Christmas Newsletter for 2003

from Colin and Elizabeth Hicks

Each year we send out a Christmas Newsletter to family and friends.
The text below is a slightly edited version of our Christmas 2003 Newsletter.

Gaudi cross from Barcelona

The picture above is one of the pinnacle crosses on Antoni Gaudi's Church of the Holy Family in Barcelona. The Fruit of the Holy Spirit flourish around the cross.

Travelling Europe!

This year, Elizabeth has managed to have two trips to Paris with Colin (while he worked, she played). She has not yet exhausted the delights of that city. In May she managed to visit Giverny to see Monet's garden - a long desired visit.

Colin and Elizabeth had Malta as their Easter destination and Barcelona was the choice for an autumn half-term break. Barcelona was an eye-opener in many ways, especially seeing how Antoni Gaudi had used his architecture so imaginatively to express his religious faith. While there, Colin and Elizabeth had dinner with Colin's brother, David and his wife Carole who, by coincidence, were visiting Barcelona in the same week. They also visited James' brother who moved to Barcelona earlier this year.

In August everyone (grandparents, children, and grandchildren) spent a week in the south of France accompanied by Elizabeth's sister (Heather) and some friends from church. It was the August week in which France sweltered and many elderly people died through heat exhaustion, especially in Paris. Our party spent most of the time by the pool although some of us ventured out to visit cool places like rivers (paddling and canoeing), caves and mountain tops.

We were about 80 miles west of Nimes - but it turned out to be the civic unrest centre of France for August 2003. Both getting there and returning were disrupted by massive public gatherings on the plateau of Larzac - a bit like Glastonbury & Greenham Common combined in one big event.

Mars Express
Mars Express
At Home

Colin is now in his fifth year as Director General of the British National Space Centre (BNSC). He has appeared on tv and radio quite regularly these twelve months as UK space has gained a higher public profile. Colin keeps insisting that he does not know what he will be doing for Christmas as the British built lander, Beagle 2, is due to land on Mars at 2.54 am (UK time) on Christmas Day ("The Beagle has landed" will be the cry).

Elizabeth goes over to the other side of London to look after Miriam one day a week combining that with teaching at Chase Bridge School and some private tuition.

There will be two family celebrations this coming year: Elizabeth's Dad will be 90 in March and Colin's Mum will be 80 in Sept.

Elizabeth is completing her second year on the Leadership Team of Teddington Baptist Church. She has been busy helping to plan the furnishing of the Church's new extension which should be built during 2004 and will enable the Church to work "at the heart of the community".

Colin chairs the Board of Directors of the London Baptist Association (LBA) and runs various websites including the LBA website which has grown in use over the past year and now has nearly 200 visitors a day.

Hicks family in November 2003
Above from left:
James, Joanna & Miriam;
Elizabeth & Colin;
Jasper & Rachel

in Nov 2003
- on a day when Richard (right) was working

Jasper and Miriam in August 2003

Miriam in June 2003
Miriam in June 2003
Joanna, James and Miriam

Joanna and James are expecting their second child in April 2004 - Miriam met the news with the response that she had three babies in her tummy. Joanna has kept reasonably well so far during the pregnancy. She is back working at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) after a period on secondment to the Home Office in the first half of the year.

Miriam will be three in January 2004. She has been going to play-school for two half days a week since September. She finally managed to get a fair head of hair by the middle of 2003 (see August photo) - at which point her mother went mad with the scissors so now, on first sight, most people assume Miriam is a boy.

James was promoted to senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine during the autumn.

Click to see Colin and Elizabeth´s eChristmas Card to You!

Jasper in June 2003
Jasper in June 2003
Richard, Rachel and Jasper

Richard, Rachel and Jasper moved back to London from Toulouse in autumn 2002. During this autumn they bought a house in a small village south of Poitiers (in the middle of France) which they have just begun renovating. We have already booked a house (with a pool) for the family holiday next summer - it is only 2 miles from their new house. Early this year, Richard was promoted at work and he is thoroughly enjoying his new duties despite the additional pressure.

Rachel is still working part-time at a local sixth form college helping students with language and other learning difficulties.

Jasper is 6 and in his second year of full-time school here in England. He is enjoying his French language club at school and has the advantage of having spent a year watching cartoons on French TV.

Richard and Rachel have been hosting a bimonthly French conversation group for friends (many, including Colin and Elizabeth, from our church).

e-mail and website addresses

e-mail to Colin:
e-mail to Elizabeth:

Colinís web sites:
Colinís office e-mail:
Colinís office web site:

e-mail to Richard and Rachel:

e-mail to James:
Joanna's office e-mail:
e-mail to Joanna at home: