Christmas Newsletter for 2008

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 2008 Newsletter.
Click to download a pdf version of our Christmas 2008 Newsletter (75 kb)

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

Colin and Elizabeth: Our Family in October 2008

family in 2008
The photo above was taken on 18 October 2008
- the day Stewart Payne (our nephew) married Paula Dickson.

"We have seen His star in the East" Matthew 2:2 (KJV)

Colin and Elizabeth:
India and Japan Trips

Colin and Elizabeth spent last Christmas visiting India. We went back to Orissa where Elizabeth was born - her first time back since she left in 1953 when she was 7. Many people we met still remembered her parents and some told tall stories about her father's driving (with a wheel falling off), motorbike riding (faster than a boiling kettle) and strength (greater than three other men). We met Heather in Delhi and she went with us to Bolangir and Diptipur where their parents had worked. We are now trying to give whatever help we can to the Christian Hospital Diptipur which their parents help found.

For the last week of this three week trip to Indian, we went down to Kerala for a bit of luxury - including the traditional elephant ride (see photo) and an overnight boat-trip on the Kerala back waters. We had a great time and found the food to be absolutely delicious.

In March, Colin and Elizabeth visited Japan where a long-standing friend, Peter Jamieson, now lives. It was great to spend so much time with him and his Japanese friends who were keen to practise their English. We saw some amazing sights. Mount Fuji, having been shrouded in mist the first day we were in sight of it, revealed itself in all its splendour the next day. We drove up it as high as the snow would permit. In Tokyo we stayed in a fabulous hotel built on reclaimed land in the harbour and connected to the mainland by monorail.

As we travelled around Japan, we saw two of the themes of the cherry blossom time that make the time just perfect for the Japanese - picnics under trees in full blossom and white weddings on grand hotel staircases! Hiroshima and Nagasaki were other high points of the visit though for more sombre reasons.

An unexpected novelty was to spend an evening with a trainee geisha - a maiko. This was a treat that our Japanese lady companions were particularly keen to enjoy. It involved eating Japanese style on the floor, being entertained with singing and dancing and playing a game. The following day we went to a performance by all the geisha and maiko of Kyoto in a theatre, apparently a focus of the Japanese cultural year.

Christian Hospital Diptipur
Christian Hospital Diptipur

Elephant riding
Elephant riding in Kerala

in front of Mount Fuji
In front of Mount Fuji

cherry blossom time
Cherry blossom time

with a maiko
with a maiko

Colin and Elizabeth: Other News

We are still managing to maintain Monday as our day together and keeping a steady string of holidays and trips in the forward diary. Over Easter 2009 we will be in Israel and we have already booked our summer holiday in France for August 2009. But we are still debating which warm bit of the world we should honour with our presence at Christmas next year

Colin joined the leadership team at our church (Teddington Baptist Church) this year as Elizabeth completed her maximum six years of continuous service. But Elizabeth continues to be responsible for the church premises and is now completing a major refurbishment of the worship area which she has been working on (including the planning) for over two years.

Elizabeth continues to be the Secretary of the (very active) local Council of Churches (Churches Together in Teddington).

Colin is becoming even more involved with the work of the London Baptist Association (LBA) and the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB).

Colin is still President of Eurisy (a European organisation based in Paris), so Colin and Elizabeth went on trips to Sinaia (Romania), Berlin and Paris when he had meetings there. In addition, Colin went to Brussels, Dublin, Glasgow, Rome (and Paris several more times).

Rachel, Richard and Jasper

Rachel is still working at Esher College now doing a virtually full-time job but still managing to retain her flexible hours. Richard is now teaching others how to do the things which he used to do for real! This means he is now working more regular (and normal) hours.

Jasper is 11 and doing well at school. He moves schools next autumn which requires choices and decisions in the near future.

Jasper recently started quite serious ballroom and modern dancing lessons which he very much enjoys. He is a strong swimmer and in late November received his 3000 metre swimming certificate (120 lengths of a 25 metre pool in one session).

Miriam, JJ and Jasper in August 2008
Miriam, JJ and Jasper
in August 2008

Caleb arriving home on 26 July
Caleb arriving home
(26 July 2008)

Caleb in October 2008
Caleb in October 2008
James, Joanna, Miriam, JJ and Caleb

Joanna and James had Caleb on 26 July 2008. It was a quick and easy birth of a bonny bouncing baby who was home with Mum (see photo) the same day. Within two weeks they had brought him to join us on holiday in France. We had already taken Miriam and JJ out with us.

Miriam really enjoyed swimming in the heated swimming pool. JJ was in and out just as much but wearing wings. Since then he has learnt how to swim without wings but he is still mastering how to breathe while swimming. He starts school full-time in January at which point he will be joining Miriam at her school.

James has been promoted to Reader at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and has just been awarded a prestigious Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 3 year research fellowship.

Joanna is working as a freelance science writer following on from the course she took at Imperial College in the academic year 2006-2007. She is the "Shorts Editor" of the British Association's Science and Public Affairs. In May, Colin and Elizabeth went to Joanna's (fourth) degree ceremony - this time in the Royal Albert Hall.

You can see more photos of our grandchildren on our grandparent pages.

e-mail and website addresses

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

Colinís web site:

e-mail to Richard and Rachel:

e-mail to James:
e-mail to Joanna at home: