Brian and Denise’s Christmas Newsletter 2016

As another year draws to a close we are so grateful to have such lovely family and friends, some of whom we have seen a lot of this year, some of whom we’d like to see more.

We began this year celebrating Denise’s sister’s “special” birthday with a meal near Bournemouth.

This sadly followed by the passing of Brian’s Aunty Hannah.  Her husband Alan unfortunately passed away a few months later in June.  We were able to attend both their funerals in the North of England. They were fitting tributes and celebrations of their lives together.  


We have been enjoying quite a number of travels this year.  This included visiting Hythe in February where we went on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.


The Company Shed, one of Brian’s favourite fish restaurants, is on Mersea Island. We visited there in April to indulge in some fine fresh seafood. (Brian rather over-indulged!)

Embarrassingly, we were caught out by an extra high tide as we tried to get off the island. Fortunately it only lasted a couple of hours so we diverted to the local vineyard and café while waiting for it to subside.  

We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary by taking a trip to Brixham in Devon and then on to Tiverton.  We enjoyed exploring these two areas and meeting up with friends.

In May, we went to a holiday camp on the Isle of Wight where children are banned (Brian’s words) and enjoyed exploring the Yarmouth side of the island. We had good weather, although a tad windy, and were able to do some great coastal walks.

Brian’s mother celebrated her 92nd birthday this year.


She is having some memory problems but in July along with Brian’s sister, Joyce and husband Neville we hired a cottage in the Lakes and took her on holiday.  We are pleased we were all able to enjoy some time together. Denise and Joyce were often beaten at dominos by Mum. We visited several stately homes in the area and Mum enjoyed sitting in the cottage garden with its lovely views of rolling open countryside.  

Unfortunately, the day after Mum returned home, she fell badly and broke her arm. It has mostly healed but independent living has proven difficult for her. Mum is now in a care home in Stockton and is being well looked after. However, ideally we would like to find a suitable home for her near where Joyce and Neville live but that is proving difficult at the moment.

This summer, we went to Marseille on the Eurostar for a nine day break.

It was surprisingly stunning and a great base. Denise was in her element when she found an exhibition of Turner’s paintings in nearby Aix-en-Provence. Cassis was lovely too.


In October, we had another train ride up to Edinburgh for a few days. We visited loads of places including the Castle and Palace of Holyrood - where we were fortunate enough to see an exhibition of some of the Queen’s outfits.


This year, Brian has been walking the Thames Path with his friend John. They are thoroughly enjoying the experience. They started at the source and have so far reached as far as Henley-on-Thames.

Denise is still enjoying her writing and has started a script-writing course to hopefully hone her craft. Writing realistic dialogue is challenging so she is hoping this will help in developing this skill. She now seems to spend a lot of time in cafes listening to conversations and enjoys films with Brian at the Odeon’s Silver Cinema.

We hope that gives you a flavour of our year.

We wish you a very happy Christmas and a blessed 2017.


Brian and Denise