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To all our friends and relatives this Christmas, 2003

This year Mary and I thought we would use the Internet to say a little of what we have been doing and to show some pictures of the family - an alternative to the annual newsletters which we have enjoyed receiving but never got to writing our own!    Now we have the time to reflect!

Let us start by wishing everyone looking at this page a Greeting this Christmas and to let you know that we are thinking of friends and family at this time, remembering the good times and preparing for the New Year. 

Philip, Mary and our dogs

Hopefully looking suitably relaxed as we visit Batsford Arboretum this autumn.  Photos from our many excursions can be found here.

The border collie is 7 years old and called Paddy and the bearded collie (same age) is called Rhubarb.  Rhubarb's mother was called Crumble!

Mary and I are both retired.  Mary completed 20 years as supervisor at Hailey Village Pre-school last Summer and, having worked part time for a year, I finished working for The Open Group after eleven years at the end of April.

Mary is doing volunteer reading in the nearby Primary School, and I am keeping myself occupied in a number of ways - pursuing various interests, building websites, and thinking about whether to look for some paid work.  I am keeping in touch with the IT world and the world of publishing.

Jon has finally settled on a career in teaching after a spell in IT sales specialising in e-learning.  He is currently Head of History at Christ Church Cathedral School.  He also looks after IT, Sport and serves as House Master for the choristers.

Jon lives in the School with his partner, Becky, and is now engaged to be married.  Becky has two children by a former marriage, Charlie and Harry.

Jon and Becky, Xmas 2002

Jon at CC Cricket Match

left.  Charlie on a path near Rushey Lock on the Thames near to Bampton and Brize Norton.


right.  Harry at Christ Church School cricket festival.



Juliet is continuing to enjoy her career with horses.  She has cut back on riding instruction in favour of stable management and is manager at Crown Farm which is home for one of the UK Chasers eventing courses and of Owen Moore one of Britain's leading eventers.

Juliet lives in our Annex with her partner, Steve.


Steve and Juliet

Juliet at UK Chasers - Picture for Horse and Hound

Juliet and Magic

Left.  Winney, Juliet's Welsh Cob aged around 18 years on the UK Chaser's event course with Paddy in the lead.


Right.  Magic, Juliet's Welsh Cob aged 3 years and still growing.

By coincidence, Winney and Magic are half sisters!

Brother Robert and Tricia on a visit to see them at their home in Wales.  This was the second time we had met up after a rather long time interval.  We spent most of the time working on the Family History.

Robert and Tricia

Mary at Colonial Williamsburg We were lucky to fit in a trip to the USA in April.  I had always wanted to show Mary the Cherry Blossom in Washington and we both wanted to travel across to the Blue Ridge Mountains and to see Virginia.  So we did a tour taking in downtown Washington, Skyline Drive (photo of Philip), Charlottesville, Colonial Williamsburg (photos of Mary), James Town and York Town, Fredericksburg, Mount Vernon, and Alexandria.
Mary at Colonial Williamsburg Skyline Drive
Our annual Greek holiday was taken in Samos near the Turkish mainland for the second year running.  The flowers were wonderful in May.
On Samos
September saw us with our friends, Harry and Irene, in the Lake District, and later, in October, down in Kent
Coniston WaterHarry and Irene at Blackwells

The months have flown by and, like so many others, I don't know how I managed to fit in full or even part time work.  

Our big projects this year have included preparing our garden for the National Gardens Open Scheme, rebuilding and painting 30 wooden windows and door frames after years of neglect, and enjoying various hobbies and other interests.   I have done a good deal of photography during the year and also done the odd water colour which I enjoy. 

I have just started on the actual task of re-building my HO gauge model railway - settling, as planned, on a model of the Columbia River in Oregon with Union Pacific and BNSF (formerly SPS and BN) stock and all driven by DCC (digital computer control).   

In addition to all this I have been very active with the Church being involved as one of the Churchwardens in the change of parish and appointment and induction of a new team vicar.  I have been developing a new web site for the local community and this carries, amongst other things, pictures from the Open Gardens Scheme mentioned above.   The URL is

So I hope you enjoyed this up date.

Look forward to hearing from you all and to exchanging news etc.

Have a great Christmas

Best wishes


Philip and Mary

BTW You can mail me here

© Phil Holmes  Updated on Friday 12 December 2003