Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas Letter from the Mellish Family

Dear all,
We are running later than intended this year so it will be a blog post for our 2014 Christmas Letter. In may ways 2014 was a brilliant year. Not quite up to the standard of 2013; but then it would be hard to beat the birth of our first grandchild - Henry Thomas Reynard Mellish; my ordination and Helena's wedding to Sam. But we did try!
There were two major highlights; firstly the ITSO Reunion in San Jose - this was the group that I worked in when I was on assignment in California. There were about 80 of us from 18 countries. We decided that as it may be our last trip to the States we would make a proper go of it. So we started with five days in Boston and then flew over to San Jose for the reunion. After the reunion we went to Lake Tahoe for a few days staying with Joan and Bruce then to Yosemite for four days. Then back to San Jose staying with Tim and Pat. We met up with nearly all of our American friends who treated us like royalty. We had  a fabulous time.

Julia in Boston

Barry showing the Americans how to throw tea overboard!

The sea at Monterrey

Julia with Wendy at the Reunion

Overlooking Lake Tahoe

Toulumne Meadows in Yosemite

Yosemite National Park - my idea of heaven

Julia at Sausalito

Having wondered when (if) we would go back to America we found ourselves back in San Jose in September! Having booked our June trip I was then asked to conduct a wedding service for Meredith who is one of Helena's closest friends.  So it was back once more, yippee! We had a great time. We saw more of Helena and Sam in California then we had all year in the UK. After the wedding Julia and I had a few days in Russian River Valley (Sonoma County) wine tasting. Then we joined Meredith and Jon, plus family members, plus Helena and Sam for a few days camping at Capitola Beach. Well they camped and we stayed in a hotel. It was great fun. One of the highlights was when our friends Tim and Pat took us to see the 49ers play the first game at the Levi Stadium. Sadly they lost but it was a brilliant day.
Meredith and Jon at the wedding

Helena and Sam talking to Jon

Julia at the Levi Stadium in her 49ers shirt

Northern Californian Coast

At our B&B in wine country

Helena and Sam at Santa Cruz

Waiting for a ride at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz

The Marin Headlands with SF in the background
Almost inevitably as we get older so the number of funerals that we go to increases. Three good friends died this year and we learnt that two of our oldest and dearest friends both have prostate cancer. We are praying for them. Hopefully it has been caught in time.

All the "children' and their other halves are doing fine. Andrew and Gaew moved house early in the year. Henry continues to thrive. We do not see Lawrie, Emma and Henry as much as we would like as they live in Halesowen a three hour drive from us. Julia did get to spend a week with them when Lawrie was away in Wales helping police the NATO Conference. They came down to us in October for a few days and we took Henry to see the poppies in the Tower of London Moat. My poppy is not due until February!

Lawrie and Henry with HMS Belfast in the background

Henry with granny

Lest we forget

Almost forgot!!! I finished my Honours Degree and was awarded an Upper Second - it is in Theology and Scripture Studies. The photo was taken outside Westminster Cathedral where the degree ceremony was held. It was on the day (24th July) of our 43rd wedding anniversary.

The past 43 years have been brilliant (well I think so!)

We hope and pray that you dear reader(s) had a good 2014. Wishing you a peaceful and blessed Christmas and Peace, Prosperity and Good Health in 2015.

All our love and best wishes

Barry and Julia