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   Christmas Letter 2018
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From the Southampton Anthonys

Written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat.

I assume that you all treasure elegant leather binders holding our past Christmas letters. Please consult to remind you of our routine activities, most of which remain the same. We were fortunate that, for Christmas, our Indian friends Surya and Saru, and Ram and Deepa joined us together with church friends and next door neighbour Robert – (price of admission a huge barrow-load of logs for the fire).

THE event of the year was the visit by Liz and Hugh to his cousin who is a diplomat, living on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Half the year was spent excitedly planning, then a week in the Holy (ish) City, and the rest of the year talking about it. It was clearly wonderful. Hugh’s diary provides an appropriate Christmas entry: ”Singing Christmas Carols won’t ever be the same after this trip... Our attempt to park in Manger Square in Bethlehem failed. Never mind no room at the Inn, there was no-where even to park! No wonder Mary and Joseph were desperate”.

I still do a little science (the odd seminar and helping Indian friends writing up their research). In the summer I was sent a research paper in Frontiers in Microbiology; it was a description of a newly-discovered marine bacterium “named  Marinibacterium anthonyi in honour of the British microbiologist Chris Anthony”. To put this in perspective remember that this is not like a new species of tiger etc – if 200,000 joined hands they would just about stretch across this page.

I played some great music in the City of Southampton Orchestra including symphonies by Sibelius (2nd) and Mahler (1st). Our last concert included Vaughan Williams 4th Symphony, one of the most exciting and challenging we have ever played. The excitement was stoked up by a string of horrors. At short notice we had to change our venue The pianist was delayed by a fallen tree on the line but this did not matter because the wrong piano was delivered from London; they had to drive back and get the correct one. So we had a late rehearsal with an old Sunday school piano. And it was pouring with icy rain. And Southampton were playing (Watford) at home in the stadium nearby. And the programme pages were in the wrong order. But all went well in the concert.

Liz’s bionic knees are keeping up; she has now clocked up 52 long walks (6-8 miles) with her walking group - made up of retired staff of Itchen College. She continues with her pastoral work in Highfield Church and with Communicare (ferrying the elderly), and as I always note – feeding the two grateful men in the family.         

Clive continues in the police, keeping us safe in our beds; Tiffany has a new job looking after children with severe learning and behaviour issues in a local school; Kenny is enjoying her new secondary school; Carrington is not; Bailey is happy. Clive and Tiffany continue to keep very fit, using the gym in the small back garden which also houses their small farm – with 2 geese, 3 ducks, 12 chickens and 5 miniature sheep, 2 of the lambs born this year.

Hugh remains happy working in the library of the National Oceanography Centre and playing his violin. He has regular lessons but practising sometimes fails to compete with brilliantly realistic computer games and building enormous high-tec lego trucks which are filling his room. Highlights in his Southampton Concert Orchestra include exciting performances of Respighi’s Pines of Rome (with scored nightingales) and Holst’s Planets Suite. Next year, on March 16th 2019, his orchestra will be performing Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No. 9 with full chorus and soloists (tickets now available; booking on website below).  

After 40 years of neglecting the well-being of our home we had the loft properly insulated - after removing 12 huge carloads of unwanted stuff, helped by a shocked visitor (Josh Asokan). Anyone who finds car boot sales attractive is welcome to come and safely browse to help dispose of the remaining stuff (old books too sentimentally valuable to turn out, unwanted paintings etc). We also had our 80-year old metal windows replaced. The house is now warmer and brighter but we miss the windy whistling during winter storms. Liz found herself locked into a bedroom early one morning so had to spend 20 minutes using a nail file to dig out part of the latch mechanism to escape (I failed, with chisel and crowbar). So now our 80 year old locks have been replaced. As I am approaching a similar age I am nervously thinking about my windows, roof and doors. My loft certainly remains full of dusty useless rubbish that is difficult to access.

We had some memorable trips in the Camper, including an early spring visit to friend Nigel’s at Duddo near Berwick , across to the Mull of Galloway then home by way of Tumby in Lincolnshire to meet up with Hugh, visiting friend Steve. Our most recent autumn trip to East Anglia was to visit two lots of previous neighbours (the Evans and the Shepherds) who thought they had escaped us, and Liz’s cousin Judy, and to stay on a RSPB nature reserve up by the wash (Frampton Marsh). I continue to camp on the marshy coast near Pennington to spend time with the geese; In May I had special visit, being joined by Komal Vendidandi, a friend from Tirupati.

Our annual visit to France (Liz and chris) was excellent, travelling down the West side past the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean then back home over the Massif Central. We had an inauspicious start, driving more than 200 miles in the rain with no windscreen wipers. At our first stop, on the Loire, the RAC provided a repair man who worked for  90 minutes before warning of a 4 day wait for repair but returning next morning with a huge grin and an obscure 5 amp fuse that solved the problem. A special part of the trip was meeting up with friends near Perpignan (Laura and Phil) who provided us the unusual luxury of being driven to wonderful meals in nearby Mediterranean towns. The wet French weather led to a slow drive up the Pyrenees to Spain, accompanying flocks of sheep on their annual summer transhumance. It was as cool and misty and damp at the summit so we marched down again with happy memories of Alpine Choughs who loved posing for photos at the top.
Family health is generally good but for one week in August we were all confined to barracks with fierce attacks by a Norovirus causing symptoms ***************** (description redacted).

Sadly, Grace, the wife of my twin brother John, died in April. It was good to be reminded at her funeral of her selfless life, her faithful musical life and her artistic work, and to meet up with the wider Anthony family.

SO, Thanks to family and friends for their support in this project (life), and to God be the glory.



Pictures and links to our activities go to my website  http://chris-anthony.co.uk/index.html
Camping in UK pictures   http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/campUK.html
France: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/france2018.html
Orchestras: https://www.csorchestra.org/     http://www.concertorchestra.com/
Contact:15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA.
hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk 02380766484













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