Monday, December 16, 2013

Xmas letter 2013

Can’t believe but here we are again – another year and 2013 was a huge year of transition for us. We began in the UK but not for long as it was the start of our move back to Australia. It began “interestingly” when Nor (Stuey’s mum) broke her hip just after Xmas 2012. She had one dodgy hip before the accident, but Sods Law dictated that she broke the good one! So January involved a lot of miles seeing mum and helping her recover. Ah the UK motorway network in winter…..we wont miss it one bit!
Stuey fled the UK first in late Jan with Nicky following a few weeks later. She finished her work at Manchester Kids Hospital and since then has had a ‘portfolio career’ to coin the business school jargon. It’s the first time she has not had a sole significant job/title and she is adjusting well. She works two days a week in private paediatric practice in Melbourne City and Geelong, a regional centre about an hour away. After years of rejecting Stuey and the accountant’s suggestions to flee the public sector and go to the “dark side” of dentistry, she is really quite enjoying it. So are Stuey and the accountant! She does what she is best at – treating kids. Someone else looks after all the business “stuff”. Perfect! Another two days of her week have been in a research position at the MCRI, the research arm of the Royal Children’s Hospital. Towards the end of the year she landed the title Director of Cleft, so she has a posh title and all the associated hassle once more!

Stuey has had his busiest year ever as a muso. It all started with a three month contract with the Tasmanian Symphony, a big chunk of work with MSO (including playing to the film Lord of the Rings – The Twin Towers and the Orcs almost killed him) and lots of Orchestra Victoria work, including Prokofiev’s wonderfully quirky ballet Cinderella with the Australian Ballet and last but by no means least Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle. A little like Nicky’s writing style Wagner could be summed up with the phrase, “why use 10 words when 37 will do fine?!” It’s huge and challenging but wonderful.

Towards the end of the year our chamber group had a rebirth and a new name - The concert almost killed us both as there were lots notes for Stuey and Nicky had to do “rhythm”!
Nicky reached her half century this year. Only 50 more years until her letter from the Queen or more likely from a King. We celebrated with around 50 friends in the Great Northern Hotel in Carlton North. It’s a bit of a regular for us on Tuesday as its steak nite – the place is packed with punters chomping down great steaks for $15.
Albury and Wodonga are now officially frequent flyers. They returned to Oz and had to suffer they ignominy of quarantine for a month. Stuey had to do the “parental visits” as Nicky couldn’t bear to see them locked up in a concrete cell….which was actually fine, but way below they lifestyle they have become accustomed to ie the run of a massive Georgian terrace in Clifton. They now have passports and three microchips each – just don’t ask how much, it brings Stuey and the accountant close to tears.

The UK housing market was as flat as a tack when we left so we have not sold our wonderful house in Clifton. We have been lucky to have great tenants; first Scot and Lisa from Seattle and now Nicola and Michael. Our good friend Michelle has been in our ‘basement’ for the past 2 years but has recently moved out to live with the new love of her life! So we are now getting to know, Jack.  We plan to popping the house back on the market in March 2014 as there are encouraging rumours of green shoots appearing in the UK economy. Glory Be! We became nomads this year - by early March 2013 we had spent the night in over a dozen places across the globe. We are currently renting a town house in O’Shanassy Street, North Melbourne, our 2nd rental place in Melbourne this year! O’Shanassy St was going well until the entire ceiling fell onto the floor of the main bedroom in December. Luckily we were not in it at the time, but Nicky was confident she would have been OK, as it would have hit Stuart (and his belly) first!

Our beach house continues to be a mental health haven and even Albury and Wodonga have enjoyed a few weeks vacation down by the beach to help them in their transition. We have been engaged in some rennovations as the weather has seen the outside weatherboards deteriorate over the 10 years that we’ve own it. Nic has been busy pruning, mulching and planting in the garden – as always a great distraction to the business of life. We have also managed to take Kammermusik to Cape and relaunch Classical Cape, our regular chamber music concerts in the local village hall.

So now we send you all our love and good wishes for 2014 – we apologise if we have not been really good at staying in touch. People keep saying that they’ve not seen much of us recently – to which we respond ‘don’t worry we’ve not seem much of us either!’ We hope that 2014 will be alittle calmer and look forward to chatting and seeing as many of you as possible.

Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a safe, healthy and jolly 2014

Nicky and Stuey

1 comment:

Honora said...

Nice Christmas letter Stuey. I'm staying in this year to avoid any further mishaps! X Mum.