Category Archives: Christmas Letter

Christmas letter 2019

64 Lamb’s Lane, Cottenham, Cambridge, CB24 8TA
Tel: +44 1954 204610
Email: adrian.stephens@ntlworld.com

Christmas 2019 Letter

Dear Friends,

It is that time of year.  Our revolting cousins over the water have just consumed their Turkeys and are thankful.  Black Friday is upon us. The shops are full of Christmas presents, wrapping, and suggestions. My Good Woman ™ has the present shopping well in hand, courtesy of Amazon.

So we perform a retrospective. This year was the year of the Unexpected Holiday ™ (UH).

Our daughter, Ruth, left the shores of the UK for Virginia, USA – leaving us all Ruthless. Understandable, given that her Good Man ™ had been posted there to blue-tack things that go bang to the bottom of things that go whoosh.  So we arranged to visit her in April to see how they were settling down, and take John his fix of Lion Bars.

After that we had a lovely holiday in Portugal with Sarah, Derek and Isabella, which was a Christmas present and Tina’s 60th birthday present from them to us.

Then I unexpectedly received an award from the IEEE Computer Society, and travelled with Tina to Miami to pick it up.  So we had a week of holiday there, sampling the local delights; as well as seeing a family of racoons in the wild of the everglades and alligators as roadkill and lunch, in Tina’s case! We also had the opportunity to meet up with a couple of Adrian’s ex-colleagues who live in Florida.

Then we heard that John had been posted overseas, and Ruth was left on her own.  So we arranged, at fairly short notice, a trip to Hawaii to share with her in September; and Tina arranged to travel to Virginia in November to keep Ruth company.  Not much after making these arrangements, John was shipped back to the USA with a ruptured Achilles tendon.  So Ruth joined us on holiday, leaving John on his own at their place, hobbling round on crutches.

Fortunately Ruth took to snorkelling, which was one of our favourite occupations.  The other being dining out.  Adrian’s favourite is the Kona brewing company, who do great beers and pizzas.

Tina still made the trip out there in November and had a lovely couple of weeks, even hiring a car for the first time in the USA.

Ruth and John have settled down nicely in Virginia, making firm friends there, and a drivable distance from John’s family. They are coming home for a short visit in January 2020.

Sarah is now working evaluating people’s disabilities for UK benefits.  Derek is a full-time driving instructor with Red, and is making a decent business out of it.  Their children are all growing up far too quickly.  Luke is 6’ 5” at the age of 16.  Holly is teenager at the age of 12.  Mia (10) is almost as tall as Holly.  Isabella (2) is talking more, with less need to scream loudly – thank goodness.

David and Eleanor moved from Bar Hill to Northstowe – a new village being constructed about 5 miles from us. David is now a fire brigade crew chief in London. He is also really into his photography, and did some paid portraiture recently.  Eleanor is into sustainability etc. Florence (2) is a chatterbox.  Joe (born January this year) is a lovable brick. We spent a happy week, including my Mum and Eleanor’s parents and brother at Centre-parc Elvedon.  The rumours about Adrian’s crazy-golf abilities are just that.

We’re looking forward to spending time with them over the next month or so.  We’ll be having the usual family silliness – charades and murder in the dark, provided the house passes a safety assessment.

Adrian continues to be busy, even though largely retired.  He has a number of clients willing to pay for his expertise (adrianstephensconsulting.uk).  He also discovered librivox.org this year, and has participated in a number of dramatic and poetry readings. The shed is now the recording booth, draped with curtains.

Tina continues much as usual, growing older disgracefully and enjoying reading and hanging out with the family and the cat. She is still Treasurer at GBC, but is hoping there will be someone to take over when this term comes to an end in March 2021. We continue to worship at Girton Baptist Church where Adrian plays keyboard.  Adrian has also helped out with the occasional “open the book” assembly at the Junior school.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and happy new year.   With hugs, kisses, manly handshake, nose rubs etc. as (in-)appropriate to our relationship.

Tina and Adrian Stephens

Christmas 2018 Letter

Version including pictures: Christmas letter 2018

64 Lambs Lane, Cottenham, Cambridge CB24 8TA, United Kingdom

Tel: 01954 204610, Email: adrian.stephens@ntlworld.com

Stephens Christmas Letter 2018

Well it’s that time of year when we review the address list, print the labels and think about what to say about the year.  The turkeys are starting to get nervous (or for our friends in the USA, the turkeys are past caring).

This year has been momentous and notable in many ways.  We are hoping that next year will prove less momentous.

In March, Adrian did not stand for re-election as IEEE 802.11 chair.  The then vice-chair Dorothy Stanley was elected.  Adrian attended the meeting in May in Warsaw to say goodbye, and has since bowed out of all things to do with the 802.11 working group.   Adrian is now mostly retired, but is doing a little consultancy for law firms related to 802.11. Adrian also took on the editor position for the local community association.

In April our daughter Ruth was married by Tina to John in Chicago, USA. This was a first in so many ways! Although it was cold outside (there was snow on the ground) the welcome was warm. We enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of Chip and Lito, who hosted the event.  John’s family are Filipino (I’d never typed that word before, isn’t spell-check wonderful?), which means some interesting cultural and culinary learnings for us.

In July we celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary.  We had a party and invited lots of people to celebrate our wedding anniversary, my retirement, Tina’s 60th birthday, and Ruth and John’s wedding (because it being in the USA folks could not attend easily from the UK).

In August, Tina’s Aunt Elsie died. She had been part of Tina’s life, and the relationship was closer to mother-daughter than aunt-niece. She will be greatly missed.

Aunt Elsie left her house to Tina.  Adrian’s Mum decided she wanted to move to be closer to family, and has just moved in to Elsie’s old house.  We’re still struggling with what to call it.  As you can imagine, we have been busy doing clearance at Elsie’s house and Mum’s house and are still working on unpacking and getting records updated.  With Mum just down the road we can support her much better.

We had three holidays-ish this year.  The wedding in March also gave us a couple of days of holiday.  We both attended the May Warsaw meeting and spent a couple of days touring the city.   We did have a proper holiday in Santorini.   Tina was adamant that we needed a rest from the various comings and goings, so we took off in November for a week.  It was really nice there.  Warm sunshine, photogenic buildings, sea, sunset boat cruise.  Hot and cold running cats.  Breakfast on the balcony overlooking the ocean. Walking up and down endless steps.

On the baby front David and Eleanor’s Florence continues to grow.  She is very good at understanding and making herself understood.  Sarah and Derek’s Isabella is likewise growing up, but not quite at the walking stage.  Her vocabulary is limited to “ootcha”.

David and Eleanor have signed contracts to move house to Northstowe, which is a new village being built about 6 miles from here.  This will give them more room as they are expecting number 2 baby soon.  Eleanor’s parents also moved to Northstowe from London earlier in the year.  And as it turns out they will be just round the corner from each other.

Ruth stayed in the UK after their marriage in order to get the paperwork to live in the USA.  It has taken her almost 9 months.  She leaves in December to join John living in Virginia.  They have a house there with lots of trees and visiting deer in the garden.

Tina has had problems with her knee, requiring a steroid injection.  Adrian’s health has been stable, for which thanks to God.

We wish you a blessed Christmas.

With hugs/kisses/etc… as (in-)appropriate to our relationship.

Adrian and Tina Stephens

Christmas 2017

64 Lamb’s Lane, Cottenham, Cambridge, CB24 8TA, UK.  Adrian.stephens@ntlworld.com Christmas 2017

The Stephens’ Christmas newsletter, 2017

It’s that time of the year.   Our American friends are giving thanks, and their turkeys are looking for a place to hide.  So we turn to thoughts of Christmas:  praising God for the gift of his son; mince pies; silly party games and loving family to share it all with.

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Christmas Letter 2016

Well, it’s that time of year.  Our American friends have already stuffed, cooked and consumed their turkeys.  We can look forward to the same in a few weeks.  So it is time to cast a retrospective eye on the happenings of the year.

What a busy year it has been.  Two weddings, a funeral and a semi-retirement.

We said goodbye to Aunt Eileen, who lived with my parents.  She had suffered two strokes and found life very difficult.  She died in May.  Adrian and Tina were out of the country at the time, but Sarah and David were able to attend to pay their respects.  She was much loved and will be missed.

Our son David married Eleanor Fountain in Bar Hill (near to Cambridge).  They had a lovely wedding on a hot summer’s day.  They live in Bar Hill along with (from time to time) a cat, a pug, a sister (until recently) and two chickens.  They are also expecting a baby in May next year.  David continues to work for the fire service in London. The photos are here: http://www.chezstephens.org.uk/piwigo/index.php?/category/765.

Our daughter Sarah married Derek Archer near their home in Raunds.  Adrian got to give her away, which meant a ride in a 1932 Rolls-Royce to the hotel venue where the wedding took place.  Unfortunately it rained, but that didn’t dampen folks’ spirits.

The photos are here:  http://www.chezstephens.org.uk/piwigo/index.php?/category/772. Counting Derek’s two children Jaden and Kyson we now are proud grandparents of 3, 5 (including step-grandchildren) or 6 (including ex-step-grandchildren).  Sarah continues to enjoy her work for the police looking (medically) after those in custody.  She is studying for a master’s.

 

Our daughter Ruth has a boyfriend John, who is in the US air force.  As I write, she is gallivanting round the USA (Chicago, Washington, New York, Maryland) to “meet the family”.  She continues to enjoy her work at the Cambridge Botanic gardens doing things with plant DNA.

 

 

Tina and Adrian are thankful that they are decaying gracefully at no more than the expected rate.  Adrian’s condition is stable. Pity his fashion sense hasn’t improved.

 

Tina’s Aunt Elsie had a fall at the end of last year and spent quite a lot of time in hospital (which was a strain on Tina) as they tried to work out her medications and care package.  We are thankful with the provision of a full time care assistant that allows her to keep her independence.

Adrian was offered a separation package from Intel, somewhat out of the blue.  As big American corporates often do, they needed to do a “headcount reduction” of about 10%.  This time they were “cutting from the top”, and I got offered the choice of taking voluntary redundancy.   I took the offer, and subsequently negotiated with them to support me as a consultant for the remaining 18 months of my commitment as 802.11 chair.  This happened during our May holiday.  He continues to travel about 10 trips a year.

The separation allows me to spend more time on my own projects, such as building a church sound desk, rebuilding a window, fixing joist sag (painful).  I’ve yet to become idle.  If I do, I anticipate what my colleague Jon describes as “honeydo” projects (“Honey do this,  honey do that…”) to keep me occupied (or I might just buy a large padlock for the office, now christened the doghouse (Tina)).

We give thanks to God for the year past, with its comings and goings.   God bless you wherever you are.

Sincerely/Love/Kisses/Hugs/Manly Handshakes (according to our relationship),

Tina and Adrian Stephens xx