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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2007
    The daughters in law busy with their families are shining examples of a recent study that indicated that Mums who are able to stay at home to look after their children often do a better job of course they need prosperous husbands too The family in Peterborough has acquired a second horse company for the first so Rosalind is finding the care and attention that they require increasingly demanding as Felicity s school work ratchets up Nicky has now settled in Calgary and seems be enjoying her new friends there She has visited us twice this year And we have enjoyed a couple of visits to Conny this year and hope for another before Christmas Our own year has been the usual mixture of work travel and visits A new venture on the work front was a report on Ozone Modelling for the government Defra My close colleague at Leicester Paul Monks and I were chosen because we are not experts in such modelling and therefore had no vested interest but this required that we not only had a lot to learn but also that what we concluded was sensible and realistic a bit of a tall order but with a successful conclusion This was in addition to coordinating the two usual projects organising meetings in Bremen and near Rutland Water These bring the joy to the work maintaining friendships and contacts with colleagues from all over Europe as well as being grand ego trips However the end is in sight since the overall project finishes in just over a year We skied again in Hochgurgl in January it was one of the few resorts at that time high enough to have sufficient snow We are still keen but go out rather later in the morning and come home earlier in the afternoons But it is lovely to be in the high mountains with lovely sunshine and in a nice hotel at that time of the year The question we are now asking ourselves is how can we find a satisfactory exit strategy how do we ever give up or do we wait for some catastrophe to guide us We visited my sister in Ireland this year who with her husband now well over eighty are still soldiering on and travelling to sunny places in the winter We were able to scan a host of photographs there which are gradually finding their way onto our family web page We also took an old fashioned motor tour visiting friends in Switzerland Garmisch Göttingen and Bremen as well as the family in Düsseldorf It was our first visit to Göttingen in a long time and we had an hilarious dinner with Klaus and Almut Luther they had remembered from our stay in Göttingen 24 years before that it was our wedding anniversary and laid on a lovely meal in great style at their home Following our usual week at the Buxton Festival we were in Italy for a Symposium and finding ourselves

    Original URL path: http://www.ppmborrell.co.uk/archive/Christmas/xmas_2007.htm (2016-02-18)
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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2008
    able to be with us too So it was a very happy day for us and all this followed by meals at home for those who had come a long way to be with us Then in August we had four splendid days at the old Garden House in Cambridge with the other two familes Stephen Conny Sarah and Timmy from D sseldorf and Michael Nicola William James and Charlie from Calgary What with the whole group punting two champagne parties in our suite and Grandma standing in front of a flying bomb at the Duxford museum explaining to the grandchildren what it was like to hear the engine of V1 stop and then to have to wait for the explosion it was a memorable experience for us all And that was not the end since we went to Suffolk to see Christopher and Gwenda who couldn t get to Staffordshire and finally to Somerset to visit Richard Robinson our best man who is unwilling to travel north of the Thames We were not the only people celebrating this year either just before last Christmas we went to a regular party in the Middle Temple once every 25 years to be with Christopher and Gwenda on their Golden Wedding then there was Peter Plesch s 90 th birthday and last week Denis Dixon s 70 th all grand occasions and we are looking forward to Gurnos Jones s 80 th and Paul s 50 th in the coming week The family all seem to thrive William and Felicity both succeeded in their International Baccelaureates Will has started Economics at Edinburgh Felicity is having a gap year exploring the ways of animal husbandry and James played for Alberta in the inter provincial under 16 rugby tournament The others Charlie Sarah and Timmy are prospering at school while our oldest granddaughter Fiona is now in her final MSc year in Mathematics at Bath Since the parents are also thriving and happy it is difficult for us not to burst with pride and happiness This year we persuaded Christopher and Gwenda to accompany us for the skiing holiday in Hochgurgl The Wurmkogel was as nice as ever and the skiing was as much fun as ever After Easter we went on an Andante holiday to Jordan visiting a variety of sites including Jerash and Petra which were just as fascinating as the pictures we had seen before Our two guides were most enthusiastic and did much to convey an impression of life in earlier times in an area which has been the cross roads of the Middle East since before biblical times We also managed a few days boating with Barbara and Tony Cox some of which was spent broken down in the middle of Stoke Operas don t seem to ease up there was a grand festival in Buxton and short opera holidays in the Spring and Autumn to see the WNO productions in Nottingham and Llandudno to these must be added

    Original URL path: http://www.ppmborrell.co.uk/archive/Christmas/xmas_2008.htm (2016-02-18)
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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2009
    daily doses of pills and potions Happily the family have provided us with much good news Fiona Paul and Rosalind s daughter got a first class honours in Maths at Bath as did her boyfriend Adam They are now taking a year off Adam will return to an accountancy job Fiona is exploring possibilities at the moment Felicity her sister enjoyed her gap year following school by spending time at a donkey sanctuary in Spain and helping dart cheetahs at a wild life park in South Africa She has now started a University course in Animal Behaviour at Bristol It was nice having them both to lunch in the summer and also their parents who managed to escape from their increased stable duties the girls have left home and were able to call in a couple of times And Michael has continued his stratospheric ascent within Total he has been appointed Vice President for Exploration and Production for the Caspian and Asia Now based in Paris he has frequent trips to Kazakhstan and Baku less exciting than they sound since they involve loss of sleep on short overnight flights At the moment his responsibilities seem to be negotiating an extremely large complex and technically demanding project with oil company partners and the Kazakhstan Government Unfortunately Nicky has had to stay at home in Canada to see James through his final year at school in Calgary but the family should be together again in Paris in the middle of next year Charlie and James are progressing in school and sport James playing representative rugby for the Alberta cubs Will is apparently in his laid back way pursuing economics at Edinburgh Will gave us a nice surprise by arriving for lunch when his father and Stephen were here to see their Mum Our German family continues to thrive Stephen travels to the Far East as often as ever working hard to offset the effects of the manufacturing recession Connie is now in demand to translate commercial material for firms in the Ruhr Sarah and Timmy are progressing through school and both have musical interests Sarah sings in a school choir and plays the flute in the school orchestra Timmy is steadily improving at the piano as well as being a competitive footballer for his local club We have had three very pleasant visits to Düsseldorf and enjoyed their visit here in the summer We called on my brother and his wife Ted and Doreen a couple of times Despite their 86 years or so they soldier on largely thanks to the vigilance of my niece Susan and her daughter Emma My oldest brother Frank 88 and his wife Ivy are very lively and in reasonable health We have also had an unexpected contact with a second cousin who had seen our web site She kindly sent us some pictures of my father and grandparents which can now be found there Pat s setback resulted in the cancellation of a boating trip and

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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2008
    year travelling round the world and WWOOFing in New Zealand Fiona has now joined the Scientific Civil Service at Porton Down while Adam is an actuary In Bristol Our boys are modern men in modern jobs and do seem to have to work far too hard Stephen is still travelling frequently to the Far East he has a new outlet for his anodised aluminium as a reflector behind the white light LEDs used in the most modern bulbs only a tiny amount is needed in each but the numbers are enormous Michael has had another promotion he is now Senior Vice President for the Caspian and Central Asia for Total Oil This seems to involve nearly weekly trips to the area and negotiations with the appropriate ministers in Kazakhstan Azerbaijan and Russia we receive occasional emails from him when he is waiting at far flung airports We visited him in Paris in the summer where he demonstrated his undoubted executive abilities by jumping up and down in a lift from which we were only released 45 minutes later Paul seems to have settled well back into his old firm and seems happily involved in the wholesale insurance market However he together with Rosalind have a second job of looking after the girls two horses which Rosalind and he enjoy riding even though the care is both tying and time consuming But that seems to be today s life you either work far too much or you don t have a job We were very lucky to have had a pleasant job in a less demanding age We ourselves have had a bit of modern pressure too the book on Remote Sensing which we are editing has taken a year longer than expected and on several occasions we have found ourselves working a few weekends more frequently probably than at any earlier stage in our lives The final proofs have just gone off so perhaps we are now retired It has been a technological year too starting with the purchase of a natty capsule coffee maker and milk boiler which provides breakfast coffee for one of us Then in connection with the African holiday we bought a new camera with a powerful zoom It certainly paid off in the pictures of birds and animals which adorn the web site and bring back such happy memories to us And finally I have acquired a yearned for smart phone with which I am truly thrilled It really replaces my old electronic organiser but offers as well internet access a lovely camera music and detailed GPS mapping You can telephone with it too However it extends the time I spend computing from the normal day to early morning late in the evening and weekends only just looking something up dear The highlight of the year was a fortnight in Namibia and Botswana visiting two of the wild life parks the amazing sand dunes and the Okavango Delta We saw so much and you can

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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2011
    a most sensitive way with every consideration for the family it was a most impressive occasion with for once the State showing its best side The boat then provided the ideal vehicle to take my nephews and nieces on an excursion to the ruined abbey and round tower at Devenish which they had visited often in their youth with their parents We all ages from 55 to 76 played hide and seek in the warm September sunshine We also ventured south where Patricia re visited old haunts on a trip to Worthing where her grandparents lived We visited Roman remains at Lullingstone Fishbourne and Bignor as well as enjoying a long walk on the South Downs We travelled home via Reading to see Kath Glover who taught me still more about radioactivity proportional counters in a lesson which had begun with her some sixty years before at Harwell Perhaps the most unusual visit was to Albania where we went on an Andante archaeological tour A cheerful group of about twenty led by an excellent guide visited sites in Tirana Appolonia Butrint Gjirocastra Byllis Berat Durres and Kruja It is a remarkable country which seems to have been at the fag end of everything for at least four thousand years Nowhere else has given me the impression of history still actively in progress Our three boys and their wives are still in good form Michael seems to make a weekly commute to Moscow to negotiate Total s share of the costs work and profits of extracting oil and gas from under the deep Barents Sea or to Kazakstan to extract gas and oil from the more technically difficult fields under the shallow Caspian Sea or to Azerbajan where Total has further interests Stephen travels regularly to the Far East and India the new LED light market seems to be booming for their incredibly reflective aluminium And Paul is progressing in his career with a large insurance company Of the grandchildren Fiona is gainfully employed with the defence science and technology laboratory while her partner Adam is working through his actuarial qualifications with a national accounting firm in Bristol Felicity William and James are at University We had a meal with Felicity when she was helping train sniffer dogs in Chester as part of her Animal Behaviour course at Bristol Will has redeemed himself with Business Studies at Edinburgh but seems to be a full time juggler and an active participant in Pyroceltica James is enjoying his engineering projects at Loughborough The other three Charlie Sarah and Timmy are still at school Charlie is at Malvern Sarah appears to have had a wonderful year abroad in Canada before resuming her studies in Düsseldorf and Timmy seems to be doing well at golf and football as well as school The only downside is that we see very little of them At home we garden and go for regular tramps in the Peak District Shropshire or more locally We re wrestling with our web

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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2012
    intended for the centre of the lawn but is at present living in the conservatory It seems too wet for such a splendid bird outside though his wood would probably be better out in the damp than in the dry house We had a lovely skiing trip by car to Austria in January Conny our daughter in law came as a lively cheerful companion for us which was nice since Pat had a poorly back and didn t ski Another trip took us to Munich in July to enjoy the four opera Wagner Ring As always the music was wonderful and the production not too bad apart from the unnecessary sixty extras who at one stage performed silent stamping ballet for six minutes to a cacophony of booing We went with four friends from Garmisch and enjoyed dressing up and having elaborate picnics in the garden of an adjacent church There were further opera festivals Buxton as always in July Llandudo Welsh National in March and November and for the first time to Wexford in November The November frenzy culminated after Llandudno and Wexford with six consecutive nights out twice to Opera North Lowry Salford once to the RNCM Manchester a concert at the Victoria Hall Hanley for which we were given tickets The Messiah Nantwich and finally to Mold in North Wales a spontaneous trip to see again the two modern operas we had seen three days before at the RNCM It is a quiet period now We did enjoy the Jubilee and the Olympics With the games I think the excitement was enhanced by the relief that the arrangements were not a shambles or embarrassing and what achievements Despite the efforts of the media to distract one it was television at its best showing people doing things to perfection As well as skiing with Conny we have had two visits from our German family They all came at Easter and then Stephen and the children visited in August when the Sarah and Timmy went to an Outward Bound course in Wales It was grand to be with them and actually to get to know the two grandchildren a bit better Sarah who spent a most successful year in Canada is still at school but has just become a British subject she had to apply since Stephen although of course British was born outside of the country in the Princeton NJ Timmy who is doing well at both school and golf may well follow suit though I think he will maintain his allegiance to the German football team Stephen still commutes regularly to Far East maintaining his markets in anodised aluminium We visited Mike and Nicky in Paris on our way back in the winter and then later in Bristol where they have bought a splendid Georgian House close to the Clifton suspension bridge We visited James their second son at Loughborough in January and then in the summer at Bristol Unfortunately he failed his repeat year and is

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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2013
    single trips to the RNCM and the Lowry sometimes with Susan Gomme or Tony Johns We had a grand skiing trip to Hochgurgl with some adventures on the road in the snow stopping in Speyer and D sseldorf I teamed up to ski with Joelle and Hanno two Belgian friends younger than our children Tempted by the lovely weather during the week Pat decided to venture out skiing again with much success until she was run down by a young Dane The Belgian group were impressed when I turned up at lunch with literally the bloody woman in tow and were most kind in sorting her out and cleaning her up before we skied back home Then in March they invited us to a party in Brussels where they and their friends entertained us royally Unfortunately I was not allowed to steer on our river cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg but we did have a grand time and saw many lovely sights both in the cities and in the wooded river landscape along the way I was provided with interesting bragging rights when passing the Marinsky in a small tour boat as I told everyone who would listen Mike my son was there with Mr Putin the previous month at the opening of the new stage I believe that Total Oil had contributed to the splendid new addition When not patronising the arts Mike is still dashing about from Paris to Moscow Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to keep us supplied with oil and gas Meanwhile Nicky is trying to balance life between the Paris house and her new home in Bristol We went to their one hundredth birthday party in the summer James their second son remained at home for most of the year but is now in Kingston Ontario with old friends from Calgary he has yet to find a vocation Charlie the youngest did well at Malvern and is now studying Earth Sciences at UBC in Vancouver And Will the oldest graduated from Edinburgh in Business Studies For postgraduate experience after a juggling audition he was admitted a circus school in Glasgow His immediate career aim is to spend some time on the streets which surprised us but I believe he means busking to get performance experience Another enterprising grandchild is Fiona who graduated in Maths several years ago and joined the scientific civil service She decided that applied statistics is not for her and is now in receipt of a government training scholarship to take up the teaching of maths With interests in running riding the violin and the clarinet she should make an ideal teacher and she is so enthusiastic Felicity her sister a graduate in animal behaviour has worked with dogs and in Canada with bats At the moment she is thinking about further work with bats or just possibly with naked mole rats Their parents are fully engaged with their two horses we ve just spent a pleasant weekend with them We ve seen

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  • P&PMB: Christmas 2014
    a set of operas to England while he heard about some of the idiocies of Bayreuth It was wonderful to be with him briefly and literally to rub shoulders with the cast But why did he phone us Well Mike organised it Total Oil sponsored the construction of the New Stage at the Mariinsky and Michael who is responsible for Total s large Russian operations knows him well Sadly our conversation started with the death of Christophe de Margerie the Head of Total in an air crash in Moscow Michael had happily made a lucky decision to stay in Paris rather than accompanying Christophe as he normally would have done A Buxton Friend Opera has taken us out and about this year to the Buxton Festival twice to see the Welsh National in Llandudno on holiday at the Wexford Festival where we met up with a couple of Buxton friends from London several trips to Munich and various evening visits with and without friends to the Lowry in Salford and to the RNCM in Manchester Locally we go to the symphony concerts in Hanley and occasional musical events at Keele Adbaston and Nantwich There was another Continental trip in January which took us to Einsiedeln in the snow to call on friends to Garmisch to visit other friends and to Hochgurgl to ski with Christopher and Gwenda Christopher and I start out late to ski the ladies meet us for lunch and we all enjoy the pleasures of the Wurmkogel At home we still walk each weekend we have spent the Autumn wandering along the Lathkill and the Dove in Derbyshire and there have been trips to the Shropshire Hills and Cannock Chase and further afield too on visits to Northumberland and to Sussex where we also attended Gwenda s 80th birthday party We also spent a few days on the Grand Union Canal with Tony and Barbara Cox Age is just ending my period as a visitor for the RSC Benevolent Fund but Pat still reads for the Stoke talking newspaper We go regularly to lectures at Keele Pat is a member of the U3A book club and I m a member of a couple of local groups as well as two informal discussion groups One book that I have been enthusing about this year is Daniel Kahneman s Thinking Fast and Slow I have actually tried to make a summary which you can find on the web site For me it appears to provide a simple framework for the multitude of impressions about thinking and decision making that I have accumulated over nearly eighty years The work on our web site itself is progressing slowly and twice a year I update the web site from the local National Trust Association So there always seems to be a list of things to do The family is still thriving and we are very much looking forward to seeing them all before Christmas when we are assembling briefly for a celebration

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