Christmas 2012

So we finally moved... after some three years 125 miles apart we said sad farewells to Kingsley Road and Harrogate High School; an even sadder farewell to loving Aunt Lesley-Ann - with memories of her filled to bursting with life, too; also Aunt Eileen and Alli's brother's father-in-law, Tom; and, by contrast, a year of weddings for Sophie.  North Yorkshire's beauty and people remain deep within our hearts; we and our four children have been lovingly welcomed (in the old General Hospital, to boot), inspired and blessed in so many precious ways.  Sophie has graduated and is progressing with her Masters, Matthew has a new slot on Fly FM - finishing Philosophy & English in 2013 and Andrew is growing in understanding through his Business studies.

We, too, enjoyed the spectacle of the Olympics; with a milepost suggesting London is just 100 miles away, Stratford was day-trip accessible.

Sophie continues in music and ministry through St Thomas, Philadelphia - even to helping out on a conference in Norway. Matthew has had an unwelcome opportunity to replace a set of bongos and more. Andrew has learnt to live out 
higher levels of diplomacy; sharing an apartment with Sophie has also dramatically reduced the home washing pile.

Alli & Humph have enjoyed a long summer of far more than 'semi-retirement'; the vistas at Millside are now seen from the warmth and comfort of a garden room. Space for some 40 on window seats, sofas and pews, the super-insulated room is cosy - without any heater; it even has has an integrated solar water heating system built into the roof.

With one 
church restoration now in a different phase, we, too have moved on, joining with what might have been the backing group 'The Gilbertines' at Sempringham Abbey. Songs of Praise-style services provide opportunities for many instruments including mandolin and even the banjitar; Keith & Patsy and the good folk across the villages have smiled very generously.  Maggie D's old Washburn (r) sees regular service at Messy Churches - a delight to play together recently with Sophie on Spector and Matthew on cajón. And, unsurprisingly, there's a listing of Christmas services, concerts and events up on the local ecumenical website.

The joys of living in these parts - together at last - have been crowned by spending Paul's birthday with him at Blakeney Point in his Stiffkey Cockler, being able to drop on Gran Gran more easily - especially around her 101st birthday, popping in on aunts and uncles and family, catching up with Deborah in Tilehurst - it's so close, hearing Carl with Bryn & Sally (L) plus Pat & Mick and all at St George's, far too brief moments with Chris 'n' Fliss & Samuel, detouring via Alan & Louise and family, delighting in seeing Christine & Terry some 33 years on and being able to explore the counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire in the camping car.

2013? All change again, perhaps, with three youngsters expecting to finish at university. Will Matthew go for a phud or Andrew excel and access a third year? Where will we build a Granny Annex? And the music studio? And we're missing the good people of France, Ireland and the Netherlands, too...