2016 Christmas letter

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Greetings and annual news from Joy and Eric for Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017. Yet another year has flown by!

LandscapeAs always, it has been a busy year on all counts. Lots of dancing and music of course. The clog dancers are busier than the morris dancers, and as well as the regular Monday shows and practices we’ve had more than usual whole days of dance (and therefore playing) at festivals, not all in the best of weather. And the famous Freds Folks ceilidh band (first broadcast 1960!) has increased in numbers, we’ve acquired new flute and fiddle players, and the wonderful young Aaron who is mainly on drum but occasionally on tuba and is busy learning other instruments.

Not as much walking and cycling this year as before, but Eric is at long last getting back to regular cycling (the surgeon said I should have got back to cycling sooner, but it’s hard work). The trouble with walking is that I can’t stop tearing leaves off trees, see later!

Our main summer holiday was camping and visiting in Germany and France. Our new (red) vehicle was ready just in time for the holiday, and is a pleasure to drive. We went first to Bremen to stay at Suzi’s for a few nights. Then on to Bommersheim to see the rest of the German gang (who now have had to get German citizenship and passports due to Brexit), including the usual gig there for charity with Joy as MC in German. Great fun! We visited the twins’ apartment nearer to their work in downtown Frankfurt, but still in reach of volleyball and home comforts in Bommersheim. Then camping across France in the rain, and even when it didn’t rain the midges had been breeding in great numbers. But all a great pleasure, and it included in Saumur a lucky co-incidental visit there by Anita and Hamish’s community band. The holiday ended with a few days with our great French friends in Brittany, Liliane & Andre and Marie-Paul & Bernard. These Bretons know how to extend wonderful hospitality!

Joy continues her breath-taking non-stop activities of clog dancing, MC-ing with Freds Folks, Aquafit, helping at Food Bank and singing. Eric has a quiet life of playing for clog and morris dancing, leading the enlarged Freds Folks, walking, cycling and pottery. PortraitThe posh word for pottery is “ceramics”, and since I accepted a commission from Nottingham City Council for two ceramic artworks I now class as a “ceramic artist”!?!? The artwork took over my life for six months and involved pressing leaves, fruit and other objects into porcelain tiles before firing, which is why I can’t go for a walk now without returning with a backpack full of leaves and twigs. The artworks are now mounted in public view near us. The “ordinary” pottery output has therefore been somewhat reduced this year!

The rest of the family all thrive. Anita and Hamish are busy with music and cycling/running as well as looking after Jenna (now studying Interior Design at Coventry) and Sean (now at sixth form college doing science). Jean and Rory keep gardening, singing and fiddling and have a great circle of friends around Horsham.

Our usual pre-Christmas trip to Karen & Angus and the German Christmas markets was cancelled due to a strike of Luftwaffe pilots, but we look forward to seeing them at Christmas here.

Total walking this year 250km, cycling only 450km. Total pottery 300 pots and 150 tiles using 800 lbs of porcelain and 60 kiln firings using 4000 kwh of electricity.

Don’t forget snail-mail is 31 Greenfield Street, Nottingham NG7 2JN, phone 0115-9786858,
e-mail eric@chezfred.org.uk,
website www.chezfred.org.uk

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Joy and Eric are also involved with
Foresters Morris Men
Greenwood Step Clog Dancers
Freds Folks Ceilidh Band
King Billy Sessions
Magic lantern shows
This copy edited Thursday 01-Dec-2016
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