Christmas letters from Ruth & Adrian Sharville

Sharville Christmas Newspoem 2014

The clocks are back, the daylight hours are waning,
Yet seventeen degrees it was today.
October's nearly out, but no complaining -
This warmth will keep the winter blues at bay.

And so will thoughts of what we have been doing
Throughout the year that's soon to be behind us.
New places seen, and friendships old renewing,
Of which, in future years, this will remind us.

The start of the year I just can't recall,
Except that there was water all around.
The rivers Wye and Usk and Monnow, all
Swelled greatly; fields and roads nearby were drowned.

The flooding didn't touch us - we're protected,
We're halfway up the hillside. All was well.
But how we felt for those with homes affected
By muddy inundation - and the smell!

Our travels this year started in Glangwili,
A B and B so lush, a real treat.
West Wales is green and pleasant, very hilly,
With gorgeous beaches and places to eat!

In May we had a two-week Baltic cruise,
To try a different way of exploration.
We loved it, so much so that we will choose
This mode of transport for next year's vacation.

We called at Copenhagen, and explored it
On foot, and on a boat to see it best.
Then German Warnemunde, we adored it,
And Rostock - just as well for rain we'd dressed.

To Tallinn we went next - a lovely city
Of cobbled streets, and buildings far from new.
Though geared so much to tourists, it's still pretty,
And from its tallest tower Ruth got the view!

Saint Petersburg was next on the agenda:
The opulence of Peterhof which dazed us,
With golden fountains, then next day the splendour
That is the Hermitage. This just amazed us!

Helsinki, Finland was next port of call,
And so refreshing after all we'd seen.
It was the place we both liked most of all,
With cutting-edge design, so fresh and clean.

Last visit was to Sweden's island city
Of Stockholm, adding to our "island haul".
Another place we loved, so what a pity
To realise it was the last port of call.

Next day, in morning mist, the Kiel Canal
Was Marco Polo's last shout on our trip.
In contrast, thoughts of Tilbury seemed banal -
But there, in sun, we disembarked our ship.

September - back to Brittany, so good
We'd like to buy a house there. You could rent it!
We love the beer, the culture, beaches, food...
It's only lack of funds that can prevent it.

We loved our Prom in London, nothing better,
And "Cut-outs" from Matisse - so fascinating.
In Chepstow we had open air theatre,
In Cardiff, enjoyed glorious music-making.

We love it here in Wales, the land of song,
Of rugby, Dylan Thomas, Doctor Who.
And, twelve years on, we're feeling we belong,
(Though still we're "home" at Mum's, and Shetland, too!)

We still have lovely Flash - she's sweet sixteen,
And slowing down as most old ladies do.
Mum empathises - sadly she's not been
Out and about as much as she used to.

We see Mum once a fortnight if we can,
We always like our time in the South West.
Ruth works a four-day week, so we can plan
A work-life balance now to make the best.

From Adrian and Ruth, dear friends, all love
And wishes for a happy Christmas season.
And may the year that's soon upon us prove
To bring some peace, some sense, some rhyme and reason.