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Ian Gillis is fat, bearded, boring, balding and retired. He spent 35 years of his life working as a Systems Engineer for a company which started as Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company, Radar Division and which was GEC-Marconi Radar Systems when he took the golden parachute to early retirement. The present manifestation of this company is not the "Marconi" of "George Simpson Share Scandal" fame, but Alenia Marconi Systems, a joint venture between BAE SYSTEMS and Finmeccanica of Italy.
The last project he worked on was the "JORN" Over-The-Horizon Radar system for Australia; this enabled him to live in Melbourne with Christine and Peter for over five years.
He has recently moved to Wivenhoe, near Colchester in Essex as part of a “Grand Plan” to move to France. This Plan releases capital from the previous house, providing money to purchase a small pied ŕ terre in Essex and a larger crumbly stone cottage in France. Peter will live in the Wivenhoe house while attending college in Colchester. Fortunately the other five children for whom Ian and Christine became jointly and severally responsible are now (almost) grown-up and independent.
Most of Ian’s time in the UK is spent on golf, gardening, DIY or "playing with that computer", but he occasionally manages to escape on walking trips with the Marconi Old Geezers Society, or on expeditions in Britain or in Europe in an Elddis Aurora touring caravan, ably towed by "The Beast", a faithful Land Cruiser. This caravan proved to be exceptionally useful during the search for the French Dream House.
Christine Gillis is petite, beautiful and nicely spoken and would like to know when she can retire, too! As a single girl she spent some time in the Women's Royal Army Corps, including a posting to Singapore and a period at the MOD on the personal staff of the late Lord Louis Mountbatten. Now she manages to escape domestic drudgery by attending classes in Yoga, Line Dancing and Tai Chi and is a committee member of the local Farleigh Hospice support group and Women's Institute. She reads extensively, is a dedicated fan of Radio 4 and is becoming increasingly interested in the ability of satellite television to carry Radio 4 to France, together with her favourite TV soaps.
Peter Gillis is immersed in the first year of a Diploma in Fine Art at the Colchester Institute. For his beer money he works at Marks & Spencer in Colchester. In his spare time he hangs loose, chills out and looks forward to those parent-free periods when they are in France and he doesn't get nagged!