So, it is will a real sense of gratitude that I think back on full lives led and lots of happy interactions.

In some ways we were glad Sol did not witness the political scene that unfolded as the year wore on. First was David Cameron’s referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. Sol had more reason than most to value the great European Project that has brought together 28 European States to collaborate in the interests of peace, security, the environment, human rights and trade. He, like us, would have been devastated at the result and anxious for the future. And now it feels as though the whole world faces uncertainty with a loose cannon as the next incumbent of the US Presidency.

What then, gives us comfort and encouragement? First and foremost as I have already suggested are the children. We had all of them (our own two, plus spouses and grandchildren) with us in France for the half-term holiday in February. (see photos) Unfortunately Debbie had to head back after a couple of days as her father had taken a turn for the worse, but all the children managed some skiing and we are delighted that they all get on so well together. They also managed to coincide for two visits to Church Stretton and with the added interest of having their cousins with them, they all managed to get up one of our local hills. In Church Stretton they had to do the climbing themselves, we don’t have ski lifts!

My saxophone quartet has gone from strength to strength, with three more public events, one in Ludlow Castle, one in Shrewsbury Abbey and one in a pub. The venues, like the music, are very varied!

We had another reunion of our Medical School year-group this year. It was interesting to hear of colleagues who had moved all over the world, and somewhat less interesting to see how much we had all grown older! We enjoy such reunions, but enjoy even more the close friendships with those whom we see more frequently. Many of these shared a flat with Debbie at one time, and it seems that the friendships are as close as ever.

And so, in noting the changing pattern of family relationships over the years and generations, we note too, the continuing pleasure we get from friendships near and far and in doing so we send our thanks and greetings to you and wish you a Very Happy Christmas.

With Love from,

Charlie and Debbie