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I have made this page for distant friends especially my friends in India
Summaries of our lives during 2005 - 2021 are given in our Christmas letters

 
Family pictures
From my autobiography bits      
Miscellaneous pictures Our bikes and cars Holidays in France Our camper vans


Christmas letters 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015    
  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021        
 

Christmas letter from the Chris, Liz, Clive & Hugh Anthony       Christmas 2005

MAKING LIFE BETTER FOR YOU

Written by Chris for Chris. For those of you who warmly treasure these letters in your hearts(kidneys etc) you will recall that for the last few years this letter has started with comments about the dull grey November day that has reminded me to start writing. This year I am looking out at a bright frosty dawn with promises on the radio for a bitterly cold day and the coldest weather this winter since records began etc. I feel so English – starting with weather stuff.
     To save you reading further, last year was similar to the previous year etc. For the squeamish amongst you, we should emphasise that this letter is not setting out a claim to have had a better year than you; it is not a claim of greater achievements; it is not a challenge to you to do better; it is not an exquisite example of Belles lettres. This letter does not intentionally describe persons living or dead [one has to be so careful in this increasingly litigious society – I blame John Grisham]. I will merely summarise a few key points for the curious [which some of you seem to be].
     Hugh, who remains the youngest of us, still works at the Hospital library [WORKING FOR YOU]. His interests include music (mainly classical), reading, and formula 1 motor racing and talking to his computer. He continues his violin playing, now learning Beethoven’s Spring sonata and yet more fiendish scales. He performs with two orchestras (usually one at a time) – Southampton Concert Orchestra and Southampton Youth Orchestra [PLAYING FOR YOU]. If you want to be part of Hugh’s global network then go to him via msn via hughf1@hotmail.com.
      PC 20914 (Clive) completed his training with the Hampshire Constabulary in February and is now established in Hythe, enjoying car races round the New Forest, manhunts through the undergrowth …..  [ARRESTING FOR YOU]. The wheel-less car, decorating his front garden (a tradition where he lives) can still be seen from space at earth.google.com.
     Liz continues to be up before dawn, cycling down to church, followed by swimming etc etc. She flutes in the church band and continues to be some sort of prayer leader [PRAYING FOR YOU] and a member of the church pastoral team. While we were looking the other way she seems to have set up a church Home group in our house one night a week. Highlights this year include a weekend contemplating the psalms in the Chilterns and attendance at the New Wine festival. [We gratefully note that her life also includes cooking, cleaning, gardening, sending the Christmas cards and discarding empty wine bottles].
     I (Chris) still play cello in the City of Southampton Orchestra and continue as the publicity officer [website: www.csorchestra.org]. The University has evicted me from my nice office and moved me,  along with 5 other ‘retired’ Emeritus Professors, to a shared office [“The Saga Suite / The Elysian Fields / The Extinct Volcanoes / the Elephants’ Graveyard / The Creche”] where I continue to provide coffee for friends, write papers etc. My usual teaching trip to South India, soon after the tsunami, started with a couple of days at a beach hotel in Mahabalipuram [SUNBATHING FOR YOU]. When we arrived at 3 am the receptionist told me “we have had a spring clean special for you professor chris – so you have new furniture”. The tsunami had swept away their gardens and beach restaurants and washed right through the hotel. No one was badly hurt although there were a lot of casualties amongst the fishermen just down the beach. My most recent academic treat was a trip to Awaji Island in Japan to a conference and a visit to Niigata to lecture to Mitsubishi (who provide us with cars, vitamins and holidays). I find I have to travel further each year to get the respect that I deserve.
      Our campervan continues to do its job giving us our annual holiday in France. This time Hugh joined us for the first part including La Loire, the Col du Larche near the France=Italy border, the Verdon gorge region, the mosquitoes of the Camargue, and Argeles sur Mer; he was then sorrowfully given up to Flybe at a village airport at Perpignan to get him back to work to pay for our pensions, while we dawdled back home by way of the Pyrenees and the Auvergne where I broke a tooth on a rabbit.
So, another happy year for which to be grateful [THANKING YOU].

With Love from Hugh, Clive, Liz and Chris

WISHING YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
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Christmas 2006

WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS  FROM THE SOUTHAMPTON ANTHONYS

Dear friends: this is written by Chris on behalf of Liz, Clive and Hugh.                          Christmas 2006

I write now while watching the sun rise on a clear cold December morning. I have noticed that, being British, I always start with a comment about the weather that is prevailing while I write. Your collections of these letters have therefore become a valuable historical and meteorological resource; treasure them. We have already received some of your letters, so I write my unworthy contribution weighed down by your accounts of deeply spiritual, industrious and fruitful lives with grandchildren spreading all over planet as we now have to call it. As all great writers do, I start by considering my readers and thinking of those I had earmarked for personal visits this year but have subsequently ignored; this is a way of saying why have you ignored us this year? I have just heard that the goats given on various schemes by us to some of you last Christmas have now eaten the corn that you gave us; think again.
       I have had trouble sitting here thinking of highlights of my year (lived in the glare of my family’s highlights). As usual I started by visiting Tirupati in India to teach, etc (the etc is the best bit) in Sri Venkateswara University. The place I stay for a few days on the Tamil Nadu coast is recovering from the tsunami. There are many new fishing boats painted gaudily with “gift of people of Munich (etc)” written in German. I met a man on crutches on the beach who told me that he could not go back to being a fisherman as “me and my boat was been shipwrecked togetherly”. He explained that he could now speak English because he was training to be a policeman; more police are needed because of the crime-attracting tourists who visit to see how their tsunami aid had been spent.
      Here in Southampton I spend less time in the Saga Suite in the University although I still have some work not quite finished (and some friends still needing my coffee). A lot of time is spent on orchestra publicity [www.csorchestra.org] and playing cello, including playing piano trios once a fortnight (violin, cello & piano) with two ladies who play. The highlight of my musical year was taking part in Beethoven’s great choral 9th Symphony.
     Clive told me that one of the highlights of his year is that he is about to end his probationary period in the Police Service (for PR reasons it is no longer Police Force); he will then “get paid better and be a propper copper” (sic as they say – although Microsoft tried to stop me spelling that propperly). He says that one thing he has learned in the last year is that all criminals are very stupid. I kindly didn’t point out that he only manages to apprehend the stupid ones. After 6 years on the famous ‘flower estate’ in Southampton he has moved to a nice house in Hythe, a few minute walk from his station and convenient for his after-nightwork photographic phorays into the phorest. The house will also be convenient for Tiffany to move into with our first grandchild [to be born next June].
      Hugh continues to work in the General Hospital library. A highlight of his year was his trip to Poland playing with the Youth Orchestra. He has had special dispensation to remain a member although older than usual. He made a little speech to the orchestra in which he explained that this would be his last year with them, noting that he was playing in the Youth Orchestras before some of them were born; the younger members will now have to find an alternative willing buyer of alcohol for them. He continues playing in his other orchestra – Southampton Concert Orchestra [who gave an enjoyable performance of the Planets yesterday]. We sometimes hear him practising violin, tearing up his music in frustration like a demented Beethoven. Hugh likes to think he leads a more independent life nowadays; this means he sits in his room with his fish and violin, playing computer games, together with very loud Shostakovich symphonies and becoming quite a star in his international on-line stock-car racing game (NASCAR), the other drivers also providing a world-wide resource of chatting friends.
      Liz continues in her work in Highfield Church, looking after prayer strategy, rescuing waifs and strays, visiting people who need stuff, leading a home group and playing flute in the band. All this involves lots of phoning, cycling etc [Phoning, cycling and praying for you, remember?]. Of course her really important and much appreciated activities are the Martha-esque ones (Luke 10:38-42) of looking after me and Hugh.
Our ageing campervan continues to provide us (Liz, Hugh, me) with great summer tours around France laden with mountain bikes and kayaks.
As you see, we have had a great year and are grateful for it.

With love from Chris, Liz, Hugh, Clive & Tiffany (but no chinchilla; gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds).

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

15, Oaklands Way SO167PA; C.Anthony@soton.ac.uk; Anthony42@v21net.co.uk. ac.anthony@virgin.net; hra@soton.ac.uk; 02380766484
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Christmas 2007

WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS

From the Southampton Anthonys [Christmas 2007]

Dear friends and family: this is written by Chris on behalf of Liz, Clive and Hugh.

I am writing this on a gray wet windy morning, struggling to convert duty into art, but compromising into entertainment. The weather forecast promises a lifting of the depression and unusually high temperatures for the time of year, so off  we go, cheerful and  globally warmed. I just heard a phrase on the news  “Scavenging for cauliflowers”, perhaps a suitable title for what I must do to fill the glaring white empty space stretching below me on the computer screen.
      I start with an apology to those who may be offended that you do not appear in our annual highlights. Unfortunately, space is limited so you should apply now for inclusion in next year’s letter. Of course, applications must include an outline plan of the highlight to be provided, together with Risk Assessment,  Health and Safety at Work and Equal Opportunities aspects appropriately delineated.
      These letters are prepared in early December our account of the year starts with Christmas, celebrated at home with family augmented by a nice mix of Indian, Chinese and Korean student friends. It was especially nice to get to know our two sets of new neighbours with their lovely children.
      My year started with my annual visit to India to teach in the Microbiology Department in Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupati. I responded to their invitation, given at the end of last year’s visit: Please celebrate the “Silver Jubilee of your Indian visits by bringing Madam for us all to enjoy”. I certainly enjoyed sharing my love of the place with Madam. We arrived in Chennai airport at four in the morning, and were immediately met by a man with a placard for ‘Professor Chris’. He whisked us passed the queues of tired befuddled ordinary unprivileged passengers to be met by my old wheeling-dealing-import-export friend John Prabakhar, whose minions adorned us with garlands and silk shawls before whisking us away in a flashy police car through the broad streets of Chennai to a hotel on a beach in Mahabalipuram, 50km away, comforted by music from the Billy Graham era [Blessed Assurance; Great is Thy Faithfulness]. All the way I was thinking what a wonderfully comfortable safe start to Liz’s Indian experience, only to be told that it was the most horrifying drive of her life. Our first walk down the bazaar in Ghandi Road in Tirupati was a similarly contrary experience; my thrill of euphoric reunion with the noise and colour and variety and smells and crowds was balanced by Liz’s shock and horror at the noise and colour and variety and smells and crowds. Of course within a couple of days hers became a similar joyful experience to mine. Particular highlights for her were chatting with the lady students in their hostel, joining me as the official photographer in the nearby village of Thumullagunta, and meeting Surya’s family and my good friends Gopi, Madhu and Imran. After ten days we returned to Chennai to post Liz back home leaving me to 4 weeks of lectures.  
       After this encouraging experience Liz boldly joined a Highfield Church team on a two week working visit in September to Nkunga village near Meru in Kenya. The work included medical stuff, Christian teaching and setting up a huge tank to collect water from the school roof. The rain has now come, the tank is full and the half hour trek to the local Sacred Lake for water is no longer needed. It was a wonderful experience, frequently and happily shared with us [and with you if you stray within range]. At home Liz continues with her hectic life, cycling back and forth to Highfield Church, visiting the sick [ughhh], mentoring, running a home group,  helping with a holiday club, fluting, praying, working on the PCC and Diocesan Synod, and looking after me and Hugh. A final highlight was her Nice Niece weekend  when all six Elliott nieces drove Hugh and myself out of the house for the weekend.  After 40 years with an old NAAFI piano she now has a beautiful Yamaha U1 and fills the house with her Mozart and Beethoven.
      In June the first phase started of the demolition of the Biological Sciences building in Boldrewood [opposite our house]. So far the only thing to happen is that we retired professors  have evacuated our shared Saga Suite. So I downsized again, retaining a computer terminal and bookcase in the main building, and moving other stuff  to home. I still do some stuff there, mainly near coffee times. Outside UK they do not know I have retired so I had enjoyable lecture trips to Switzerland and Germany. I continue doing publicity work for my orchestra and the most recent change in my life has been starting my own website, helped by pioneering Hugh’.
      Hugh has had a good year, still working in the Hospital University library and playing violin in the other orchestra [Southampton Concert Orchestra]. The first part of his year was spent under the shadow of his expected heart refurbishment operation [all valves needed adjusting and a new pulmonary valve created]. After a very energetic camping holiday in the Italian Alps and kayaking in France he went for surgery in September as the fittest patient they had. It all went perfectly and 3 months later he is back at work and getting seriously fit. Of course that is the brief version of a very stressful  period, during which we were all grateful for your support. 
       LONG LIVE THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE; THANK YOU NYE BEVAN.
Hugh’s interest in Formula 1 racing continues [long live Lewis] and he is flooding the internet with useful information about it. Type his name + formula 1 in Google and his glowing orange website will soon hit you.
Clive still enjoys his work in the Police, stationed five minutes walk from his home in Hythe, guarding the New Forest, which provides his playground for energetic dirty biking and photography with his D-SLR. He has quickly overtaken me as the family photographic expert. Searching for more photography subjects he and Tiffany have at last faced up to their responsibility and have passed on my selfish genes to our lovely granddaughter [Kennedy Ellis Anthony; born 28th June].
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Christmas 2008
                                           WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS
              From the Southampton Anthonys [Christmas 2008]

        Dear friends and family: this is written by Chris on behalf of Liz, Clive and Hugh.
Risking allegations of autoplagiarism I start by noting that this is being written on a grey wet windy November morning. We have just received our first Christmas card [from Karen and Roy], provoking seasonal panic. The past year is not so different from last year but with
fewer dramas. My happy endorphins have just been raised by hearing Maria Callas appropriately singing the mad scene from Lucia di Lammermuir; so off I go.
       Christmas was celebrated as usual with various oriental waifs and strays, providing a vegetarian challenge to the generously tolerant turkey [Hugh says that is no way to speak of his mum]. Sadly for us Rams and Alan and Lydia have now returned to Chennai. Almost
immediately after this wonderful Christmas I was off to Tirupati in India for 5 weeks teaching molecular biology in Sri Venkateshwara University. After all the inevitable stress of preparation and strain of abandoning my home and family it was so heart-warming to be met at 2.0 am in the exciting heated dusty noise of Chennai airport by my friend Gopi to be driven off to a couple of days recovery on the beach at Mahabalipuram. This joyful experience was sadly balanced five weeks later when I was delivered back to the airport at 2.0 am by my friend Madhu. The previous visit had been very special as Liz came with me. This year arriving in Tirupati I was greeted by Guest House staff, and University staff and students with the disappointed question “But where is madam sir?” I will be repeating the experience next year in January/February, this time accompanied by the small booklet of snapshots of the birds of Tirupati that I have been compiling this year from 5 years of pictures [see also website, below].
      Madam has had a good year doing her thing in Highfield Church, playing flute in Laura‟s band, organising her home group, mentoring, praying [for you], working on the PCC and Diocesan Synod, and looking after me and Hugh and our friends. As if keeping fit by
cycling or walking everywhere is not enough, she swims 30 lengths of the University pool every week. Our camper van continues to serve us well and Liz shared it with a neighbour and friend at the New Wine Conference this year in Somerset. Another highlight of her year was a „retreat‟ in Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland. A stained glass window in the little church there commemorates her Great Grandmother on her mother‟s side of the family and has provoked internet searches into family trees and led our greying web-wise woman to the satisfaction of knowing that her family once owned much of the Island. The retreat was „silent‟ but subsequently made up for by enthusiastic recounting of the wonders of the place. Liz‟s 18 year old Peugeot finally died [the traditional disaster of a broken timing belt wrapping itself round the big end - whatever]. By a wonderful piece of logic this led to its replacement by a newer Mondeo for me [OK, I know, Me as Mondeo Man], leaving Liz to enjoy driving our 18 year old Rover which remains too healthy to put down yet.
      Although the School of Biological Sciences will not vacate the Boldrewood site until summer 2010, they are saving money by moving out of as many rooms as possible, so I was finally evicted. I left 3 metres of book shelves in the office of a generous friend but had to
"decant‟ the rest of my academic life into the small space I have been allocated in Oaklands Way. Much had to be finally discarded including 35 years of academic diaries; a final flick through them reminded me of what a lot I have to be grateful for – especially for all the great colleagues, science collaborators and competitors, and thousands of students. The Boldrewood bureaucrats have not noticed that their process of "Decanting‟ [their term] obviously implies that the best is decanted – leaving the unwanted dregs behind. I still attend research talks and coffee in the staff room whence I can survey the demolition of the best lecture theatres in the University. A lowlight of the year was the need to take part in a celebration at the University of Warwick of the life of my best friend in Science who died in January [Sir Howard Dalton]. I was later contacted by a member of the audience – “for 30 minutes I listened to your lecture wondering if you are the boy from my class in Watford Boys‟ Grammar School”. I was, and so I was captured to publish my lecture in his review journal. I suffered a minor operation [hernia] in April [boy, how I suffered] but was assured by Hugh that it was nothing compared to his major heart surgery of last year; of course I explained that I am more sensitive than him. I have continued producing publicity materials for the City of Southampton Orchestra and playing wonderful music with them, a highlight being a performance of Dvorak‟s Cello Concerto with an outstanding young cellist Pei-Sian Ng; our most recent concert contained a brilliant bit of programming [I chair the program
committee] – Britten‟s Sinfonia da Requiem, VW‟s the Lark Ascending and Elgar‟s 1st Symphony.
      Hugh has had a good year, completely recovered from his huge heart operation, maintaining his fitness by walking 3km to work at the hospital library, often accompanied by Liz. While I was safely away in India Hugh fulfilled a small dream and rescued a cat from the
Blue Cross. After a vetting process more thorough than that for adopting a baby, our house and family was grudgingly conceded to be suitable for Peggy, although doubts were expressed about the absent parent. To protect my birds she is only allowed in the back garden where Hugh has trained her using a toy with feathers on a string to leap up and grab hedge sparrows from their nests. She has [as they do] taken over MY house but I have to concede she is usually a positive addition to the family. Hugh continues playing violin in the
Southampton Concert Orchestra, a highlight being an outdoor performance of the 1812 overture with fireworks and genuine cannons from Waterloo, manned by gunners in original uniforms. He is going through a stressful time as he faces possible redundancy, inevitable
with the easy electronic access to academic literature. He is remaining cheerful and relishing the prospect of changing his job through the University redeployment scheme. A highlight of the year was his visit with a friendly insider to McLaren‟s headquarters in Woking. AND the final formula 1 race of the year that, in the last seconds of the last lap, sealed the World Championship for our hero Lewis Hamilton. AND Barack Obama was elected in the same week, allowing us to love and admire the USA again.
      Clive‟s busy life continues in the Police, stationed near his home in Hythe on the edge of the New Forest. Our grand daughter Kenny grows most enjoyably [as they do] with Tiffany‟s children Carrington and Bailey. On their recent birthdays they were introduced to Lego which Clive found so stimulating that he went out and bought himself a bulldozer kit. He also raided our loft to find some of his old stuff [You see, it is worth keeping stuff in the loft].
      Our summer highlight was, as usual, campervanning down through France, starting with Liz, Me and Hugh and losing Hugh half way through as he returned by air from Perpignan back home to earn our pensions. We set off in June during a long period of rain which meant that our Dordogne river kayaking was impossible, the river and its rapids being metres higher than usual. We found alternative idyllic sunny lakes further south, and eventually forgot our wet English summer in the Pyrenees and on the Mediterranean coast. After decanting Hugh [leaving the dregs?], Liz and I drifted gently back up through the Languedoc and the Auvergnes, eating, drinking and walking, to home.
      Liz‟s brother‟s daughter Clare chose the wettest day in Wales this century to marry Andy in a mountain barn, the reception being held in a flooded tent in Pembrokeshire. Spirits were not dampened of course and we had a wonderful time which we followed by visiting an old cellist friend near Aberystwyth on our way home.
    As you see, it has been a very special year for us all. Thanks to you all for your friendship and support, with love from Liz, Chris, Hugh, Clive, Tiffany, Carrington, Bailey, Kennedy
and Peggy the cat.
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Christmas 2009
    
WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS
From the Southampton Anthonys [Christmas 2009]

Dear friends and family: this is written by Chris on behalf of Liz, Clive and Hugh.

Waking up to a wet wild windy November morning reminded me that it is time to write this seasonal letter. If you discard this contribution to Joyful Noel before reading further can I urge you not to burn it; you know you don‟t want to be the butterfly who precipitates calamitous global warming. Last Christmas day was celebrated in a perky sort of panic as we woke to a local power cut. Liz of course coped well with the help of guests who carried our nervous turkey to various ovens around Southampton to get him cooked in time. Our eight guests included very special neighbours, ex-neighbours and displaced orientals [also very special].
       As usual, I was soon off to Tirupati in India for 5 weeks teaching with Prof. Sai Gopal in Sri Venkateshwara University. British Airways at last acknowledged my importance and upgraded me to business class. As previously, my visit started in Mahabalipuram on the coast (with my friend Gopi). It is always a very heartwarming experience to meet up with old friends and students in Tirupati, and I was soon at home in the chaotic Ghandi Road and the peaceful Sindhuri Park hotel eating cashew nuts with everything [to please my friend Moin]. Every year the town expands and sadly [for me] it is gradually fusing with the small rural villages, paving over my beautiful countryside. I am now scanning in my 25 years of photographic slides to produce a small picture history of this process. I missed my friend Madhu who has moved for two years to Dubai as a water engineer for a 2km long building in the desert; fortunately, in April, my friend Leigh was able to give me a free flight to Dubai where I spent a few days with Madhu in a traditional Arab hotel. We didn‟t go to the more flashy part but spent most of our time in the old town.
         Liz‟s year reads almost the same as last year: doing her thing in Highfield Church, playing flute in Laura‟s band, organising her home group, mentoring, praying [for you], working on the PCC and Diocesan Synod, and looking after me and Hugh and our friends. As if keeping fit by cycling or walking everywhere is not enough, she swims 30 lengths of the University pool every Thursday. Our camper van [Kontiki] continues to serve us well and Liz shared it with a friend at the New Wine Conference in Somerset. Last year while I was away she and Hugh imported Peggy. This year while my back was turned [in India] she arranged the replacement of my scruffy wild hedges and derelict fences [my bird sanctuary] to be replaced, leaving room for runner beans and a patch of wild flowers.
        Clive‟s busy life continues in the Police, stationed near his home in Hythe on the edge of the New Forest. Phone conversations with Clive usually have a happy family background of changing nappies, feeding and controlling Kenny, Carrington and Bailey. His energy is so impressive; after a picnic in the new forest with them all I needed two days to recover. They are all doing well and Kenny has just started "School‟.
      Hugh‟s year started very well. At the end of 2008 he was told that he and 3 library colleagues were being made redundant. Fortunately the University has a policy of re-location. This worked well although the wisdom of the policy was not matched by the competence of the Human Resources department which was rarely humane and remarkably unresourceful. After a lot of very impressive work [by Hugh and his excellent Union representative] he is now very happy - on a higher grade, full time, double salary, doing a much wider range of interesting work, with excellent colleagues in the wonderful National Oceanography Centre. A musical highlight of Hugh‟s year was a recent performance of the 2nd Symphony of Sibelius, with the Southampton Concert Orchestra.
      My musical highlights include playing [in private] piano trios of Schubert, Shostakovich and Smetana, string quartets of Beethoven and Shostakovich, and performing Nielsen‟s 4th Symphony and the 1st Symphony of Walton in the City of Southampton Orchestra. Hugh and I shared in a special experience last week in a performance of the Organ Symphony by Saint Saens; the first time that we have performed together [in the Charity Symphony Orchestra]. Needless to say this was also a musical highlight of Liz‟s year (she says).
     I was reminded that this year is special when I received a formal invitation from my niece to attend a celebration of my twin brother‟s 70th birthday, asking me to share any memories that I might have. Fortunately I am still able to remember him and we had a great time, brilliantly organised by Pauline and helpers, in Leavesden road Baptist Church Hall where I had spent my teenage years in the Boys Brigade and church youth club. I was embarrassed, and Hugh greatly amused, by an elderly lady who had to remind me that she had been my first girlfriend.      
        As well as that celebration I used this special year as an excuse for further self gratification. Liz took me to stay for a week in an AgriTurismo converted farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside overlooking San Gimignano. I asked our host Stefano, while drinking his wonderful wine, if he had seen the film Tea with Mussolini [set in that town]. “Yes of course, many of the cast stayed here – Franco Zefferreli [the director] parked his campervan over there”. This led to the idea that we would return there in the late summer with Hugh and our campervan; if it is good enough for Zefferelli it is good enough for us. So we three set out with bikes and kayaks in the Kontiki at the end of August through France to Italy. After a wonderful journey drifting through the Dordogne, the Auvergne and the Cevennes, we arrived at one of our favourites sites beneath the pines on the edge of a lake at the end of the Verdon Gorge. Early September is well past the French camping season so we shared a 450 place camping site with 12 others including an especially nice young couple from Belgium [Bep and Michel], Michel being a greengrocer from whom Liz learned all about her favourite Jonagold apples. The weather forecast for Italy was very bad so we cancelled our original plan and stayed longer under the hot pines. We eventually dropped Hugh off at Nice airport. We have childishly re-named Nice as Nasty as it has almost no helpful road signs, and is full of traffic jams, as was the motorway and every road around. It was sad to fling Hugh out onto the road by the airport [no parking for high vehicles] but a relief to leave this less attractive area of France, setting off North, over the Col de la Bonnette [2,800m] to Larche - a favourite site at [1800m] in the mountains. We then meandered back home by way of Les Hautes Alpes, Drome and the Ardeches. A new feature this year was our two nights in France Passion sites [not what you may think]. These are places to camp our van free for a night, on farms or other rural places. Both were excellent. One was in the car park of a fromagerie where we had a dinner of 3 courses – all of cheese. We have now completed our own rough guide to our campsites of France [email me for a copy or download it from our website], based on about 20 years of travelling in our old Merlin and new [18yrs old] Kontiki.

As you see, it has been another very special year for us all. Thanks to you all for your friendship and support. With love from Liz, Chris, Hugh, Clive, Tiffany, Carrington, Bailey, Kennedy and Peggy the cat.
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Christmas 2010  
                                 WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS
From the Southampton Anthonys written by Chris on behalf of Liz, Clive, Hugh and Peggy the cat.

Dear friends and family: Do not read this letter out of a sense of duty; feel free to screw it up, discarding it, muttering it’s the same as last year, innit. Correct, and you could use the saved time to save the world or put out the bins. We have had a wonderful year and been spared living in interesting times, so highlights suitable for bragging or eliciting sympathy were relatively few. [Is anyone else irritated by people on TV only empathising nowadays; I prefer sympathy if you have any to spare.]
      As usual I went off in January for five weeks to Tirupati in South India to teach in SV University and to meet my old friends there. The crazy crowded friendly streets of Tirupati really feel like a second home. The dining room in the University guest house was being refurbished so breakfast and lunch were brought in by bike from restaurants in unattractive little polythene bags tied with string from which I squirted my luke-warm curries onto plates wiped clean on the cyclist’s shirt tails. While there I met Dr Chowdappa who had been a student with the present Head of Department [SaiGopal] on my first visit in 1982; he asked advice about a good place for his son Vinay to study in the UK. Vinay earned my admiration by driving my friend Moin and me to Mahabalipuram on the way home, proving him to be the only safe driver in India. Predictably he is now in Southampton as an MSc student and a welcome addition to our family. As he seemed to be living in hall on a diet of cornflakes and pizza my interest in cooking Indian food has been rekindled; Wednesday night is curry night, please come.
      1st August was our 40th (Ruby) wedding anniversary. Liz suggested that our 40 years together were so enjoyable because we are somehow complementary; I agreed – she cooks, I eat; she does the garden, I sit in it etc. ad. inf. To celebrate, I was planning exotic holidays in Istanbul or Venice but heard Liz muttering quietly that she would prefer to go camping in Scotland. We had a wonderful time there, in September, driving our Kon-tiki camper van a total of 1600 miles in rain and gales and a little sun, protected from the famous Scots midges by Avon’s Skin-so-Soft. We visited friends in Sheffield (John & Barbara Guest) and Northumberland (Nigel Chandler) on the way, followed by a few days in the Cairngorms, eventually reaching the far North West coast near Ullapool, Enard Bay and Clachtoll where we sat in the van, rocking in a force 9 gale with gusts of hail, watching flocks of gannets dive-bombing the mackerel. On the way home we stopped off to play string and flute quartets with friends (Colin, Alison & Sophie Mather) in Wigan (the cradle of civilisation).
      In spite of unusually bad weather we enjoyed our annual adventure in France in June, after an inauspicious start. Setting off to catch the night ferry a threatening red dashboard light suggested the alternator was broken which would soon give us a dead starter battery, preventing anyone behind us disembarking from the car ferry [etc etc etc]. With doubled heart rates, dry mouths, adrenaline dripping out of our ears we drove to our mechanic friend [Jonathan Willis] who, after loaning us a box of spare parts and a huge charger, found a loose wire going to the alternator. Out went the red light and off we went with 3 pairs of eyes challenging it to come on again during the drive to Portsmouth. No Problem. This year we kept to the West, going to the Pyrennees by way of our friends in the Dordogne, arriving in Argeles on the Mediterranean before releasing Hugh to fly home to earn our pensions. We drifted back by way of the Corbieres, the Camargue, Causse Mejean and the Auvergne, stopping at a France Passion site at a bison farm on the Causse Noir; our target auberge was not open but they sold us delicious tinned bison stew, best eaten with spicy Corbiere red wine in a camper at 7 degrees in a howling gale.
       Liz has continued doing her thing in Highfield Church, playing flute in Laura’s band, organising her Home group, mentoring, praying [for you], working on the PCC and Deanery Synod, looking after me and Hugh and our friends, and providing a drop-in centre in the camper van at the New Wine Conference in Somerset. As she does not have enough to do she joined the Communicare group in the church doing what it says on the tin. She keeps fit by walking, cycling or swimming everywhere. While I was in India she went with Hugh on a pilgrimage around her 4 brothers, braving blizzards on the way.
     Together we recently met up with my godson Matt Smith in Birmingham to celebrate his Civil Partnership with Martin, a wonderfully gay affair; another special shared highlight was Mary’s Cowbridge Music Festival in which she played [cello] beautifully, alternating with an excellent trumpet player and a rather manic tenor from Welsh National Opera [the Go Compare singer].
       Hugh’s new job as library assistant in the National Oceanography Centre is as successful as he had hoped, with the bonus of watching great ships coming and going, including the new Queen Elizabeth. His violin playing is getting faster, higher and a pleasure to hear, especially as an alternative to the sounds of his X-box military activities. We enjoyed sharing the Formula 1 Grand Prix season, exciting to the end. We have now met 2 more of Hugh’s internet friends, one a Belgian Grand Prix enthusiast and student of sports journalism, and a lady acquired by grooming on a cat forum website, who also indulges in a sort of martial arts roller skating in fishnet tights. She visited us to hear Hugh play in a concert and was great fun and a biochemist to boot. The concert was by the Charity Symphony Orchestra in which Hugh and I both play; six hours rehearsal in St Mary’s Church at about 7 degrees followed by a concert the same evening which included Mahler’s Songs of a wayfarer and Holst’s Planets. Hugh’s Southampton Concert Orchestra continues to improve, giving challenging concerts including Brahm’s 2nd Symphony.
       Highlights in my musical year included a glorious performance [with City of Southampton Orchestra] in the Guildhall of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, played by a great young cellist Pei-Sian Ng, and the recent concert in Thornden Hall which attracted a full house by including Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto and Prokoviev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite [with Alan Sugar’s theme tune]. We also played a short piece by our composer/conductor John Traill which included many half hidden quotes and adaptations of other composers, including Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony and Richard Strauss’s Alpine Symphony. This explained why it felt familiar in parts as I had played that in a one day orchestra performance in Oxford a few weeks earlier. The Rachmaninov concert was special in that it attracted a friend to come here from Japan for his honeymoon; it was good to be able to make some attempt to repay the hospitality I enjoyed with Daisuke a few years ago in Nagasaki.
      Clive’s busy life continues in the Police, stationed near his home in Hythe on the edge of the New Forest with Tiffany and our 3 grand children, Carrington (9), Bailey (8) and Kenny (3) who were all great company during New Forest picnics and a memorable day of biscuit cooking. Clive has taken up kick boxing with success and broken toes in competitions in which he usually comes 2nd. When I asked about what he enjoys about his job now he said not working nights and occasional job satisfaction like breaking into old ladies flats to rescue them from hypothermia.
       Our neighbouring Boldrewood Biological and Medical Sciences building, my home for about 35 years, was finally vacated for demolition, celebrated by demolishing a Boldrewood cake. A consolation was a gift of a couple of good microscopes [Wild and Zeiss] enabling me to become a real biologist again, hunting for protozoa from our pond etc.
      I shall end by listing bits and pieces that got left out: We were injected against flu, the house was injected with insulator to keep it warm, we grew some beans, the neighbour’s cat took to eating Peggy’s evening dinner, we got a new boiler, the chimney was swept for first time in 20 years, I built a wood shed with the help of Carl, we all fell over in the snow, Darren (a previous research student) came to visit from New Zealand, we had deep snow on 1st December.
      As you see, it has been another very special year for us all. Thanks to you all for your friendship and support. With love from Liz, Chris, Hugh, Clive, Tiffany, Carrington, Bailey, Kennedy and Peggy the cat.
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Christmas 2011


WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR

From the Southampton Anthonys written by Chris on behalf of Liz, Clive, Hugh and Peggy the cat (Christmas 2011)

Dear Family and Friends: Don’t Panic, no need to read all this: in summary we are all well and happy and had a good year.
      As usual I went off in January for five weeks to Tirupati in South India to teach in SV University and to meet my old friends there. The driver of my old friend John Prabakhar somehow helped me to by-pass immigration and then I was met by my good friend Moin, who came with me, by way of Mahabalipuram on the beach, to Tirupati. I visit India to work (honestly); this year I did 32 lectures and wrote a ‘historical’ review of a part of my subject that has required 50 years for its recent solution. Of course what is memorable are the relatively simple life in my guest house cell, the morning walks photographing birds, my visits to friends I have seen grow from babies to teenagers in ‘my’ local village, visits to the crazy overcrowded, aggressively friendly student hostels, the autorickshaw rides and the crowded, dusty, noisy, colourful, happy streets of the town, filled to overflowing with celebrating nervous families of pilgrims come from all over India to visit Sri Venkateshwara in Tirumula in the hills 15 km away.  
      In July we celebrated Hugh’s 30th birthday in a series of parties; one of these was shared with his friend Paul Hand, who he met during the same week 30 years ago. Although Paul is more than 6ft tall and Hugh somewhat shorter they convinced the restaurant owner that they were twins. Hugh celebrated personally by flying for a holiday to Seattle, visiting ex-neighbours, Mike and Kay Gordon (see his excellent photos on his Facebook page). Highlights included a visit to the Boeing factory and a tour of the University of Washington and Seattle restaurants with my friend Mila Chistaserdova. He was particularly pleased with his mastery of the Seattle transport system, as much of his time there was self-propelled, away from his busy hosts).
       Hugh continues with the Charity Symphony Orchestra and Southampton Concert Orchestra, with a most memorable performance of Mahler’s 1st Symphony. My orchestra (City of Southampton Orchestra) has just started our new season with a performance of the 70 minute 5th Symphony of Mahler which was wonderfully challenging, the necessary intense practising giving me tendonitis, which I am courageously overcoming to write this.
          On the day of the royal wedding our neighbours (Cheryl, Lee, Elisha & Jac) organised a street barbecue to which all royalists, republicans and mere students were invited; so we met neighbours we rarely see.
      Liz continues (as I say every year) with her constant faithful work in Highfield Church, including running a home group in our home etc etc. Highfield Church (the building) has been refurbished (Out pews; In chairs) and now the Church (people) is aiming to refurbish itself (Good luck or do I mean God Bless).  She celebrated my departure for India to tour the happy families of her four brothers, and recently became a great aunt to Owen George Elliott Triggs. All this in addition to making a happy home for Peggy the cat, Hugh and myself (in that order). Of course, we continue our policy of Division of Labour in our household; Hugh earns our pensions, I spend them, Liz does the good works (supported of course by Faith).
      Liz and I followed up on last year’s epic Scotland trip with a week in September visiting the South West Mull of Galloway, the Lake District (Keswick) where the typical rain had led to a rise of Derwent water into the campsite itself. On the way we had a memorable reunion (after 48 years) with David and Ruth Ingleby. While a research student at Reading University I drove on my splendid 350cc single cylinder BSA motorbike with David to Portugal to visit his mother. This was my second reunion of the year; the first was when I met up with Derek Bailey who had driven me in 1958 on his 150cc Lambretta scooter 4000 miles around Europe in 28 days.
      Clive continues in the police on the mean streets of Hythe. His children Carrington (10) Bailey (9), and Kenny (4) who grow, as they do, fast and fascinating and a great pleasure to be with. Kenny started school. Clive’s latest project has been the erection of a vast shed across the width of his garden for his keepfitstrong stuff and kick boxing, liberating the house for family activities.
     Boldrewood (our adjacent Medical and Biological Sciences Building) was demolished during the year with all the expected violent noise and dust (and that is just the complaining neighbours). To try to be positive about such a horrible disruptive experience we made a record of the process; rushing with camera to the bedroom window every time the tremors exceeded some critical point on the Richter scale. This was then put into a film on my website.         
      Our Kontiki campervan continues its faithful service taking us on our annual trip to France. This year we took the Eastern route by way of the Alpine border with Italy, and our favourite lake near Verdon Gorge, to Avignon. We lost a bit off the side of the van when we met a large aggressive campervan on a very steep hill in a very narrow tunnel (guess its nationality; Ja). The wonderful RAC helped us out when we had a puncture in Dignes, putting on our old spare to help us to limp to our lakeside campsite where they arranged for both rear tyres to be replaced by a competent chain-smoking French mechanic who was then thrown out of the campsite for aggressive misogynist language to our female campsite owner. We dispatched Hugh back to Southampton from Avignon by way of Flybe. We returned slowly for another 2 weeks through the centre of France.

In October our friend Vinay finished his MSc course (Pass with Distinction) and returned to India; as a result my Indian cooking has now lapsed.


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Christmas 2012

                WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Peggy the cat

Dear Family and Friends: November, grey skies, drizzle; must be time to initiate Christmas. Last Christmas continued the tradition of broken oven, helpful neighbour’s oven, Indian and Chinese guests; wonderful.
      As usual I went off in January for five weeks to Tirupati in South India to teach in Prof Sai Gopal’s Virology/Microbiology Department in SV University and to meet my old friends there. This year I was welcomed by my friend Moin in Chennai, and then in Tirupati by a banner across the entrance of the lecture hall where I gave about 36 lectures. Of course what is memorable is the relatively simple life in my guest house cell, the morning walks photographing birds, my visits to friends in ‘my’ local village of Thumulagunta where I have seen some grow from babies to teenagers and others from  ten years old to young men preparing for marriage; I have been their only photographer until cell phones with cameras have become common. These peaceful aspects are balanced by  visits to the crazy overcrowded, aggressively friendly student hostels, the thrilling autorickshaw rides and the crowded, dusty, noisy, colourful, happy streets of the town, filled to overflowing with celebrating nervous families of pilgrims come to visit Sri Venkateshwara in Tirumula in the hills 15 km away. Observant readers will see that this section has been lifted complete from an earlier letter, illustrating that, I am happy to say, nothing changes.
        When I asked Liz how she would like to celebrate her 70th birthday she said she would like to take Hugh to San Gimignano in Tuscany to stay in the farmhouse we had enjoyed so much previously. They kindly invited me to come as chauffeur. I cannot think of any highlights as everything was highlit; altogether wonderful.
      Hugh continues working in the library of Southampton National Oceanographic Centre, and playing with Southampton Concert Orchestra, with a most memorable performance of Dvorak’s 9th Symphony, as part of the Titanic Memorial concert. We played together recently in the Charity Symphony Orchestra (Hugh’s first Beethoven Symphony, the Pastoral). My orchestra (City of Southampton Orchestra) has just started our new season under our inspiring conductor, John Traill, with an evening of American music including Gershwin’s piano concerto and the challenging 3rd Symphony of Aaron Copland. This includes the more familiar Fanfare for the Common Man. Remarkably, I later heard this played on US election night accompanying Mitt Romney on to a campaign platform as he was being described as a very unusual, very gifted and extremely rich man. The Americans were never hot on irony. Great feeling of relief the next morning when we heard that a small majority of Americans (excluding Billy Graham) are sane enough to vote for Obama.
      Liz continues (as I say every year) with her constant faithful work in Highfield Church, including running a home group in our home. She is involved in extensive discussions aimed at getting an appropriate vicar to replace the essentially irreplaceable Graham Archer, who has learned all that we can teach him and has gone off to be Spiritual Director at the Church Pastoral Aid Society in Warwick shire. She works with  Communicare,  taking elderly gents and ladies to social clubs, and maintains herself by cycling, swimming, cooking and caring for us. To get help with this letter I asked her what she had done this year; “sorry I am too busy to do things”.
      Fortunately our Kontiki camper van is struggling on. We celebrated its 22 birthday and 17 years of loyal service by going off to France in June on the wettest day of the year. On the first morning the bolts holding part of the hot water system in place finally rusted through, flooding the van. We emptied it by jacking up the van and draining out all water. We were distracted while mopping up by a happy family of black redstarts and spotted flycatchers, and interrupted by the small green and brass steam train puffing around the campsite  The rest of the trip went well, with stops for Kayaking, eating, drinking, eating, drinking, walking, swimming, then up in the Pyrenees and down to the Mediterranean coast. After putting Hugh on a flight at Perpignan, to get home and earn our pensions, Liz and I drifted back through the Corbieres and Auvergne to home.
      Soon after this Kontiki provided a home for Liz and Barbara at the New Wine event, ‘camping’ with 10,000 wet Christians in the mud and floods of Yeovil. Prayers for a let up in the rain were met with a huge clap of thunder, heavier rain and tents washed away. Hugh and I enjoyed a week camping in our nice home.   
      Liz and I spent a nostalgic afternoon in Reading University celebrating, as past graduates, 60 years of Microbiology, and the naming of a building for the first Professor of Microbiology in the UK, the memorable B.C.J.G. Knight. It is always a bit shocking to meet friends from 50 years ago, all of us slightly surprised that we had all had happy careers. Another re-union was organised by the Southampton University class of 1969 (Physiology and Biochemistry) where I met up again with previous students and research students. They were my first students and engraved on my memory; they say the same about my lectures but it seems they only remember the jokes.
       In September Liz and I went up North in Kontiki to friend Nigel  on the Scottish border. On the way we visited Lowick church in Northumberland to pay respect to Liz’s ancestors buried there, including 4 small children (out of the 17 siblings of her maternal grandfather). Then down through the Pennines in mist and rain, arriving a week later in South Wales for the Cowbridge Music Festival to hear niece Mary play cello in string sextets by Brahms and Tchaikovsky.  Well worth driving 1000 miles for; one of the year’s musical highlights.
     Clive, Tiffany and family continue to thrive, Carrington, Bailey and Kenny being so energetic and great fun. Clive mocks my Christmas brag letter so I will refrain from saying what wonderful imaginative intelligent beautiful grandchildren we have. PC Anthony continues to plod the streets to keep us safe in our beds at night.

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Christmas 2013
                            WISHING YOU ALL a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY 2014

From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat

November; so it is time for showing-off, lamenting or rejoicing. Whatever it is, I am told I have to do it. I start with an important change to our lives. Sad farewell to dearly loved Peggy (RIP) and Happy welcome to young Kizzy. She started life on the streets of London, leaving her with a slightly suspicious nature, using attack mode when feeling threatened. She is a dark tortoiseshell and is camouflaged against almost all back-grounds in the house (to avoid misunderstanding I should tell you that Peggy and Kizzy are cats).
      My January India visit was as wonderful as usual; five weeks in the sun with old friends, new friends, students/teaching, bird photography and my local village friends competing for time, all in the context of noisy hot colourful spicy friendly Tirupati. The tigers reported to be on campus were merely leopards. A highlight of this year was the visits of young friends from Thumulagunta village who came and danced to the music of Kid Ory’s Jazzmen.
       Because of a late CSO concert we set out for France in the campervan later than usual; some of our favourite sites were therefore full so we now have some new favourites. A memorable event was a miracle/happy coincidence (according to taste); the gas fridge in the van had stopped working and the van further celebrated its 23th year by forgetting how to use 4th gear. No problem as the next day we made new friends (Andrew and Di Webb) in a new favourite camp site (lac Naussac) where Andrew helped fix the gear lever system with WD 40 and Halfords 3 in 1 oil, then returned next morning to give the fridge its first service for more than 18 years.
      Highlights with the City of Southampton Orchestra were Beethoven 9th (Choral) Symphony, Stravinsky Rite of Spring, Sibelius 7th Symphony, Walton Belshazzar’s Feast and Shostakovich 8th Symphony. Hugh’s highlights with the Southampton Concert Orchestra include Tchaikovsky Pathetic 6th Symphony, and two concerts in June, one outdoors with fireworks and the other with the successfully negotiated challenge of Dvorak 7th Symphony.
      Other highlights of Hugh’s year included a memorable stag night (not his) in Sheffield, some pub quiz victories, a meet up of international friends, first made on a Formula One forum, including Australian Scott Russell (for a day at Donington Park race track), a weekend under deep snow in London, visiting Ali, a sporting biochemist first met on a cat forum and the recent memorable party sharing a wonderful celebration of Phil Hand’s 60th birthday (sorry again Phil that I could not make it).
      Clive and Tiffany continue to be healthy and fit (as in diet, gym, running etc); their family in Hythe (Carrington, Bailey and Kennedy) continues well and happy and achieving great things, which I refrain from bragging about; Hugh and Liz enjoyed hearing all about them on a family trip in August to the Brainiac Live Show in London.
      We are still suffering from our University neighbour, building on the Boldrewood site. Two buildings are nearly finished but a new one has started. It is a ship-towing tank that stretches from the top of the road to the bottom, located as close to the boundary fence as is legally permissible. It is a very noisy business, but mitigated by the two beautiful slender cranes waving at us over the fence. It should be finished in September next year, with a field on its roof surface; the residents of Oaklands way are planning to develop this as allot-ments, golf course, wild life park etc. The surface of our unmade road had achieved 40% pothole bomb craters so in an inspirational upsurge all the residents clubbed together to buy 13 tons of Mendip stones to fill them in. On a glorious sunny Saturday morning we joined the cast of Shawshank Redemption to batter the road into submission.
     Last year lost our vicar at Highfield Church (Reverend Archer) (Hugh wanted me to amend this as he thinks it indicates carelessness), and acquired a new one (Reverend Archer), reflecting the higher levels of the C of E in getting our very own new pope, The Most Reverend Justin Welby who started Well-by attending the New Wine jamboree and immediately asking for the Least Reverend Elizabeth Anthony, who missed it for the first time in years, to go drinking old wine in La Belle France with les beaux Chris and Hugh. Liz continues to work in Highfield Church, on the PCC, running a home group (running me out of my home occasionally), doing a lot of prayer-related stuff and working with Communicare, taking elderly gents and ladies to social clubs; she remains teth-ered to the earth by cycling, swimming, cooking and caring for us.
     Liz got very excited at becoming a great aunt for the second time when Samson was born to Claire and Andy Triggs; I hope they knew what they were doing when they named him. On my side of the family we enjoyed celebrating my little brother Richard’s 70th birthday and the wedding of Paddy and Louise (Richard’s daughter).
    A very special event was the Cowbridge Music Festival organised by Mary and Andrew (Elliott). Liz and Hugh went and heard a wonderful performance of Mendelssohn’s Octet for strings, while I languished at home with stupid labyrynthitis which had caused me to fall and to slightly damage my beautiful 200 year-old Forster cello. All ended well when the fingerboard was glued back on and it had its first spring clean for about 50 years; it now glows happily golden (as do we all).
    So a good year with much to be grateful for; which we are.
Final rant: Communication with Anthonys: We find it frustrating to receive Christmas letters with no way of responding so here is an example for you all.


15, Oaklands Way, SO167PA; 02380766484. C.anthony@Soton.ac.uk; lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk; hra@soton.ac.uk; ac.anthony@virgin.net. We are all on Facebook but Hugh is the only page worth visiting.
This letter is available to download on my website for better pictures and website links. http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk . France pictures: http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/camp2013.html ; India pictures: http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/WEBPAGES/INDIA/indiapics.html

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Christmas 2014

WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR
                             
From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat (Dec. 2014)

Dear Family and Friends: By the nature of these things the year starts with Last Christmas: Surya (a friend first made in Tirupati nearly 20 years ago) and his wife Saru joined us with Wayne, a Chinese student friend who was soon to leave UK for HK, but only after he had succeeded in solving my computer problem that had baffled the University for weeks.
        Too soon after Christmas I was planning to abandon my family: I was paid a grant (yet again) to visit Tirupati in India “to encourage microbiology teaching and research in a less developed country”. After more than 20 years of such visits it must be concluded that I have been failing. But if at first you don’t succeed then go and have a wonderful time again and again and again. I was met as usual by my dear friend Moin at the airport who escorted me to our hotel then on to Tirupati. The much improved road was no faster as the driver had had a heart attack a few days earlier and did not want stress. Teaching was spasmodic because of demonstrations against the proposed splitting of the State of Andhra Pradesh. A small threatening mob tried to close down my guest house but were told to go away because there is a famous Nobel Prize-winning scientist (me) in residence. They confirmed this by noisily coming upstairs to find him on the roof throwing biscuits to the monkeys. Photographing the birds continues to be an enjoyable challenge, and Barath and other young friends  in ‘my’ village of Mallepalle (the ‘Scheduled caste’ part of the village of Thumulagunta) often cycled to the guest house to provide entertainment.
        We set off with bikes and kayaks at the end of May for our usual tour de France in our 25-year old Kontiki camper van. After one day the gear changing became very difficult because “le synchromesh est mort”. So we bravely drove, double de-clutching over the Pyrenees, having a great holiday in the mountains and on the Mediterranean coast. Hugh flew home from Perpignan while we set off for a relaxed drive home. But 700 miles from home a horrible noise from the engine was diagnosed as a smashed drive bearing. We crept home at 50 mph free-wheeling as much as possible; ten very stressful days, mixed with all good things French. Safely home, we repaired the van with old spare parts and sold it to a one-eyed Asian Welsh conman. Very sad to wave goodbye to our 20 year friendship with loyal brave Kontiki, which had taken us 60,000 miles in 20 years.
        When I asked Liz about her year she said “just the same as last year”; so here it is, copied from last year’s letter.: “Liz continues to work in Highfield Church, running a home group (running me out of my home occasionally), doing a lot of prayer-related stuff and working with Communicare, taking elderly gents and ladies to social clubs; she remains tethered to the earth by cycling, swimming, cooking and caring for us”.
        Three days after collecting our replacement camper van she boldly drove off to New Wine camp, sharing our new home with Barbara Leppard. Our first family camp was in West Pembrokeshire to celebrate the wedding of our niece Sophie to Adam in Manorbier Castle, celebrated before and after in the bars and on the beaches. This followed an earlier celebration of the marriage of another niece, Mary, to Johannes; this had to be held in the parents’ garden as there was insufficient space in the lighthouse where the wedding was held.
        Hugh continues working in the National Oceanography Centre Library. A memorable event in Hugh’s calendar included joining Liz on her annual Brothers Tour during my India absence; a highlight was their stay in The Shippen, the holiday cottage owned by Liz’s brother Hugh and his wife Mary (see website below for hiring). He managed a few extra days holiday to join us in September for a camping trip up to Northumberland to visit Nigel and Holy Island where the church has a window depicting his great great grandmother. He flew home from Edinburgh airport while we meandered South down the misty Pennines. This was enough experience for us to become bonded with our new van, the old Kontiki becoming a happy memory rather than a recent tragedy.  
        Hugh’s musical year playing violin with the Southampton Concert Orchestra has included memorable performances of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony and Shostakovich’s rarely played final 15th Symphony. He is at present devising quiz questions for his orchestra’s Christmas party.  My highlights, with City of Southampton Orchestra have included Shostakovich 8th symphony, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Stravinsky’s Petrushka.
        Clive, Tiffany and family continue to Thrive in Hythe (What?). He has recently changed his job description, now working in the Custody Investigation Team in Southampton Central Police Station, alternating between good and bad cop. This enables him to plan more conveniently his time at home where he has laid a new floor and started an Open University Degree in Natural Sciences. Memorable times shared with the grandchildren include kayaking at Calshot, and kite flying and bird photography at Pennington marshes where Liz and I were camping. Carrington has become a teenager, Bailey (12) started secondary School and Kenny (7) swam 400 metres (certified). Like everyone else’s grandchildren in Christmas letters, all three are exceptionally beautiful, intelligent, witty, imaginative and utterly exhausting after half an hour.
        Other achievements: I cleared out the garage (with the help of Matt); the long saga of the noisy fall of Boldrewood, and Rise of the new University buildings in our front garden, is reaching its welcome end. During the summer Liz achieved a swim in the Dordogne, Lac Rille, Lac Thioux, Mediterranean, English Channel, North Sea, Bristol Channel and Southampton Water. I read all others’ (very welcome) Christmas letters without sneering, cheering or jeering; please pay me the same compliment. Kizzy now manages at least one mouse per day, usually presented alive, to be warmed up and thrown back into the wild for tomorrow’s action (it keeps her off the birds).
        So, we are all grateful for a safe and enjoyable year, and for all our family and friends who may have read this far (not meant to be exclusive – we are grateful for everyone and everything).

15, Oaklands Way, SO167PA; 02380766484. C.anthony@Soton.ac.uk;  lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk; hra@soton.ac.uk; ac.anthony@virgin.net.  We are all on Facebook but Hugh is the only page worth visiting. This letter is available to download on my website for better pictures and website links.  http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk. India pictures:  http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/WEBPAGES/INDIA/indiapics.html .
Mary and Hugh’s cottage, The Shippen: http://www.theshippencantlop.co.uk

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2015

WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY 2015 CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR
                               
From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat.                           

I am writing this on a wet windy misty murky afternoon in November (as usual), while listening to Beethoven’s great opera Fidelio (someone has just turned it off to watch Andy Murray play tennis)  Life!
Christmas was our usual happy confusion with our friends Surya and his wife Saru munching nuts and veggies, leaving us to eat wonderful turkey with some Chinese student friends (Michael and Isaac). Then off for five weeks to India for the last of 30 years of wonderful visits.         Every year Tirupati becomes more chaotic,  packed with motorbikes and cars, and sadly  expanding out over the farmlands and attacking the villages.  It was very good to be greeted by  my friend Moin  who I first met as a young student and who is now a very successful researcher in Hyderabad, improving rice to save the world. I earn my ‘holiday’ by giving a couple of lectures every day for four weeks to slightly bewildered but enthusiastic microbiology and biochemistry students. My village friends (Bharath Kumar etc) are now energetic teenagers, visiting the guest house to entertain me or dragging me off to the village to take family photos. As always my days started with long walks taking bird photos; this was rewarded this year by a one page spread in the New Indian Express “A multifaceted birdwatcher” where I am credited with “discovering 130 bird species“.
          Clive continues working in the Police while working for a Natural Sciences degree with the Open University, now based in Southampton, and Tiffany continues working in a local school with children with disabilities.  Our grandchildren are, of course, grand, enjoying skiing, swimming, scouting, guiding and stomping through New Forest bogs. A particularly memorable (exhausting) day was spent at Kimmeridge with Kenny, energetically fossil finding, rockpooling, pasta cooking in the campervan and chatting about her new project of learning the flute. Hugh continues as library assistant in the National Oceanography Centre Library, I am busy being retired and Liz looks after Hugh and me and many many others in the church.
       Hugh continues playing violin in the Southampton Concert Orchestra while I remain in the City of Southampton Orchestra. I have just played my favourite concert of the year– including the great Sibelius violin concerto and ‘The chairman dances’ from John Adams’ opera Nixon in China -  made more special as it was Liz’s first outing on her bionic knee. A special event for Hugh was joining old friends (total of 250 performers) in a performance of the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Southampton Youth Orchestras. We also shared a great experience, spending the day with the Oxford Rehearsal Orchestra learning, then performing, Shostakovich’s 7th symphony (The Leningrad).
       I had a science/sentimental journey this year writing the Biographical Memoir of Rod Quayle for the Royal Society which they have now published. This was a privilege for me as he was my hero, the ‘godfather’ of my subject, and later the Vice Chancellor of Bath University. The completion of this project was happily marked by a celebration dinner with Rod’s widow Yvonne and daughter Susan who had enthusiastically supported me in this project.
      In June we set off on our first France trip in the new van. We soon overcame the sadness of losing our 25 year-old Kontiki, with its useless power steering, lost synchromesh and absent drive shaft bearing, enjoying its replacement with its wonderfully easy driving and super comfort ‘camping’. There was only room for one real kayak on the roof (Hugh’s) so I had to make do with an inflatable kayak; I missed my big white-water kayak but the inflatable was good for drifting about on the lakes which was all I was inclined to do in the absence of Clive as backup on more aggressive water. We gently meandered towards the southern alps, arriving in the only wet part of France at Larche, 2000m up the mountain near the Italian border, later dropping Hugh off in Avignon to flybe home to Southampton. Liz and I continued, drifting slowly North by way of some of our favourite  sites which all had memories of last year’s stressful drive home in the dying Kontiki. We made some enthusiastic new camping friends who helped encourage         Liz to have her damaged knees ‘done’.    
Soon after we returned home Liz repeated her annual camping trip to New Wine with Barbara which prevented her from travelling with Hugh and me to attend the wedding of my niece Kim to Sean McNeillis; I particularly enjoyed the joy on the faces of the new Mr and Mrs McNeillis, matched by the relief on the faces of Kim’s parents Richard and Pat.   
       In September we celebrated (a bit late) our 45th wedding anniversary, by camping near our honeymoon site that we had occupied in August 1970 with a tiny tent, a rubber boat, a flute and a cello in a wild wood near Arthog on the Mawddach estuary opposite Barmouth in North Wales.  On the way we had a memorable visit to the home of our great friends Sharon and Hywel, with its huge beautiful gardens all cared for by Sharon. This made us slightly guilty about our own garden-neglect, leading to us to accept a contract to sort them out from our friend Stuart, who had regularly hinted that our small gardens needed attention.  After removing aggressive climbers and creepers and uprooting the holly and the ivy we now have a 30% larger garden with room to plant things (plants probably).
Liz now has a metal replacement knee, having to wait only a couple of weeks between decision and September incision. After 8 weeks she drove her car for the first time AND cooked dinner, marking the beginning of the end of my 2 months education,  - doing washing, washing up, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, shopping, cooking, washing, dishwashing, cooking, shopping, cleaning, emptying, and serving with a smile. Liz has been very brave and dutifully doing exercises and smiling bravely when required (special thanks to all who have kindly supported her – and me and Hugh – during this adventure). The second knee is due for replacement in January. As soon as it was safe to do so Hugh and I abandoned her to fend for herself while we went to his cousins at Trerhyngyll near Cardiff to attend a concert by the Patron of the Cowbridge music festival which was founded, and is organised, by cousin Mary. The Patron is the great violinist Nicola Benedetti who performed Schubert and Brahms Trios (with her Benedetti Elschenbroich Grynyuk Piano Trio) before her photoshoot with devoted disciple Hugh.

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

Pictures:
These are links to more pictures on my website (or go to my home page chris-anthony.co.uk and following links.
India: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/WEBPAGES/INDIA/PICSgeneral/INDIA2015WEBpics/india2015pics.html
France: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/france2015.html; Wales: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/campwales2015.html
Rod Quayle Memoir: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/quaylememoir.html
15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA. hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; Lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk
02380 766484.

 
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2016

 WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY 2016 CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR
                               
From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat.                           

We had just set out for a short walk but were driven back indoors when we discovered that winter has arrived;  we crept back into the warm – my cowardly excuse that I must write this Christmas letter.
Christmas was our usual happy confusion with our special friends Surya and Saru, and Ram and Deepa munching nuts and veggies, leaving us normals to eat wonderful turkey with a Chinese student (Kim) and a friend from Liz’s Church homegroup (John Imeson).
        For the first time for about 30 years I did not visit India in January to teach in Sri Venkateswara University and meet up with all my special friends there. I missed this very much but thanks to FaceBook I can keep in touch, watching my village friends growing up and student friends scattering across the world. I had already decided that 2015 would be my last visit, and this year it was not possible anyway as Liz had her second knee replaced in January. Her first operation (previous September) was at last beginning to feel a success as she staggered bravely through Christmas preparations etc.  Facing the second operation required a lot of courage (all that shopping, cleaning, cooking, washing etc) and Liz also needed some courage. All was a success. She is now back to her routine of Churchy things, home group, ferrying decaying elderlies about the town and, most important, back on track with cooking and looking after us.
        Clive continues working in the Police, now based in Southampton, while Tiffany works in a local school with children with disabilities.  Our grandchildren (Carrington 15, Bailey 14, Kenny 9) are, of course, grand: Carrington went on a school trip to South Africa! Bailey has taken up cross country running and is a Master of Diabolo, while Kenny hurls herself enthusiastically into stomping through New Forest bogs, building shelters and wild cooking. Clive uses his spare time (an inappropriate concept really) working for a Natural Sciences degree with the Open University, now studying molecular biology and biochemistry, so giving me a bit of teaching to make up for losing my usual January lectures in India. Their back garden contains complex rabbit runs, a large wooden gym (built by Clive) and now a pond, duckhouses, four ducks and two geese. These all add their squawking and quacking to overheard outbursts of television laughter. Clive is even more welcome when he drops in now with freshly-laid duck eggs.   
        Hugh remains happily working as library assistant in the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton docks, using his lunch times to study for exams in music theory, regularly showing up my ignorance. He had planned to visit friends in Australia at Easter time but was thwarted by some medical problem (all sorted by a very unpleasant period serving at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in Southampton General); he is now counting down the days to next Easter for his postponed visit to Brisbane and Sidney. His Southampton Concert Orchestra has performed some excellent concerts during the year, a remarkable highlight being Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. As well as playing violin with them he has taken on the task of running the orchestra’s FaceBook group.
       I remain in the City of Southampton Orchestra (Cello), recently playing in my favourite concert of the year– including challenging exhibition pieces, Brittens’ Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, the light-weight filler being the 2nd Piano Concerto of Shostakovich.
       The previous year I had enjoyed a science/sentimental journey writing the Royal Society Biographical Memoir of Rod Quayle (my hero, the ‘godfather’ of my subject, and later the Vice Chancellor of Bath University). I repeated the experience this year, sadly writing the Memoir for my best friend in Science - Howard Dalton whom I had known since he was a research student. My co-author was Colin Murrell who had been my tutee and 2nd violin in my string quartet many years ago, and later Howard’s research student. Howard had a very successful career becoming Head of his Department in Warwick University and Chief Science Advisor to Defra. Sadly he died at the age of 63, a year after being knighted.
        We had our usual holiday in France, ‘camping’ in our newish van. We drifted gently Southwards, meeting Hugh in Perpignan (Languedoc-Roussillon) for a two-week tour of some favourite sites in the Pyrenees and on the Mediterranean coast, delivering him back to Perpignan for his flight home. We then meandered Northwards by way of the famous Cirque de Navacelles, misinterpreting a Warning sign as a Diversion direction. Fortunately there were no others as stupid as us, hoping to get past us, on the extremely narrow, steep, winding 8 km route down and up the mountain. I appreciate that efficient memory tends to diminish with age but this sort of experience is a warning that sheer stupidity is tending to rule more often.          
         Soon after we returned home Liz repeated her annual camping trip to New Wine with a new companion (Marion). Then within weeks she was off again, this time to Kenya. Highfield Church, Southampton has been supporting the village of Nkunga under the auspices of Food for the Hungry since 2005. Liz went with the first group in 2007 and returned for this final church visit from 1st to 13th September this year. It was good to see that their earlier work on providing a water supply had solved an important problem. Elephants had become a menace in the village as carefully tended crops could be wiped out by their inconsiderate hungry trampling, no affordable fences being strong enough to deter them. This year their hatred of bees was exploited by putting up relatively inexpensive fences with simple beehives on them. These have now been colonised and are effectively deterring the elephants. During this visit Liz was able to go on a day’s safari to the local National Park, providing a good opportunity for wild-life photography, the result being excellent impressions of wide open spaces, the wild-life visible as small rhino- or giraffe- shaped dots (Liz had forgotten she had a zoom lens).  
         My year ended with another stupid act when I got my computer infected so badly that I had to abandon it. A local company (Novatech) rescued important files, returned the computer to a workable state (for use by Liz) and provided me with a wonderful new laptop which is now loaded up with all new software, just in time to complete this letter (blaming my tools?).
          SO a happy eventful year; Thanks to family and friends for their support in this project (life), and to God be the glory.



Pictures:
links to more pictures on my website (or go to my home page chris-anthony.co.uk and following links.
India: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/WEBPAGES/INDIA/indiapics.html
France: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/france2016.html
Nkunga: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/PICTURES/Nkunga2016.html
Sir Howard Dalton memoir: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/WEBPAGES/Dalton/dalton.html#royal
15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA. hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; Lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk 02380766484

 
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2017

 WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY 2017 CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR

From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat.

I have been contemplating re-circulating last year’s newsletter but I guess a few things have changed.  Summary for those who cannot face more: all healthy (with a few “what do you expect at your age”); no births, deaths, weddings or disasters, and activities similar to last year. So the rest of this letter is a self-indulgent wallow in happy memories.
         Christmas was our usual welcome confusion with our special friends Surya and Saru, munching nuts and other veggies, leaving us plus my next door neighbour and two friends from church to eat a bird.
         My friends in India have not accepted that I shall not be returning so I have streams of Christmas messages from my many student and village friends asking “when are you coming to us sir, we miss you”. I miss them; sad.
         Liz is maintaining her routine of Churchy things including her home group, working with Southampton Communicare ferrying decaying elderlies about the town and, most important, looking after us. A special Tuesday activity involves walking 5-7 miles with a group of friends from her days teaching at Itchen College. 
         I remain in the City of Southampton Orchestra (Cello); my favourite concert of the year included the huge exciting 5th Symphony of Prokoviev. Another highlight was a day learning and performing Mahler’s enormous Resurrection Symphony in an orchestra made up of amateurs plus the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. It is wonderful that, while some things drift downhill, the one thing that seems to continue improving is my cello (and me), so we spend many happy hours playing string quartets and piano trios as well as the orchestra.
        Hugh remains happily working as library assistant in the National Oceanography Centre. His hard work on music theory led to a Meritorious result in his grade 5 exam so he can now concentrate on playing: in an informal concert by his teacher’s pupils he played some beautiful unaccompanied Bach, but fumbling the last phrase and ending on a magnificent final note accompanied by a silently mouthed expletive. He was playing on a borrowed violin he explains (!?). His Southampton Concert Orchestra has performed some excellent concerts during the year, a remarkable highlight being Shostakovich’s enormous 12th Symphony (1917). As well as playing violin with them he has taken on the task of running the orchestra’s FaceBook group. The picture of violinist Hugh was taken during a recent concert by his teacher’s pupils. He does a great job by way of his extensive FaceBook activity, keeping us up to date with family matters. 
         In March he succeeded in visiting Australia (postponed from last year),  having a wonderful three weeks with Scott, Tess, Sue the greyhound and gary the cat in Brisbane with explorations to Sydney, Surfers’ Paradise and Mooloolaba (!). Look up Hugh on Facebook for a great selection of Australia photos.
         Clive continues working in the Police, in Southampton, while Tiffany works in a local school with children with behavioural problems.  Our grandchildren (Carrington 16, Bailey 15, Kenny 10) are, of course, Grand: Carrington has now moved up to Taunton’s College, following in the footsteps of Clive and Hugh. Bailey has spent his time building a magnificent computer (paid for by washing cars), and energetic cycling in the New Forest with friends, while Kenny hurls herself enthusiastically into stomping through New Forest bogs, building shelters, wild cooking and kayaking. We had a memorable Kayaking and Krabbing picnic on the Solent near Hythe with Clive and Kenny; we had dull sandwiches while Kenny cooked her favourite chicken tikka masala on a little camp stove, soon disrupted by a violent rainstorm. Clive uses his spare time (an inappropriate concept) working for a Natural Sciences degree with the Open University, now writing a project on the hydrodynamics of kayak paddling. Farmer Clive has expanded their back garden agriculture project, adding 3 miniature sheep to his rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese. 
        Spoiler Alert; proud grandparents: Kenny won a competition to name a newly-launched Meercat workboat to be used in towing operations, now in service in the Solent; she named it Spartina after the marsh grass that stabilises the shoreline Solent marshes.
           In September Liz went on a church camp weekend while I went with Hugh on a long overdue visit to my godson Matt (son of David Smith, my long-suffering room-mate in my first year at Reading University and essential companion during PhD years). We very much enjoyed staying in the home-built house that he and his partner (PJ) had spent 7 years building.
           Project Loft Clearance: I recently faced up to this, leading to 10 huge carloads of recycling, 3 loads of charity stuff and discovery of long-hidden treasures (meccano, trombone, tapes of CSO concerts, vast number of vinyl LPs, original copies of the Times from March 1945 reporting the crossing of the Rhine with pictures of one of my earliest memories – vast numbers of aircraft towing troop gliders over Watford). We said farewell to boxloads of PhD notes, teaching/lecturing notes etc etc.
           In April Liz and I spent some days in the North, including a wonderful stay near Malham Tarn, and in September we explored Eastern England in the van, spending two peaceful nights in the RSPB carpark at Frampton Marshes (near Bolton), surrounded by huge numbers of Godwits and geese.  Our usual ‘camping’ holiday in France was slightly strange as Hugh was unable to join us. We set off East, past Burgundy, over the Col de Galibier to our favourite site 6000 ft up in the Alpes Hautes-Provence on the Col de Larche, South to a lakeside forest site near the Verdon Gorge then West to the Flamingo-strewn Camargue where we celebrated my birthday with church friends Laura and Phil who we later visited in their up-market campsite on our way home, by way of the Auvergne and La Brenne. We stayed at a total of nineteen different campsites, eight of which were new to us.   
            In August Liz repeated her annual camping trip to New Wine with Barbara and the Holy Trinity Weston crowd (and with 12,000 others). On her free afternoon Hugh and I collected her to attend the 90th birthday celebration of a nearby friend (Yvonne Quayle) and then returned to the campsite to explore it (Hugh’s first visit there). The wet windy week climaxed as we arrived in a torrential battering downpour, causing us to abandon our plan, leaving brave Liz to swim back to the ‘van.  

SO a happy eventful year; 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 and search or go to direct links
France: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/france2017.html;
Orchestras: https://www.csorchestra.org/     http://www.concertorchestra.com/
Highfield church: https://highfield.church/
15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA. hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk 02380766484

 
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2018


  WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY 2018 CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR

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 ewo fhioeh fojofjoe (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 and search or go to direct links
This letter – for high quality pictures (this is a private page only visible to those receiving this letter:
Camping in UK pictures   http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/campUK.html.  France: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/france2018.html
Pictures from our ‘birding’ camp trips: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/birdsnikon.html
Orchestras: https://www.csorchestra.org/     http://www.concertorchestra.com/
15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA. hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk 02380766484

 
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2019

 WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY 2019 CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR

From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat.

Last Christmas was celebrated with next door neighbour (Robert) plus neighbour Rob with his Chinese student tenant (Jerry) plus a church friend, John and Liz’z Italian godson Guido and his mother. It is wonderful how such a variety of ingredients blends together so well with turkey and wine.
          I was born in 1939, our house being only a few years older - so we (including my twin John) are ageing together; poor surface weathering, bits falling off, creaking and leaking a bit and so on. Unable to do much about myself I have been sympathetically dealing with the ageing house - replacing tiles, loose mortar, insulation, windows, soffits and soft water system.
          My 80th birthday celebrations started with a kind speech by Bernard, principal cello of ‘my’ City of Southampton Orchestra announcing that I was about to enter my 9th decade and presenting me with a magnificent cake. We had many small celebration dinners with local friends and family but to save distant friends the embarrassment of refusing an invitation to travel from the far corners of Britain to a big Southampton party I toured the country to visit them all one by one. Truly wonderful. A generous gift of a close-up (true macro) lens provoked a renewed interest in little creatures in the garden – especially the damsel flies that arrived the day after we filled our new small pond created by our friendly garden helper (Stu). An unexpected treat this year was the successful nesting of nuthatches in a nestbox on our wall.
        Recounting the problems I had writing a biography of a Fellow of the Royal Society, Hugh pointed out that he knew little of my early life, so I wrote my Biographical Bits (1939 – 1970) with pictures. It is online (see below).
         This year Clive became half my age and told me that he was concerned that he has reached the age of 40 and does not have a campervan. So he bought an oldish van and is doing a fantastic job of converting it into a fully equipped camper, acquiring transferable skills which will be directed at his kitchen (promises promises). This project is in addition to life with his family including their goose, ducks, chickens and miniature sheep. He continues with his Open University degree (Natural Sciences) and keeping us safe in our beds as a policeman. Carrington has been having fun (we hope), college hopping to find one she enjoys, while working as a check-out chick. Bailey is starting A levels while working in his spare time in Tesco. Kenny got an award for her first year in her new secondary school and is enjoying her second year.
        Hugh celebrated his 10th year working in the library of the National Oceanography Centre. A musical highlight both for Hugh, and us, was his performance of Beethoven’s great choral symphony No. 9 with ‘his’ Southampton Concert Orchestra. Another highlight for all of us was his playing in a concert as a soloist in Bach’s Double violin concerto with his teacher. In July he went to Gliwice In Poland to visit his friend Paul Martin and his cats Alfie and Zola. Paul lured him out to a nearby forest so that He could have his first experience of driving: verdict – good experience but as he cannot see clearly more than 10 metres this was not a transferable skill.
        My routine music includes playing cello in small ensembles and in the City of Southampton Orchestra.
        Liz continues her involvement with the Centering prayer group and pastoral care work, including  Communicare. Early in the year she and Hugh kept up the tradition of visiting her four brothers and their families in the West Country and Wales.
         In the beginning of June we three (Liz, Hugh and me) went North in the camper. This included a memorable Yorkshire camp where we shared the fields with nesting Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatchers. Then a great time eating, drinking, walking and playing music with friends Nigel and Frances near the Scottish border.
         At the end of July Liz  enjoyed her week Christian-camping with Marion at New Wine which had moved from the West of England Agricultural showground to the East, near Peterborough. She continues bravely with her weekly 6 mile walks around Hampshire and West Sussex with her group of ex-teachers from Itchen College. I nearly forgot to mention what we too easily take for granted – that she feeds and clothes us and sorts the waste bins.
         At the end of August we abandoned Hugh, going much later than usual on our France tour. Our first special place was the top highlight of the trip staying with Liz’s niece Mary and her husband Johannes in a small village in the hills outside Lausanne in Switzerland. Mary was expecting a child and now, as expected, has a beautiful baby, Olivia. From Switzerland we drifted South through the Cotes du Rhone, staying in a vineyard with views of Mont Ventoux. Proudly showing me around his huge fermentation vats, he told me that as a microbiologist “you might know the theory but THIS is la verité”. Then South and West through the Vercours and the Cevennes to one of our favourite places - Argeles Plages on the Mediterranean, near the border with Spain where, as usual, we met up with Laura and Phil, eating and drinking in nearby Colliure. Thence North West in the foothills of the Pyrenees to Les Landes and the Cognac region where we learned about the making of cognac while staying in a vineyard. Almost home, near Mayenne, we camped in a field next to 1 million snails who were restrained from attacking us by an electric fence. One, now named Brian, did escape into our van and he now lives in his own little paradise on our lawn. It was, as usual, wonderful but, being so late in the year, sadly no nesting or singing birds and relatively few flowers.
          SO a happy eventful year: 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 and search or go to direct links
Camping in UK pictures   http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/campUK.html;  Pictures of our France trip  http://chris-anthony.co.uk/france2019d.html
Pictures from our ‘birding’ camp trips: http://chris-anthony.co.uk/birdsnikon.html
My autobiographical bits with nice family pics and early pictures of Watford etc: https://tinyurl.com/rjqubpc
Orchestras: https://www.csorchestra.org/     http://www.concertorchestra.com/
15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA. hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk 02380766484

 
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2020

WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY 2020 CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat.

Christmas was shared with Ram and our neighbours Robert and Rob, with Rob’s Chinese student tenant Jerry, now a good friend who has sadly left us to return home. Thanks as usual of course to Liz for all her hard work.

My highlight with the City of Southampton Orchestra was a wonderful performance in the Turner Sims Concert Hall. We played Lutoslawski’s Little Suite for Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s 3rd Symphony (The Polish) and Liszt’s 2nd piano concerto. We had never played these before and our conductor (the outstanding Dominic Grier) had searched for evidence of other performances by equally great orchestras and found that they were very rarely played. We were delighted that we were able to fill the hall. The cello section of ‘my’ orchestra has joined together (separately) to produce YouTube performances of music by Byrd  (https://tinyurl.com/y3j79qzu) and Mozart tinyurl.com/yxaphsnh). I have spent many playing cello sonatas, piano trios and string quartets, playing along with performances on YouTube. My companions have included Rostropovich and Richter, the Beaux Arts piano trio, The Berg string quartet and many others who I feel have deserved my company.

Liz and I have spent many hours playing flute/cello duets, most written for violin and cello so difficult for flute. She is spending a lot of time on the piano, a pleasure for all of us. She and Hugh keep fit by long walks every day, competing for the greater number of steps recorded on their wrist devices. I keep fit playing cello and getting up from my computer to go downstairs for coffee etc. I have also been doing more cooking – mainly Indian dishes.

Hugh’s Southampton Concert Orchestra highlight was a sold-out performance in the same concert hall a few weeks earlier. His programme included the Adagio from Spartacus and Phrygia (Khachaturian), Excerpts from Romeo & Juliet (Prokofiev) and Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto. He continues with his violin lessons, learning Bach’s A minor violin concerto, Beethoven’s Romance in F and Elgar’s Chanson d’Amor. He does these on Zoom so the lessons just fly by.  He has been treating us to weekly filmed concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (subscribing to Digital Concert Hall) eg. Symphonies by Mahler, Nielsen, Walton. We are always amazed that we have also performed these, perhaps we were following Gustav Holst’s advice to his pupils that “if a thing is worth doing it is worth doing badly”. He continues to enjoy his work in the National Oceanographic Library (part of the University Library), mainly working from home. He helps out at the main library (Hartley) for half a day on 3 days a week, mainly ensuring that students understand and obey the rules.

Although I have stopped going to India I have not got it out of my system. I had previously put my photos on my website each year. I have now put them on my site under subject headings as My Tirupati History pages (1982 – 2015): tinyurl.com/y69cn9ys . Please click and enjoy so I do not feel I have wasted too many hours.

We enjoyed an exceptional sunny summer with hours spent lazing in the garden playing scrabble, reading and, accompanied by Kizzy and red damsel flies, watching our 4 adult and 8 baby goldfish in the pond.
We didn’t go on our usual France trip this year but managed a 10 day trip up North in our motorhome to the most southerly part of Scotland at New England Bay on the Mull of Galloway. Our stay there was cut short by Red Severe Weather warnings which drove us Northeast to Berwick to visit our friend Nigel for bracing walks and energetic music – mainly cello duets. Our last camp stop at a farm near Banbury included special fish and chips with Paul Martin and his girlfriend Georgie; Paul is a good friend of Hugh’s, recently returned from a few years in Poland; a wonderful re-union.  Click for itinerary and pictures:  tinyurl.com/y3lmbjue.  Libby and I went for a final camp this year (so far) at Hurst View campsite near Pennington, overflown by Canada Geese, and shared with wonderful marsh and shore birds and a magnificent Red-breasted Merganser.

Clive’s garden ‘zoo’ became too heavily populated and his 12 chickens and 6 miniature sheep were threatened after a long wet period in a swampy garden so he found new happy free range homes for them in fenced fields. Tiffany has converted their muddy zoo into a beautiful garden with lawns and flowers. They now have a new form of wildlife - a Maine Coon cat. When a very young kitten he was larger than our Kizzy. Clive has built him his own huge garden home which he accesses from within the house. Clive’s project, modifying a commercial van into a camper van is nearly finished so he was encouraged to apply his new skills  as carpenter, electrician and plumber to another project, just completed, of a refurnished kitchen. He has changed his job within the police to something more challenging like collating ‘secret intelligence’. Carrington is doing A levels in Taunton’s College; she lives with friends nearby and so meets up with Liz and Hugh for chatty walks in the local cemetery. Bailey drives to Barton Peverell College to study Maths and computing stuff, while earning his living working as a trolley wallah in a supermarket. Kenny has become a teenager, full of enthusiasm and energy, acquiring life skills, helping Clive in his projects.

      SO, a happy year: Thanks to family and friends for their support in this project (life), and to God be the Glory 

15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA. hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk 02380766484. www.chris-anthony.co.uk 

 
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2021


WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY 2021 CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

          From the Southampton Anthonys, written by Chris on behalf of Chris, Liz, Clive, Hugh and Kizzy the cat

Our last Christmas newsletter contained my response to a challenge from Hugh: to write the letter without mentioning the Covid pandemic. I succeeded but included a hint at my plan with a watermark of the unmentioned ‘elephant in the room’, but this went completely unnoticed (unless you know better).
         Because of the virus we had a limited edition Christmas Dinner with only 2 guests: John Dover, a good friend and musician, and our neighbour Robert, between them making up for lack of quantity by providing great quality. At the last minute miracle worker Robert cooked dinner as our oven  maliciously broke down late on Christmas Eve (Note: he had been invited to dinner the before cooker collapse event).
        Sadly, no France trip again this year but we had good camping visits to East fleet, Bexhill, Pennington Marshes and the Welsh Marches. Best of all we celebrated Hugh’s 40th birthday in June going to East Anglia, camping on the Sandringham estate, then staying with friends (the Shepherds) in a beautiful small village in Suffolk then camping in the shadow of Sizewell nuclear power station before visiting Liz’s cousin Judy, whose home is buried amongst the rape fields of Suffolk. During our trip to the Welsh Marches we discovered an excellent large campsite next to a foodie pub and five minutes walk from the Slimbridge Wetlands Centre. Other highlights of this trip included meeting up with Hugh (Liz’s younger brother) and Mary, and with my godson, Matt in his wonderful home, which he built with his partner Martin.  
         After a long time working from home Hugh spent a few days each week at the main campus library, returning happily in October to ’his’ library at the National Oceanography Centre. In the summer he officiated as 2nd Best Man at the wedding of Jon and Ruth in Derby; he knew Jon from his time in the Southampton Youth Orchestra more than 20 years ago. Hugh’s Southampton Concert Orchestra started performing as soon as it was legal with a concert in Romsey Abbey featuring Shostakovitch’s 1st piano concerto. This was followed by an outdoor ‘Prom’ concert at the Hilliers Garden Centre and then in Thornden Hall which had been closed for a few years while a fallen ceiling was repaired. For the first time in more than 40 years I attended the City of Southampton Orchestra as audience instead of playing with the cellos; I was able to appreciate that it was as good as I always said it was (even without me playing).
         Liz continues to struggle with metal knees and worn hip and shoulder but she ignores all this to maintain her step count. She kept up with Hugh on their daily walks during the time he was working from home but he has surged ahead after returning to work. She is glad that she can now meet up again with friends. She says that she ‘does not do much worth mentioning’. It IS a lot to us – especially wonderful dinners, playing piano and flute (separately) and keeping our lives organised. She goes on weekly visits to two rather decrepit elderly ladies in ‘homes’ which makes her feel younger but nervous of becoming elderly.    
         My new toy this year was a pair of 15x 50 binoculars with essential image stabilisation, giving inspiring views of the cosmos. Sadly I no longer have the strength to set up my very heavy 8” reflecting telescope so have downsized to an 80 mm apochromatic refractor which I am still learning how to use – generously helped by members of the Southampton Astronomical Society. My Meade 8” telescope has found a good home with my nephew (in law) Bill who came with Roger to collect it – a great weekend.
         Minor Miracle Report: After 16 years the problem with my hands (Dupuytrens contracture) recently became worse when cello playing so I arranged for a small expensive operation to solve it; a week before this was due the condition suddenly improved enormously, so I cancelled the operation and bought an extra eyepiece for my new telescope.
          Clive continues to enjoy his job ‘collating secret intelligence’ in the police, mainly working from his home and garden in Hythe. He recently received a Superintendent’s Commendation for ’swift intelligence resulting in apprehension of an illegal firearms /explosives manufacturer’. They now have a second Maine Coon cat – called Arlo. In my last letter I reported that his work converting an old commercial van to a camper van is almost finished. This is more true now – it really is nearly finished. What an achievement. Carrington has deferred University entrance and about to start work until then in a local up-market hotel. Bailey is studying Maths with Education at the University of Winchester, living at home so that he can continue with his with paid work. Kenny continues to enthusiastically enjoy school, and helping with Clive’s projects, walking through bogs in the forest and growing bigger and better every day.  
           We continue to be grateful for a road full of wonderful neighbours with whom we join together in repairing the road and pruning unruly plant growth. We are especially happy to welcome  our new neighbours – Jessie at No. 17, and Tom, Chrissie and baby Edie at No. 3.
SO, 2021 has been a happy year: Thanks to family and friends for their support in this project (life), and to God be the Glory 

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Kenny with Hugh

Clive at work with Dustin

‘Camping’ in Norfolk

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Camping at nuclear power station

Hugh in a recent concert

Matt at his beautiful house

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‘Camping’ at Pennington Marsh

Me with  Clive

Clive’s hand-built camper van

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Hugh as 2nd Best Man

Carrington                   Bailey

My new telescope

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If you are desperate for more holiday pictures click here:
http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/camp%20eastanglia%202021.html              http://www.chris-anthony.co.uk/camp%20welsh%20marches%202021.html
                                             
15 Oaklands way, Southampton SO167PA. hra@soton.ac.uk; ca1@soton.ac.uk; lizanthonysoton@hotmail.co.uk 02380766484. www.chris-anthony.co.uk  

 
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                                  SOME FAMILY PICTURES
our house RH half of City of Southampton Orchestra
   
 
John my twin brother Me playing my trombone in 1958
 
   

Hugh  
Peggy with Hugh Hugh and Dad after our first concert together in Romsey Abbey
 
Hugh in private concert  
Hugh on 30th birthday Hug on 30th birthday with Clive

 

Hugh's cat Peggy  
 
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