Holidays have been shorter and less intensive in 1995 than in 1994. We took a boat on the Thames through Oxford for a week at Easter accompanied by our son-in-law, Richard, and our two daughters, Rachel and Joanna. We always seem to have a freezing Easter when we are on the water and it was no different in 1995. Great fun but the ice had to be hacked off the ropes before casting off and sailing into the morning mist.
Austria was the real holiday destination in 1995. We escaped the UK’s August heatwave to spend a week in the cool lush green and rain of the lakes and mountains. Our time near the top of the highest mountain in Austria was mostly spent in the restaurant - but the clouds lifted at last to reveal the peak and glacier as well as a strange furry creature called a marmot which inhabits the highest slopes.
In addition, family history researches (see below) gave us a few days away during 1995 in each of Gloucester, Trowbridge, Worcester and Warwick. We have had some very enjoyable days in places we would not otherwise have visited.
TBC (Teddington Baptist Church) remains the place in which we serve our Lord and the focus for much of our life. Colin was reconfirmed in March as an Elder for another five year term. Elizabeth cooks every Sunday for a crowd of 6-12 young people from the Church for lunch. During the autumn of 1995 we have had more students from the local college than in previous years. It has been good to offer a home from home for them and for others.
During October 1995 we took part in the Month of Mission organised by London Baptist Churches. The most memorable event at our own Church was the visit by Fiona Castle who talked about the experience of life with Roy Castle. A very moving testimony to the Lord’s grace even when Roy was dying of cancer. Colin organised the closing event of the month for the London Baptist Association. It was a mammoth occasion at the Royal Albert Hall and he was still trying to recover from the exhaustion of the day for weeks afterwards!
Visitors We were blessed with being hosts to many international visitors during 1995 including Marit back from Sweden and yet another Rachel (this time from Australia). We have also had a series of short-term lodgers including Ludovít Kubicár from Slovakia and Richard Bruce.
Colin is faced with another change of post at the Department of Trade and Industry. Early in 1996 he will find out what duties he will have from 1 April in a de-layered and re-organised DTI.
Colin has continued working on the family history now using the Internet (all private e mail to email@example.com). He has tracked down several long lost relatives in the USA and Canada. He has also used the Internet to order some family files from the Australian Archives for Uncle Ray - and to get someone in Canada to have the Scottish archives searched for him. If you are a family member, then this newsletter should come with a copy of the relevant parts of the family tree.
Elizabeth is now teaching a class of 8-10 year-olds at the same school (St Mary’s and St Peter’s CofE Primary School in Teddington). The Ofsted school inspection during 1995 gave the school an almost hagiographic write-up. This was a relief after the pressure of the build-up but not reassuring - if the inspectors can be hoodwinked so easily......
Elizabeth is as keen a gardener as ever and started an “aerobics by video” class at Church once a week during 1995.
Joanna is working hard in Oxford, and is now in the second year of her DPhil. She had her first publication (in Chemical Physics Letters) during the year and she spent a month in Leiden doing some experimental work there. Joanna’s life is as hectic as ever: she has been Secretary of the Oxford University Ballroom Dance Club for part of the past year.
Rachel and Richard will have their third wedding anniversary in 1996. Rachel is now in her second year teaching 8-9 year-olds in a local primary school and seems to be getting on well. Richard’s community work took him on an activity week in Devon during the summer of 1995 with a youth group from his estate - a very energetic time of abseiling and pot-holing. After getting fit by cycling to work, he and a colleague cycled down to Devon for the week.
Family We are still visiting Elizabeth’s parents in Birmingham about once a month. Her Mum is now in a residential home while her Dad is managing very well at home supported by neighbours, the church, and various other helpers. Her memory of recent events is now very unreliable and she finds it difficult to remember who people are. Dad has started writing his memoirs of life in India.
Elizabeth’s sister, Heather, was home on holiday from Nepal for a month in July-August 1995. Heather is now back in Burtibang, Nepal but less isolated than before - there is now a phone in the village which she can use to call home from time to time! Heather is hoping that there will soon be a new public helicopter service to her village. For about £20 this would fly people in 20 minutes what is otherwise a two day walk to the nearest road. Until that is arranged her village remains so near but still oh so far!