Christmas 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

You will probably remember from our last Christmas letter how much we were looking forward to Vicki and Stephen’s first baby being born in June. Vicki and her baby both reached 41 weeks without any problems, but suddenly the baby died. This was a huge shock to all of us, especially to Vicki and Stephen. Vicki then had to give birth to her baby girl Evelyn that same day, knowing that she was already dead. How terribly sad it was for the whole family. Vicki and Stephen have had such a hard road to walk down, and they are still walking it.

Thankfully, our family have had lots of love and support from everyone. And the family itself has supported one another too. We are so grateful for all the love and practical help that has been forthcoming.

We take comfort in knowing that our little granddaughter Evie is safe and happy in Jesus’ care. And the story doesn’t end there; Vicki and Stephen have just announced that they are expecting a baby!

In August 2015 The Hilltribe had a lovely holiday together in Torquay (all 13 of us). We rented a very large (and rather grand) house with a beautiful garden, and took turns to cook for the whole family. Although the weather was mixed, we had some great walks and visited plenty of local attractions.

Howard and I rented a motor home for a week in November. We had 7 days touring around the west coast of Scotland and particularly loved Ardfern and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. Both are very much off the beaten track; remote, wild and beautiful. We had a few problems with the van itself and also managed to get it stuck in mud. The RAC man arrived to tow us out, and then his vehicle got stuck in a ditch on the campsite and had to be towed out by a recovery lorry and a winch in the dark! One our fellow campers thanked us for the evening’s entertainment!

Other bits of family news are: Robert and Summer have bought their own house and are getting married in May 2016. Joe has completed his PhD. Anna Jane and Oliver have a Dalmatian puppy called Mango, and Robert and Summer have a Jack Russell puppy called Milo. Gordon and Libby are well and living in a cottage in the Cotswolds and Jamie has met a lovely lady called Kat (also in the Police Force).

Business as usual for Howard and Annie. Howard – building websites, performing in lots of concerts and ceilidhs etc to show off his huge range of skills and instruments, and does quite a lot of photography too. Annie – keeping the house for us and 4 lodgers, Church pastoral work, dancing (at every opportunity!), Street Pastoring and keeping up with the allotment, which involves making lots of wine from the fruit. Howard provides continuous quality control for this project.

So here we are coming up to Christmas again. This year we don’t have any of our offspring on Christmas Day, but we are grateful that some are visiting on Boxing Day and others on New Year’s Eve. As it is our first Christmas Day with neither parents nor children, we are offering a bring and share ‘Open House’ on Christmas Day, to anyone who feels that they would like to drop round. That offer is open to you too! Let us know as soon as you can if you would like to join us.

Our very best wishes to you and all your loved ones for a very Happy Christmas and much joy in 2016.

With love
Annie and Howard xxx
Christmas 2015