We hope you don’t mind getting an email letter from us this year instead of a Christmas card. Annie fell off her bike last week, and fractured her arm, so we are taking shortcuts where we can. We are very happy to hear from you in the same way.
Annie and I have had a good year, with quite a lot of changes in small things. I have bought myself an e-bike and am enjoying cycling round the countryside. This immaculate contraption (festive pun intended) has freed me from the confines of my dodgy knees and I’m even in danger of becoming slightly fit.
We hired a camper van a couple of times this year – just for fun – and have been away for other short breaks now and again. Life seems to have opened up again for us; we have realised there are a lot more places to explore, and a more fun to be had. Life is good.
Jamie has started a full-time University degree course in Policing and plans to have a job as a Police Constable in two years, with an eye on joining the CID. For the next two years he will be on a very low income, so it’s an investment for the future.
Joe is just back from Nepal. He has been there since July, recording a language which is in danger of becoming extinct, as part of his PhD. Joe and Charlotte are still living in Cambridge but will be moving house in a few days.
Vicki is enjoying life and doing really well in her job, and was recently just voted ‘Employee of the Month’. She has also started her own part-time business doing nail manicures.
Gordon is still working for ‘95% Danish’ – he manages and promotes their website. He has even done some consultancy for me! Robert recently started an apprenticeship in bricklaying and he is not only getting great marks, but he is really enjoying it. Rob still gets his wages and the company pay for his tuition – nice one! Gordon and Rob have just moved to their own rented house in Stanford-in-the -Vale.
Anna Jane is living at home while working voluntarily at a local animal rescue centre as part of her degree course. She is baby-sitting and pet-sitting to make a small income.
All our kids have grown up into lovely people – this is a great joy for us!
I still play for several local folk bands. I am particularly enthusiastic about my newest ceilidh band Melobo (www.melobo.co.uk) – we played for the main ceilidh at the biggest folk festival around here (Bunkfest in Wallingford) – it was awesome! Another highlight was playing at the Sandhurst Royal Military College. During the year, I managed a record-breaking 61 gigs!
Annie is still dancing with The Vale Islanders. She had a bit of a mixed year at the allotment, but harvested loads of courgettes, squash, ‘Blue Cocoa’ climbing french beans and soft fruit. She is still a champion wine maker. I compliment her skills by being a champion wine drinker.
We are still taking in lodgers, and it works well for us as a source of income. We have had quite a lot of different people in the last year, all very nice folks though.
Our church is thriving and we are very happy to be part of it. Annie is doing pastoral work for people who are not part of our church, but are struggling in one way or another and she still enjoys going out as a Street Pastor. We are both getting more involved with “Care for the Family”.
We wish you a lovely Christmas and good health, peace and happiness in the New Year.
With love, Howard and Annie xx