A very Merry Christmas 2022

Are you sure it’s the beginning of December – I’m sure someone pressed the fast forward button on this year.

Claire graduated from the Royal Free 30 years ago. We both spent a weekend in London with a couple of Claires close friends from medical school. It was a weekend full of reminiscing and we visited manyof their old haunts where apparently it felt like they were only students yesterday. We also enjoyed the amazing play “Life of Pi”. Claire visited the big smoke again the following weekend, with her dad, to watch Plymouth Argyle play Chelsea in the FA cup. Many were betting on Plymouth being trampled by premiership opposition, but that was far from what happened. We took them to extra time but lost 2-1. It was a very long day, but great fun, and the other benefit was Claire had no voice for a week afterwards.

Sally, Claire’s cousin, visited from Australia in February and we were really fortunate to be able to have all the family together to see her for an evening.

We enjoyed a trip to our favourite holiday haunt, Corfu, in July. It was just the two of us from the Mildren household this year, but Claires parents and her brother, Toby, and his family, were also there. We helped Toby celebrate his 50th out there. Next year the whole Harnett clan are making the trip to celebrate Claire’s mum’s 80th.

Claire continues to enjoy her crafting and has produced several quilts, crocheted baby clothes and blankets this year. She meets with a group of fellow crafting doctors, on zoom, every Thursday. They are all members of a Facebook group” Pins and Needles”, and have been meeting weekly since the first COVID lockdown. They live all over the country, from the Scottish Highlands, to here in Devon.
Julian is an honorary member of the group and is known as “The Tea Fairy” as he kindly brings Claire a cup of tea each week during the meeting. The friendships made during these meetings are really close and much valued by Claire. In November nine of them met in Birmingham for the weekend and visited and much valued by Claire. In November nine of them met in Birmingham for the weekend and visited a big craft show at The NEC. The tea fairy came along too but went to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon and the Transport Museum at Coventry during the days. Of the 33 cars he has ever owned he was able to see 17 of them in the museum – he must be getting old !!

Work for Claire is much the same. She is very proud that her first GP trainee (registrar) finished training in November and has chosen to stay at the practice as a salaried GP colleague. There are many parts of the job that she enjoys, and many she doesn’t, but it is not all bad. She does however have a retirement countdown on her phone (2259 days to go !!)

Julian is never going to retire and carries on with his business. He is also still doing his radio show twice weekly, on Ferndale community radio. He was very proud this week to have played the stations most listened to track – 108,000 listeners heard him play “ I believe in Father Christmas “ by Greg Lake– not all at the same time as his show is replayed a couple of times during the week. However, the days of him going round the house and turning on every possible digital device to boost the listening figures by a few have definitely passed. Photography is mainly on his iPhone now as the listening figures by a few have definitely passed. Photography is mainly on his iPhone now as the camera is so good. Despite this, much to Claires dismay, the camera collection is still breeding and numbers well over 400.

Toyah Kory and Mason have stayed in their rented house 5 minutes away from us. Wednesday is our favourite day of the week and is still “Yaya and Grandad Day”, as we pick up Mason from school. Toyah now has a permanent contract working as a civilian in Devon and Cornwall police and is based at the police station over the road from us. She is a “resources manager” – which essentially means rota management, working out who has to be where and organising if overtime is needed.

Toyah oversaw the policing for the Space rocket launch in Cornwall. Kory works at the Luxury boatbuilder, Princess Yachts. Mason is thriving at school and has become madly keen on football. His choice of team is questionable (Manchester United), but he may be redeeming himself by developing an interest in Plymouth Argyle as well. Grandad is also enjoying corrupting him and teaching him a love of aeroplanes. Mason proudly says his favourite is the Avro Vulcan bomber. The two of them can often be found watching videos of planes in Julian’s office.

Britney has been with her boyfriend, Brad, since January this year. Brad was a “friend” who came to stay for a few days, and never left. He lives with us and works as a scaffolder. We also have Brad’s daughter, Mya, visiting every other weekend. She and Mason are best buddies and love seeing each other. We were in shock in June as B announced she was pregnant……………. with twins. Initially it was a triplet pregnancy, but they miscarried the third baby before their first scan. Shocked gradually turned into excitement for all of us. However, very sadly, we lost Jamie at 16 weeks gestation, and Luca at 17 weeks, in August. The whole experience was traumatic, but Brad and B have coped as well as they can. We had a lovely memorial service at home, led by our cousin Alison, a vicar. Since the pregnancy there have been some complications and B is still having blood tests and scans, hopefully the last one will be  next week. B has successfully completed her level 3 (amazingly taking an exam just 3 hours after miscarrying Jamie) and is now working as a  room supervisor at a different nursery.
We are full of admiration at the fact that she can handle a room full of 2-year-olds!!

Kane has also just finished his apprenticeship at a primary school. On his last day, last week, he came home with armfuls of cards and presents, from the teachers and children. Some of the comments made are a real tribute to him. He obviously has a real talent in the way he can build a relationship with, and inspire, children. We hope he has found his niche in life. His last girlfriend was in Wales – he still has not got the hang of making life easy for himself. His current girlfriend, Taryn, lives in Edinburgh. He moved away to live with her after finishing his job last week. The house is very quiet without him. Although he can be a real pain in the #### we do miss him lots.  He has found a job as a warehouse worker for Tesco and will look for a teaching assistant job in a school while up there.