After the gloriously epic year that was 2009, it has been a quieter 2010 for us in the shire, but none the less enjoyable for all of that. After three years of uncertain change things have settled down. I continue to work as web designer for School of Social Sciences Law-soon-to-be-faculty-of-something-else at Oxford Brookes Uni, and Emma continues as veterinary nurse at Bicester Vets.

Our garden is already very much changed from the two grass circles in a sea of gravel which we inherited and is home to Guinevere, Wiggy, Henny-Penny and Solveig (chickens), Cecily and Parsely (bunnies), and play-place for Ronnie, William, Nellie, Bella, Arthur, Scooter and Blini (felines), whilst indoors, Alfonse has been joined by five white cloud mountain minnows in his tank after the sad loss of George.

This year has been altogether a quieter affair than last. It’s not been without its downs. My Dad had a brief spell in hospital in May to have four stents inserted for his heart but thankfully we didn’t know how bad it could have been until after it was all fixed. He’s very much better and back to normal now although missing the cheese. In the summer, following the announcements of the Queen’s birthday honours that he was to be awarded a CBE for services to science – it is the highest honour that he would have accepted not being one to really approve of titles.

Last Thursday I went into London to see my dad collect his CBE from Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles stood in for the Queen in the Ball Room to give out the investitures. A band played from the gallery throughout and the royal party was flanked by four beefeaters – with all the MBE’s also being handed out I now know what it was like for my mum and dad to sit through my graduation.

We had a couple of very nice holidays this year. The first, a holiday from home, in May, wherein we got the food in, put the tele in the cupboard, switched off the computers and pretended our house was a holiday cottage. We spent the week having days out visiting National Trust properties in our local area and generally just relaxing. Emma tried making butter and the video of her attempts is available upon request if you haven’t already seen it!

For the second of our holidays, we joined my parents in Suffolk for a week where they had taken a holiday cottage for the Aldeburgh festival in a beautiful old converted barn at Iken overlooking the marshes and the river. So I took Emma off to see all my favourite old haunts, and on a long and winding trip down memory lane of the places where I grew up. I have to say, Lowestoft hasn’t really changed much!

You find me now, still glowing with pride at the honeymoon album of photos that I have just had printed. It only took a year and a half, but I’ve finally managed to cull the best out of way to many photographs of one of our most perfect holidays into a 92 page book. For anyone who’s not tried it, give a go for bringing those holiday memory alive.

And whilst I’m mentioning books, you may remember me telling you about the ever-curious tale of Mr Tumnal. The story of a man who married his imaginary friend and started an imaginary family, is now going about halfway finished and getting ever-more curious with its twists and turns. I’m having such fun writing it, and for the inside scoop you can even follow the man at…

We hope your year has been as enjoyable as ours, and look forward to hearing all your news too.

With every best wish (and a smile),

Thomas & Emma