Newsletter: Christmas 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

As we hear of unusually early snow around the UK, we bring you greetings from an unseasonably warm Cyprus.

Since Sue was born in 1960 and we were married in 1980, the years divisible by ten are always going to hold significant dates for us. As it happened, 2010 held three special family celebrations. 

Daniel and Becky in the snow in CarlisleBut first we had to deal with the end of 2009. After nearly four years on board the MV Doulos, Daniel had told us that the elderly ship was finally being decommissioned. So he and his girlfriend Becky had to leave the warmth of Singapore, arriving in a bitterly cold England at the end of December. They were exhausted and unsure what their future might hold. 

Within a few hours of their arrival Sue’s father - with whom they were staying - had an unexpected heart attack. Tests revealed that he required triple bypass surgery, which took place in February. We’re thankful to report that he has made a full recovery, but it gave us a worrying start to this year. 

Daniel and Becky, meanwhile, after spending a week seeing various relatives, travelled to Carlisle in the frozen north of England. There they spent three months working in their organisation’s audio-visual department. 

King Malu goes into the waterIn Cyprus, Richard’s main excitement early in the year was that King Malu, the yacht bought by a good friend and partly donated to Richard, was at last able to move from its lengthy ‘dry dock’ back into the water. They had hoped to be able to sail her in April. Due to unexpected and complex problems with the engine, however, the date was moved to May, and then June… 

In the end, they weren’t able to start sea-trials until September. Anyone interested in following King Malu’s progress can find photos and updates at King Malu's blog

The family, all together for Sue's 50th birthdayWe had hoped that Daniel and Tim might be able to come to Cyprus in April for Sue’s 50th birthday, but Easter was early and Tim did not feel that he could miss two weeks of lectures. So we flew to England instead, with the bonus of being with Richard’s mother for her birthday. Sue was surprised how thrilled she was to see daffodils for the first time in thirteen years. 

We then made our way to Birmingham. Daniel and Becky travelled down for a week, and on Sue’s great day we took them, with Tim and Jo and Sue’s mother out for a meal. During our time in Birmingham we were able to catch up with other relatives and friends too… and then returned to Cyprus for a rest! 

Daniel and Becky, newly engagedA couple of weeks later, Daniel and Becky joined us in Cyprus for most of their three-month furlough. Adjusting to having two young people in the house was not too difficult; we were delighted – though not entirely surprised – when they decided to get engaged, early in June. 

On our 30th wedding anniversaryDaniel was still with us for our 30th wedding anniversary in July, which we celebrated by inviting a few close friends to an evening party in our home. We’re not quite sure where thirty years have vanished... but look forward very much to the next thirty. 

All too soon, Daniel had to return to the UK. He and Becky are committed to spending another couple of years (at least) in Carlisle. They spent much of the summer working at conferences in Europe. 

Tim, who is now a student in the UKTim joined us in Cyprus for a couple of weeks in August. It was the hottest month we can ever remember, with temperatures up to 40C and extreme humidity. We were very thankful for efficient and affordable air conditioning. 

Tim is now in his final year studying theology for education at Newman University, currently applying for a PGCE course to begin in September next year. He still accompanies the Bournville Young Singers, and has a second accompanying job with the Birmingham ‘Sing Live’ group. We’re looking forward to having Tim here over Christmas, as well as one of Sue’s brothers and his wife. 

Richard has enjoyed a few weekends of sailing during what is loosely called ‘Autumn’, although rain in Cyprus has been minimal in the past few months, and the temperature surprisingly high. By early December, it was still over 20C outside during the daytime. Our central heating went on much later than usual. 

Our guest flat has, once again, been used extensively this year by colleagues, friends, and friends of friends. If you would like to come and stay, please let us know. We would love to see you. 

Space does not permit to tell of work, beach outings, games, cell groups, friends’ new babies or even the antics of our three middle-aged cats. If you want to know more, you can always read Sue's Cyprus life blog.  

We hope to be in the UK twice next year: April for Daniel and Becky’s wedding, and October for Tim’s graduation. 

Wishing you much love, a very happy Christmas, and a blessed and peaceful 2011.

Richard and Sue