The Lings, 4 Cefn Melindwr, Capel Bangor, Aberystwyth SY23 3LS, Wales, UK.
phone: +44(0)1970-880-416 mobile: 07974-113-283
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December 2012.

Another 12 months, another newsletter. We are delighted to be reading some of your cards and news – here are ours.

John has pressed on with his bioethical writing, reading and speaking. The draft of the second edition of Responding to the Culture of Death, now with the working title of Bioethical Issues 101, is almost finished. It has been a real struggle. What started out as updating a few facts and figures has grown into a book twice the length of its predecessor – such are the advances in bioethics over the last few years. However, Kiedy Zaczyna Się Ludzkie Życie? has just been published. It is the Polish version of When Does Human Life Begin? Any book with four ‘z’s in the title must be regarded as pretty impressive.

This year has involved extra meetings for the board of trustees of the LIFE organization. The charity sector is certainly under renewed financial and governmental pressures. He has also written for other charities including pieces on organ donation, the redefining of marriage and ‘three-parent’ IVF.

Speaking engagements have been as far apart as Bridgend, Manchester, Birmingham and Oradea in Romania. There, he gave six 90-minute lectures – just about all he knows – over two days, mainly to students, pastors and medical professionals. And on the Sunday morning, he preached to a congregation of 1,800 – a memorable experience that will never happen in the UK.

Saturday 31 March was a red-letter day because after 35.5 years of working at Aberystwyth University, John, finally and officially, retired. And in October, he became a bona fide, old-age pensioner.

Wendy has taken on the grandmotherly duties of childminding, knitting, quilting and sewing. Painting and drawing have been put aside temporarily. Proof-reading John’s redrafted book is her current hobby/chore. In September, we looked after the three granddaughters in Birmingham, while their parents zipped off to Montpellier for a few days. It went well – tiring, but well. The daily routine of walking to school and waiting at the school gate was reminiscent of long ago.

In July, we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, quietly – after all, the 2012 Olympics had just begun. Early one morning in late May, we went down to the promenade to see the Olympic torch leave Aberystwyth – it was quite moving.

In October, we flew to Budapest and crossed the border into Romania for a five-day visit. Then, on the return journey, we spent a few days in Buda and Pest. We saw nearly all the sights, cruised on the Danube – it is far from ‘blue’ – ate authentic Hungarian goulash and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Our trips to London continue. This year we saw the David Hockney RA - A Bigger Picture exhibition at the Royal Academy as well as the RA’s Summer Exhibition, and in June, the Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde at the Tate. All were quite stunning in their different ways. In the evenings, L’Atelier and Arbutus were our chosen restaurants – both are highly recommended.

In June, we had over 5 inches (125 mm) of rain in about 36 hours and floods like nobody can remember.  Capel Bangor became a world news media-hub for the day.  We were fine, high and dry, but several nearby homes were deluged.

The summer was so wet and windy that we launched Lazy Lady a month later than usual. And it was a very short, but successful, season – only six trips out, but 149 fish caught.

Simeon is still working for the US-based law firm, Squire Sanders, at its office in Birmingham. He cycles to work almost every day and recently his bike had its 5,000-mile annual service.

Anne is as busy as ever with all three daughters in full-time school. She has continued to teach French as a volunteer in the local primary school. Her choir activities have been increasing.

Esther (9) seems to be capable of almost anything – talking, writing, reading and even advising on computer issues. The violin is going OK-ish.

Rachel (7) has improved her reading by leaps and bounds. She has just started playing the guitar – it’s nearly as big as her – but it opens up a new source of possible future careers!

Naomi (5) is still as noisy. She really enjoys school and her teachers enjoy her. She is to be a star, of the stellar variety, in her school concert.

Benjamin continues as a research assistant at Aberystwyth University. He can be seen sometimes in the lab, in the fields, or in a huge white van. He now has a motorbike to commute.

Glenda has made a tentative start back to work doing just the required two days per week to retain her maternity pay.

Tiana (3) will start nursery school at a nearby village in January. She and her sister spend some Fridays with us so their mother can shop unhindered.

Gwen (1) is now thriving after her premature birth last year. She has been assiduously monitored and her blood regularly sampled and she is developing just fine. She likes to sit, suck her thumb and watch the world with great interest.

The Rymans have extended their nomadic lifestyle – this year, they have moved on from Bristol to London and now to Reading. Given that they first met there as university students, their travels have come full circle.

Christopher has continued as a teacher of English as a foreign language and is currently seeking new work in Reading.

Anna is now the dedicated, full-time mum. At last, she has a place she can call her own, even though it is rented.

Meanwhile, Mia (2) is settling into a new nursery school and playing a wise man in the nativity play – she is not altogether happy about that casting.

Joshua (1) is among the world’s most contented toddlers. His new-found ability to walk is his delight and his parents’ ever-vigilant concern.

You can see 2012 pictures of the ‘Lings at Christmas’ at Click on the moving marquee in the top left-hand corner of the front page.

At Christmas our thoughts turn to the Incarnation. Contrary to the hackneyed song of the supermarkets, we do not ‘wish it could be Christmas every day.’ Even so, the birth of Jesus Christ was a joyful event, one of ‘good news of great joy’ (Luke 2:10). The Christian’s joy lasts not just for Christmas, but rather for life because of Christmas. May we all know something of that profound joy in the coming days.

And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us!

John and Wendy