January 2011 News

2011 Saint Jean Calendar

 Family News :  Update Dec 2010

John has surprised everyone and taken the first step towards retirement! After 7 years with ITER, he has just finished his last week there. However his association with ITER will continue since he will join the Fusion coordination team in the European Commission in Brussels where he starts on Jan 3rd. His original intention was to retire, but his employers in the EC suggested that he would be useful as an advisor on ITER and fusion. Hopefully the pace will be a bit slower and he can take time to relax!

He has plenty of unused leave stockpiled, and the Commission will let us take 2 months off in Feb-March to visit family and friends in Australia and to see if Aus is an option for retirement in about 2 years time.

Good friends are renting our house, which makes our move to Brussels possible as they will also look after our 2 cats. We will keep on the studio (pigsty) in the garden, so will be able to come down south at any time. John will no doubt be sent here for meetings at ITER.

Jenny is intending to continue organising the Quatuor Saint Jean from Brussels, and to return when possible for wedding jobs, or when the weather really gets her down! She is also quite looking forward to a couple of years with no garden ruling her life, and time to explore a new area.

Rog & Cat moved from London to Bristol this year, and have bought their first house. They are learning at first hand the art of DIY. Roger continues to get regular BBC production work, and together they have set up a new internet store featuring products of young designers: www.howkapow.com

Martin & Molly were married in July (see below). More wedding photos:  http://picasaweb.google.com They have been living in Brisbane since 2009 where Martin has a Postdoc position in the Sensory Neurobiology Research Group at the University of Queensland. He is still enjoying collecting and studying his colony of mantis shrimps. Molly continues working for KPMG. They have bought a flat close to the centre of town in a complex with swimming pool and barbecue area. 

2010:We had decided not to have a trip to Australia this year, as we had had a wonderful holiday in the Caribbean in 2009. However Jennyís sister was married in Perth in January, so exceptions were made! Gill has refound Charly, an old flame from 26 years ago! He was still living in Munich, where she first met him, teaching and playing guitar. Jenny flew to Perth alone for the wedding as John couldn't manage to take more time off. It was such a happy event and Martin & Molly managed to zip over for a few days too. Gill and Charly moved to Munich mid-Jan for him to finish the academic year. They then packed everything up and are now back in Perth, incredibly happy!

Gill & her children Seb & Lotte

Martin, Jenny & Seb

Gill & Charly

Martin & Molly were married in July in Exeter where Mollyís parents live. Organising everything from afar was a challenge, but they did a superb job, even providing perfect weather for the occasion. We drove over with the car loaded down with all the wine etc and a great time was had by all!

With Molly's sister Grace, brother Clem,
parents Meg & Richard, and Cat & Rog

This year we rented a small holiday flat down on a naturist beach at Leucate (not far from the Spanish border). We managed to get down there at least once a month and found it very relaxing to look out on the sea - even if John did often bring work with him! Unfortunately we have had to give it up with the changes coming up next year.

After a very busy summer we had 5 days in Porto at the end of September. John attended a conference and Jenny explored the city. It was nice to have more time there as it was all a rush in 2009.

The year is ending with a big family Christmas at Le Petit Saint Jean. Both boys and wives, and Molly's family are coming so we are looking forward to lots of good cheer! After that it will be full steam ahead organising the house for the big move next year!

2009 was a year of celebrations. Rog & Cat were married in June at the Guildhall in Bath, followed by a wonderful reception at Priston Mill. Cat came down with mumps just a few days before, but was determined not to let that interfere with plans. However she was rather ill afterwards. Luckily she had a second chance, as they then had a celebration in Porto in July. Catís Mum is Portuguese and has a large family there. After the church ceremony they put on a wonderful party at the family home.  

UK wedding photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toxrowlang/sets/72157619915458786/show

Porto - Rog & Cat with parents and Cat's two sisters as bridesmaids

We had more celebrations in France in September for Johnís 60th birthday. We held an open-house pizza party for all Johnís colleagues from ITER and about 200 people came! Two professional pizzaiolos made about 200 pizzas during the day and there was plenty of rosť to wash them down! A week later, just to make sure, we had another party for 40 family and friends.

In November we had a wonderfully relaxing 2 week holiday in the British Virgin Islands with Janet (Johnís cousin/step-sister!) & Hugh. We spent a few days exploring Antigua and then flew to Tortola for a weekís sailing on Endless Summer II. It must be one of the best holidays yet. The weather was perfect, the rain only falling at night! We anchored in a different spot every day and enjoyed snorkelling in the warm, clear water to see the huge variety of fish, coral, etc.

Jenny, John & Janet - Tortola

Endless Summer II

View from Summer Heights, Tortola


After the wedding I flew to Sydney to catch up with school friends and family, finishing up with a week in Brisbane with Martin & Molly and Molly's sister Grace, also visiting from the UK. They took me out for some wonderful trips - Stradbroke Island, Lamington National Park, and a visit to Toowoomba on a family history pilgrimage. In the 1860s my great-grandparents emigrated from Germany to settle here and my grandfather was born in Toowoomba in 1882.
Coming back to "sunny" Provence at the end of January was a shock to the system: 33į in Brisbane and -10į in the morning here!!

Martin, Molly & Grace - Stradbroke Island

Martin & Jenny - Picnic Pt, Toowoomba

2008 was a difficult year with the deaths of both our Mums. Joan, Johnís mother died suddenly and very unexpectedly in May, just after Estelle was diagnosed with lung cancer. Jenny went to Perth to help Gill look after her at home where she died peacefully in October. Jenny stayed on to help sort out her affairs, then John came over in December and all three had a 3 week holiday north of Perth, flying to Exmouth and driving back slowly to see the wonderful reefs, beaches, etc.


Last update: 07-12-2011