~ From Sandie & Graham Coates - 21/12/2016 ~

 

We are off to Marbella in a 5 star hotel - Graham's idea.  We spent 2 1/2 months earlier this year travelling to South Pacific, S. America, The Keys and managed two cruises, one on a cruise ship, the other across the Atlantic on a container ship!  It was great and very different.  We visited Pitcairn and Easter Islands.  I have always wanted to visit Pitcairn and we met some very interesting people and chatted to Fletcher Christian's great grand children!

 

We are now living in Spain having sold our holiday home in Hastings.  All the legal stuff for residencia and swopping health systems is in hand so by next Spring we should be fully legal in spite of whatever Brexit does!  We weren't prepared to put our lives on hold at the whim of the politicians!

 

Graham and I provided the music for the Carol Service, it went very well.  Our first "gig" together and Graham's first since he was 17 years old in public with the Navy Band!  I played my accordian for an outdoor Carol singalong for the Church I attend, again, over 40 years since I did that....was I tired!

 

~ From John & Jackie Balcombe 20/12/2016 ~

 

It is very remiss of us not to reply sooner, but I have been busy as you know I sang in the Capestang choir there, well we have joined a choir here (Achoired Taste) about 150 strong, you can see our website, well we sang for the RNLI Carol Concert in Portsmouth Cathedral 4th December and I sang in a scratch choir of a theatrical group called ‘Curtain Up’ Productions for charity on the 2/3rd December, but all the while suffering that terrible cough which lasts a long time. We have joined the U3A which means University of the Third Age, they have lots of activities run by volunteers, we do table Tennis and John does Calligraphy and ‘Singing for Pleasure’ and we attend talks given by various people/organisations on interesting topics usually attended by more than 100 people in a nearby Catholic Church Hall. Life has been good to us no doubt with God’s help in getting over the pressures of moving and at that time the rising Euros to the Pound which seriously affected where we could afford to live in relation to our Children/and three Grandchildren but we are now happily settled in Waterlooville, Hampshire in a New Build. We moved there in March 2015 and were fortunate to acquire a house which was available to move directly in to. We have kept in touch with French news  through our friends and of course yourselves. It was sad to hear of Sally Shaw’s husband and our friend Peter Hodgson who helped us a great deal with French translations. Waterlooville and nearby Portsmouth have a great military heritage we sang in a scratch choir for the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo (Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ ) and we have visited the Portsmouth dockyard various times as we have a yearly pass. We have joined a church here at Cowplain the originators of the so called ‘Messy Church’ which encourages Mothers and Children to meet and be part of the Church Family. I have joined a two church men’s groups who have Men’s breakfasts with guest speakers and trips to France. Quiz nights are common here usually with ‘Fish and Chips’ included. So we enjoy our life and twilight years thanks to God. Health issues are forever present and Jackie has difficulty walking far and it will probably necessitate an operation to correct one of her feet as it is not in line with the  leg bone this means an operation and several weeks of re-cooperation she has to have special shoes. We were spoilt in France by the efficiency of the health service we had received . Still all the time we feel God’s presence has been there as an inspiration for us and kept our spirits high during low moments. Still I will close now as I feel I am rambling on. God Bless you all and thank you all for your company, memories, friendship and  joint worship over the many years we have known you, Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous  New Year to you all.

John and Jackie

P.S Do you know of anyone who wants to buy our Villa at Port Minervois as the children do not want it and we cannot see us using it, or can give us an estate agent’s contact information.

 

- A news update from Phil Hanks -

13/12/2016

 

Caring for Sally takes up a lot of my time as she likes me to be in the lounge with her during the day. She is making progress and only has one carer four times a day as she is getting stronger in getting out of bed using what is called a “rota stand”, which helps her to transfer from the bed to the commode and thence to the wheelchair.

She has been receiving regular physio and speech therapy here at home since she left hospital on September 9th, and that has speeded her recovery.

Today she has a mobile hairdresser calling to give her a shampoo, cut and blow dry and at lunchtime (13th December) I am taking her with our daughter Juliette to the local hotel here in Bromley where she used to meet up with 5/6 ladies on a Tuesday lunchtime. Today is their Christmas meal and her friends haven’t seen her for almost 9 months, so we are hoping for a happy occasion.

We will be spending Christmas Day here with Juliette and on Boxing Day Sally’s sister Julie is coming from St.Albans  and we shall have a meal at Juliette’s flat with our two grandsons, Jake, now 17 and Max,16.

Please pass on our love and blessings to all the members of ESCF and thank them for their love and prayers. Somewhere “up there” they are being heard.

 

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"Maryan and I will be very happy to use the “members” area in updating you on things over here. Currently our big issue is that just three days before we were due to exchange contracts for our move up to Cheshire, our buyers house sale fell through and the chain was broken!! So we are back also most to square one again. Urrrrgh!! Most annoyingly we could have come over to Pepieux in November after all as planned when I would have been leading the service on 20th November. As it is, it will now not be until March but at least we do have  5 weeks in the warmth of Australia and New Zealand in between and a 50th wedding anniversary in January so hopefully we can forget the traumas of trying to buy and sell houses for a while!"

 

- Anthony & Maryan Jenner, 06/12/2016

 

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Dear Everyone at ESCF,

 

A Very Happy Christmas Good Health and Happiness for 2017.

 

- Peter & Betty Willmer

08/12/2016

Santa Claus comes to Toronto’s Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club Children’s Christmas Party, December 4th, 2016.

 

Greetings to all ESCF members and Best Wishes for a Happy and Holy Christmas from Barry and Lynda Webster!

 

In late September I stop trimming my beard so that by the time the Christmas Season arrives I bear a reasonable resemblance to the mythical Santa Claus!

For about ten years the Rotary Club of Toronto Beach, of which I am a founding member, has held a “Santa at the Cottage” day, inviting folks to bring their children to meet the Grand Old Man, take photographs, and enjoy a hot chocolate drink. We do not charge admission, though we do invite visitors to bring canned foods for the local food bank.

(The “Cottage” is located in Toronto’s very own Kew Gardens and was built in the late 1800’s. From 1904 until 1985 it housed the City’s Head Gardener, but since then it had fallen into disrepair. Our Rotary Club raised the funds and materials to completely restore the Cottage in 2004/5.)

 As well as being Santa at the Cottage and at St. Aidan’s Anglican Church Christmas Day dinner for the lonely and homeless, I now also play the role at the Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club where we keep our boat. The fun part of this event is that Santa is picked up by a Police Patrol boat and brought into the Club’s harbour to the sound of the police siren! This delights the kids immensely!

The water level in Lake Ontario is quite low this year. Thankfully a couple of burly police officers were able to bodily lift Santa on to the dock!

Some 70 children attended the party, each having a turn sitting on Santa’s knee and receiving a wee gift (provided by their parents).

 

Santa’s youngest guest, aged 3 months. The boat just managed to clear the bar at the harbour entrance.

 

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"Since arriving back from France, we have been settling into retirement "proper"! However, it seems to me we are busier than ever. We have had a couple of trips to Scotland & England to catch up with our 2 daughters.

 

Roger has being doing some supply preaching which has been good for him and also has had to conduct a few funeral services - not so good!

 

We are enjoying being in our new permanent home in Portballintrae on the beautiful north Antrim coast. We have been worshipping at Bushmills Presbyterian Church - a stone's throw from the famous distillery!

 

We are looking forward to Christmas with our family. We hope to back in France towards the end of March for 4 weeks or so - although Roger might take a quick trip out in February to check up on things in Argens.

 

We wish you & the members of ESCF a very happy Christmas and a healthy & peaceful 2017 - and look forward to joining you all in worship again."

 

 - Doreen & Roger Purce, 07/12/2016

 

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Wishing all our friends from ESCF

       A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

- Ron & Viv Palmer -

 

Dear Friends,

Ron and I would just like to say how we felt blessed and encourage by your supported these last ten months knowing you were praying for Ron and grateful for your support and good wishes it gave us the strength we needed to carry on and also knowing we had so many people at the end of the phone that I could talk to giving me the encouragement to cope through the first very difficult months. Your prayers gave us the comfort we needed through the awful news we had been given that not only had Ron got a brain tumour but the operation to remove most of it had caused a stroke.

I manage to attend church every Sunday at first although I made sure I was the last in sitting at the back - I felt much stronger after. The words –“Footprints in the Sand” always came to me.

 

To read more about Ron's progress, click here.

 

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