Family snapshots

1988 in Cambridge

Both kids loved reading from an early age.  We didn’t even have a television until Rebecca was 5! She says that helped her develop a love for books… though we had to do something about it when she was the only child in the school who didn’t know the Thunderbirds theme tune! Sam taught himself to read by the time he was 4.

We used to go up to the North Norfolk coast when we lived in Cambridge – from Hunstanton to Holkham Bay was our local seaside. It was a bit windy, but beautiful: we ate picnics out of the back of our old red Nissan Sunny. North Norfolk remains one of our favourite parts of the country.

In 1990 we moved to Surrey: Martin got a senior post at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton. We were in Reigate for 11 years altogether:it holds all those precious childhood memories.We were part of Redhill Christian Fellowship. I led the worship at this friends’ wedding, where one guest was heard to remark on the ‘cabaret’! Steve and Jo still have the photos of bride and groom with our 2 sweeties on display!

1993 in Scilly

From 1993-1995 we had our summer holidays in the Isles of Scilly on St Martin’s.  They were perfect weeks – yes, even when the rain and fog descended, you couldn’t see the next island and we had to take refuge in the conservatory!  They are idyllic islands with long white beaches – the children were just the right age for that and Martin could sail off the beach. Except Sam never wanted to walk…

1996: Monterey Bay, California

For the whole of 1996 we lived in Northern California! Martin won a Fulbright scholarship to do research at Stanford University, taking a sabbatical from the ICR.  I packed 12 suitcases and the whole family went to live in the Bay Area. I still don’t know how we did it, but it was wonderful and life-changing, especially for the kids  at 11 and 9. Sam loved all the Star Trek on TV, Independence Day came out (“see it before there are no more movie theaters!”) and he got his first Mac…

1999 in France

Back in Surrey in 1997 it felt like a Californian earthquake – we had moved one way and things at home had moved the other way. Having done the US, we decided to explore Europe. At a new stage of life with teenagers, we took them to France with Eurocamp – as you do!  We had 3 weeks for the price of 2 and drove miles: Atlantic coast, Dordogne, Loire chateaux, Futuroscope.

2001: Club Med!

A couple of years later, Martin thought we should try some sailing in the Mediterranean on a lovely hot Italian island. Shame about the huts we had to live in, noisy nightclubs and crazy cabarets! At least he won the sailing race – and he met Valentino, the famous stylist, but didn’t know who he was! Meanwhile we had left Surrey behind, Martin was promoted to Professor and we embraced a new beginning in the Midlands. Childhood days were over – no more school gates and meeting other parents. Becca did A Levels at Burleigh College while Sam crossed the road to Loughborough Grammar School (see Decade)

2002: Walt Disney World

Martin’s work travels have sometimes enabled us to take holidays together around his meetings: 2002 in Florida was a memorable one.  We had a limo to pick us up, stayed in a hotel at Disneyworld – you can see the Sleeping Beauty Castle behind us in this picture!  Sam still says the steak in that rooftop restaurant was the best he ever tasted. As we left Orlando we could see the Space Shuttle taking off from the airport lounge…

My 50th birthday party: July 2007

Past a certain age family holidays don’t work so well. Becca went to Brighton in 2004 to do her degree and has stayed there. Sam went to Rawlins College for his A Levels and then to London to do some drumming for a year. It was lovely when they both happened to be home in Loughborough on the evening of my 50th birthday party. We have come a long way together – grown taller, fatter, wiser, more like a family is meant to be – more like us.

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