Christmas Letter 2018

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your letters, cards, emails, snapchats, facebook posts, carrier pigeon missives, phone calls and the time we have spent with you during 2018. We are blessed to have such a loving family, and such wonderful friends! 

Sorry if we have not kept in touch very well with you this year.  Both of us feel we have had to work harder in 2018 than in recent years – I guess we are starting to feel our age a bit now.

Annie is very busy with lodgers and Howard is busy with his website business (First Ideas Limited) and we look after our granddaughter Florence for two days a week.  Howard is still doing lots of music, and enjoying it, which is the main thing with a hobby. Quite a bit of photography too. Both hobbies are made a bit tricky as Howard has pain in both knees (arthritis related to a motor bike accident at age 22) and is hoping for surgery in 2019. Bionic knees. Ever the keen sportsman, Howard will then be able to leap in and out of his armchair.

One of Howard’s bands “Troubshort and Turnipseed” recorded a new CD. It’s called “Drinking Beer and Robbing Banks” and he plays on that. It’s rather good, even if he says so himself. Available now.

Our gorgeous granddaughter Florence is a great delight to us. She is now nearly 2 ½ years old. She is talking well and is a great source of amusement for us. We were absolutely delighted when Vicki, Stephen and Florence moved to Wantage in February. We love having them close to us.

Annie continues to patrol as a Street Pastor and help with Food Bank. Howard is creating a website for the local Food Bank and plays music for the Alzheimer’s Society. When he remembers.

Some other 2018 highlights:

  • Reuben was born to Rob and Summer in May and four days later Harry was born to Vicki and Stephen. The two babies are beautiful yet very different from each other. We marvel at how each of us are created unique and special. Annie says that Howard is special.
  • Annie went to Xian in China in April with a group from Wantage Community Church. That was a great experience! Howard enjoyed it too, having unrestricted access at home to as much fruit and veg as he wanted.
  • Charlotte and Teddy came over from Hong Kong in July, and Joe joined them in August.
  • Gordon and Libby got married in August. The wedding and reception were stunning – such incredible attention to detail. It was a beautiful and joyful day for all and the gathering of The Hill Tribe was something to behold.
  • In August Annie and Howard went to Bletchley Park to find out about the secret goings on and cunning plans that were hatched during WW2. Boy – that was amazing. We loved our visit and can highly recommend it. 
  • We went to Croatia and Montenegro for a holiday in September. That was a bit of a risk, as we booked through Airbnb yet knew nothing about the area, but it paid off and we had a great holiday. Howard reckons it was a bit like Italy, but with less shouting and arm waving.
  • In March we went house sitting in the Lakes with Jamie and Kat, and we went again in October, when we were joined by quite a lot of our kids and grandkids. It was wonderful to spend time with them all. While we were there Jamie and Kat announced their engagement (about time too) and there was much merriment in the family.

Some sad things have happened too. We said goodbye to some dear family members and friends. And Jamie and Kat’s beloved kitten Lydia was run over a few weeks ago. Life can be very hard and we were all sad with them.

We wish you all a very Happy Christmas, and love, joy and peace in 2019.

Our love and thoughts are with you.

Howard and Annie xx