Tuesday, 20 December 2011

End of Year Round Up - 2011

I can’t believe that it is nearly the end of the year.  They do say that time passes quickly when you’re having fun – so I guess there’s a lot of fun in my life.

Darwin Shopping Centre

We seem to have spent a lot of this year chasing Charles Darwin.  He came from Shrewsbury, where there is a shopping centre named after him – of all things!


And he left on his famous voyage aboard the Beagle from Devonport. Today we think of Plymouth as a famous sea port but Devonport was one of the three towns, East Stonehouse being the third, which were merged in 1914 to form the Borough of Plymouth in 1914.

We stayed with Rosemary and Mike for a weekend towards the end of October and visited the beautiful park at Devonport where this Darwin mention is part of a fountain.



We were so lucky with the weather and even managed a boat trip past the dockyards.  The large building in the above photo is Babcock International where Grandson Dan is now an apprentice.

We made a return trip to Mackenzies Smoke House towards the end of November to stock up and to have lunch to celebrate Alan’s birthday.

The journey up went so smoothly that we arrived much too early and pottered round the lanes for a while, passing the ‘golf balls’ of Menwith Hill.


These geodesic domes house the very latest in communications and intelligence support to the UK and US.  Nearby there used to be one of the more amusing of military eccentricities in the shape of HMS Forest Moor, a navy base on a hill which had to be named as ‘Her Majesty’s Ship’.

The biggest news of the autumn was the birth of Danika, a daughter for Victoria and Jay and sister for Darvik in Kentucky.  Alan travelled over for a few days to meet her.



They stayed most of the time at Old Rice Farm in Victoria and Jay’s cabin.


Last week we travelled to Fountains Abbey which is in North Yorkshire for a dinner followed by a performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by The Pantaloons.  We had a lovely evening and then a drive home on a crisp moonlit night.  Perfect.


At home, we have both been busy on various projects. Alan’s website is popular in the Tourism world and among his ex students.  He hopes to have a book coming out some time next year.

Pat has started to put her recipes and cooking knowhow onto a website – A Yorkshire Cook.  It had been suggested by several people but the time involved has never been available till now.  It is proving great fun and, of course, we get to eat the food.

In other family news, Layla is now at university, studying design. Tariq is studying for A levels and is specialising in literature. Kalif is working towards GCSE and doing well. Jon has joined a company which deals with cleaning up after emergencies and disasters.  He is finding it more satisfying than his previous job.  Kerry is enjoying organising music and drama at two secondary schools.

Rosie is still a teaching assistant, happier in her job after a re-organisation and Mike’s company is weathering the recession.  As I mentioned earlier, Dan is an apprentice with Babcock, beating a lot of competition to get the position.

Dave and Tara are still in California and Simon is doing well at school.  Their latest adventures can be seen here, including Simon’s Christmas performance at school – he’s at the back left in the video.

In the wider family, we have had two deaths this year. Orlando, Joy’s grandson, died in a light plane crash in May.  It was a great shock as he had come back safely from Afghanistan when he was in the Marines and was a very fit and active young man. 

Last week, Shirley’s brother in law, Bob, died after a long illness. Even though it was expected and he had beaten the medical predictions by a couple of years, it is still a sad loss.

We’re looking forward to a quiet Christmas.  There will be Dr Who and plenty of relaxation.  If the weather is good we will get out and about but that is not something to plan too rigidly at this time of year.

A Happy Christmas, everyone!

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