Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Newnham's - 2008

2008 seems to have gone by in a flash so here is a quick account of the key events that might be of interest. Eleanor played the role of Grace in the musical Honk which is based on the ugly duckling fairy tale. She had to put on an English accent which is easy for her as she frequently mocks Mum and Dad with her witty repartee. Eleanor’s most memorable line was when reminiscing that her husband the mallard “alas, became crispy and aromatic before his time”.
Eleanor backstage in the musical Honk!

Our first regatta was in Jacksonville Florida where Tarrant skippered our dinghy Dare to one of her best ever finishes. Dale and Eleanor crewed and the breeze blew the cobwebs of winter well and truly away.
The Orange Peel Regatta in Jacksonville Florida

Dale and Elliot renovated our old wooden dinghy that was built in 1962, stripping off the old paint and varnishing the hull. They completed the work just in time to enter the Junior Dixie regatta where Elliot, Tarrant and Eleanor raced her to a second place finish.
Elliot preparing 1368's hull with loving care

Elliot with friends sailing in the Dixie Regatta Atlanta

Tarrant moved back home with his cat Leonard and is now commuting to university. He has a part time job at Trader Joes, his dad’s favorite store and has recently formed a band with some friends and is writing songs and planning gigs at local venues.

Naina, Anand and Tejal, our old neighbours and good friends, visited to attend a wedding and we had a great time catching up.

Elliot spent a week playing cello at orchestra camp which culminated in a concert where they played a beautiful rendition of the Harry Potter theme music. This is his last year in high school and he is working on college applications where he hopes to study engineering or computing.
Elliot playing Green Day

The summer really started with Eleanor and Elliot spending a week together with friends at sailing camp. They tested their skills by sailed a wide range of boats and finished the week with some exciting racing in good breeze.
Eleanor at Junior Week

Elliot laser sailing at Junior week

Elliot sailing to second place at Junior Week

Arlene flew to England to care for her Mum as she recovered from an operation. She was able to catch up with family and old friends and travel to Brighton to meet her God daughter Danni. They enjoyed a tour of the Brighton Pavilion, perhaps the most outrageously decorated building on the planet and also managed to squeeze in a trip to London.
Danni at the Brighton Pavilion

Arlene and Danni at the British Museum "Blue Steel" (

Eleanor crewed for a friend in the Y-Flyer Nationals and won the junior regatta by one point which made it a real nail-biter. Eleanor down-plays the whole thing but Dale likes to announce that his daughter is a national sailing champion and perhaps the first Newnham the rise to such lofty heights.
National Champions

The highlight of the summer was a week in Florida racing our wooden dinghy in the Thistle National Championship regatta. Elliot and Eleanor got third place in the junior event and Elliot skippered the boat in the main event with Dale and Eleanor as crew. There was a lot of wind and even some pop up storms which made the sailing a challenge but major disaster was avoided and the old boat held together well.
Our best start at Thistle Nationals (2177)

Sailing in after racing

Dale travelled to England and persuaded his friend Andrew to spend four days sailing on the Norfolk Broads. Andrew’s visions of a luxurious and leisurely cruise were shattered as the “yacht” was built in 1932 and lacked an engine, electricity and running water. Sleeping onboard was akin to being jammed inside a mahogany coffin and their 40 year friendship was tested as they navigated the treacherous waters under sail and human power alone.
Andrew showing complete mastery of the oil lamp

Hustler 2, moored at Thurn, Norfolk

Andrew manhandling Hustler 2 through the low bridge at Potter Heigham

Derek and Sheila, Dale’s mum and dad moved back to the Isle of Wight after 50 years on the mainland and they spent time together with Martin, Misha and Hari rediscovering family in their ancestral homeland. Dale also spent time with Donna and Henry who were visiting from Australia.
Misha, Dale and Hari at Sandown Isle of Wight

Aunty Joan's beach hut

Eleanor was persuaded by a friend to enter a local beauty pageant which is something that Mum and Dad were not overly keen on having recently seen the movie “Little Miss Sunshine”. Arlene rustled up a secondhand dress and acted as makeup artist preparing her for the big event. The tension mounted as the third and second place winners were announced and Arlene burst into laughter as Eleanor was anointed “Junior Miss North Georgia State Fair”!
Beauty Queen

Dale volunteered for the Obama campaign and spent election day getting out the vote. This was an unforgettable experience and hopefully the start of a new path for America and perhaps the world.
Dale with his "flat" mate Obama

Tarrant, Eleanor and Elliot

That’s the news for this year. Hope you all have a great holiday, with love and best wishes for 2009.
Dale, Arlene, Tarrant, Elliot and Eleanor