Joy & Eric's Christmas letter 2018
Greetings and annual news from Joy and Eric in Nottingham for Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019.
Joy's back problems of last year have receded, and she is as busy as ever with clog dancing and Indian classical Kathak dance lessons in our dance studio. And she has weekly sessions on Tuesdays helping at a local FoodBank, and Wednesday swimming with my impressive old biddies group at Aquafit. [Click on any picture for a lareger version.]
Summer holiday was in Germany and France this year. We started with our annual gig for Karen and Angus in Bommersheim, with Joy as MC in German, and music by Eric, Angus, Karen and a friend Bob. It went really well this year, the local regulars are becoming ceilidh experts! Then for reasons expanded below, we went “camping” in sheds (chalets!) instead of sleeping in a tent or our minibus, since I need a loo frequently at night. One lovely campsite in France near Belfort with superb swimming facilities (and near a famous Le Corbusier chapel, right), then a site in Strasbourg aimed more at tourism rather than resting at the site. We took the tram into town each day, and visited museums (their modern art museum is fantastic), had boat trips and were very touristy.
We had a flying trip in July to Bremen in north Germany for the first grandchild wedding. Suzi the youngest of the German family married Jan, who conveniently changed his surname to Foxley! After the church service, the proceedings were on an old 3-masted sailing ship moored in Bremen. Eric had the honour of sleeping in the captain’s cabin, and Joy the “first passenger”s cabin. Suzi is studying for a PhD at Oldenburg University, spending some time in the UK at the National Archives.
As usual in December we flew to Germany again to be looked after by Karen & Angus, and to visit the local Christmas market and the big one in downtown Frankfurt. We also helped with entertaining two parties of not-so-young folks. The twins are well, and as keen as ever on volleyball. Their team moved up a division in their league, and they’re doing well.
The morris and clog are as busy as ever, but cloggies are getting less in number, and Foresters are getting older in years. At a national day of dance in Peterborough in May I was in a wheelchair (left), so had a very lazy day, I was just wheeled from one spot to the next and then played accordion for the dancers then got wheeled on. A month or so later on I played seated - when the seat suddenly collapsed I didn't miss a note (right), no-one noticed! Joy is now bagperson of the cloggies, while I am not bagman of the morris men, but do most of the work.
The rest of the family all thrive. Anita and Hamish are busy with music and cycling/running as well as looking after Jenna (now in her final year studying Interior Design and Architecture at Coventry) and Sean (now working at a local company, with day release at a college). Jean has added high class cooking at a local restaurant (in a garden centre!) to her activities. So that garden centre has an RHS qualified cook!
Eric (me!) was really putting previous cancer problems behind me. But then in February I felt unwell, and being old was reluctant to dial 999. Dialling 111 for advice I was told to dial 999, but no, I wasn't that ill. Eventually we called our GP doctor, he came straight round and immediately dialled 999. Because it was a doctor who phoned, the ambulance didn't take me to A&E, I was whisked straight into life support at the City Hospital, with pneumonia, sepsis, kidney failure and a long list of other complaints! I’m getting to be an NHS expert, they are wonderful. With Joy’s (and others’) support I was back home in 3 weeks or so, and in a wheelchair for a while. Many new experiences, and all part of life’s rich tapestry!
Apart from things medical, I've completed the tiles for a second City Council artwork contract - they haven't been installed yet. As another sign of Eric being old and decrepit, I’ve bought an electric assist bike. It’s just wonderful, I can do all the rides I used to do ages ago, and enjoy the tracks and towpaths around us.
Snail-mail is 31 Greenfield Street, Nottingham NG7 2JN, UK
Updated Saturday 22-Dec-2018