At the Society’s first meeting of the new year Kathryn Ogden gave a fascinating talk on The Silk Road and how it had contributed to the development of trade and new ideas in Asia and eastern Europe. Stretching over 5,000 miles between China and Istanbul the road was actually a network of routes carrying silk from China from 1000 BC across deserts and mountainous terrain in extreme temperatures. The contacts between traders and intermediaries from many countries stimulated developments such as the invention of paper, gunpowder and algebra. The Islamic architecture and vivid colours later influenced architecture in Europe and trading cities such as Venice. In the second half of the evening there was a slide presentation of photographs taken at the Celebration of 70 years of friendship between Halifax and Aachen held in Aachen Town Hall in November.