Christmas Newsletter for 2011

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 2011 Newsletter.
Click to download a pdf version of our Christmas 2011 Newsletter (160 kb)

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

Our Family in October 2011

family in 2011

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

Colin and Elizabeth
International Trips

Colin and Elizabeth have reached another milestone of age - we were both 65 this year and are now 5 years into our retirement. In April this year, we finally got to China - one of the prime holiday destinations on the 10 year retirement list drawn up in 2006. It was an awesome experience visiting Shanghai, the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, Giant Pandas, the Teracotta Army, Beijing, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs. The photos (right) cannot do justice to the experience.

In Beijing we had a Chinese meal for the second April in a row with our friends Nick and Jo Collett. Like us they had been marooned in San Francisco in April 2010 by the Icelandic volcanic eruptions. It was also good to meet up (at the same meal in Beijing) with David and Caroline Bacon who were working there.

Colin and Elizabeth's other main holiday destination for the year was Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Michigan was not on our original retirement list (!) but our stay there was very enjoyable especially our trip to Mackinack City on the Great Lakes. Joanna, James and family were in Ann Arbor from June to August while James was working at the University writing a book. Our two week trip at the beginning of August replaced the usual family holiday in France but normal service resumes in 2012!

Colin was, as ever, backwards and forwards throughout the year between London and Paris for Eurisy. He chairs Paris based Eurisy on a voluntary basis as a continuation of his working career. Colin also went on Eurisy business to Luxembourg, Bergen, and Warsaw. Elizabeth accompanied Colin to Paris in June and Warsaw in November. It was an educational few days in Warsaw, looking at Polish history including the Warsaw Uprising of 1945 which ended with the almost complete demolition of Warsaw by the retreating German Army. It took 40 years for the centre of Warsaw to be completely rebuilt - but it was splendidly and lovingly rebuilt just the way it was.

Giant Panda
Giant Panda (April 2011)

Colin and Elizabeth and Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army (April 2011)

Colin and Elizabeth at Great Wall
Great Wall of China (April 2011)

Colin and Elziabeth astride a stone horse
Ming Tombs (April 2011)

Colin and Elizabeth
Other News
Andrew Payne
Andrew Payne (1960-2011)
Elizabeth's brother, Andrew, died on New Year's Day 2011 after a period of ill-health which meant he left Solden Hill House (where he had lived for nearly 30 years) in August 2010. But he was well looked after in his new home albeit only for a few months. Heather came home from India for Andrew's funeral - a time when we were all able to share good memories of him. This fun filled photo taken in 2007 shows how we would all like to remember Andrew.

Rachel, Richard and Jasper

Richard, Rachel and Jasper went to France in July and August where they engaged in lots of decorating and building. Other aspects of their life continued as usual although Richard moved to a new post during the year. Jasper (14 this year) continues to enjoy his reading, rugby and dancing - a well rounded education! He is about to overtake both Richard and Colin in height (having left both Rachel and Elizabeth behind long ago).

Richard, Rachel and Jasper
Richard, Rachel and Jasper
(October 2011)

James, Joanna, Miriam, JJ and Caleb
at Greenfield Village in August 2011
with Laura Ingalls Wilder
at Greenfield Village
(August 2011)

Model T at Greenfield Village in August 2011
Model T Ford ride
(August 2011)

Joanna has continued to combine her part-time DCMS post with freelance work as a technical editor and science writer. James is still doing research in medical statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he has been appointed department head for the next few years.

While in the USA, Miriam and JJ learnt a lot about American history. They spent several days at Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Detroit which has many historic buildings like the Wright Brothers' cycle shop and Thomas Edison's laboratory. Throughout the day actors and actresses brought American history and fiction to life.

Miriam, JJ and Caleb are pictured (left) with an actress who played the part of Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie. Watching her solo performance was a special treat for Miriam and JJ. They had been reading the books and watching videos of the classic tv series as they learnt about the life of early settlers in the mid-West.

You can see more grandchildren photos on the 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: