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And as the curtain falls on 2019, we don't hear much applause for what was a pretty dismal year. But we'll find the positives in this, and they will be remembered with great fondness. One of those was no doubt the Rugby WC and how the Webb Ellis Trophy has come back home. With that, a great morale boost for our much-loved country, something we so desperately needed. And now we have also had some much needed rain, for which we are most grateful. And on to family matters... Frank Jnr overcame his phobia of flying and took himself off to visit his brother in Scotland. Meeting up with Amy in London, they took the scenic route, visiting landmarks along the way such as Stonehenge, Oakley Court (Rocky Horror Hotel) and plenty of other places of interest. On reaching Glasgow, the reunion called for a whisky or two to flow, and the planning of a road trip began... As we all know, Scotland has lots of castles, historic battlefields, Loch Ness, and of course, fish and chips... and we back home were able to join them in their travels via social media. Amy came back with Frank, and we hear them laughing a lot together in the cottage, which makes me happy too. And after what was undeniably a short period of time, Ricky and Valeria bought their very own home in Dennistoun, Glasgow. Here too we joined them in spirit as they donned their overalls and dust masks, and splashed paint around as they went merrily ahead with making this their new home. They have also turned their second bedroom into an airbnb, which helps with expenses and is proving to be a great success. And still in Glasgow, Valeria has gone back to studying, with her sights set on a nursing degree. All this whilst finding time to work in an Italian restaurant at nights. Meanwhile, Ricky's new venture is with the Paesano group's new restaurant Sugo, an all-out pasta restaurant. As part of this, he was fortunate enough to spend time in London, sussing out pasta restaurants, and also spent ten days in Florence and Rome on a pasta-making course. Rick and Val also took some time out and travelled to Uzbekistan to discover Valeria's roots and meet up with distant family. Back home, Massi's been very excited by the renovations he's done to his flat, and it's looking really smart! And of course Bernie approves, so we hope that soon they will both call this home. They also spent some time in Clarens over the Easter weekend, one of their favourite parts of the world. And Bernie has been good for Massi, as she's motivated him to partake in Sunday morning walks and breakfasts... and he's looking good on it! Claudia, on the other hand, had some career changes this year which necessitated some readjusting, but never for one moment neglecting her Hubert and kids. Deon meanwhile has started exploiting his artistic talents in doing commissioned animal portraits in ink and wash. Beautiful work, which can be seen on FB under "Scratch Portraits". Olivia continues to excel both at school and in karate, while our scientist-in-the-making, Luca, decided to create his very own "poo" emoji, in an attempt to improve on the ones on smartphones... and dropped one right on his front lawn!! Hysterical parents immediately put a stop to this peculiar science project. All this while Nona Tina fusses around them all, in between trying to learn to play chess from Olivia. Not to mention flurrying over all her friends at Franco's. And Jay acquired a permanent afternoon post at Parkhurst Pharmacy, while still filling in and doing morning locum work here there and everywhere. And as her specialty is Jewish Geography, I get to hear of all the goings-on of the Parks people... Who needs the Gazette when we have Jay! It was also a year of tying up loose ends, resolving inheritance property in Italy, and selling dormant property locally as well. And at Franco's we had another productive year, reaching our 33rd birthday this year... Continuously trying to reinvent ourselves, and coming up with new and exciting dishes. And I'm grateful and humbled to say that on any given night we can still say we are fully booked. Even if "Crowbar Frank" manages to wedge in just another table or two! And so, dear friends, as I've come to the end of this page, I take this opportunity in wishing all of you well over the holidays, safe travels, and my warmest and heartfelt thanks for your friendship.