Newsletter: Christmas 2015

Dear family and friends,

Here we are again at the end of another year in Cyprus, wondering where the past several months have gone. It's now more than eighteen years since we moved here; nine-and-a-half years since we sold our UK house and bought the one we now live in. As the heat of summer gives way to the cooler season, and the world news seems more horrendous each day, we continue to be thankful for our health, our home, and our loved ones.

Richard has continued trying to dovetail his time neatly between ministry work, boat maintenance, helping his sailing buddy with a variety of projects, and general networking. He had a five-week trip away in May and June, encompassing seven different countries and innumerable flights. It was productive but also tiring. He hoped to take time off to sail in August but there were too many calls on his time and expertise. He should at least get a few days off over Christmas and the New Year to spend with the family.

Sue's role is mostly unchanged since last year's newsletter. She walks early in the morning with a friend, writes, looks after household and culinary duties, and enjoys regular Skype calls with our grandson David. We've had quite a few visitors in our guest flat this year, but many of them have been mostly self-sufficient.

Our younger cats Alexander the Great and Joan of Arc continue to be friendly and lively. Since discovering how to get out of the house and explore the neighbourhood, they have started to sleep more and to attack the furniture less. Cleo is still with us too; at well over seventeen she's quite frail now, and even more cranky than she used to be, but she likes her food and a warm lap, most of all when we watch a film together.

Richard and SueDavid at seven monthsAlexander and Joan being cuteCleo, now 17 years old

We only visited the UK once this year, primarily for a big family gathering at the end of February. It was wonderful to have so many of Sue's relatives gathered in one place and a happy time was had by all. We especially enjoyed spending time with our grandson, who at eight months was already trying to walk. He succeeded in doing so only a month later when Daniel, Becky and David spent three months on the ship Logos Hope in Asia, to do some training. They had a useful and productive time and David made many friends, but his parents decided that a longer period on board should probably be postponed until he's a little older. So they're back in Carlisle, at present, and for various reasons are unsure what their future holds.

For Tim, this has mostly been a good and busy year. He and his cat Lady Jane Grey still live in a flat about five minutes' walk away from our house. He is now in his third year of teaching, with main responsibility for music and IT, at a local English-speaking private school. This past term was quite stressful, as school inspectors were in. Also this term, Tim and one of his colleagues have embarked on a PGCE course which requires short periods of training in the UK, a great deal of mentoring and monitoring, and some essays.

As if that didn't make him busy enough, he's also the Musical Director of an upcoming school performance of 'Smike' (based on Nicholas Nickleby), which has entailed many hours of orchestration and rehearsals in addition to his regular schedule. By the summer Tim should be a qualified teacher with an impressive CV, but has no idea if there will be a job available for him locally. So he's putting out feelers, and might go almost anywhere in the world.

Sue's extended familyDaniel and BeckyDavid in his buggyTim

In the meantime, we are looking forward to having the whole family here for Christmas again. Daniel, Becky and David are coming to Cyprus for nearly five weeks, and we hope this will be a good break for them. It will be a different experience having a lively toddler in a house which is far from childproof, but we hope the adult-child ratio will be sufficient to keep David safe and most of our possessions intact.

We love to hear from family and friends, old and new, so please get in touch any time via email or phone (or even a letter), or look for us on Facebook. Alternatively you could pop into one of our blogs listed below, and see what we're up to. If you'd like to come and stay some time, you would be very welcome.

Wishing you much love, a very happy Christmas, and a blessed and peaceful 2016.

Richard and Sue