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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

FAMILY

We have had a mixed year.

        Dad (Eric)
In March Stephen’s father died after a brief illness. He had been living happily (or as happily as possible after mum passed away) in his nursing home. The photo show him sitting in his favourite chair in his room - which is where we invariable found him when we visited. He became increasingly frail, falling a number of times. The last fall resulted in a fractured hip, from which he never recovered. He was the last of our parents and we really miss him.


(Click photos to view a larger version.)
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Here is the video tribute that was put together by Emil



        Catherine

As well Stephen’s youngest daughter Catherine has been battling cancer this year.

She had an aggressive regime of chemotherapy and radiation which was very unpleasant, but the treatment was successful as she is currently cancer free.

She showed great strength, determination, positive attitude and remarkable good humour, during this trial.

We are very proud of her.
Cath profile pic 2015


        Philip and Bev
We are having a wedding in the family!

Philip, Margaret's son, was recently engaged to his girlfriend, Bev.

They will be married in the English summer. Margaret and Michelle will travel to England to attend.
phil and Bev-1


        Hayley
Philip’s daughter, our grand daughter, Hayley, will be going to Africa with her church soon, to assist people in poverty including helping out in soup kitchens, youth groups, fitting solar lights in township and visiting a hospice Hayley-1a


        Grandkids
All of our grandchildren continue to thrive. The oldest of them, Joshua, will turn 21 this January. Although we are doing well, a 21 year old grandson makes us feel a little old.

Another indication of the grandkids growing up is that three of them have steady girlfriends.
Josh and Sarah-2 Joshua and Sarah
cam and kim-1 Cameron and Kim Jonathan and Nikki-1 Jonathan and Nikki


The rest of the grandkids are successfully progressing their education from year 12 to year 8. Our second oldest, Cameron, has just started a glazing apprenticeship.

VILLAGE LIFE


We continue to be actively involved in the life of our Village, attending and sometimes assisting with the organisation of many events.

One continuing tradition is Carol Singing before Christmas. For the last five or six years, our son-in-law, Mark, has organised a musical ensemble to accompany the music. This is greatly appreciated in the Village.

Here is a video of the most recent Carols in the Village event:


Lunches are also a thing...


... as are dances




TRAVEL


The highlight of our travel this year was a trip to South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.
        Cape Town


In Cape Town we saw Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

The photo to the right shows his cell.
Robben Island (12)
Robben Island (7)
Cape Town from Robben Island
Cape town (56)
Colored houses in Bo-Kapp area


We also spent some time in two National Parks – Kruger (South Africa) and Chobe (Botswana).
        Kruger National Park


It is truly an amazing experience to be 20 to 30 metres away from wild lions feeding on a rhino carcass.
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        Chobe National Park




In northern Botswana, Chobe, has one of the highest concentrations of animals in Africa.
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DSC_0554 DSC_0032-1-1
        Livingstone

In Zambia we stayed in a hotel within walking distance of Victoria Falls.

We spent an afternoon at the water fall and also took a helicopter ride over it.

We also went on a elephant ride. (We were assured by the travel company that the elephants were treated well.)
Livinstrone (38)
Livinstrone (15) Livinstrone (1)


We have planned a six week trip to New Zealand early next year. We will travel with our good friends and neighbours, Les and Jenni. The trip will encompass both Islands, and we will spend some time with Dawn and Brian, who we met on the Africa trip. Dawn and Brian live in Oamaru.

Wishing you a great Christmas, and all the best for 2016, 

                                                from Margaret and Stephen

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