It’s always fantastic hearing from you every year. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year.
I simple cannot believe that you reached 70 this year. You don’t look it. It only seems five minutes that we were all together at BT and Cellnet, talking about things like BS5750 as well as some useful things! Congratulations! You and Liz are looking really well. Time goes so quickly but it’s clear that you are packing in lots of great things. It seems to have been a very big year for you both. Congratulations to Paul and Justina.
I love the photo montage so you must keep that going. One day, I’m going to try and match your organisational skills. Sadly, not this year…
After a prolonged period of Covid restrictions, it’s been lovely finally to get to some nice destinations, and we’ve had the opportunity to treat the girls, who have been working hard, to some nice experiences during the year.
Showing how time flies, Rebecca is now in her final year of her Ph.D. With her formal teaching position at St John’s College, she has been ramping up her teaching and supervisions, and absolutely loves helping students and gets amazing feedback from her students. I can really see her evolving to be a Director of Studies or Admissions Tutor some day as that’s where her heart is. Rebecca lives with Conor and they have done lots of different things this year, including skying, sailing a boat round the Greek Islands and taking on the GR20 in Corsica. Here’s a photo from the GR20.
In October, Rebecca was awarded the Jim Perkins Ph.D Scholarship, and will spend six months at the University of Melbourne in Australia, commencing next April. Conor will be joining her.
Bethany is loving her time at Cambridge and is making the very most of it. She is very active with her college (Christ’s). As she loves teaching, she now supervises students in the Maths department. Bethany has met Oli, who studied Maths at Christ’s College, and things seem to be going really well. Bethany recently spent a month in Singapore visiting Oli, who had a work placement there for a few months. We attended Bethany’s delayed degree ceremony at Durham, and here is a photo with Oli.
It doesn’t seem five minutes ago that the girls were preparing for their Cambridge interviews, which were very nerve wracking. This year, they have both been at the other side of the table – interviewing potential undergraduates for their respective departments. They both loved doing this.
Alison and I seem to have a lot of time travelling this year, with and without the girls. I’ve not lost my passion for photography, so we have spent most weekends visiting every nook and cranny in Norfolk and Suffolk. One weekend, we were thinking of you when we visited Woodbridge and area, staying at Seckford Hall. It brought back memories of our time in the area.
Here’s a photo taken in Southwold, eating fish and chips outside!
Alison and I had a lovely relaxing holiday in Kos, and we managed to do a lot of walking, in between eating too much. We treated the girls to a holiday in Corfu, and here is a photo of the girls parasailing (from a distance). They said it was VERY high.
We took the girls to beautiful Bruges and the Battlefields. Here is a photo of Bethany and me laughing about the sweetest hot chocolate we’ve ever tasted.
A few weeks ago, we took Rebecca and Conor to Vienna for the Christmas markets (so romantic).
We’ll be taking Bethany and Oli to Berlin shortly. We seem to have got the travel bug (must be an age thing) so have gone rather mad booking for next year, but I will report on all that next Christmas! We cannot wait.
You may be surprised to hear that I’ve really got into cookery, much to the delight of Alison. She now has a new dish every day when she arrives home from work.
I think I’ve improved a lot over the year, and we’ve been enjoying going to all the good restaurants across East Anglia. My food gallery online get the most views of all the photographs I publish. Here’s my ever-increasing food gallery of food experiences:
Alison is still working hard in Papworth Pharmacy. We talk about her going part time but she always says that she’s not ready yet. She’s still Chair of the Local Pharmaceutical Committee.
Work has been absolutely mad this year. The business partnership I reported on last year has continued to expand massively – now to five counties. Results have been beyond our wildest dreams, and now we are further expanding our products for 2023. I am now also going into business with another person so 2023 is going to be rather hectic but incredibly exciting.
Having said that, I’m looking forward to a nice rest over the Christmas period. I’ve been loving attending music concerts. In Vienna, we attended a lovely concert of Christmas music in St Stephen’s Cathedral. Rebecca managed to get us tickets to the Radio 3 broadcast of the Advent Carol Service from St John’s Chapel, which took place recently. I was sat just behind the Choirmaster, and the sound was the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life. For the first time ever, Rebecca and Bethany have secured tickets to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College Chapel, which is broadcast live on Radio 4 on Christmas Eve. This is one item on my bucket list, and to say I’m excited is an understatement!
OK, that’s it. I’ve got carried away (again). So, have a lovely Christmas and I look forward to hearing more news next December. Have a lovely 2023! It would be fantastic to meet up some time. If you still visit Woodbridge, maybe we should meet up for a meal?
All the best (for now),
Mark and Alison XXX