Email 11th January 2002

(This message was delayed due to problems with Fish's e-mail. It was written on the 29th December 2001)
Subject: Fishheads list! Happy belated Christmas!

Dear Fishheads, Freaks, fans and the Company!
First of all thanks to all of you who signed the Chrismas card at the site! I was really touched by all the comments! I hope you all had a great day - sorry I missed it! It's all been very confusing here as I spent from the 23rd until the 27th at my sister Laura's house in Twickenham and was off-line! Having a family around me made all the difference as I figured it was tempting fog if I stayed on my own in the studio for the first time waiting on Santa! My neice Ellie (6) and nephew James (2) compensated in a way for Tara's absence and it was a hoot watching the 2 kids completely ignoring all the effort others had made into wrapping their gifts! My wrapping techniques border on that of a chimp's! It was good to watch my attempts torn to shreds next to those bulging with ribbons and bows! :-)

I'd tested my new lease of luck on Christmas Eve by volunteering to go up in my brother in law Chris' aerobatic certified Yak 52. Thankfully we were constrained by low level cloudbase so the manouevres were restricted and I kept the contents of my stomach inside my body! Landed safely although an unusual oil leak in the prop was noticed on landing. Two years ago I would have been buried 20 feet down in the Berkshire countryside the word "bugger" left on the black box recorder. The beer in the bar was exquisite!

I met up with Tara on the Edinburgh-bound flight on the 27th and we travelled up with Louise for their first visit to my new home. I was actually nervous having spent the 3 days I had free between The SAS shows, the Scottish TV Quiz show and the review I had to write up on "Lord of the Rings" for the Edinburgh Evening News desparately trying to make the studio look like a real home.

Buying the Christmas tree and decorating the studio got me in the mood and a quick and expensive trip to the DIY store sorted me for the drill and screws etc etc that got the rest of the jobs in order. It didn't help that the printers screwed up on the Christmas cards and we didn't get them until the morning of the 23rd!!!!!! Cue a frantic Kim and a plea to Haddington post office for a late hold on the 3 sacks we managed to get out in time with the fanzines and more bonus CDs. All the merch orders had been cleared and Kim did brilliantly working late throughout the weeks up to the holidays getting out as much as she physically could! So don't be surprised if your card gets to you around mid January!! (As a matter of interest, my accountant received his convention invitation sent in early August only 2 weeks ago and he lives in Edinburgh!)

Tara loves the new house and her bedroom is a bit special with Arabic drapes and faded lights! Louise also loves it and although the sad demise of Simba in the lead-up to Xmas leaves an empty space in the vibe, it means the house is hair- and mite-free, allowing Louise a cleaner atmosphere as she is highly allergic to animals.

Simba's hips had worsened and her character was changing with all the painkillers she was being given. With the new occupants in the house next door I was afraid she may have gone for one of the 5 boys in the family. Having now been "twice bitten" by German Sheperds with hip displacement problems and gone through the pain of losing an animal I love, I have decided that there will be no more pets at the farm. Even the last 2 cats buggered off and have decided to remain at the Main House kitchen door! They are both semi-wild anyway so it's no great loss. They'll still hopefully hunt the neighbourhood!

I have been surprised that Tara hasn't even mentioned Simba's absence! That worried me the most to be honest!

Yesterday (the 28th) was a special day as my Mum and Dad came up with Steve and Kim and together with Tara and Louise we had another full Christmas dinner. I decided to take the responsibility of cooking and delivered a full Turkey dinner (28lbs!) with all the trimmings to the family. A big test and I am proud to say I passed with flying colours! There's still a lot to do here but for the next few days I'll be staying peaceful and quiet and revelling in Tara's company! It's confusing but never humdrum here!

I'll post more in the coming days and fill you in with plans and reports on what has and is happening!

Until next year thanks again for all your cards and best wishes and for all your support in the last year! It's been a weird curve but it's brought me back in line. Have a great holiday season and a great New Year celebration. Remember, this is the start of the real new Millennium!!

take care and stay alive
Onkel Fish

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