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Our plans were to retire in summer 2020 and see the world, but Coronavirus has lead us into a lot of lockdown programming in Python 3 and PHP 7.
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The Christmas Letter

It's become fashionable at this time of year in certain circles to write a newsletter to tell all those people with whom you remain in touch only at Christmas what's been happening with you and your family all year. I confess that I'm reminded of the film "as good as it gets" with some of these letters, where the waitress writes a "Thank you" letter so long - so many, many pages long - that the generous if quirky gent who has nobly (yet also selfishly) paid for a doctor to see her boy gets more than a little embarrassed. So let me keep it short, even if I use typical section headings for this sort of thing.

The Intro

Lisa and I have been running "Well House Manor" - the hotel associated with our training courses - for a year now. A steep learning curve on many fronts, but we feel we have learned and we welcome friends and family to visit us here.

The Family

Son Tyler (living in USA) got married to Alyssa in May and brought her across to meet us during a brief honeymoon the following week. Son Chris (living near Bristol), joined us as our general manager at Well House Manor in the Autumn and is having a huge and positive effect here. His wife Delene is an amazing person, but is going through a number of very serious medical issues which is very trying indeed on both of them. Daughter Kimberly (living close by in Melksham) lives with Tom, works happily in a preschool nursery, and has started day release to further qualifications.

Graham's Dad, living in Devizes, remains very active indeed of mind and body; a cataract operation just last week meant that I saw my dad for the first time in my life without bottle-bottom glasses just these last few days, and a milky opaqueness has been lifted from his sight and put a spring back in his step (mind you, that spring was never gone). We saw Lisa's Mum, in Virginia, her retirement "pad", in August. She's been through some medical stuff too, but we had a very bouncy family day with Lisa and her three siblings.

The Year and holidays

Helsinki for a course (with time for a brief look around) early in the year. Soon after Easter - a week (a course again for me) in the beautiful Belgian town of Brugge. That whirlwind week with Tyler and Alyssa in May. A week in the USA (Washington and New York State, where I gave a short course) in August. And a few days at the beginning of this month in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The Christmas plans

Christmases past have been a whirlwind of travel. But this year, we'll be notably at home; with "children" no longer being children / family situations enforcing holidays at peak summer or peak winter times, we can stay around Melksham - and after a hectic year that suits us just fine. A simple Christmas dinner - probably just a handful of us - but seeing family and friends over the period.

Looking forward

2007 has been a year of stabilizing our major project of "Well House Manor" - having got the place refurbished at the tail of 2006, we've turned it into a fully functional and running training center and general business hotel this year. For 2008, I think the key target is "consolidation" - dealing with many of those little things that make up the long tail of the project, and quietly running a superb hotel and a great set of courses. Lisa and I are also looking for some more time for ourselves; we can't go on at the pace we have been doing, and with excellent staff now on board and fully "in tune" to run the place, that plan isn't beyond possibility. Knowing us, I don't imagine we would actually be out of touch for more than a day or two anyways!

Have you ever been on holiday and said to those people who you get on with really well that they must look you up when you're back home? You know it won't happen as they live in Ripon and you live in Abercrave? Well - we say to all our friends (and our business acquaintances become our friends too in our businesses) "Please DO look us up when you're in the area - or why not have a weekend away in Wiltshire and stay with us" and we mean it!

Something extra

I started talking about the typical Christmas letter. Well - I'm now going to add something that is NOT. I've talked about family - siblings, offspring and parents, but only in passing about Lisa. I couldn't do what I do without her - not only in business, but also in personal life - things which aren't "Well House" concerned or related. It's been a tough year for her - the pressures of what we have taken on effect us all differently, and it has "shown" on all of us. But I am delighted to report - just very recently - that the pressures have turned around, are easing rather than building, and very quickly like the first flowers of spring I'm seeing fresh shoots of joie-de-vivre in Lisa, and it gladdens my heart. And I have no doubt that the Christmas period, with a chance for so many things that we've been too busy to countenance these last months, will lead to a further blossoming in an early Spring. I'm not a good one for soppy words, especially publicly expressed ... so perhaps I'll leave this extra at just a short indication of something and someone special.
(written 2007-12-22)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z210 - Christmas and New Year
  [161] Christmas break - (2004-12-23)
  [162] A Change is as good as a rest - (2004-12-27)
  [540] Christmas Party - (2005-12-24)
  [541] Christmas is for everyone - (2005-12-25)
  [543] The world didn't stop for Christmas - (2005-12-26)
  [573] Giving an excuse for Christmas - (2006-01-22)
  [953] Christmas in November - (2006-11-29)
  [980] Street Scene - (2006-12-12)
  [1462] 10 training days to Christmas. - (2007-12-07)
  [1483] What have hotels and bananas got in common? - (2007-12-24)
  [1484] A christmas message - (2007-12-25)
  [1914] It must be nearly Christmas - (2008-12-01)
  [1931] Frosty Morning, foggy evening - (2008-12-08)
  [1942] Christmas scenes and events - (2008-12-14)
  [1952] Small Print - (2008-12-19)
  [1959] - - (2008-12-24)
  [2486] Santa Special - Trowbridge and Melksham to Swindon - (2009-10-31)
  [2528] Melksham Christmas Lights - (2009-12-05)
  [2529] Santa Special, 2009 - (2009-12-06)
  [2543] Day and night at Christmas - (2009-12-19)
  [2549] Christmas Day ... - (2009-12-25)
  [2978] Christmas 2010 - Well House Manor, Melksham, Hotel - (2010-10-01)
  [3095] The Christmas Season has arrived - (2010-12-19)
  [3101] The week before Christmas - (2010-12-23)
  [3110] The days after Christmas - (2010-12-27)
  [3116] Are there newspapers on New Years Day? Do the shops open on Easter Sunday? Do trains run at Christmas? - (2011-01-01)
  [3530] A typical weekend?? - (2011-11-28)
  [3535] Melksham, Luxury Hotel Rooms, Christmas. - (2011-12-02)
  [3538] Santa Train - another successful trip - 4th December 2011 - (2011-12-04)
  [3557] Melksham Christmas Lights - Town, Shops and Private Houses - (2011-12-20)
  [3561] Happy Christmas ... a Christmas morning walk in Melksham - (2011-12-25)
  [3562] Christmas Day - for unique pictures - (2011-12-26)
  [3765] Christmas in June? Melksham hotel bookings and Santa train - (2012-06-15)
  [3957] The week before Christmas - (2012-12-19)
  [4227] Happy Christmas from the Well House Manor team - (2013-12-25)
  [4235] Sharing my personal best of 2013 - (2013-12-31)
  [4329] Does Santa Claus need a CRB check? - (2014-11-25)
  [4357] Seeing Christmas Coming to Melksham - (2014-12-20)
  [4363] A quiet evening in Melksham - awaiting Santa - (2014-12-24)
  [4364] Christmas day in Melksham - (2014-12-25)
  [4365] The changing face of Christmas - (2014-12-26)

G999 - Well House Consultants - Keynote
  [164] Well House Consultants - review of 2004 - (2004-12-31)
  [225] 10 years and counting - (2005-02-23)
  [295] Pricing strategy - simple and fair - (2005-04-29)
  [360] Spring turns to Summer - (2005-06-26)
  [419] Most popular courses - (2005-08-19)
  [428] Swindon - Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge - Westbury train service - (2005-08-29)
  [452] Is enough enough? - (2005-09-27)
  [464] Technical Loneliness - (2005-10-14)
  [549] 2005 - Come as a student, leave as a friend - (2005-12-31)
  [626] Not just a pretty face to answer the phone. - (2006-02-26)
  [695] In the hospitality business - (2006-04-23)
  [774] Bed and Breakfast, or Hotel? - (2006-06-22)
  [845] Course scheduling and Geekmas - are they traditions yet? - (2006-08-26)
  [890] Open - (2006-10-09)
  [898] Courses at Well House Manor - (2006-10-19)
  [929] Presenting Melksham - for a weekend away in Wiltshire - (2006-11-17)
  [1079] Wilts and Berks - two conference / training rooms in Melksham - (2007-02-14)
  [1161] A contrast in room rates and facilities - (2007-04-25)
  [1245] Ensuring that our tutor answers YOUR questions - (2007-06-25)
  [1317] 2008 course schedule - Perl, Python, PHP, Linux, Java Deployment, Ruby and more - (2007-08-23)
  [1319] Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business - (2007-08-25)
  [1414] What we teach - expained for the non-technical - (2007-10-28)
  [1492] Well House Consultants Training and Hotel - 2008 news - (2008-01-01)
  [1555] Advanced Python, Perl, PHP and Tcl training courses / classes - (2008-02-25)
  [1615] PHP training courses every month - (2008-04-18)
  [1676] A warm welcome for visitors from the USA - (2008-06-14)
  [1748] Hotel room prices - Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-08-11)
  [1773] The Longest Possible Day - (2008-08-26)
  [1857] November and December Public Course Schedule - (2008-10-27)
  [1859] Wiltshire at dawn - the tourist trail - (2008-10-29)
  [1929] 2009 - Hotel, Meeting, Training Course prices - (2008-12-07)
  [1955] How to avoid duplicating web page maintainance - (2008-12-20)
  [1975] Well House Manor Hotel - on plan for 2009 business guests - (2009-01-03)
  [2144] Looking for a career change - Physician to Web Site Designer - (2009-04-28)
  [2216] Past Delegate Offer - Summer Holiday / Weekend Break - (2009-06-03)
  [2228] Where do I start when writing a program? - (2009-06-11)
  [2326] Learn a new programming language this summer. - (2009-08-06)
  [2384] Looking ahead to the Autumn season of training and accommodation - (2009-08-28)
  [2483] Clustering on Tomcat - (2009-10-30)
  [2537] Faster network, but not faster browsing until ... - (2009-12-14)
  [3164] Brown - or Mrs Sally Brown, accountant from Whitstable? - (2011-02-10)
  [4588] What teach you in a week stays with you for a decade - (2015-11-29)


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Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members.
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The Christmas Letter
Next course - 7th January 2008, Regular Expressions
FSB leaves its members feeling like mushrooms
Some new C programming examples - files, structs, unions etc
Decisions - small ones, or big ones?
Shopping for Christmas and looking forward
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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