This fast approaching Christmas of 2012 has really got me pondering: When you’re not looking where do a full twelve months just disappear to? Sorry, I’ll rephrase that for the Grammar-guerrillas out there – To where do a full twelve months disappear while you look away? Still doesn’t sound too good. Perhaps… Whence goeth a thorough twelve months wheretofore thou peerest not hither?
Anyhoo, my point being, it just seems like we were enjoying Christmas 2011, we slept and blinked a little and here we are at Christmas 2012. Is this a sign of that dreaded middle-agedness catching us up? Or maybe time is really moving faster in the 21st Century? Whatever the case we’ve skipped straight from last year’s Gazette to this year’s without my having written a blogging jot or a tittle in between. Not that I was exactly regular (so to speak) before of course, it’s just that so much has happened this year in the Le Tocq household that you would have thought Old Father Time would have maybe even chosen to slow down a tad and enjoy the view a little. Instead we’ve had a roller-coaster of a year, ups and downs both of a positive kind, where one might say, to twist the usual analogy somewhat, that the downs were certainly as exhilarating as the ups were hard work, but most certainly there were few dull horizontal planes to coast along — the pace was a constant fast and furious!
Firstly this was most assuredly the Year of the Wedding… (of Lucy & Luke, I mean, Judith & I were spliced a good 26 years ago, fear not!) Let me hunt out a photo or two… or more… (since we have a few)
Whilst the said act of wedlock was not held until September, it’s not an inappropriate place to start our year, for it seemed at some points like the whole of the preceding 8 months were simply about preparing for this grand event. In fact, it was I think rather therapeutic for me to hunt out those photos above since now that it’s all done and dusted I was perhaps subliminally in danger of thinking I’d just dreamt it had all happened and that we might have to start again for real this coming January! [It did happen Jon, the wedding took place, she is married, it all went smoothly, now take your tablets and continue…]
And so Mrs. Luke Vidamour she now is of course. Luke and Lucy have established themselves in a lovely 18C cottage in the distant parish of St Martin’s (a good 20 minutes south from Cobo if you drive slowly). Of course The Event was held on a lovely day — the bright shining sun, helpful friends, gifted minstrels, 11C church and 21C marquee all turned up and out very nicely indeed, which considering we did not have a real Plan B (it’s all right I can tell you now) was just as well to be honest!
Seriously we are so very grateful to hordes of family, friends and various other threatened passers-by before, during and after (yes, especially after!) the event as it certainly would not have been the rip roaring success it was without you. In fact it would have been a dozen of us sharing a pork pie in the church yard to be frank. Judith, our bank manager and I are supremely thankful. With a few hundred packed into St Sampson’s Church for the ceremony, a reception in a marquee for 150 at the old medieval Castel Fair Field (you can still see where the cattle were tied up for market, very apt) followed by an evening bash for double that number, all catered for in-house, so to speak, you can imagine that tensions may have been raised a little in the run up! But an army of church folk and friends made it a beautiful day to remember – weekend in fact, as we especially enjoyed catching up with family and friends from around the world the next day at a Feugré Villa BBQ.
The glamorous Grace graduated in and from London this summer, and managed to fit in a couple of Prom performances before quitting the Big Smoke, including singing Beethoven’s 9th with Daniel Barenboim conducting (don’t feel like you need to be impressed, her Dad was and that’s all that really matters!) Here’s a BBC screen capture to prove it –
Grace also managed to scoop up a super job back in Guernsey working for Alter Domus — an upcoming AIFM (Alternative Investment Fund Manager to you and me). She continues to sing in the National Youth Choir, Guernsey choirs, church bands and the shower, and formed part of the jazz entertainment at her elder sister’s Wedding Evening Do, along with her father.
Our baby, Emily (also known as Em, Ems, Emsy, The Hair, etc.) reached an incredible 18 years of age this year. It seems like only yesterday she looked like this –
That coming of age was not quite so frightening as her passing her driving test (for her parents at least). Fortunately as expected the glamour soon wore off as she was required not only to drive the little Fiat, but also, shock, horror, fill it with fuel occasionally. In her final year at Grammar VI Form Centre now she’s a happy bunny having just received a pretty much firm offer from Bournemouth for next year. Similar to her eldest sister, she’s heading in the Photography-Arty-Designy direction.
In terms of cars, agas and other sagas, not a lot to report… oh except we’ve added a little Peugeot 107 to the mix — as Judith’s personal car of choice — she loves its nippiness, its ability to easily negotiate the little lanes without having to mount the curb (a Guernsey habit) and most of all the fact that it fits so easily into the free, 10 hr long ‘small car parking spaces’ in St Peter Port. Meanwhile Jon still likes the fact that anyone who gets in the way or even threatens to argue with him and his Volvo(s) while he’s seeking a refuelling station (every 30 minutes) simply gets flattened. The simple options are sometimes best.
Apart from that, this year has been perhaps rather uneventful. Let’s think what else I can pad this out with… umm… better consult the wife.
[Judith] Oh well, I suppose there was the incidental accident of Jonathan getting elected as a member of our parliament, the States of Guernsey, and now serving as Deputy Chief Minister. But of course that has not affected our lives in the slightest.
[Jon continues] Ah yes, how could we forget! In April Guernsey went to the polls in a General Election to elect a new 47 member Assembly and after a 4 year break (I previously served from 2000-08) a suitably sized seat (XL with XXL head room) was vacated for me. It’s been strange, having decided not to stand for office in 2008, to see how our politics has changed in those 4 years; especially given the portfolio I have been given, a large chunk of which is “external relations”, how much we as the Bailiwick of Guernsey (and indeed the Channel Islands as a whole) have to plough our own furrow internationally now (perhaps plot our own course is a better analogy for islands!) I am enjoying the ride so far, and the plotting too… There are huge challenges facing the whole of Europe, but personally my biggest challenge, and the one I love the most, is to seek to be Christ to people in this often Christ-less rudderless domain. Both Judith and I see this as part of our calling and have already begun to make good friends at home and abroad; we look forward to whatever else this new path brings. One of the things I am less happy about is being referred to as Guernsey’s equivalent to Nick Clegg. Say no more.
Judith continues to nurse part time at the Guernsey Medical Specialist Group and has done various courses in strange therapies this year, including wound care and bandaging. This has entailed members of the family volunteering (even if they were seemingly asleep at the time) to be mummified in various ways as preparation for passing tests and exams. Not a pleasant experience I can assure you, although, Emily said she rather liked the sensation of her leg being bandaged. Jon played the man as usual… moaning and groaning about it. Judith has promised to unbandage it for the New Year.
Our involvement with Church on the Rock continues, but in increasingly different ways than in the past. We are still part of the senior leadership team but this year has been so exciting and fulfilling to see others, especially younger twentysomething leaders taking up roles and responsibilities, and new teams emerging coordinated and managed by Paul Chesworth who since September 2011 has been on staff as Executive Pastor. Paul and his lovely wife Liz are such a blessing to us and bring a resilience to the team which is enabling us to be more released to other things internationally.
It is a pleasure to continue to be involved with Newfrontiers, and more specifically now with Dave Holden’s nascent New Ground team as we seek to break new ground internationally and influence many arenas especially in Europe.
And finally, talking of travel, we have enjoyed a few trips, excursions, short breaks and for Jon political visits to various familiar and unfamiliar climes, including, early on, a visit to a freezing Dinan in Brittany followed by a fun time at CenterParcs in Normandy with our great friends the Hayters; Nîmes, Avignon & Montpelier to visit dear friends who lead churches and Christian mission in the south of France; Herm (to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – well, someone’s got to); Paris in the spring; Tenerife for a few nights early summer; Portugal for a short break just the two of us to recuperate post-nuptially; Bournemouth (Ems & her Dad) to check out the Uni and be hosted by our fab friends the Thompsons; Turkey with others from the New Ground team for an international Christian convention; Amsterdam & The Hague a few weeks ago to speak at leadership and church gatherings, as well Edinburgh, Stirling, Dublin and Brussels for political stuff… not to forget Alderney & Jersey – several times for all sorts of reasons. I’m not sure why folk think we get around a lot! Our possessions sometimes stay for a little longer – Jon’s toilet bag is now returned grâce à nos ami Nîmois after deciding to stay in the Med a little longer, and Judith’s purse and Peugeot keys loved Istanbul so much they stayed there a whole two months extra to see the sights we missed in our 48 hours passing through!
That’s plenty enough for this year’s Gazette [says Judith] all that remains is for us to wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This Guernsey Gazette is published as ever with our love, and our prayers are that you also know the love of God and the peace only Jesus, the prince of the very same, can bring. May grace abound to you in 2013!
Now, for the first time we sign off as…