Christmas 2021

Dear Family and Friends,

We have had another very challenging year! I am sure we are not alone in that though.

To get the bad news out of the way, at the end of March, Howard was diagnosed with a Benign Meningioma at the base of his skull / top of his spine. This was discovered on a CT scan, because he had been feeling dizzy, nauseous and unbalanced. Before the tumour was found, they were pretty sure that these symptoms were “Benign Proximal Positional Vertigo”. When they found the tumour they were unsure about whether the tumour was causing the symptoms or not. But either way, they didn’t want to do the usual manoeuvre to sort out the Vertigo, in case it affected the tumour.

So we had a difficult few months, with Howard feeling really poorly and in April, he retired from running his web design business (First Ideas Ltd). Happily, our son Gordon took this over and it has proved to be a really good move. Howard then decided to have an operation to remove the tumour, and that was scheduled for July.

But then, suddenly and miraculously, he was better! The dizziness and nausea left, and he was back to normal; just a few days before Anna Jane and George’s wedding at the end of June. At that point he had a complete change of mind, and feeling so good, decided that brain surgery was the last thing he wanted! He is now on the “Watch and Wait” path, having scans every 12 months to see if the tumour is growing. We are praying, of course, that it isn’t!

Anna Jane and George’s Wedding

Miss Enid Hill

Coping with lockdown. Together.

Master Isaac Hill

The wedding was splendid! We were blessed to see some of our family and friends at the wedding (not as many as we would have liked though). Howard stepped in as the official wedding photographer after the booked one opted out. Some of the Covid restrictions had just been lifted, but we still had to jump through quite a lot of hoops. The latest news from Anna Jane and George is that they are expecting their first baby, due in the springtime, and not even George and AJ know if it is a boy or girl! Back to the old fashioned way!

On the subject of Babies, we have the blessing of two more Grandchildren added to our family in 2021! Jamie and Kat gave birth to Enid Lesley Myra Hill on 22nd February. And Isaac Elias Hill was born to Rob and Summer on 30th June. Both babies are absolutely amazing, beautiful and no doubt very talented!  It is also our joy to watch our children become good, patient and dedicated parents.

Our other grandchildren, Florence, Teddy, Reuben and Harry, are growing up beautifully. Our only sadness is that we haven’t seen Teddy (who lives with Joe and Charlotte in Hong Kong) for 2 years! Teddy will be 5 in February.

Howard has taken every possible opportunity to play music, and he has had lots of fun with that: A lot of events outside, but some indoor ones too when restrictions have permitted them. He has even formed a band with his old friend from school, Chris Rae, playing 60s and 70s pop!

We have really enjoyed cycling our eBikes, taking them on holiday with us on several occasions. Cycling really make us feel younger and more alive! Howard’s replacement knees have enabled him to enjoy walking and photography more too. We had a few days in The Peak District in September, and walking Stanage Edge was one of the highlights of this year.

We continue to love Wantage Community Church, and all the people in it. We have received great comfort and support from our Church in the midst of our trials this year, and from God himself too of course!

Gordon and Libby, who were in a head-on car crash, two years ago, are healing very slowly from their physical and emotional trauma. This year they had a special holiday in Barbados! We continue to pray for them, and for all our children, who have gone through their own trials this year. Life is tough. But God is good.

One thing that Lockdown has brought home to us, is that people are really important! We really miss our family and friends, especially those we have not managed to see at all this year. You are all very special to us, and we look forward to seeing you again.

We wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

All our love,
Howard and Annie

PS Please sign our Guest Book – it’s on the main menu, at the top

Howard’s 2021 bands





Faringdon and District Strummers (FADS)

Jim Lad and the Shanty Men


Melobo Ceilidh Band

Troubshort and Turnipseed




Hendred Ukulele Group (HUG)




Outdoor Slow Session

1 Man Show