Disney

This might sound like stating the obvious, which it is, but Disney is best not viewed through the eyes of a cynical 40 something!! I hated being part of a never ending advert, being ripped off and, being nagged by endless health & safety announcements (which everyone ignored anyway). The list goes on but as I said, Disney is best not viewed through the eyes of a cynical 40 something.

Disney is best seen through the eyes of a highly excited 8 year old!

We had a great time with family and it was good for Joel & Eli to spend time with their cousins as this is a rare treat. I also enjoyed spending time with Bethy, our middle niece, as we made the most of the late night rides to go on the bigger rollercoasters that the others either couldn't ride or wouldn't ride.

Christmas Day

We had a fantastic family Christmas day despite it starting at some unearthly hour! Eventually Dean let Joel and Eli open their stockings at 4am in the hope that they would then go back to sleep. Job done by about 5am but not for long! At least they were excited.

Christmas dinner was fantastic as ever thanks to Lisa's great cooking (courtesy of Delia) and it was great to actually have a family Christmas dinner on Christmas day for the first time in three years.


Happy Christmas

Wishing you all a

Very Happy Christmas

and a

Blessed New Year

Love from

Dean, Paula, Joel & Eli
XXXX

Eli's 5th Birthday

Eli had a day of two halves as he celebrated his 5th birthday today.

The first half of the day was at Grandad's where the family made a fuss of him with some great presents.

The second half of the day was spent back  in Wimbledon (after the now regular trudge along the M25) where he finally got to play with his toys.

The day was then topped off with a lovely family meal at an Italian taverna in Wimbledon where genuine Italian gelato was the winner!

Mission Ed' - QRC

Today was a great day as we spent time with Queens Road Church right here in Wimbledon. This was our church family just after Joel was born right up until we left for South Africa in 2004 and we still have many good friends here.

As our mission education visiting goes this was the lowest key visit of all of them and yet one of the best too. We spoke briefly during an interview with Phil Moore about our work in SA and afterwards enjoyed catching up with many great folk.

Drat And Double Drat!

Drat this pesky snow and its meddling in our affairs!



Friends

One of the joys of our kind of lifestyle is that when we do make it back to Blighty we're able to make time for friends we've not seen in a while and today was one such occassion.

We first met Peter and Sue through CYFA Ventures many a moon ago and we've not seen each other for many many moons! Sadly we only had time for a coffee but it was still great to meet up again and swap news etc. Hopefully it won't be so many moons before we see each other again!

HMS Belfast

Thanks to some great friends we were able to take the boys into town again for another memorable day out. This time they chose the Belfast and were really fascinated by all that they saw.

Joel particularly loved the replica sick bay where a real operation was being performed (by models!).  Eli was very taken by the shell room and enjoyed becoming the Admiral and 'steering' the ship for a while.  It was a really good fun family thing to do and we had a blast.



Half-Way

We're half-way through our mission ed' trip and over half-way in terms of speaking engagements so it's almost downhill until we return home.

For now we're back in Wimbledon for our last 'quiet' stretch before Christmas after which it all gets very busy again as we have a few things on before our tip to Cheadle early in the New Year.



This is also my first HD movie so I'm quite chuffed with it.

A Day To Remember

We've had such a good day in London!

We started off at the Natural History Museum where it was obligatory to see the dinosaurs and creepy crawlies, of course. Followed by the mammals where Eli wanted to see a tiger and then we spent loads of time looking at various whales etc whilst Eli tested the interactive displays to check they really were child proof. Job done!

Hertford

On Sunday we had one of our busiest mission education visits as we were at Herftord Baptist Church where Dean preached twice in the morning which was followed by lunch and our Powerpoint presentation and informal photo slideshow. We always enjoy visiting Hertford as we've known many of the folk since 1999 when we began studying at All Nations in Ware.

It was great to see so many old friends again and to meet a lot of new folk. We came away feeling very supported and valued. Dean was particularly impressed by the flyer they had been distributing to encourage folk to come along. We love how HBC really grasps the concept of partnership with all of their mission partners!

The snow has melted a lot overnight in the rain which also means the big freeze never materialised. At 8pm the outside temp was down to -8°C but by 11pm it had warmed up to around -5° and it must have kept getting warmer. It's hardly an Indian summer out there now but it is a welcome relief!

So we're off to Hertford at lunchtime today ready to speak at two services tomorrow morning followed by our Powerpoint over lunch as our mission education trip continues. Really looking forward to seeing good friends again!
We managed to venture out to Tunbridge Wells this morning after spending an hour or so clearing the drive (and car) of snow.

All was going really well until we were ¾ the way up Morley's Hill leading out of Weald when another driver decided he was coming down regardless and forced me off the road. Three attempts later we made it with the subtle odour of burnt clutch.

The snow has started to thaw out a bit but the forecast is for a big freeze overnight though we're really hoping it doesn't freeze too badly overnight as we need to be leaving for Hertford around lunchtime.

I'm not entirely sure how, but in getting our bags in from the car last night I put my back out and have been in a lot of pain ever since. I've never had real backpain before and am not enjoying it one little bit! Sitting down is the worst so I've found that if I keep walking things are a bit better.

So having had a short walk with my boys this morning which they enjoyed right up until the cold killed the fun, I then had a decent walk this afternoon down to Westwood Farm.

Before & After

I took the first pic of the car after making it onto the drive and abandoning it where it stopped. Since then the snow has barely stopped and now the car is well and truly stuck for the time being.

Guess we're not going anywhere in a hurry!

Sledging!

With two very excited boys in tow Daddy got to go sledging for the first time in donkey's years.

After a slow but thankfully uneventful drive to Weald we managed to get to Grandad's house without incident. sadly the guy who backed up to let us pass wasn't so lucky as he wrote off the car behind him! We took a bit of a run up to the drive and once on abandoned the car where it stopped.

Richard was then a star as he came and picked us up in the Landy to take us to the farm.