Christmas Newsletter for 2013

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 2013 Newsletter.
Click to download a pdf version of our Christmas 2013 Newsletter (129 kb)

Earlier years: 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

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

In April Colin and Elizabeth spent a week in Athens (see photo at right). This was their first trip to Greece since they went there in 1966 while students. The 1966 trip was done on a shoe string. It involved hitchhiking from Milan to Athens and back again, and sleeping in the open air whenever possible. But this time Colin and Elizabeth lived in the (comparative) lap of luxury and paid to go into the various archaeological sites rather than peering through the fence!

Colin and Elizabeth's main holiday destination for the year was Peru. They went there for a two week guided tour during June along with their friends, Donald and Joy Bell. They did all the usual tourist things (see photos) including visiting Machu Pichu, the Nasca lines, and the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. An unexpected highlight of the trip was the folk dancing in the central square of Cusco - they were there for a special week of folk dancing displays by young and old every day (see photo at right).

While there they met up with Scott Williamson to see something of the work he is doing with his wife (Anjanette) in and around Cusco with BMS World Mission. Anjanette was back in the UK, so they took Scott and his two children out for a meal of the children's choice - a fast food burger bar in the central square of Cusco!

Colin and Elizabeth spent the usual two August weeks in France, this year down near Carcassonne. Joanna, James and the family came along with Robert and Gwyneth (James' parents) and Elizabeth's sister (Heather), who came back from India. There was a bad start to the holiday when Joanna and James had a car accident on their way down just a few miles short of the house. No-one was hurt (thanks to seat-belts and an airbag) while Ruth Helen and Sony (close relatives who live in Toulouse) "rescued" the situation with language help and the loan of a car.

After that it was a wonderful holiday with the children enjoying the pool and the perfect weather. Miriam and JJ refined their table tennis skills under Colin's patient tuition and they are now stars of their church's table tennis club. Caleb learnt to swim a width of the pool under water and to pick things up from the bottom.

Yet another holiday for the year was the warm October week Colin and Elizabeth spent relaxing in Paphos, Cyprus.

Colin is still chairing Paris based Eurisy. During the year he went on Eurisy business to Paris, Bratislava, Brussels and Vienna.

Life at Home
Colin and Elizabeth continue to be heavily involved at Teddington Baptist Church but he has stepped down as one of the Baptist Union Trustees and was recently "timed out" from the Board of the London Baptist Association. Colin has now organised the annual The BIG Top holiday club at the church for the last 7 years. This year it had a space theme and he was able to use his space contacts to get two astronauts (and other space people) to record special video messages for the event.

Click the photos in this panel to see larger versions in a resizable window

Colin and Elizabeth in front of the Parthenon, Athens (April 2013)
Colin and Elizabeth in front of the Parthenon, Athens
(April 2013)

Colin and Elizabeth at Machu Pichu (June 2013)
Colin and Elizabeth at Machu Pichu
(June 2013)

Folk Dancers in Cusco, Peru with Elizabeth behind (June 2013)
Folk Dancers in Cusco, Peru
(June 2013)

Colin and JJ in France (August 2013)
Colin and JJ in France
(August 2013)

Elizabeth and Colin (Nov 2013)
Elizabeth and Colin (Nov 2013)

Rachel, Richard and Jasper

Richard and Rachel have done further work this year on their French village house which is now just about finished. In the October half-term they took out a van load of furniture. Richard is still in the same post as last year but, in September, Rachel moved from Esher College to a secondary school in Clapham where she is the Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

Jasper (16 this autumn) is now taller than Richard (and Colin). He was appointed Deputy Head Boy for his last year at Esher High School (a post voted on by pupils but with the final selection by the staff). He is continuing his interest in drama and is involved with the youth theatre company at Kingston's Rose Theatre. Jasper would like to study drama at college (for 'A' levels) and then at university.

Richard, Rachel and Jasper
Richard, Rachel and Jasper (Nov 2013)

James, Joanna, Miriam, JJ and Caleb
The Carpenter family (November 2013)
The Carpenter family
(November 2013)

Joanna took voluntary redundancy early in the year from her Civil Service post with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Since then she has done more freelance science writing and technical editing. But she has also been masterminding the work on their loft extension which turned their whole house upside down throughout the autumn. James has continued to be in demand giving lectures around the world on "missing data".

The children are flourishing in many ways. Miriam is playing the flute in her school orchestra, JJ is playing the violin and trumpet very well, and Caleb is improving with the violin. Miriam, JJ and Caleb have come to stay with Colin and Elizabeth several times this year. In October half-term, Colin took the boys to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum while Elizabeth took Miriam to see Tipu's Tiger in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Caleb was not sure about the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex - he was fearful that it might be real so kept his head below the level of the barriers. (Many, many years ago Jasper had a similar reaction to a realistic woolly mammoth in a theme park in France).

Miriam, Caleb and JJ in France (Aug 2013)

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: