering facilities are wonderful.  It is now possible to have a whole evening out at the Opera, without going outside, including having your dessert during the interval.

The Opening Gala was a triumph for the Royal Ballet who put on a programme of highlights from all their best works and created a special presentation including the fairy from Sleeping Beauty reawakening the House after all the works.  Jackie went to several ballets during the year, including the Bolshoi with her mother.

Family-wise, Graham’s nephew, Daniel, turned two and developed an extraordinary fondness for the letter ‘O’.  Jackie’s niece gave birth to a second child, a girl named Sierra.  On a sad note, Graham’s granda died.

Apart from trips to see the family, we had 2 trips in England.  Firstly, we had a weekend in Somerset for a housewarming.  We climbed Glastonbury Tor against an icy February wind - brrr !  Secondly, we went to a Country House Hotel outside Bath for a week followed by a week in Penzance to see the eclipse.  We had great fun, discovered how beautiful the English countryside and how variable English service can be and had good weather – except for the day of the Eclipse !  Still, even underneath the steady rain, the sudden stillness and darkness were impressive.  We would like to see the corona one day though.

On the theme of celestial fireworks the universe continued to mock us throughout the year.  Apart from the complete washout of the eclipse, one of the best August meteor showers (the Perseids) was completely clouded out too.  The irony was enhanced by the fact that the days immediately before and after were absolutely perfectly clear !  The theme continued when the "shower of the century" (the Leonids in November) was hidden from most of the UK and finally the Geminids (December) was similarly hidden.  Serious consideration must now be given to the Australian eclipse in 2004 and other sites for great meteor showers of the future (Arizona is scheduled for a major storm next year).

We also had a week in Spain, in March, visiting Jackie’s mother who spent the Winter there.  We went to Granada, a few months earlier than Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston – great minds …

Jackie visited Yosemite for a weekend during one trip to California.  It is a glorious place – even walking up the waterfall, getting soaking wet, was enjoyable given the heat.  She then spent the Fourth of July in Denver with a trip to the mountains with Susan’s family and a holiday celebration with Elisabeth’s.  At the end of the summer she went to the Minervois and stayed with Halinka’s family.  Thanks to all of them.  Then, going from Old World to New World Wine Country, she stayed at the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa – heavenly if you like relaxed surroundings, hot spring-fed outdoor pools, spa treatments AND good food and wine.

Speaking of which, we had some good meals this year, including one at The Ivy in London, which we booked at 3 p.m. in the afternoon for the same night – well, it was August Bank Holiday Sunday !

Its being 20 years since she left school, Jackie had a High School Reunion this year and, thanks to the weather in Chicago, managed to miss most of it  and most people!  She is looking forward to the promised repeat in 2000.  She did manage to meet up with the Girls from Newnham for a Colours & then an Image Day – so this greeting comes to you from a Classical Romantic Soft Autumn Leaf….. and Graham !