Thursday, December 30, 2004

Merry Christmas - 2004

Arlene brought in the new year in the UK with her family, attending nephew Henry’s Christening, and niece Danielle’s west end show which was truly amazing (I am pitching to be her agent).

Eleanor, Tarrant, Danni and Elliot

During spring break we visited the barrier islands of North Carolina and saw wild horses and dolphins. The 12 hour drive back to Atlanta was so exciting we played Waffle House bingo and Arlene won, with a perfect estimate of 54, which she rubbed in for weeks.

Tarrant has been very busy with marching band, playing in competitions at the Georgia Dome and travelling to Florida. Elliot had an exciting soccer season, suffering through dad’s limited coaching ability and enjoys playing the cello in school orchestra. Eleanor sings in school choir and loves dance, recently performing in a tap and jazz recital. She seems to have suddenly grown up into a young lady and is as tall as Arlene.

We travelled together to Portland Oregon in July for Nishant and Alicia’s wedding and a wonderful week was spent catching up with proud parents Naina and Anand and other friends. After the celebrations, we travelled north to Vancouver Island and sailed in the Gulf Islands which were very beautiful but challenging to navigate. Tarrant took the helm and Elliot skillfully picked our way through the archipelago (I love that word), using a GPS. Eleanor became skilled at reading tide tables and we all had fun visiting the small villages that dotted the islands. Back on the mainland we visited the Olympic peninsula in Washington state and Port Townsend, a Mecca for wooden boats. The weather was a little damp and chilly at times but the scenery more than made up for that. The whales remained elusive but perhaps we will try another year for Arlene to fulfill that dream.

Tarrant and Elliot Sailing at Port Townsend, Washington State

Arlene barefoot on a remote Oregon beach

The route through the Gulf Islands in search of whales

No wind so had to motor....bummer...

Port Townsend, Washington State...a wooden boat lovers dream...

Returning with provisions for dinner on board...the apple pie brought the smile to Eleanor's face!

We enjoyed a visit from Andrew, Tanya, Tabitha and Ottilie Collingridge from Belgium who left just in time to miss the hurricanes that swept the South East USA. These unfortunately affected Martin, Anita, Misha and Hari, who were stranded in Florida so we missed meeting them.

Kevin Murphy and Danielle (from Australia and England respectively) happened to visit together and held a jam session in the front room with Tarrant joining with his bass guitar. Nanny Gallyot was also here to enjoy a fun couple of days and she is staying with us through Christmas. This is lovely, although I hate the way she thrashes us all at Scrabble, showing absolutely no mercy.

A big event this year was the arrival of Neo, our new baby (Jack Russell). He seems to have some form of canine multiple personality disorder, switching from a calm and loving puppy to a crazed Tasmania devil in a heartbeat. He is officially Tarrant’s dog, but the whole family shares in keeping him fed and in check, which is a big job for any household. Neo’s parents are from Birmingham and Wales in the UK which you can easily tell as his bark clearly hails from the Marches.

Another arrival this year was Dare, a 40 year old dinghy that we have started to race at the local sailing club. She belongs to the Thistle class which was designed by a Scottish American in 1945. Tarrant, Elliot and I sail together with Eleanor acting as standby crew. Racing is a big challenge and we are slowly learning the ropes (literally) together. We recently raced at a regatta in North Carolina where I fell out of the boat in a very inelegant fashion. The boys tried to sail off and disown me to avoid further embarrassment, but I held on tight to a rope making like a slow motion water skier! We are facing a learning curve that looks like the north face of Mount Everest but we are determined to scale at least to base camp, and perhaps a little higher.

Well that is the news from the American branch of the Newnham family for another year. With love and best wishes for 2005, Dale Arlene, Tarrant, Elliot, Eleanor & Neo