Christmas Newsletter for 2020

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 2020 Newsletter.
Click to download a pdf version of our Christmas 2020 Newsletter (373 kb)

Earlier years: 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000
2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010
2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

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

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

A Covid-19 Year!

Like 2020 this newsletter is dominated by Covid-19 which has disrupted every part of our lives as well as prompting us to find new things to do and ways of doing things. We all hope that 2021 will bring an effective and safe vaccine which will be quickly followed by a lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Click the photos below to see larger versions in resizable windows
Colin & Elizabeth

Colin & Elizabeth took the opportunity during the first 2020 lockdown to explore their local area on foot spending a lot of time in Bushy Park watching geese, swans and other water birds build nests and hatch eggs. They were fortunate enough to be within a few metres of a swan on its nest as some cygnets emerged from their eggs (see photo at right).

In Bushy Park they also saw a deer with its fawn and on the Boating Pond watched terrapins sunning themselves on a log.

Later in the year they explored the wildlife in their own garden with an elaborate bird feeder and a motion triggered camera. Numerous bird and squirrels have come to the feeder. The acrobatic antics of the squirrels are amazing. On one occasion they saw six parakeets feeding at the same time (see photos at right).

Colin's health has been a challenge this year. He had a planned prostate operation in February with the bonus of two bladder stones being removed at the same time. But not so routine was the heart attack a fortnight later which saw him whisked in an ambulance to St George's Hospital in Tooting where they inserted a stent. Colin is now fine (except for the abundance of pills he takes each morning, noon, and night).

Last year, Colin & Elizabeth completed walking the Thames Path downstream from Hampton Court. This year, they have started walking the Thames Path upstream from Hampton Court. It went quite slowly at first but the second lockdown in November has given them the time to push on. So far (24 Nov) they have reached Henley - a good start but still a long way to go to reach the source of the Thames. Many rural sections of the Thames Path have been walked twice because a lack of convenient public transport has meant parking the car, walking along the Thames and then walking back again.

The traditional August family holiday in France had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 and our chances of getting together otherwise have been limited by lockdowns and other restrictions. This has resulted in no family photo this year. However, family Zoom meetings every Sunday evening have helped the family keep in touch and share up-to-date news.

In a gap between lockdowns, Colin & Elizabeth managed to get away to the Jurassic coast (Dorset) in October visiting Swanage and Lyme Regis before moving on to spend a few rainy hours with Miriam in Exeter. While in Dorset they discovered the Etches Collection museum devoted to the finds of a modern fossil hunter, Steve Etches.

Colin has been busy this year getting Teddington Baptist Church Covid-19 secure. This has been a frustrating experience with government imposed restrictions issued at short notice followed by constantly changing guidelines. However, as result, the church has been able to run in-person as well as online and live streamed services.

Family Zoom: November 2020
Family Zoom in July 2020

Swan and Cygnets in Bushy Park
Swan and Cygnets in Bushy Park

Six parakeets in our garden
Six parakeets in our garden

Squirrel in our garden
Squirrel in our garden

Magpies in our garden
Magpies in our garden

Squirrel and parakeet in our garden
Squirrel and parakeet in our garden

Rachel, Richard & Jasper

Jasper (now 23) is in the last year of his English and Creative Writing course at the University of Falmouth. He is hoping to go on to take a master's degree next year.

Richard & Rachel visited Seville for six days in February 2020. They had a lovely time - it was warm enough to dine in the open air. They also managed to visit their French house in August but had to quarantine on return.

Rachel's school was online full-time during the first 2020 lockdown.

Richard plans to retire in 2021 and is very much looking forward to the end of commuting.

James, Joanna, Miriam, JJ & Caleb

James has been working with Miriam to combine pre-recorded music tracks (instrumental & voices) to enhance their church's online services.

Joanna acquired an electric bike which she has used with the rest of the family on long cycle rides into the Kent countryside. The family has also planted vegetable patch in the garden growing a range of vegetables (e.g. beetroot, carrots, sweet corn, swede, leeks, tomatoes & pumpkin) with varying success.

Miriam (now 19) spent part of her gap year working with a BMS World Mission Action Team in India (see photo below). Due to Covid-19 they were evacuated two weeks before the planned date and then their tour of churches reporting on their experiences was cancelled. Click for the Delhi Action Team's video blog.

Miriam is now at Exeter University studying Maths. Her first term has been disrupted by Covid-19 with most teaching online and the occasional period of self-isolation when others on the same floor of her hall of residence have shown suspicious symptoms.

The family had a successful campervan holiday in Somerset and Dorset in August. In October half-term they stayed in Exeter for a couple of days visiting Miriam.

JJ (now 16) did exceptionally well in his GCSEs (better than he hoped and expected) so is well placed to take his A-levels in 2022 (Maths, Politics and Government, and German). He is also taking one year of Latin leading to A/S level exams in summer 2021.

Caleb (now 12) has taken up archery together others in the family (see photo below). JJ and Caleb are still singing in the Croydon Minster choir and have taken part in tv and radio services including a BBC TV broadcast of Christmas Eve communion.

Caleb practicing his archery
Caleb practicing his archery
BMS Action Team in Delhi
BMS Action Team (l to r) Miriam, Megan and Naomi

Other Family News

Heather is working to complete her dissertation for a master's degree with the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

This year Colin's mother moved to live with his sister (Elizabeth) and her husband (Martin). It must have been a real wrench to leave the house where she had lived for over 60 years. 2020 also saw the death of two of her siblings (John age 94 and Betty age 97) while her oldest sibling, Bill, celebrated his 100th birthday in November.

e-mail and website addresses

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

Colin's web site: