Colin and Elizabeth
Colin will be retiring from the Civil Service on his 60th birthday this coming May.
His final post as Director General of the British National Space Centre (BNSC) has been full of highs as well as some lows.
This year's undoubted high was the descent of the Huygens probe into the atmosphere of Titan (a moon of Saturn) on 14 January 2005.
That led to Colin's first (and perhaps only) appearance on the Today programme which is BBC Radio 4's morning news flagship. (Anyone who understands the off-air jokes about tangerine skies betrays their age!)
Colin's work still takes him all over the world.
This year destinations have included Florida, Russia and South Africa, as well as the more routine Berlin, Bonn, Brussels, Geneva, Paris and Luxembourg.
In February Elizabeth was able to accompany Colin to Brussels.
While he toiled. she tramped the cold streets in the day time looking for Art Nouveau architecture and found astonishing exteriors and interiors.
Two evenings were spent at official dinners meeting Colin's international colleagues.
Elizabeth also made it to Geneva with Colin in May, when there was a heat wave in which to enjoy the wonderful gardens and lakeside vistas as well as catching up on film going.
Geneva being the headquarters of so many international organisations has lots of cinemas showing English films!
In August we rented a house near Cognac for two weeks.
As in recent years, it was a real family holiday with a dozen or so in the house - including all our children and grandchildren, plus James' parents (Robert and Gwyneth Carpenter) and Elizabeth's sister (Heather).
We all managed to put up with each other for the whole fortnight!
While there we were visited by Ruth and Sony (Elizabeth's niece and her husband) who made the trip from Toulouse to see us.
Elizabeth joins Colin in retirement at the end of July 2006.
The second half of next year will require both of us to adjust to a new pattern of life.