Newsletter: Christmas 2016
Dear family and friends,
We're still living in Cyprus, doing much the same as last year,
wondering again where the time has gone. 2016 has been a difficult year
for many; it began with several celebrities dying, many of whom even we
had heard of. It got worse in June with the EU Referendum, the result
of which left us shocked and saddened. We have no idea how it might
affect us, and it appears that those in charge don't know either. So we
plod along, hoping and praying for something positive to emerge. In the
latter half of the year, several friends have developed serious health
conditions or suffered bereavements. Life is difficult and stressful
for many, and our hearts go out to you.
Still, this newsletter is our attempt to keep friends and relatives
in touch with our lives. There are many uncertainties, but we can't
keep putting it off forever. So here are a few quick snapshots of the
House: When we moved into
this house, in June 2006, we had many plans for it. A primary one was
upgrading the bathroom. We have talked for some years about repainting
woodwork around the windows, particularly on the outside, and we were
also aware of a damp problem in the ground floor, which is our guest
flat. Ten years later, we finally did significant work on the house,
and are very pleased with the results. We had a local firm in to
provide a non-chemical damp-proof course, and someone else to replace
our bathroom, a job which took a lot longer than anticipated.
Painting has greatly improved the look of the front of the house. We
also installed more ceiling fans, something we should have done years
ago. We thought we had done enough for one year, only to discover
serious leaking problems from our hot water tanks last week. We are
awaiting delivery of a new one. Despite the problems and expense, we
are very thankful to have the house, and the facility of the guest flat
downstairs, which has been used a lot this year.
Cats: Shortly before Christmas last year, Joan of Arc vanished, and her brother Alexander the Great had a serious tail injury. We assume some kind of accident in the street. Joan was never found, but Alex made a full recovery. In the summer we adopted Tim's cat, Lady Jane Grey, who is Alex's other sibling. Cleo is now over 18 and still limping along…
Sons: The reason Tim's cat moved here is that he has returned to the UK. He was offered a term's contract teaching music at a small private school in Surrey, which was then extended to a permanent contract from November. He has been renting a room, and hoping to be able to rent a flat now that he's planning to stay. This is proving remarkably difficult for many reasons; but he loves his job, and has settled happily into a local Anglican/Methodist church.
Daniel and Becky are still in Carlisle, but there have been major
changes in the way their organisation works. This means that Daniel's
role is coming to an end and they are trying to decide where they
should be going next. One possibility is to spend a few months in
Cyprus living in our guest flat.
And our stop-press news: their second baby, due Christmas Eve, was
born in the early hours of December 9th, a few hours before we planned
to print this newsletter. Esther Elizabeth is a healthy weight and both
she and Becky are doing well. We are delighted to have a granddaughter,
sister to our wonderful grandson David (now two and a half) and
thrilled at this positive end to such a stressful year.
Travelling: Sue has been to
the UK twice this year: in April when the bathroom was being done, and
also at the end of summer to see Tim's new environment, and to escape
the heat for a couple of weeks. She thoroughly enjoyed spending time
with the family, particularly David. The arrival of our new grandchild
means that we are planning to visit the UK right after Christmas - not
a time of year when we normally choose to be out of Cyprus!
Work: Richard has been as
busy as ever this year. In addition to his ongoing ministry, he has
provided PA for several conferences and the 'Barnabas' musical mission
which toured the island last month. His free time is, as often as he
can manage, taken up with sailing and the inevitable boat-related
maintenance. Sue looks after the house, cooks and bakes, writes, scans
old negatives, and has taken up knitting again in the past year.
We love to hear from family and friends, so please get in touch any time via email or phone, or look for us on Facebook.
We can't invite anyone to stay in our guest flat next year until we
know whether Daniel and family are coming, and for how long; but if
you'd like to visit, let us know and we'll try to work something out.
Wishing you much love, a relaxing Christmas, and a blessed and peaceful 2017.
Richard and Sue