Phil as Private Willis


Not a huge lot to say this year - life has been pretty much pottering on the same as last year. Phil is still working on his BA (Hons) in Music at Colchester Institute - he's in his final year and so will graduate (all being well) next summer. He also continues to advise at Felixstowe Citizens Advice.

We're both still singing a lot: Phil sang "Private Willis" in Iolanthe in October and Mavis was costumier and did make up.

Mavis's painted stage gauze

She also painted the gauzes that hung in front of the stage. Many people said that these were their favourite parts of the set. We both stuck large amounts of polystyrene to MDF to help make the flats. That counted as one of the least interesting jobs in the world. We both sing with the Stondon Singers, a group based at Blackmore in Essex. We've sung four full concerts with them this year - all new music for each, with the repertoire ranging from 16th century English madrigal, through music of Baroque Venice, Benjamin Britten (can't miss the centenary year) to 21st century composers like Eric Whitacre. Learning nearly 2 hours of mostly difficult music in only a few rehearsals certainly keeps us on our toes. As usual, we'll be singing with the local Benefice choir this Christmas. And just to round it off, Phil sings with college choir and chamber choir. He also plays in an orchestra - albeit xylophone with a single stick.

Produce from the garden

Mavis has continued with her gardening and baking exploits. We had our usual stall at the local plant sale, selling a variety of unusual tomatoes, chillies and other plants. She planted a good number of these and we've been living off the results ever since. We were self-sufficient in spuds for about three months. Her decorated biscuits and buns remain a source of wonder.

Phil continues to contribute to the development of the music notation software, LilyPond. Mavis's mum is now 98 going on 99. She's not convinced she'll hang on for 100…

That's all we can think of. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

A tree creeper at Minsmere

Mr & Mrs P E Holmes
13 December 2013

Paddock Hill
Grundisburgh Road
Great Bealings
IP13 6PE