Sunday 31 December 2023

Week 52 The end of 2023. Happy New Year.

Goodbye to 2023 and to Bob the Dog. Hello to 2024 and to new adventures.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wishing you all a Happy New Year.

The week before Christmas I went for my B12 injection to discover the GP had requested a blood test, the nurse didn't know why. I got a phone call from the surgery on Thursday to request another test next week and a face to face appointment with the GP. I didn't ask why, but my results on the NHS app show high neutrophils and high platelets again. This has been going on for 6 years now, just constant call backs and no answers. In the meantime the random shooting pains, breathlessness, chronic fatigue and migraines continue.

Child 4's Christmas cards were located on Thursday. I checked the certificate of postage and I had written the wrong house number, his neighbours hadn't bothered to pop them through their box.

358 Sunday After a lazy morning we headed up the hills for a walk then home to chill before child 2, DIL and grandchild arrived for Christmas. We had a late dinner, chilled out, watched TV, grandchild to bed at 9.30pm, presents put out and adults retired around midnight.

Very windy up on the hills.

359 Monday Merry Christmas. I was up at 5am and dozed on the sofa till eveyone else got up around 8.30am. Present opening took around 3 hours, followed by a late lunch and an afternoon/evening of playing games, watching TV and just relaxing.

Video call with grandson.

360 Tuesday We headed out to Worcester to see the Christmas Tree festival at Worcester Cathedral, had a coffee and a walk, then home to watch TV and have an early tea. Family left and after a quick tidy round it was just TV, sofa and snacks.

361 Wednesday Off to Keynsham to visit MIL for the day, took her out for coffee and back to hers to empty the attic for her to sort through and we'll go back next week to help her with donations for charity shops and the skip. Home to watch TV, a take away and chill.

Thank you notes written.

362 Thursday A lie in then down the retail park for a coffee and to buy a couple of birthday cards, home for dinner and I brought the dolls house down from the attic to finish painting at the dining room table.

Recycling sorted.

363 Friday Off to Gloucester to visit child 1, we took her out for coffee and to wander round the shops for a couple of hours. Not feeling well so home to bed and read for a couple of hours. Tax return complete. I overpaid 94p on the Capital Gains when I sold the flat last year and I'm owed approximately 1 months salary in overpayment of income tax.

Flooding at Upton Upon Severn.

364 Saturday Day spent nursing a migraine, dosed up on meds in and out of bed dozing on and off, watching TV. 

This cat has been so needy since Bob died, she follows me everywhere and steals my seat at any opportunity she gets.

365 Sunday We popped into Worcester for a coffee, Peter drove home and I wandered around the city and caught a train back mid afternoon. Happy New Year and wishing you all a wonderful 2024. Evening being spent with a work colleague and his family just up the road.

The River Severn in full flood.

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Sunday 24 December 2023

Week 51. One daily Positive and Project 365. Merry Christmas.

So many staff off work sick that I've found myself juggling 3 students in 3 different lessons and not having a lunch break and grabbing a cup of tea on the run, relying on colleagues to hold students for me while I settle one into class to come back for the next or supervise a student I've set up with some work. The team I work in are great and really flexible with the needs of the students I support and the role I have.

I've watched all my favourite Christmas movies Die Hard 1 & 2, Love Actually, The Holiday, The Amazing Mr Blunden and enjoyed the new Candy Cane Lane. I really enjoy the run up to Christmas and this year I'm looking forward to the two weeks off afterwards to just chill out with no commitments other than just visiting family and friends as and when, plus lots of walking and time out in the Bobster.

Child 4 and family cards haven't arrived in Northern Ireland yet, foolishly their gift voucher is in there and only certificate of postage obtained.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

351 Sunday Drove down to the Forest of Dean to pick mum up and took her to Gloucester for her appointment to have her cataract removed and brought her home to stay with us while she recovered. We did the food shop while we waited. Home to cook dinner and evening spent watching TV. We also swopped Christmas gifts.

352 Monday The elf brought in a tree for the learning base for the kids to decorate. I left work early for Ophthalmology appointment in Worcester. I was at the hospital for 3 hours and it took over an hour to get home. the Doctor was quite rude to me saying at a certain age we can expect our eyesight to defoliate. I explained to him I was only here for the past 2 years at many appointments at many different hospitals after a routine eye test sent me here in the first place with them sending me here there and everywhere, including a referral to the retina clinic for scans for which I'm still waiting for results on.

353 Tuesday Peter took mum home then went to visit his mum for the day and drop off Christmas gifts. He got back around 6pm. I was home at 3.30pm and baked some cakes for school on Friday, had my tea and caught up with my soaps. 

I of course won all the categories and the kids thought it was hysterical I made myself medals and wore them the following day.

354 Wednesday Left work at lunch time for my Vit B12 injection, arrived to discover I was actually booked for a blood test ordered by neurology and asked how I was getting on with various medications. Told the nurse I was only taking one medication regularly and thought I was having a B12 injection. I later received a phone call from the surgery to run through what the haematologist and neurologist had prescribed for me to which I replied the haemotologist signed me off in October and the Neurologist hasn't actually seen me yet. One confused pharmacist, one very confused patient.

Video call with grandson.

355 Thursday Woke at 4am and spent the rest of the night on the sofa. Had a fun but hectic day in work. Finally had my B12 injection, now a month late, hopefully I'll see a quick improvement to the pins and needles, fatigue and breathlessness soon. Evening spent watching TV, blogging and decorating cup cakes for work in the morning.

Two years of A level English Literature and Metaphysical poetry and I wrote this.

356 Friday Finished work at lunch time (back on January 8th) met Peter for coffee, bought stuff for the next couple of days and home to watch TV, have a tidy round and just chill out.

Gluten free cake gift from a friend.

357 Saturday Off to Gloucester to visit child 1 and do our food shop for Christmas. It was really quiet in Gloucester, we were out with child 1 for 4 hours, she was really chilled.

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Monday 18 December 2023

Week 50 One Daily Positive and Project 365

I've been having fun with Elf on the Shelf in work. A colleague asked me to pick one up, then it's sort of become my thing to do. The staff have called it Peter after my husband. The kids (secondary school) are trying to work out which member of staff is doing it, none of them think it's me as I'm the 'cross one' So far, I've toilet papered the learning based, left a trail of sweet papers and wrappers, hidden items, been taped to the board on a drawn Christmas tree, wrapped tomatoes up as chocolates. This weekend the Elf escaped school and on Monday he had a set of photos of his antics.

344 Sunday Awake early, some blogging done and a few things tidied away, fridge sorted through for some meal planning and I headed out to Monmouth for the day with the Bobster for some R&R and to visit a friend, getting home at 9pm to watch the last I'm a Celeb.

Bought some covers for the Bobster seats. Difficult to find as the seats rotate.

345 Monday Home from work to bake gluten free cakes for the 6th formers to sell for their charity fundraising week. TV watched an an early night. Santa came down our street. Without the dog to take out, I grabbed the neighbours kids instead.

346 Tuesday Drove to work, then walked to collect a student who hasn't been in school for a long time. Received a thank you from the Head Teacher for actually getting them into school. A busy day. After work, I went for coffee then onto youth club where I volunteer once a fortnight for the last session of the year, unfortunately I was really ill with stomach ache and had to leave after 10 mins, I struggled to drive home with the pain. I was fine within an hour, didn't have any tea and just watched TV all evening.

The elf brought in sweets for the kids.

347 Wednesday Collected the student again. Just one lesson for them then normal day for me. Really struggled with tiredness and home to decorate cakes for the charity fundraising week, enter some safeguarding and reply to work emails.

348 Thursday Another early start to set up the Elf and a birthday treat for a student. I'm shattered and been struggling with a lot of pains and breathlessness. I think it's the Vit B12, I'm now 3 weeks late with the jab, booked in for Wednesday. Home for dinner, watched a movie, which I fell asleep in front of, did some blogging, bath and bed.

I'm not impressed with the new PG Tips, the tea tastes like it's been brewed in a metal tea pot, so excited to find some pyramid bags today so treated myself to 2 boxes for Christmas.

349 Friday Out to the panto with my Friday night chip and wine friend for our Christmas gift to each other. 

350 Saturday Off to Chipping Norton to meet my longest twitter friend @mediocre_mum of almost 14 years. It was wet and muddy. I did ask if we could go shopping next year, but was told 'no'. I wore my sparkly jumper and we had lunch in a pub afterwards.

On the blog this week:

The end of 2023 and plans for 2024

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Friday 15 December 2023

Post Comment Love 15th - 17th December 2023. Merry Christmas

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Bosworth.Life and I.

Post Comment Love #PoCoLo is a friendly weekly linky where you can link up any blog post you've written this week and all we ask is that you leave a comment on either mine or Stephanie's post which you linked up through and at least one other post. We'd also love it if you could RT us on Twitter when we tag you to help us reach a wider audience.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Hope everyone who celebrates is ready for Christmas. We're spending it with child 2, his wife and our 4 year old grandchild. The decorations and gifts were all sorted at the beginning of December so I could just switch off and relax and enjoy the build up with work, friends and family. 

I've enjoyed Pottery painting, wreath making, cocktail drinking and escapades with the Elf in school with my work colleagues and been to the Malvern Glow, had some unexpected snow 2 weekends ago on a visit with Peter to Shropshire for the day and tonight I'm off to the pantomime with my friend. Gifts have been exchanged with the rest of the family and friends, just child 1, Mother and MIL to visit, then school finishes next week and its 2 weeks off work of just chilling out.

What are your plans for the festive season?

Stephanie and I are taking a break for Christmas and the New Year, we'll be back on the 5th January, we'll tweet you a reminder.

I'll be catching up with reading your posts, sharing and commenting over the next few days. 

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Monday 11 December 2023

Merry Christmas. The end of 2023 and plans for 2024.

2023 has been OK, can't complain much other than a few health problems and the death of our beloved dog, Bob, back in September. At 13 he'd had a fab life, starting in South Africa when we adopted him aged 3 then 2 years later moving him with us to Dubai where he lived for 5 years, before spending the last 3 years in with us in the UK. He was a huge part of our expat journey and will never be forgotten. The cat who adopted us over 11 years ago and is now 14 has filled the gap and is enjoying all the extra attention.

Bob and Pushkins in the UK.

We've had some great holidays this year, with regular trips to Brighton with my mum to visit her family, to Northern Ireland to see child 4, his wife and our now 2 year old grandson, as well as visiting Dubai at Easter, Peter to Turkey for a week in June and 5 weeks for us both in Australia and to visit child 5 and 3 nights in Kuala Lumpur, a new place for us to visit.

Our first flight since March 2020 without restrictions.

Dubai during Ramadan.

Scuba Diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef.

Kuala Lumper. 

I've also had some amazing opportunities this year, attending the Big Sun International Film Festival Awards Night in Mayfair and working on the DP World Golf Tour at The British Masters and The PGA Championship at Wentworth with the eventual winning Ryder Cup team.

Me doing my thing on the golf course.

There's been a lot of fun also with child 2, his wife and our 4 year old grandchild as well as plenty of visits with child 1 and welcoming a great nephew and a great niece into the family.

There have been plenty of days out, lots of walks including fundraising for Birmingham Children's Hospital walking an additional 3 miles a day on top of what I do in work.

We had an extension built in February and we're still sorting the garden. Peter built a new patio and has levelled off the lawn. 

We've since added curtains to the room.

In 2023 I set myself a challenge to read a book a week,  I've read 57 books and I intend to keep the challenge going throughout 2024. I'm also going to be writing 150 words a day towards a book with the intention of seeking a publisher, this time next year.

We've bought a camper van and already have a couple of trips booked, over the coming weeks and plan to visit the South coast in February, Northern Ireland and Ireland over Easter, Whitsun in Dorset, and in the summer we'll be taking child 2 and family with us to West Wales, camping then flying out to Turkey for two weeks to stay with friends. October will be back in Northern Ireland and fingers crossed we get to South Africa for Christmas to end 2024.

Meet The Bobster.

There's also going to be a change to the blog, focusing on our next stage in our lives, still blogging about travel, gardening and family life

Sunday 10 December 2023

Week 49 One Daily Positive and Project 365

I've got myself a nice little routine going but it will end soon, as it always does, then I'll have to find something else. At the moment I come home from work, have a cup of tea, get my lunch ready for the morning,  get changed, get dinner ready and watch The chase, eat dinner whilst watching House of Games then I do something, in my craft room, or I read, write, blog, iron till 8.30pm, have a bath and settle down to watch I'm a Celeb. 

I seem to have posted an extra photo on one day over the past couple of months and got out of sync. At the moment I can't find it, but I will rectify it at some point. I do it every year. At least I haven't missed a picture.

I had a breakthrough migraine and took rescue meds early on in the week. Keeping a full food, activity and sleep diary now ready for Neurology appointment.

337 Sunday Off to Stokes Castle for the morning. It had been snowing in Shropshire. We explored the Castle then had lunch in the Bobster, made tea and had lunch with the heater on. Home to watch TV, early dinner, blog and just chill out.

Unexpected snow.

338 Monday Work. Not feeling well around lunch time, think it's the new meds, went home early and to bed. New tumble dryer arrived, cupboard sorted and a few items put in the attic. After tea, I had a bath, watched TV and read.

Delayed by 10 minutes waiting for school delivery. Fed up having the drive blocked every day.

339 Tuesday Walked up into the Green after work to wander around the charity shops and Peter picked me up. The loft rooms need to the heating on and to be used so a bit of moving things around and two old units from when the youngest boys had them as bedrooms were taken apart and ready for the tip tomorrow. Meds were taken after smelling toast most of the morning which I've identified as one of my pre migraine auras.

The Elf had fun with the students at work with tomatoes disguised as chocolates.

340 Wednesday we went for coffee after work, bumped into a friend for a natter, then home to do some washing and try the new tumble dryer. The amount of water in the condenser has been going into the atmosphere and we've been having cold issues in the bedroom and main bathroom if we didn't turn the heating off in those rooms during the day and open the windows. I started painting the dolls house for grandchild's extra Christmas gift that will stay at our house for them to play with when they visit.

Our neighbours mum gave us this dolls house which Peter has fixed and I'm painting for our Grandchild to play with when they come to visit.

341 Thursday Called in to visit a friend after work, then home to paint more of the dolls house, sort a couple of birthday cards and a gift, then a bath and watched The Holiday, a film I've never seen before. Evening finished with I'm a Celeb and then bed.

Mum bought Pushkin's some cat nip toys. Cat is high. Cat is going to live with mum.

342 Friday Day at work, Peter collected me and I picked up an Argos order for the last of mum's presents then into M&S to get child 1's gifts and off for coffee. In the evening it was out for cocktails with work. I really enjoyed the evening with my colleagues, but was home by 9.30pm after only 2 drinks as it really messed with my meds, which advise against alcohol, as I discovered, for a very good reason.

Peter the Elf (colleagues named him) having a weekend out from school) Kids are trying to guess which one of us is doing it.

343 Saturday Awake at 5am and back to sleep on the sofa till 10am. nail bar appointment at 11.30. Home to watch TV, do some ironing, a late lunch/early dinner the the evening spent with friends at the Malvern Glow. Peter went ice skating for the first time.

On the blog this week:

What I read in 2023 57 books reading challenge - A book a week

Ready for Christmas

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Friday 8 December 2023

Post Comment Love 8th -10th December 2023

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Bosworth.Life  and I.

Post Comment Love #PoCoLo is a friendly weekly linky where you can link up any blog post you've written this week and all we ask is that you leave a comment on either mine or Stephanie's post which you linked up through and at least one other post. We'd also love it if you could RT us on Twitter when we tag you to help us reach a wider audience.

I decided to join in with 30 miles in November for Birminghams Childrens Hospital. I walk an average 2.5 miles per day around school and home so my challenge was to walk an additional 3 miles a day, 90 miles for the month. I walked 178, almost double my target, with my usual daily amount and raised £202. Another TA joined in and we both supported a student with her challenge of 30 miles and with a bake sale the 6th former organised added in, a total of over £1000 was raised between the 3 of us and around 300 miles walked.

If you'd like to sponsor me the link is here

I'll be catching up with reading your posts, sharing and commenting over the next few days. 

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Thursday 7 December 2023

2023 Reading Challenge - A book a week

In 2022 my challenge was to only buy clothes I absolutely needed which I continued thoughout 2023.

For 2024 my challenge is to write a book, I'm going to write 150 words a week.

I set myself a challenge for 2023 to read a book a week.

I read 57 books.

A mixture of classics, modern day and childhood favourites.

Some have been read for leisure, some to support the A level students I work with for their A Level English Literature and some because I've felt they're books that everyone should read.

My favourite book read has been To Kill a Mockingbird.

I'm going to continue reading in 2024, aiming for a minimum of 1 per month.


Lord of the Flies - William Golding. Re read from O level days

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee. One of those books everyone should read

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens. Re read from O level days

Off Mice and Men - John Steinbeck. Re read from O level days

Macbeth - Shakespeare. Re read from O level days

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. Never watched the TV series, but the book was brillant

A Streetcar Named Desire - Tennessee Williams. One we all think we know till we read it.

Frankenstein - Mary Shelly. The hardest book I've read to date, takes ages to get going through a series of letters.


Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K Jerome. Loved this book so much, a travel guide to the Thames.

Good Eggs - Rebecca Hardiman. Light and easy read.


Pippi Longstockings - Astrid Lindgren. A childhood favourite.

Five on a Treasure Island - Enid Blyton. A childhood favourite.

The Tempest - Shakespeare. Read the summary first to get an understanding of the plot, characters came to life.

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson. A bit boring, had to persevere.


Agatha Raisin Terrible Tourist - M. C. Beaton. Quick read in a day.

Anything Could Happen - Lucy Diamond. A life that could've gone either way, all the 'what ifs?'

Home Truths - Susan Lewis. Dealing with your husbands murder and blaming your son who then becomes a missing person.

The Wild Roses - D.B. Carter Three friends in the mid 80's making different choices and following the paths they lead.

Oranges are not the only fruit - Jeanette Winterson. Absolutely loved the BBC drama with Charlotte Coleman back in 1991. A young woman growing up with the church and not conforming with mothers expectations of her.

The Enemy - Lee Child. Exploring Reachers military days.


Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe. My fathers book given to him by his Granny in 1947.

Restoring Grace - Katie Fforde. Easy read about lost love and new beginnings.

Follow Me Home - Cathy Woodman. A light hearted story about finding new love.

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell. Hard to get going, but once engaged the pages just raced past.

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kaplanithi. Pauls' story as a Neurologist discovering he has brain cancer, how he deals with the treatment, life and ultimately his death.

Five Go Adventuring Again - Enid Blyton. I've been reading this book alongside a mentee in school and we've been comparing childhood with the now and the then.


Postmortem - Patricia Cornwell - Making sure my windows are locked during the hot weather

Blue Moon - Lee Child - Quite a lot of graphic violence but good plot line

The Hobbit - J R R Tolkien Very different to my childhood memory of reading this book, probably because all I can see now as I read are the characters as they were portrayed on TV

Malory Towers - Enid Blyton 'Your people are here' Parents arrive to collect their daughter from boarding school


The American Dream 1965 - Norman Mailer A very violent read, stuck with it as it is relevant to the A Level curriculum

F. Scott Fitzgerald - Andre Le Vot More of a book to reference and understand


Again, Rachel - Marion Keyes I've read these books completely out of order.

Blow Fly - Patricia Cornwall Read out of order, her niece, Lucy is now an adult and playing an active role in the case.

The missing years - Lexie Elliot A proper page turner, read in a day.

No Plan B - Lee Child Typical Reacher

Past tense - Lee Child The story seemed so disjointed but typical Reacher.

The invisible man - HG Wells Hard reading

It started with Paris - Cathy Kelly  Following several families as they suffer loss, find love and intertwine

Head over heels - Jill Mansell Pop star discovers he'd fathered a child on moving to a new town and meeting and falling in love with his ex.

Perfect timing - Jill Mansell Jilted her husband to be at the night before the wedding then goes off to find her true love.

Stone Town  - Margaret Hickey Australian murder set in an old Gold Rush town outside Adelaide

A random act of kindness - Sophie Jenkins Searching for love running a vintage market stall

Her last holiday - C L Taylor Fran is searching for answers to her sisters disappearance at a retreat in Greece.

Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty Set in a retreat in Australia, 9 strangers locked in a plot with twists and turns

The Unhoneymooners - Christina Lauren An odd couple thrown together on a romantic honeymoon pretending to be their siblings.


The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald A man seeking to be someone he'll never really be.

POSH - Laura Wade Based on the Bullingdon Club, an all male dining club at Oxford University.

The Dark Room - Sam Blake Set in Ireland, solving an old crime.

King Lear - Shakespeare A tragedy as King Lear prepares for his death.


Tess of the d'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy Hard going and went on too long in my opinion. 

Emma -  Jane Austin's Another novel that just went on too long.

Grown Ups - Marion Keyes Is it time to grow up?


The Hard Way - Lee Child I'm starting to find these books too predictable.

Endless Beach - Jenny Colgan Can two friends find their happy ever afters?

Scandalous - Tilly Bagshawe Two women reunite years later to bring down the man who almost destroyed them both.


Don Quixote - Cervantes I started this book in February and have been reading it on and off throughout the year, it's been hard going but I've really enjoyed it. 

My father was given this oil painting on a visit to Poland in the late 70's early 80's. I'd love to find out who the artist was.

Monday 4 December 2023

Getting ready for Christmas, Last day of posting UK and International and Postcards of Kindness

It's so nice to actually spend Christmas now in one place and not have to worry about ensuring gifts are bought and delivered in mid September before leaving the UK for winter and returning to either South Africa or Dubai.

Our son in Australia will be getting cash only this year, which I'll transfer in December. Our eldest son, his wife and 4 year old grandchild will be spending Christmas with us and we'll see our daughter nearer the day to drop her gifts off. 
Mum will be coming to stay between Christmas and the New Year and there will somehow be a visit with MIL in Keynsham fitted in also.

However there was still family in Northern Ireland to arrange with our son, his wife and our grandson, plus the parent in laws and I started shopping in September and finished wrapping mid October to take over with us last month to guarantee it all arrives safely. 

All the shopping has been done now, finishing off the last few bits and pieces while we've been away the previous couple of weekends. Everything is now wrapped and under the tree.

I do December 1st gifts for our niece, 5 great nephews, 3 great nieces as well as our 2 grandchildren which involve an item of Christmas clothing and additional treats for the grandchildren to include crafts and advent calendars. They'll be delivered in the next few days, so they can get some wear out of them over the festive period.

We've also posted gifts to people we don't get to see much of and we've started dropping off gifts with family and friends as we go out and about.

Christmas card making and writing has been done in the evenings and all was posted last weekend. We have family and friends in Australia, USA, Canada, Germany and South Africa to send to also.

I also take part with Postcards of Kindness and will be sending cards to care and nursing homes in the UK for Christmas.

The Christmas decorations went up last week.

I also held a wreath making get together last week, organised by a colleague at work and we had a lot of fun and it's nice to have something I made up at the front door.

Last card/letter posting for Christmas. (2nd Class)

International Standard World Wide
up to 100g £2.20

Tuesday 5 December

Africa, Central and South America, Asia,
Australia, Caribbean, China (People’s Republic),
Far and Middle East, New Zealand
Wednesday 6 DecemberCyprus and Malta
Thursday 7 DecemberAustria, Belgium, Denmark, Eastern Europe
(except Czech Republic and Poland), France,
Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia,
Spain, Switzerland, Turkey
Friday 8 DecemberCanada, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy,
Poland, Sweden, USA

United Kingdom
Monday 18 December
2nd Class                    75p