Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Newnham's - 2009

The year started with Tarrant’s 21st Birthday party at a lovely pub that is renowned in the Guinness book of records for the largest choice of beers in the world. Tarrant joined a club called Dagohir where members build foam weapons and proceed to beat the living daylights out of each other in battles that are a cross between the Lord of the Rings and Gladiator! This as you can imagine is loads of fun and he has developed an impressive arsenal that includes chainmail, leather armor and a massive foam axe that strikes fear into the heart of every newbie member! Tarrant started his second year working at Trader Joes and is finishing up his degree at Georgia State University.

Tarrant ready for battle, be afraid, very afraid!

Our 31st “going out” anniversary was celebrated by a stay at an historic bed and breakfast in downtown Atlanta. We also enjoyed a visiting exhibition of the Terracotta Army at the High Museum which was pretty amazing.

Eleanor sung and modeled at a school fashion show which is a fund raiser for her choir. This has become a regular event and she has taught herself guitar to play at the 2010 show.

Elliot skippered our old wooden dinghy to 5th place at a regatta in Tennessee, even with the handicap of his dad as crew! This was Elliot’s first adult trophy and a wonderful experience for Dale that made all the renovation work and practice worthwhile. Elliot and Eleanor also crewed for different sailors throughout the year.

Admiral Farragutt regatta in Tennessee

Trying to catch up after going over the start line early

A Thistle class dinghy requires traditional Scottish dress

Our 25th wedding anniversary was in May and we threw a party at the sailing club. Elliot provided music, Tarrant and girlfriend Kaitlyn ran the bar and Eleanor was the official social butterfly. We had a great time with lots of Atlanta friends.

25th Wedding Anniversary

Tarrant and Kaitlyn visited Australia where they stayed with friends in Melbourne, with a side trip to Sydney. They loved the place but said it would be impossible to live there as the Internet is slower than molasses! There is a rumor that Kev the PM heard their complaints and has initiated a massive government investment to speed things up which should make the antipodes bearable for people under 50.

The rest of the Newnham’s followed up with a separate visit down under, spending time with Marlene and Syd in Sydney, and Donna and John in Perth. We also visited Alison and Michael at a wonderful boutique hotel which they ran south of Perth and spent time in the Margret River wine country which was beautiful…sort of Napa Valley with Kangaroos. Elliot and Eleanor had the chance to meet long lost cousins for the first time and spend time in a different but similar culture. Eleanor discovered that her cousin Gabby was a virtual identical twin, which confused friends in Sydney when they saw them together and did a double-take. Elliot and Eleanor also crewed for some casual club racers on Perth Water and demonstrated the finer points of spinnaker handling to some new Aussie sailors.

Rock climbing with Henry at Margaret River near Perth

Gabby, Eleanor, Elliot and Tom in Sydney (see the similarity!)

Visiting with Alison and Michael at Fawlty Towers down-under

Near Palm Beach, North of Sydney

On return from Australia, Eleanor was rushed to Fripp Island in South Carolina where she spent several days with her best friend Elizabeth. This trip has become a tradition which involves bicycling on beaches, golf carts and swimming with friends.

Elliot graduated from high school with a big ceremony with a class of over 600 and is studying engineering at Mercer University south of Atlanta and seems to really enjoy it. He built a new PC for school, with a custom wooden case and water cooling, demonstrating a mastery of carpentry and computing technology.

Elliot's custom water cooled computer

Eleanor joined a rowing club and spent the autumn training and racing at a number of regattas in Georgia and Tennessee. She stroked a four in one race which was her dad’s position when he was Eleanor’s age. This brought back some vivid memories for Dale who re-lived his youth by hanging out among the boats, rowers and coaches. Eleanor, Arlene and Dale plan to compete at an “indoor regatta” in early 2010 in preparation for the new season.

Eleanor's eight after racing on the Tennessee River

Elliot and Dale trying to work out how to pass two boats

Elliot sailing in the rain to a nice finish at the Wild Turkey regatta in south Georgia

Eleanor’s glorious reign as Junior Miss North Georgia State Fair ended as she passed the tiara to her successor who was almost as beautiful (according to dad).

The last day of Eleanor's reign..she was a wise and just leader

Crowning her successor

Arlene joined an Indian dance troupe and performed at a big party after lots of practice which was rumored to be both a physical and mental workout.

Arlene's Indian Dance Troupe

Arlene’s mum is visiting from England and is enjoying spending time with her grandkids over the holidays. She loved watching Eleanor’s choir sing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at an impressive Christmas concert downtown and will also get to celebrate all three birthdays while she is here.

Well, that's the news for this and best wishes for 2010!!

Arlene, Dale, Tarrant, Elliot and Eleanor