Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas letter 2009

Rose and Alice’s move from learner drivers to fully fledged car owners (shared Fiat Punto) was one of the major features of this year. Chris did most of the driving practice. I wasn’t deemed to be calm enough to accompany them in the early stages. We all coped really well; Alice got out of the car and refused to drive any further at a junction in Selby with me and Rose refused to go out with Chris for at least a week after he had the temerity to pass comment on a manoeuvre or two.

At Easter we went on a family holiday to the Red Sea with a tiring day trip to Cairo to see the antiquities museum, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. The snorkelling was wonderful, but not quite as exciting as the traffic in Cairo.
After Easter, we started on a tour of University Open Days. To be honest I think I was more interested in having an opportunity to check out the competition than the girls were. Rose and Alice’s UCAS forms are now in. Rose has applied for accountancy at East Anglia, York, Sheffield, Northumbria and Hull. Alice has applied for deferred entry to study Chemical Engineering at UCL, Newcastle, Nottingham, Herriot Watt and Aston. We liked Herriot Watt; Alice said it was like having a University at Harewood House (except near Edinburgh), which is a large country house and estate just to the north of Leeds (where the north of England red kite release has been carried out).
In the summer, Jack went on a School outdoor activities holiday to the Ardeche whilst Lucy chose the less active option of touring the Belgian battle fields and chocolate shops. Rose, Alice and Lucy spent a muddy weekend at Leeds Festival and apart from that we have been at home all year. Even Chris has only had his passport out to go to Egypt. He spent most of the summer re-visiting silver-spotted skipper butterfly sites on the north and south downs. We did a survey together in 1982.
We had a series of family celebrations at the end of the summer; my parent’s golden wedding anniversary, Chris’s 50th birthday and Chris’ nephew’s wedding in Ditchling. It was good to meet up with family and lovely to see the Thomas cousins monopolising the dance floor.
I went back to Newnham in September as part of Cambridge’s 800th anniversary. It was also 30 years since I first went to Cambridge. It was lovely to meet up with so many old friends and spend a night in College.
Jack and Lucy have started their GCSE courses and have also being doing their bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Jack is helping to coach the village under 8 football team and refereeing home matches and Lucy is helping out at an after-school club at a primary school in Selby. Jack and Chris have continued their Hull season tickets. Alice has continued to work at Starbucks in the Designer Outlet and Rose works at Polo Ralph Lauren. They had a joint 18th birthday party at a Selby nightclub in November. It was lovely to see all their friends from school, stagedoor and college together.
Sadly, Rex died during the year, of heart attack we think – very quick, on his way out to the garden. After six weeks of “never going to have another dog”, Chris caved in and Ruby arrived; a Staffordshire Bull Terrier x Border Collie puppy. We need to take her to puppy training classes…

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