Christmas 2013

Dear family and friends

Our big bit of news is that Vicki is getting married to Stephen McNelly in September 2014. Vicki and Stephen live in Reading. Vicki is doing well in her job for Tangoe, a communications company. Stephen works for his dad’s building firm. The wedding happens a month after Howard’s 60th birthday, so we are going to be celebrating a lot around then.

Jamie has a few more months to go at University (doing his degree in policing) before he is able to get a job as a policeman in Thames Valley Police. He is currently living in High Wycombe, and working part time as a ‘Special Constable’. He spent all summer on Hadrian’s Wall as a Trek Guide – living under canvas for 4 months.

Joe has been in Nepal for a lot of this year. He now has 9 more months working on his Phd in Cambridge, and then hopefully will get a job in a university somewhere. Charlotte (Joe’s wife) is teaching history and various other things in a comprehensive school in Huntingdon (brave girl).

Gordon has just moved to Faringdon (about 10 miles east of Wantage) and is living in a flat overlooking the market square. He is now working in Burford as a website and online marketing specialist. He is still going out with Libby who is training to be a dentist.

Robert has just moved to Devizes in Wiltshire. He finishes his brick laying apprenticeship next summer. He is still working for Stonewood builders – 4 years now. Robert’s girl friend is called Summer, and she lives in Devizes and works as the manager of a beauty salon.

Anna Jane finishes her degree in ‘Animal Behaviour and Welfare’ next summer too. She is going out with a young man called Oliver who lives in Norfolk. Oliver is a photographer, specialising in nature photography.

Howard’s mum Irene is now 94 and is still doing remarkably well. She remains thankful to God, cheerful, and a pleasure to visit.

Howard continues to build websites for a living, but also enjoys playing lots of music in his various bands. His newest band “Dr Hexter’s Healers” plays loud electric blues and soul in the style of the Commitments! He is still playing lots of folk music too and continues to struggle to learn the English Concertina.

I have had lots of fun going to various craft groups. I started off the year learning to make bobbin lace. I have finished the year with a 3-day upholstery course allowing me to reupholster a lovely fireside chair that was given to us.

We have 4 lodgers in our house at the moment. Thankfully they are very well behaved, and good to have around.

Howard and I have had two lovely holidays and a short break. We went to Portugal in April and enjoyed a week of glorious sunshine when it was still freezing in England. Then in September we had almost two weeks visiting friends and family in Northumbria, Scotland and the Lake District. We had a really wonderful time! Thanks to all the kind folk who made it so special. We also enjoyed a couple of days in the spring with Howard’s brother Stuart and sister-in-law Diane on their narrow boat.

And we bought a ‘new’ car! We now have a luxurious Ford Mondeo; heated leather seats and everything! And the really great thing is that we get nearly 50 miles to the gallon!

There have been some sad times in the year too. My Auntie Bessie died aged 98. Uncle Phil died in his 70s. Howard’s cousin Jennifer died in her 60s. We also said goodbye to several other friends during the course of the year. Reminders that life on earth doesn’t go on for ever.

Our church continues to thrive, and we thrive in it. I have spent a lot of time making trips to Winchester in my attempt to train in pastoral ministry. I hope it will be useful in the church in Wantage.
Howard still enjoys playing regularly in the worship band, and occasionally operating the sound desk.

We hope you have had a good year too. We wish you a very happy Christmas, and God’s blessing on you in 2014.

Much love from us to you, Annie and Howard xxx