David Minifie & Deborah Williams         Phone +64 3 359 3478
31 (b) Highsted Road                             Fax (Minifies Makeup) +64 3 351 9224
Christchurch 8005                                 email: dmw14@ext.canterbury.ac.nz  david@minifie.co.nz
January, 2006                                        SKYPE: DebWNZ MICROSOFT MESSENGER: davidanddeb@xtra.co.nz

Dear Friends

Time to write the 2005 Christmas letter -well a bit past time as we have been so busy.

We spent a few days in January by the sea at Trevalli Bay in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island with  our friend Julie. Apart from our
annual garden party the main highlight of February was the Waituna Creek School reunion near Waimate (south). David's father was principal of the school for about 10 years postwar  and played cornet and his mother taught the piano. They were also leading lights in setting up a tennis club. We had a warm welcome to the weekend's festivities.

We started the year learning Spanish at a free beginners course at Polytech on Monday evenings with three friends. After a term Deborah was suddenly rung up and asked to teach a beginners French class two nights a week so she had to withdraw.
However she has enrolled for a Correspondence School course which she received about 3 months ago but has not had time to start. It only costs $80 per year!  However all five of us still meet for dinner once a month in a BYO (Bring Your Own) restaurant. We have spent couple of weekends at Little Akaloa with Hula Hooping being the theme of one such break.
Koa had her 30th birthday in Feb-theme was Doctors, Nurses and Medical Misadventures-David went as a nurse, Deb as a medical misadventure.

As David was in China and missed any NZ celebrations of his 60th we had a concert for his 61st this year in July at the Quaker Meeting House as part of the concert he played flute with a harpist, Jo-Ying Huang. They played two entr'actes (Carmen

and Ibert) and an air with variations (On Wings of Song). Koa did fire eating, other Quakers performed.

In October we headed for Brisbane where Deborah's paternal grandmother (whom she never met) came from. While waiting for her plane to go to China in 2004 she met an old gentleman from Brisbane at the airport and in the course of the conversation he mentioned his neighbour a Mr Heaslop. As that was her grandma's maiden name she gave the man her business card. Two months later in China she got her first email from her second cousin once removed. William Heaslop knew quite a bit about the Irish origins of the family and that interested her. She also contacted her second cousin in Brisbane whom she had visited more than 25 ago.

 As it happened he was having his family tree researched.  Not only did we meet both branches of the family but Deborah met her first boyfriend,  Sandy
McCutcheon, who had just launched his autobiography The Magician's Son-the story of his search for his real identity as he was an adopted child. Sandy even recorded that first fumbling kiss when they got entwined with their bicycles! David visited a couple of  business contacts and Deborah visited two schools' language classes. 

Deborah is treasurer for Christchurch Monthly Meeting for 2006. Deborah had plans in 2005 to organize the making of comfort quilts and starting a campaign for a Peace Tax but somehow nothing got off the ground! We did however go to Quaker Summer Gathering from 4 to 12 January, 2006 at En Hakkore which was originally a tuberculosis sanitorium in Central Otago near Ranfurly. The weather was not very kind to us except on the picnic day when many of the 150 participants packed into cars and went to the Blue Lake (formed after the gold miners had finished their prospecting in the 1880s) at St Bathans.

After Summer Gathering we went via Queenstown to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. From thence we took the ferry to Stewart  Island. We rented Bellbird Cottage and Quaker friends from Christchurch and Blenheim joined us for 5 days. The weather was very rough for several days, with hail showers. We managed to do a number of short walks and went to Ulva island for 3.5 hours-predator free with lots of bird life. We had six native Kaka parrots on our Bellbird Cottage balcony at one stage.

Wine tasting with the University Wine Club is still one of our interests. We did not have a subscription to the Court Theatre this year so we  have seen fewer plays. However the highlight was Edward Albee's  The Goat or  Who is Sylvia? - a shocking but superbly acted play. We also went to Cleo Laine's jazz concert earlier in the year.

We were very shocked in November at the sudden death from a virus of Rod Donald (48), Co-Leader of the New Zealand Green Party. David knew Rod from the days when he and his first wife, Val, owned Pisces (now Scorpio) bookshop and Rod used to go in to peruse and sometimes purchase the wares. Deborah worked with Rod on helping to change our voting system to MMP. We sat behind the many parliamentarians at the cathedral service.

Prue, Deb's sister, and Bev, her sister-in-law, celebrated their 60th birthdays in 2005. Deborah's mother is now 92 and as she has now stopped driving and is tired of cooking meals for herself, she has chosen to go into a retirement home in mid February.

Deborah is 60 in 2006 and is planning a wake for her birthday. Her birthday is 31 October (Halloween) but she is holding the wake on Sat 21 October as it is a long weekend (Labour weekend). Please contact Deborah if you are planning to come, for catering purposes.

Christmas Day was quiet as David's two older daughters were up in Auckland and Martha and boyfriend, Daniel, were over in Europe. On 26 December we flew to Auckland to stay at the Quaker house at Palm Beach on Waiheke Island for 2 nights. We drank some nice but overpriced local wine and purchased a small etching and painting from two local artists as gifts. Back to Auckland on 28th for the wedding celebration

for Janine, David's oldest daughter, and Clive.  They met learning the tango, so the celebration was held at the Limon Tango Restaurant at the Viaduct Basin. We had had several private tango lessons, which we found difficult, but David was able to dance with Janine and Deb with Clive with some style. David's speech went down well and it was an excellent celebration. Chloe (9) and Logan (8) are Clive's children from a previous marriage.

We will be holding our annual Garden Party on Sunday, 5 February, from 2pm to 6pm,  rain or shine. The theme this year is "Bring a Friend" - take this how you like. Also bring a drink and finger food. This is your official invitation!

Deborah has been using SKYPE to phone a friend in France each week. All you need to do is download the free software, Skype 2 which can also use a web cam and have a microphone and speakers or earphones. Just call DebWNZ to speak to either of us through your computer.

We love reading your news too.


I had to re-establish my teaching business Language Learners of Christchurch having been away for virtually more than two years. I had a couple of Real Estate agents who came twice a week all year as they were planning to buy a house in France. I saw an ad for a family wanting two children to join their two in their homeschool so I emailed to ask if they wanted any language lessons. I went to them twice a week to teach French as they are planning a trip to Europe in 2006. Later the neighbours asked me to teach their children too. The last two terms I taught French to a group of 9 homeschoolers from 6 families. I also had children's classes for French and German and taught an after school French class at Ashgrove School at Rangiora in North Canterbury for a term.

For the first time I helped with the drama course at Harlequin Players, of which David is both patron and sponsor. My great nieces, Sophia (9) and Kyla (7) took part in the course and went on to take part in the production written by one of our members. One of the directors of the miniplays pulled out so I got my first chance to direct a very short playlet which was fun. I have plans to write a similar style of  play using some of the Grimm brothers fairytales.

Christmas 2005 was a very special time as my niece, Nicola, was over from Sweden with her husband, Per, and young son, William, whom we had only seen once before last Christmas  through two way computer exchange. My nephew, Guy, had also come over from London. When we came back from Janine's wedding in Auckland we went to my niece, Jacqueline's second wedding.

She had a mediaeval theme wedding and we played some songs and music on the flute and descant recorder.  By that time Guy's wife, Dori, had arrived from her country of birth, Hungary, with their baby daughter Laura Lorna. The second name is in honour of my mother, Guy's grandmother.

I have continued to go to the Alliance Francaise breakfasts and to hear speakers on Wednesdays. So far I have only managed to go once to the new German Language and Culture Group which replaced the Goethe Gesellschaft. We have had Deutsche Welle and the French TV5  installed this year but TV5 is still not functioning properly.

The inmate whom I had been visiting for 5 years got out of prison at the end of last year but sadly ended up back inside for drug taking. The lack of  warders means that there are no longer any evening visits. It took months for me to get permission again to visit the prison. When I finally went to an arranged visit the man got dispirited thinking I wasn't going to come so he asked to go back to his cell just before I arrived. The warders refused to go and get him back!

On Monday, 19 December, I was interviewed on National Radio. There was a daily "best song ever written" and I had written in with my choice of "The Wind Beneath My Wings" which David is for me. I gave David a good advertisement for his makeup business! He came home for the interview and we had a little cry when they played the song at the end of the short interview.

This year since my mother stopped driving I have taken her shopping each week. I have also endeavoured to support my friend, Brenda, who has been through breast cancer.


Still playing the flute with Alison Edgar's group about every second Friday, and occasionally with the Cashmere Wind Ensemble.

Had my usual week's skiing with Wally and friends in August. Arranged to meet Martha and Daniel and a friend who had flown from Auckland to Queenstown to ski and had a weekend with them. Enjoyed skiing with Martha and to see her skiing so well.

Minifies Makeup is going well. Developing a new logo, broadband in both shops, designed and implemented a computer network for Wairakei Rd shop, new staff member to work Saturdays for Victoria St. For our Christmas get-together we all went on a bus to Mt Potts station and visited Mt Sunday, site of Edoras in The Lord of The Rings.

We had my friend Derek Carver (an extra in the film) as guide,
in his Gandalf costume. We held our 5th birthday party for Victoria St in the
Space Gallery in Bedford Row-theme was Fantasy, Freaks, Feathers, ?? Had some
great outfits.

 I went as Vivien from The Young Ones. Later Deb and I went along
to the Green Party headquarters as it was also election night-17 September. Said
hi to a worried Rod Donald-last time we saw him alive.

My Aunty Betty died in May. She, my sister Kay and Aunty Margaret went to the
Timaru Girls High Reunion at Easter where she was the oldest pupil present. She
was made a fuss of and enjoyed herself.

24th September was Aunty Margarets 90th birthday celebration. Was a great gathering
of the clan-Martha flew down from Auckland and Janine from Wellington, Koa was
here of course, so they met many relatives they have not seen for some time or
ever. I played 'On Wings of Song' with variations on the flute, accompanied by
my cousin Claire.

Bought a new car on 1 December-a 2006 2l Subaru Impreza. I love it, but Deb is not so enamoured. Part of my preparing for retirement-whenever that might be.
Deborah Williams and David Minifie and Possum  

P.S. Remember our garden party on 5th Feb. From 2pm to 6pm

P.P.S. Please call us on Skype 2 if you are outside N.Z.

Deborah and David
dmw14@ext.canterbury.ac.nz      david@minifie.co.nz     www.minifie.co.nz     www.minifie.co.nz/dandd    www.minifie.co.nz/language