Well, things don't change too much when you're persons of a retired nature. However, we managed to do a few bits again this year - details below.
Mavis's mum is 95 going on 96 and is generally doing pretty well. Her eyes are her greatest source of frustration - she's sufficiently blind from cataracts that she finds reading very hard, although she continues to be able to keep up with the snooker and Formula 1 on the TV.
My mum is now 82 and still lives on her own in Woolpit.
Our adopted one-eared cat continues to keep us on our toes. He normally goes out hunting at night, and he quite frequently wakes us in the very early morning with his "I've-got-a-mouse-which may-be-alive-or-dead" yowl. If it's dead we put it aside for later disposal. Live, however, means a chase to try to catch the critter. He normally brings one or two in each night.
Phil is now a supervisor at Felixstowe CAB and is also responsible for the IT deployments there. A large change in the way we work meant big changes to the systems there, including a completely new internal email system.
He also chairs the implementation group for the parish plan for the 3 local villages.
We can't get away too much because of looking after Mavis's mum, but spent a few days in Oxfordshire this year - the first night staying at Raymond Blanc's Manoir aux Quat' Saisons and then 2 nights in Oxford centre, pretending to be Morse and Lewis. Phil proved that he's not lost the art of punting.
Phil again had a week skiing in Colorado with Chris Pollard. The damage Chris did to his knee on last year's holiday meant we were a bit more careful this year, but both enjoyed it.
See hobbies Mavis believes Phil should spend less time at his computer and more time with a paint brush in his hand.
Mavis has continued to put considerable work into the garden. We had fabulous displays of dahlias, amongst other things, plus good crops of potatoes, tomatoes and chillies. Phil made passata from the tomato glut.
Phil continues to take photos of birds. The garden was blessed with a spotted flycatcher family this year and he managed some good photos of them. They are a considerable rarity these days. We also heard a strange sounding bird in the garden, and with the help of the long lens managed to identify it as the rosella shown on the right - presumably an escapee.
Mavis has joined the Grundisburgh Art Group and spends Tuesday morning watercolouring. Some of her paintings are in an exhibition now - price tag £70.
We both continue to be involved with Ipswich Gilbert and Sullivan Society. This was a particularly busy year. At the end of last year we were hit with a price rise of around 400% by our theatre, and so Phil surveyed the others available in the locality. In the end we decided to move to a smaller theatre owned by a local school, and so there was considerable upheaval moving to there. They had no box office, and so he also sold all the tickets for what turned out to be a £25,000 sell out performance. As part of this, we made contact with the local professional theatre - the New Wolsey - and were offered an evening there out of the blue. We performed a "Come and sing" Mikado, involving considerable effort from both of us. Mavis made a wonderful cake to celebrate 80 years of Ipswich G&S.
Phil is now involved in the development of some Music software called "LilyPond" (http://lilypond.org/). He was looking for a way of helping the G&S to print some music and came across this on the web. It's a communal development, and he is now in charge of ensuring that defects are tracked and fixed.
That's all I can think of. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Mr & Mrs P E Holmes