Christmas 2013

A season of retirement, semi-retirement, rest and recuperation...  
Sophie has graduated and has done well with her Masters in Statistics, Matthew completed his degree in Philosophy & English and Andrew, having passed his HND in Business Studies, has been welcomed back for a top up year.

year of weddings, too - Anne to Adam, nephew Zac to Marika (still pained at missing the ceremony), Sophie as musician and also as chief bridesmaid and Matthew adding harmony to many celebrations.  A year seeing how much marriage is more than a fabulous day's celebration, the giving and receiving of rings - but also honouring and thinking more highly of others than self - and recognising the place of marriage as a key foundation in compassionate society.  
Sad farewells included Allan, much loved, and Rex, devoted to Gwen, his wider family, cricket; I recall Gwen once suggesting that they had considered living together ... but enjoyed over a quarter century of married comfort in south Devon.  Gwen & Rex had only recently moved closer to family; Rex is very much missed yet the way his love and smile touched us will never die.

Sophie had quite forgotten leaving her contact details with the agency and was surprised to be invited to an interview and then offered the post of statistician; just ten days after handing in her Masters dissertation, she had started work in Wallingford.  New home, new friends, new work, new transport - and lunches sitting beside a fine river.  Sheffield still beckons, not least as maid of honour just before Christmas.  So many friends made there and in Norway, and a delight for us all to have enjoyed the richness of their love and generosity.

Matthew philosophically completed his degree and continues to enjoy making music across the country - and internationally. Being asked to play the djembe at Anne & Adam's wedding - alongside fine string quartet and choir in Chapaize, Bourgogne, does continue his European experience.
Amongst his many accomplishments in 2013, creating the biggest splash at the pool - wearing les lunettes de piscine - and actually stopping and recuperating for a week were inspirational.  We missed one on holiday though...

Andrew realised that he had to complete an extended period of work experience as part of his HND and so missed France altogether.  He reveled in the HR department and learnt quite a bit about bicycles over than month; the results showed the continuation of the miracle of his life with his graduation in November.  Sheffield invited him back for a top-up; the hard work continues for us all.
He has started to learn a little campanology along with his parents, putting into practice some of the 'team work' principles of his business studies into the bargain.  And managed to get covered with glitter and glue helping out at Messy Church.

Allison relaxed into extended semi-retirement and has enjoyed the space and peace of being at home without daily demands.  Messy Church, choir, PCC, gardening, painting, decorating. gardening... topped off with family visits at the touch of a button.  A couple of trips exploring Suffolk while catching up with family including Gran Gran, old neighbours and friends; tours of Somerset and South Wales have been blessed by family, friends and God-daughters.

With so much to delight in, Humph continues to smile, whatever the weather.  Hearing the local Chamber of Commerce declare the need for the district to 'stop being so parochial' was music to the ear: the local ecumenical website has been offering links beyond its borders for some time.  The chronological listing of Christmas services further reflects this wisdom.  A delight, too, to help LincsFX with a Messy Church workshop and to pen various adaptations of songs to fit in with themes.