Welcome... here are the answers to the quiz on the Baker's 2006 Christmas card. No points at all this year - double points awarded in 2005.
1 Is margarine environmentally sustainable?
2 Is it normal for middle sons to borrow your slippers?
3 How many churches are like the BBC – offering repeats?
4 Suggest three ways to improve strawberry yields
5 Who pinched my acorns?
6 Choose a name for Sophie's Trio: Skysong, Phoenix or …
7 House moves: when, where, why and how?
8 “I can't make it work – let's close it”: sack this leader, or pray?
9 Are baby oak trees a sound investment?
10 Should dogs be allowed to have two email addresses?
11 Parenting: a dying art or the new frontier?
12 France, Ireland, Germany or Scotland?
Sophie on five string bass touring Prague … her five weeks' work through the summer at the local call centre is paying dividends. She's filling the little car with diesel – how uncommonly responsible. ‘A' levels in Maths, More Maths, Physics with Maths, Spam Chemistry & Maths follow her GCSEs – so she'll be a singing chef, then. Delightful Trio with two of her good friends at school: Children in Need fund raising was harmonious.
Sophie and Matthew were welcomed as junior helpers on a summer SU camp near Lincoln . Loved to bits, dear things, with someone suggesting that Matthew was a gracious drummer. They were smothered at the reunion, too. As well as their own MySpace websites they help out with www.MySpace.com/UnitedGigs - there are many limits to dad's abilities.
Andy has joined the school cookery club – so perhaps we will have a wise pastry chef in the Baker family. Chilli burgers with cinnamon suggest a budding Mrs Cropley in the making.
Now three months into ‘week-at-a-time' household duties and all of us are benefiting – except for the dog. Talking of whom – he, too, was included on the BBC Radio 4 dog listings. There's an extract on the THM website pics pages (shortcut: www.hasma.org.uk)
A quiet, long hot English summer
Sophie, Matthew & Andy learned to sail with Martha, goddaughter, on the Broads over the Mayday weekend. Some 16 years since we last sailed together as families; this time the grockles were the hardy types and few in number, making it a perfect time away
A delight to welcome Anne-Gaëlle Musset into the family during May, the eldest in the family from Cluny, France. Here for three weeks to practice her English, Anne visited schools, worked in Wesley Owen here and was shocked with some rare colloquialisms. Perhaps the most astonishing thing was hearing the school worship band – unheard of back home.
Bidding a sad farewell to the camper after a week's break in Winchester, we're on with the new project: making a two berth motorhome out of a miniature Vauxhall combo tour. It'll sleep two, seat five with belts, and is giving more than 50mpg around town. Twin sunroofs suggest it'll double as a Popemobile.
We're grateful to those who've made short breaks so very refreshing. Musicians, festivals, friends and family have done more than keep us going this year especially. Perhaps we'll put something back into the pot in the future.
Harrogate and Nidderdale
Loads of reports and excitement, including another April fool, all reported on www.ctharrogate.org.uk; the search report once included ‘atheist' – so either we have a troubled local leader or someone's got the wrong end of the stick. YfC need a wise director of high calibre here; much to be grateful for, yet so much more to do.
Nidderdale news includes the chapel closures and the launch of a single, ecumenical “The Church in the Dale” at Pentecost 2007. Many wise moves in the area, and then some plans falling on stony ground – such as million pound church developments. We, too, are aware of struggling Bosnian pastors and desperate children across the South
We picked up a classic quote this year: “Why weren't you at last night's meeting?” “When do you tell me about it?” “Just now – umm, sorry.” Perhaps we're all expected to work miracles all the time.
CRE came to Harrogate in October; the catwalk included two of our well-appreciated hospital chaplains, one dressed as a bishop. Did the picture make the front page of his Baptist Times? ‘First union bishop', perhaps. Link and pics on the CTH New Archive.
“Aging is a spiritual issue just as fat is a feminist issue” (!) A quote from an evening on Age in November; full transcript on www.ctny.org.uk