Dear Everyone

Just because we won the Lottery doesn't mean we've changed. The kids are still a handful
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The Independent Online
My goodness, hasn't the year gone quickly? And what a busy and worthwhile twelvemonth it has been for all of us here at "Duncarin". The children have really shot up since you last saw them. Heroin, cocaine, Temazepam - you name it, they've shot it up! No, only joking, really. Since Darren came out of the clinic in April, he's had nothing stronger than "E". Well, they would hardly call it "Ecstasy" if it was bad for you, would they?

Cindy, or Cindi as she has taken to calling herself, has settled into her new job. "Another new job?" I hear you asking. Well she was never really cut out to be a bank cashier. All that money was such a temptation. Mr Jobsworth the manager was really understanding in deciding not to press charges and Cindi's really grateful for it. She still goes round to his place quite often on her days off to thank him.

Oh yes, her new job. I'm not quite sure exactly what she does. Something to do with entertainment I think. It's down the West End anyway, and mostly in the evenings. She's obviously enjoying her work and putting a lot of effort into it, which is nice to see. She brings home good money too - and apparently there's an EC regulation that says she doesn't have to pay tax on it because it's in cash.

Their dad came round the other day. Well, Darren's dad anyway. We were never sure about Cindi. I keep telling him he can see the kids every alternate Saturday, but he seems to prefer dropping in by surprise. Cindi was asleep, though, and Darren was out "serving the community", if you get my drift. "Me and Eric Cantona," he says, proudly.

It's been very quiet since Doreen left home in January, but we've been to see her a couple of times since then. It's a really easy journey, just a short walk from Kentish Town on the North London line. She'll be out next month with remission - even when she was little we always remarked on her good behaviour - and they've taken the baby into care, which is a great weight off her mind.

Darren's been earning good money too. I think it's something to do with bicycles. "Pedalling," the policeman called it when he went missing.

That was soon after he got back from holiday. Went to Lyon in France and - would you believe it? - discovered to his amazement that there was a football match on in the town the day he arrived. He must have impressed the locals, because they put him up for the night and paid his fare home. I think he stayed at a nice lodging house, because he kept talking about "them French gites" when he got home.

You'll laugh at this though. When he got back to London, he took the tube to Brixton again, completely forgetting that we'd moved to Hampstead. You know, winning the Lottery hasn't changed us at all. He's still as absent-minded as ever.

Well that's about it for another year. We really must make an effort to get together in '96. Happy Christmas, and let's hope next year is as peaceful and rewarding as this one.

Love to you all,