Monday, December 31, 2001

Merry Christmas - 2001

It has been a busy, almost frantic year with a lot going on so this will be a good cure for insomnia!

Tarrant has gained almost a foot in both height and attitude. He still plays the oboe, although under duress, and we just attended a concert where he performed a solo piece. His efforts to get a punk tune into the band repertoire have failed to date but he is working hard to make it happen. Tarrant’s knees have prevented him from playing soccer so he has set up a home computer repair business with his friend that they use to extract cash from the unknowledgeable masses.

Elliot is doing very well at school in spite of his silly jokes and behavior and he
recently embarrassed his Uncle John, and his Dad on the soccer field. His computer gaming skills are far better than I want to admit and I have given up trying to come a close second. He is one of the more distant fans of a London football club that I can’t mention and his wardrobe contains one of their shirts for every day of the week. He also won a gold medal in a county science Olympiad competition, went to camp on the Georgia coast and came back smelling like a dead octopus.

Eleanor has just had her 8th birthday and she is turning into a real southern belle. She does a fake English accent to poke fun at Mum and Dad and tends to control most family activities. She started football this year under pressure from Dad and her play and fitness improved quite a bit through the season. Dale was roped into refereeing on the games and almost sent Eleanor off for hacking the legs of one of the opponents. We hope this holds off the cheerleading for a year or two, but I feel the pressure building….

Tarrant and Dale traveled to Romania in the summer to visit Andrew, Tanya, Tabitha and Ottilie. They traveled Transylvania and visited the birthplace of Count Dracula, under Andrew’s knowledgeable guidance. They also met Martin, Anita, Misha and Hari in Paris on the way back and went rowing on the pond at Versailles. Arlene enjoyed a trip to Hong Kong visiting Kathy, Steve, Laura, Jamie, Imogen and India, meeting up with her Mum and sister Alison from Australia. Dale also made a brief visit to the UK on the sad occasion of the passing of his Grandfather Colin, and visited the Isle of Wight with his Mum and Dad (a sailor’s Pilgrimage).

Dale has started rowing again, after a break of over 10 years and after being soundly thrashed in a race in Atlanta, is working hard to regain his long-lost youth (it will never happen!).

Arlene has taken to “extreme” flower arranging, with novel and creative displays that have even included live (at least initially) fish.

The biggest event we were able to see these skills was when she and sister Sharon did the floristry for Donna and John’s wedding in October. We were very honoured that they chose to have their wedding at our house and after all the hard work a fantastic day was had by all. John and Donna’s creativity made for a magical day, the weather perfect, and the children beautiful. Dale gave Donna away and we all missed Ivor terribly. The cousins were together again in fine form, Danni played her guitar and sung, Greg and Tarrant did more than a few punk karaoke tunes (to the family’s great distress), and Eleanor danced to the Spice Girls. Some of the evidence is to the left, (Tarrant has grown six inches since this was taken!). You can see one of Sharon’s beautiful bouquets but it’s hard to spot the small gerbil that Arlene added (one of her flower arrangement “signatures”).

This year more than ever, after the horrific events in New York, we wish everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year. We are especially grateful as Dale’s office was in the first tower that collapsed, (he had decided to stay in Atlanta the week of Sept 11th).

Love and best wishes to all from the Newnham’s