Happy Holidays!

I thought this would be a good place to put our Christmas letter – it is one less thing for you to recycle. I can also punctuate it with lots of pictures without having to do battle with the printer, before finally conceding tearful defeat and admit that I can’t get the bloody thing to work and turning up desperately at Staples to print it out only to find that I haven’t transferred it properly or it is the wrong format. I hate printing, I really hate it.

Rant over… the year started well enough – 2014/15 was a great snow season for us. I felt comfortable on skis for the first time ever and even managed an extraordinarily small ski run and a couple of (tiny) jumps (even if I did have a brain freeze half way down said run and forget what my legs were supposed to do). The boy especially did brilliantly – especially after a weekend at freestyle camp learning to jump and turn and slide properly. Garnet had extra practice at a guys weekend in Colorado, which helped him keep up with our boy on the slopes. We had an beautiful and happy end to the ski season in the beautiful Stowe with old friends – it really was like skiing in a Christmas cake.


Garnet has had a very busy year work-wise. He has spent most of the year away from home, but has managed to tick a lot of places off his list and even managed to see a bit of the places he has been – so I can’t feel too bad for him. January was gloomy and cold for him in Sweden but he soon switched it up to Barcelona, a hammam (Turkish bath) in Istanbul, Orlando, San Diego, Cambridge and rounded off the year eating some decidedly dodgy ‘food’ in Tokyo. He also wanted me to let you know that he met Tim from Mike and the Mechanics and Derek Jacobi on a Dulles bus transfer.

He has also had an amazing year in his work, leading a team to bring a massive clinical trial to fruition and winning some well-deserved accolades on the way and yes, we are very proud of him. Aside from numerous nominations and prizes at work, his apex of success this year was a weekend in New York dining under the blue whale in the Museum of Natural History at the Prix Galien awards (apparently the event was not open to wives in leg casts, something to do with the floor being a bit slippery).

As a family, we have been lucky enough to be able to travel a fair bit too! I was able to show Garnet and the boy round one of my favourite cities – Vancouver – and we had some amazing hikes on the beautiful west coast of Canada. Maine too was stunning and unique and a relaxing way to spend a week with close friends. Lobster on four out of six nights was a treat. We also managed to go whale watching on both Pacific and Atlantic coasts and despite living 3 hours from the shoreline, I now know I want to be a professional whale-watcher!

On our way

On our way

We also had a number of short trips in the closer area (close being defined in US terms): whiskey testing, trailer pulling and hot-tubs in Luray; tennis and skiing in Virginia; sightseeing in NYC.

Although we didn’t make it back to the UK this summer, we have had plenty of visitors. I love having visitors – selfishly it is relaxing to spend quality time with them. Dad came over and we biked round DC with him, climbed halfway up the Statue of Liberty and spent a relaxing weekend fishing, chilling and exploring. My sister came and we made the most of the new reincarnation of our pool. The Saunders came and we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and hiked a teeny tiny part of the Appalachian Trail. We have also been lucky enough to have the Grannies here to look after the family while I have been totally incapacitated since September after an pretty comprehensive ankle operation.

Even though my tennis career came to a sudden end in September, Garnet and the boy’s have been great. Garnet made the finals in the 1st annual impromptu Dad’s doubles tournament and Sebastian played on his first team this summer. We even managed to see Andy Murray at the US open – a huge highlight!

The other good news is that even though he has had a number of perforated ear drums etc, the boy’s hearing is at 100 fold better than it should be. So now we need to teach him to pay attention – anyone cracked that with a 3rd grader / 8 year old? If you have, please let me know how – you could probably make a lot of friends with that kind of information.


We are back in the UK for Christmas, our first time in five years! We are looking forward to catching up with friends and spending time with family. Apologies to those of you who we won’t be able to see, we are only back for two weeks, doing our country dash, but we will be thinking of you all.


Have a very Happy Christmas / Festive Time this year – we are raising a glass to you all!

4 thoughts on “Happy Holidays!

  1. Mona

    Awww…what a great recap to the year, Emms! We miss you much—seeing Seb looking so fierce on the tennis court made me smile. Have a great time back home, two weeks will surely fly by.

    I hope that 2016 brings us the gift of a few days together. It has been too too long.
    Warmly, Mona

  2. John Monaghan

    Tried to comment earlier but the site went down.

    However, let’s try again.

    Great to hear from you and the better news about your and Seb’s health. Can’t really offer any advice about an 8-year old but rest assured things will not improve over the next 10 years!

    Good news about Garnet’s awards. He is obviously doing well.

    I’m a bit jealous about all your trips – we’ve only managed, Tuscany, St Louis – not recommended, Northumberland and Edinburgh.

    Have a great Christmas and New Year back in the UK.

    John and Margaret.


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