Better late than never! Christmas gifts from Alnwick.
Unsung heroes – we have a few to thank. The check-in lady at Newcastle Airport who kindly overlooked our excess weight, so various toys, chocolates, shortbread, smoked salmon and even a Christmas pudding found their way to Cambodia.
Mainly though, we wish to thank the lads and lasses who work in the Alnwick charity shops.
They always greet my Cambodian wife as a long-lost friend, when we have returned once or twice a year over the past 14 years.
Mind you, they were surprised the first time they encountered her. Who else would dare to bargain in a charity shop as is the custom in Asia?
Yet with good humour, they usually give her a deal.
Here Navin, six, Samnang, whose name means Lucky, eight, Rethya, 10, and Chetra, two, have their model toy cars.
I wonder if the Alnwick children who donated them would have any idea where they would end up or how much they would be appreciated? Charity shops are sometimes cast as a by-word for struggling high streets, but they do a lot of good.
One member of my family, who I had better not name, usually remonstrates: “Why buy that rubbish?”
Well, as these children demonstrate, the answer is it’s not rubbish to them.
More importantly, Cancer Research, Oxfam, RSPCA and the Salvation Army have a little more revenue to keep up their good deeds, despite the slight discounts. So everyone’s a winner.