Can anyone explain to me why when you are young, a week seems like an eternity and as you mature, a week flashes by in a heartbeat? It seems only yesterday we were writing last year's Christmas news and here it is already well into December. Perhaps we should start next year's newsletter tomorrow?

It's been another great year - lots of travels, lots of fun and a couple of significant milestones

The Easter holiday saw us, once again, in Los Angeles visiting with our Ben and Donna and Penny's surrogate grandchild, Aibo. As with all canine companions, Pen had him eating out of her hand after a few moments and promising undying loyalty, affection and devotion shortly thereafter. We also, once again, had the opportunity of spending a weekend with our dear friends Miles and Muriel Rosedale on the beach at San Juan Capistrano. To the Rosedales the Easter break must seem like a horrid, recurring nightmare - every year the scrounging Stragnells turn up, like a bad penny, uninvited and unwanted. They then invite Greg's sisters and their children to town, order a pizza and take over the place. We won't be surprised to hear that they have moved and left no forwarding address.

Sallie and Susie take the first two prizes in the Silly Hat Competition

From LA we went to Prescott, Arizona to visit with Greg's parents, a visit which always means too much food and too much fun. On our final evening in the States, Greg's mother had organised dinner with an aunt and uncle and a congregation of cousins living in the Phoenix area, some of whom Greg hadn't seen since they were in nappies. Great fun.


We weren't back in the UK long before it was time to celebrate Penny's 50th birthday (I know - it doesn't seem possible). Actually, the celebrations went on for weeks and the highlights included the surprise arrival a week before her birthday of a patio table and chairs followed that evening by a surprise birthday barbecue. Then, the following weekend she had a surprise visit from Ben who flew in for the weekend and finally, the long anticipated hot air balloon flight over the Devon countryside which had been postponed on several occasions because of foot and mouth disease and inclement weather. And by the way, in case there was any doubt, Penny still looks as great as she ever did.

And what else....

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