Tarrant decided to take up mixed martial arts against our best judgment and stern parental advice. The upside is that he enjoys beating the proverbial out of a whole new set of friends and has added highly functional muscle to his lanky frame. The many downsides include the stench of his gi, the sweat soaked Japanese style outfit that weighs perhaps 30 pounds and takes the best part of two days to dry after working through the family laundry. He is currently recovering from a depressed skull fracture and mild concussion after clashing heads during a training session. The dent in his lower forehead is quite noticeable at certain angles and you can guess what Santa is getting him for Christmas……plastic surgery! Jokes aside he is doing great and hardly missed a day of work or school.
Elliot has been consumed by school work and has done brilliantly, sailing through some very challenging classes and winning his university’s Freshman Engineering Design Competition with an innovative model vehicle that he rigorously tested for many hours.
He plans to major in electrical engineering and his passion for technology has developed into a seemingly masochistic love for solving highly complex mathematics and physics problems. His skills as a dinghy sailor have also developed, culminating in skippering team Newnham at a National regatta on Lake Erie, a week long event with Eleanor and Dale as crew.
Eleanor has enjoyed her junior year at high school a little more than we had hoped, with all the drama and fun you might expect from her group of 16 and 17 year old girlfriends. She has continued to row and competed in a number of regattas throughout the year, improving her fitness and developing a real love for the sport. Dale has taken after his dad Derek, cheering her on from the river bank but has sadly not managed to persuade her coaches to find him a spot in the boat even for a short practice row! Eleanor performed with her school choir at several concerts and sang a duet, played guitar and walked the runway at a fashion show fund raiser.
Eleanor's rowing team
Arlene has been busy coordinating all the family activities and her efforts to exercise continued to be thwarted by curious mishaps. For instance, she sprained her ankle stepping over a matchstick and sliced the top off her finger with a food processor while making Thanksgiving dinner! Eleanor showed her maturity, handling the spurting blood and Arlene’s alternating bouts of screaming and fainting like a highly training ER nurse. Dale had a clear preference for the fainting spells which he used productively to dig the finger slices out of the potatoes in the hope that they could be reattached. Although sewing the finger slices back on was not possible, the finger tip is surprisingly growing back as we write, a bit like a lizard’s tail, but with fewer scales and a lot more audible pain and drama.
We enjoyed a visit from Arlene’s mum over Christmas and New Year. Our niece Danni, a budding Alt-Country singer-songwriter visited with her girlfriend Sarah during their American tour. Arlene tagged along on their Deep South road trip which included Memphis, Nashville and the birthplace of the king. This was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience for her, and to cap it off we all met at Muscle Shoals Alabama for a sailing regatta where Danni entertained the fleet with her unique British take on country music.
Danni and Sarah at Sun Studios