Christmas 2006

We give thanks for a child born long ago in bringing you
Christmas Greetings
from our family of today to you and yours with love

Warm greetings to you this Christmas time as we look back with thankfulness and forward in hope. It was a special joy to see many of our overseas friends this year some of whom we have known for nearly 50 years. Yes, we went overseas again, doing it while we still can!

Another highlight of our overseas trip was a tour of Eastern Europe from Vienna, through Budapest, Bratislava and Prague, fascinating and beautiful places. Again we were blessed with excellent house exchanges in London and Gloucestershire where we were able to spend time with Hazel's brother Hugh, Joyce and close family still living where she grew up. One long day we went on the Eurostar fast train to France to find the grave of Hazel's uncle killed on the Somme in 1917, an experience giving rise to much reflection. A brief visit to the home of David's Jessup ancestors in Norfolk was followed by three weeks in the delightful Cotswold village of Kemerton.

It was then on to the US enjoying the Brunskill cousins' hospitality in NJ and visiting the area where we first met in 1958. Then on through Conn. and Mass., meeting with the Roeschs, and taking tea with Muriel, a friend and neighbour where Ron and Hazel had their ‘first' church and David baptised Sara. Then to Vermont (staying at a farm B&B) where we enjoyed a couple of days with Helen and Add Merrick, friends of David and Joan from Harvard days, still in their stone house in the woods. Next to Maine where we celebrated the Fourth of July in New England style (lobster and fireworks) with Linda and Don Kimmelman (Don was with Ron at Drew). We arrived in Boston in time for dinner with Liz, Hazel's friend since nursing school in the U.K. A happy evening to top off so many unforgetable experiences of warm friendship that has lasted across time and distance.

Onto a plane again to Ohio where we enjoyed staying with David's friends and former colleagues Ethel and Wallace Maw. We enjoyed their rural church, local scenes including General Grant's birthplace, and eating frogs legs by the Ohio River. Another flight or two took us to San Francisco to stay with Diane and Kast Tallmadge (also a former colleague) in the guest apartment of their retirement village, another new experience. There were many old haunts that David and Joan and their family had enjoyed years ago to revisit, and of course the magnificent California coastline, and the famous redwoods. Finally it was time to take off for home, where once again everything seems to be ‘on a roll'.

David is spending two days a week at Melb. Uni. working on a book on some basic ideas in the psychology of cognitive motivation. He still takes some church services. Hazel enjoys table tennis and lawn bowls, and continues her involvement in Creative Ministries Network. We enjoy our 14 grandchildren including another Lachlan (Hazel's) born in February to Simon and Anita (Yes that's Lachlan, Anita and Hazel above on the day of his birth). Maybe he will follow in (David's 14-yr-old) big-Lachlan's footsteps showing real talent in basketball - and in school work too. Young Lachlan's dad Simon moves to the Outdoor Ed. Campus of St Kevin's College as Director in Jan. Little Mikaela (2 1/2 ) continues to do well trying to keep up with Hamish (4). Helen's husband Mark is making a move too, from teaching to leading a project aiming to support students at risk of ‘dropping out'. Bruce and also Paula, Andrew's wife, are working on PhDs in philosophy and sociology. Barton has been doing interesting work on energy sustainability issues in architecture and planning with Vic Urban. Drew and Gabriella's two eldest boys ventured to Harris' village in the Sepik district of Papua New Guinea and had a great time except for two later bouts of malaria for Dylan.

As we write this, there is smoke filling the air across Melbourne from bush fires burning in the high country and threatening Gippsland towns. The temperature reached 42C (108F) in Melbourne today before dropping to about 20. We are experiencing serious drought. The grass is going brown earlier than usual, water restrictions apply, and we are careful about water usage and how much goes down the sink. However we are reaping the benefit of a solar hot water system.

It's the Williams side Christmas this year and we have planned to gather in the summer heat at the winter ski resort of Mt Hotham in the Victorian high country for 6 days staying together in a ski lodge at Dinner Plain. Sara and Barb will be joining us from Queensland. BUT it all depends on the fire situation. [It looks now, 20 December, as though we will not be able to go there.]

In 2007 we look forward to the birth of Robert and Catherine's first child, continued delight in our families and their doings, and for you our friends and kin, we hope for good health and happy times.

Peace and love

Hazel and David Beswick

Previous Christmas letters: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005