Christmas letters from Ruth & Adrian Sharville

Sharville Christmas Newspoem 2009

The train is stuck at Paddington, and I
To write the Christmas NewsPoem must try.
No Proms, no cricket, back must go the clock...
Enough of gloom! I'll of our year take stock.

We celebrated Burns Night here in Wales -
Two-fifty years of poems, songs and tales -
While icicles from Severn's Bridge descended
And winter's chill gave hoar-frost vistas splendid.

A touch of summer, and some sun sublime
Saw us on Eurostar for the first time,
To visit Bruges, eat mussels, sup good beer,
Eat chocolate, marvel at the beauty here.

April was culture month. "Godot" came west
To Bath, then the South African "Tempest".
And great they were. But just as memorable,
The Zombies' "Odessy [sic] and Oracle".

In Cardiff we enjoyed "The Rite of Spring" -
How much the "live" experience can bring!
And Ruth made music with old friends and new,
And her own "Mag and Nunc" made its debut.

The usual summer suspects are all here -
We still "do" gardening, cricket and real beer.
The raspberries, beans and courgettes gave great crops,
But this year it's the sweetcorn that's the tops!

Our cricket saw a fair to middling season.
A cup match versus Sussex gave good reason
To take a trip to Hove in summer sun.
(Which would have been the best if Glos had won!)

Our holiday in Spain was pure perfection.
Our friends had never been in that direction.
We stayed in Paradores - these are found
In Spain's historic buildings all around.

We visited Bilbao and then (by rail)
Leon was next stop on this city trail.
To Santiago next, again by train
And then by car to truly rural Spain.

For there we found the green and pleasant valley
In which was nestled our luxurious chalet.
No noise but mooing cows by light of day;
At night pitch dark - how bright the Milky Way!

Galicia has everything. It's green,
With British tourists hardly ever seen.
Its beaches are superb, its cities fine.
We swam, we loved the beer, the food, the wine.

Our final city, Oviedo. There
We realised we'd found a city where
Fine art and architecture is applauded
(Though nothing there could be by us afforded).

Back home, and we enjoy life in South Wales
We love its beaches, coastline, hills and vales.
Its towns and cities and historic places.
(And some day we will make it to the Races!)

Honoured we were. The Poet Laureate
Was booked to visit Chepstow - her first date
Since her appointment. She began, inspired
(Which drew applause from us): I'm very tired!

James Fenton, and the marvellous Wendy Cope
Have shared their work in Chepstow. And we hope
Such visits will continue to inspire
Us who well-crafted words can but admire.

Ruth's work continues to be satisfying
Though changes are on the horizon lying...
As usual with the Civil Service, when
You're cut out for a job - all change again!

Ruth's mum submitted to the surgeon's knife,
A brave decision at her time of life.
He cleared stuff from her spine; a great success -
She's much more mobile, and in pain much less.

She treats herself to regular chiropody
A treat for feet - like hearing a Gymnopedie...
She loves and welcomes Flash, our cat, to stay
At weekends, or when we're on holiday.

Though Adrian's work can sometimes be an onus
His carer's job can bring a lucky bonus,
Like being paid (at this Ruth's lost for words)
To take a resident to look round Lords!

But then October came; our days were grey,
For Joan, Adrian's dear mother, passed away.
She left a legacy of joy and gladness
Which we must all remember in our sadness.

And Adrian has so valued friends' support,
Each kind, consoling word, each prayer, each thought
Reminding us how lucky we both are
To have the love of friends both near and far.

So now to all we wish felicitations
Glad tidings of great joy across all nations.
A happy Christmas, and, for Twenty Ten
The hope we may soon see you all again.