Christmas 2003

Christmas 2003 Newsletter
by Howard

Christmas comes but once a year and when it does it brings good beer

Mmmm, beer…

Welcome

one and all to our traditional Merry Christmas web page, prepared using traditional methods dating back to Word 97. Ahhh the golden age of craftsmanship, when word processors were real word processors.

Birthdays

2003 saw two significant birthdays amongst the Hill Tribe.

‘twas Gordon’s 13th birthday in February. So Gordon is now a teenager – emotionally, physically, legally and chronologically. Mentally too.

And in November my little boy Jamie became a man. Happy daze.

Vicki had her 15th birthday and has a photo album to prove it. Click here to see it.

Everyone one else aged, but not significantly. Next year is a different kettle of onions.

Holidays

Annie and I went to Devon in our caravan. Errr. And our car. What a fab time we had to be sure.

Jamie went to France in the Spring with his Youth Cell from church – snowboarding and things. Spent a week in the Summer at Soul Survivor (that’s a Christian rock festival).

Joe planned a week of camping in Scotland but sadly, his plans didn’t come together and he didn’t get further than Coventry.

Vicki and her friend Rachel went to visit Uncle Stuart and Aunty Diane in the Wirral (thanks Stuart and Diane – they had a wonderful time).

Gordon, Robert and Anna Jane spent 10 days at Exmouth with the church youth group. They had a fab time.

Music

Quite a few developments here.

First off – Robert taught himself to play the drums that we got last Christmas and a complete superstar he is too. He is utterly brilliant, funky, cool and should I say – groovy (no, I should not).

Second off, we were all very proud of Jamie as he led the youth band (guitar and vocals) at church in December. He is a good musician (singing, guitar, bass and drums) and so is his Dad who played electric bass in the youth band. Stop laughing. OK already – so they were desperate.

Small Furry Creatures

A new category for 2003.

After years of saying “no” or words to that effect, at last we have a small zoo. Head keeper is Anna Jane who lovingly tends her rabbit (Alice) plus a collections of guinea pigs, guinea piglets and several mice. The side of our house now smells like a stable and so has both elevated our status in “The Close” and made the upstairs bedrooms seem a little less hostile in the olfactory department.

Outdoor Stuff

Joseph (a rather Christmassy name, don’t you think?) has taken to walking the Ridgeway every now and again. Maybe to be at one with nature – maybe to get away from the farmyard smells  – who knows ? We are working out a technique for Joe to adopt. It concerns planning the number of miles the walk will consist of, then walking half that distance, and then returning. Left to his own devices, I reckon he would end up in north Wales. Still, at least his telephone technique is being developed.

Annie’s Allotment by ‘oward. By ‘eck she’s a brave lass – out there in all weathers. I imagine it must very ‘ard work. Bought ‘er a petrol strimmer and some stainless steel tools. ‘Eee. By ‘eck tha’ nose. Don’t know ‘ow she manages on ‘er own. Doin’ all that work single ‘anded (after the accident with the circular saw). Eeeee… (fade to silence and black looks).

Sad News

Sad news is part of life. Annie’s Dad, Ted, died this year. He was such a lovely man. Very clever and very skilled with his hands. From the old school of “make do and mend” I reckon he could fix anything. He is greatly missed by his friends and family and of course the many neighbours who he used to help. We’ll get a few photos on this website soon.

Work

Jamie – had a spell working in Waitrose, but now does weekend cleaning at Wantage Leisure Centre. Also organised a successful dance (tickets, venue, disco, doormen) and made quite a lot of money. We’ll be giving Jamie our Christmas list this year.

Joe – babysat once or maybe twice. Mind on higher things I suspect.

Vicki – baking and selling cakes at church plus babysitting. Raising money for her school trip to Zambia in 2004. Donations always welcome. Vicki has volunteered to paint and decorate our dining room over the Christmas holidays. Hoorah !

Gordon – brief spell doing a paper round

Rob – even briefer spell helping Gordon with paper round (see above)

Anna Jane – co-founder of the local firm “Walkies” Anna is a cross between Richard Branson and David Attenborough. Anna did some helping at a local vets and only fainted once. A very focussed young lady.

Howard & Annie – everything else. Annie helps Howard and Howard helps Annie.

Community Things

Annie and I run the church Alpha course. That’s an Introduction to Christianity and is great fun to do. I am the secretary to Wantage Community Church, secretary to Wantage Churches Together, Vice-Chairman of Wantage & District Chamber of Commerce and a founder member of the Wantage Business Breakfast Club. Oooohhhhh. Annie co-ordinates the school mini bus rota and drives it too (to and from Witney) and also works with the 5-7’s group at church. Finally, Annie is chief cook and bottle washer amongst the local Hill population and specialises in encouraging and organising Howard. What a wonderful woman she is. What a wonderful friend.

Education

Jamie is now in the Upper Sixth and doing A-levels in Computer Studies, Drama, Media Studies and something else I think (never tells me anything). When he leaves, he hopes to serve in the church in some way, but not quite sure how.

Joe is good at all academic stuff and is taking GCSEs in his stride, but excels at linguistics and was last heard speaking in a mixture of Welsh, Cornish, Old English and Klingon. Or maybe that was the week he had a very bad cold. Joe hopes to go to a 6th Form that specialises in languages and then do a degree in linguistics.

Vicki is dutifully grafting away at her GCSEs. She may go to art college after school – not sure yet.

Gordon, Robert and Anna Jane are all doing fine at school and maybe a bit young to be planning their future just yet. Well, apart from Anna who fancies being a vet, Rob who fancies being a drummer and Gordon who has ambitions to remain a teenager.

Thank you

And finally a big thank you to our Loving Father who continues to watch over us, love us and bless us every day. Where would we be without Him ?
Scunthorpe maybe ?

…and that reminds me. Jamie was baptised this year. What a good year we’ve had.