Christmas Newsletter for 2012

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 2012 Newsletter.
Click to download a pdf version of our Christmas 2012 Newsletter (137 kb)

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

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

Colin and Elizabeth

Colin and Elizabeth's main holiday destination for the year was Florida where they spent two enjoyable (and sunny) weeks in January. The real highlight was seeing manatees in a river tributary fed by warm springs. But they also enjoyed visits to South Beach (Miami), Key West, Busch Gardens, Seaworld, Universal Studios, and the Tiffany Museum in Winter Park. The last of these, recommended by Stephanie Hicks, was a late addition to the itinerary. But it was a fascinating place playing perfectly to Elizabeth's interest in Art Nouveau which she has developed while travelling around Europe with Colin.

In June Colin and Elizabeth had a relaxed guided coach tour week in Sicily - only based at two hotels. They were amazed at the Greek and Roman ruins (some built into later churches) and, of course, the ascent of Mount Etna which steamed gently but did not erupt while they walked around the rim of one of its craters.

Colin and Elizabeth spent the usual two weeks with the family in France, this year deliberately timed to leave the Olympics at home but accessible by satellite on the 24 BBC channels. They even saw the men's cycle road race on tv as it circled their marooned house! Colin says he was able to watch more sport on tv this way than if he had been at home.

On the way to the French holiday home, Colin and Elizabeth took Miriam and JJ with them to visit Puy du Fou which is a (very) French theme park with shows rather than rides - for example, a gladiator show in a full scale reproduction of a Roman arena. No-one was eaten by any of the lions and tigers but apart from that this show was spectacularly realistic and the children insisted on attending it twice! The night show with illuminated people gliding round on the surface of a lake was incredible (see photo at right). Colin and Elizabeth thought it could not be bettered until it was surpassed two nights later by the Olympic opening ceremony which they saw courtesy of French tv with a French commentary in a French hotel.

Also on the way south, Colin and Elizabeth visited Richard and Rachel's village house and, with Rachel, made their first visit to Richard and Rachel's town house in Angouleme which is let to several tenants.

Colin was re-appointed in June for another three year term chairing Paris based Eurisy. During the year he went on Eurisy business to Paris (several times), Farnborough, Graz, Lille and Brussels. Elizabeth accompanied Colin to Farnborough (July), Graz (Sept) and Lille (Oct).

Life at Home
Colin and Elizabeth helped with the Baptist Assembly in London in early May and continue to be involved at Teddington Baptist Church. Colin has also been very busy this year as one of the Baptist Union Trustees: major changes to the Baptist Union's organisation were discussed and decided during 2012.

The whole family's gifts for music, singing and drama will be used on Christmas Day this year when the Carpenter-Evans-Hicks ensemble will be entertaining the old folk at Elleray Hall in Teddington.

Mount Etna
At the Greco-Roman Temple
in Taormina, Sicily
with Mount Etna behind
(June 2012)

Puy du Fou night show - Organs of Fire, August 2012
Puy du Fou "Organs of Fire"
(August 2012)

Elizabeth relxing in France, August 2012
Relaxing in France
(August 2012)

Rachel, Richard and Jasper

Richard and Rachel have done further work this year on their French village house which now has fully working electrics and plumbing. They are hopeful of getting the kitchen properly equipped during 2013. Other aspects of their life continued as usual although Richard had to stay in London during August because of extra work on the Olympics and Paralympics.

Jasper (15 this autumn) is now taller than Richard (and Colin). He is keen on singing and drama and has developed those interests this year albeit at the expense of having to forego playing rugby and dancing lessons. He played a leading role (Benny Southstreet) in his school's performance of Guys and Dolls during July, performed on the West End stage at the end of a theatre week in August, and will be in a youth theatre performance of There is a War (a black comedy) at the Rose Theatre, Kingston in December. He will also be performing at the School Talent Show, and in its Christmas Concert.

Richard, Rachel and Jasper
Richard, Rachel and Jasper in their French village house (April 2012)
(Sophie is in front left foreground)

James, Joanna, Miriam, JJ and Caleb
JJ, Caleb and Miriam with a squirrel in March 2012
Feeding a squirrel
(March 2012)

Caleb at Windsor Castle (October 2012)
Caleb at Windsor Castle
(October 2012)

Joanna is taking voluntary redundancy in the new year from her Civil Service post with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). She will now be concentrating on her freelance work as a technical editor and science writer. James has just been appointed to a chair at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine so in future it will be Professor James and Dr Joanna Carpenter.

Miriam moved to her secondary school in September (age 11 entry). She seems to be coping well with the new school as well as her school activities (dancing, swimming, water-polo, flute, recorder and piano lessons). Early in the New Year, she went to Germany to stay with a friend there and she attended her friend's German school with her for the week.

JJ is another bookworm in the making (following in the pattern set by his parents, sister and cousin). He also swims and dances and is learning to play the violin, recorder, piano and accordion.

Caleb has started school full-time even though he was only four in July. His gift request for Christmas 2011 was a violin so he could be like his brother. So far his violin lessons are more like little games but the notes are beginning to come.

Miriam, JJ and Caleb have come to stay with Colin and Elizabeth several times this year and each time the children have some favourite pastimes. Apart from watching tv, these include going into the Woodland Gardens (part of Bushy Park) to feed the squirrels with peanuts (see photo at left above), play Pooh sticks under the bridges, dam the streams, and climb the trees. As a break from this routine, we took them to Windsor Castle during the October half-term (photo at left).

Caleb, Miriam and JJ in October 2012
Caleb, Miriam and JJ (October 2012)

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:
Joanna's web site:
e-mail to Joanna at home: