The People

The Locals

Our local area is very rural and populated mainly by people of an age where they are vulnerable to the CoVID-19 virus. Fortunately everyone has taken the sanitary precautions very seriously, so we haven't seen much of them and they haven't seen much of us, which is a great pity.
There have been no village social functions for the whole of 2020, so we have remained mostly in our "bubble" of two.

Our Family

The first major event of 2020 was son Simon's 50th Birthday, fortunately before the CoVID shutters came down. We made a rapid weekend visit to congratulate the poor old chap at his surprise party, which had been deftly organised by his wife Sara. It was a lovely but all-too-brief celebration — but turned out to be our only trip during the whole year.

Early in February my granddaughter Aerie, daughter of Susanne, gave birth to Harley Bea Charlotte Fleet, thus making me a proud great-grandfather! According to our family tree I'm the first great-grandparent for many generations - my great-grandfather Thomas Gillis lived to the age of 84 but died in 1934, 5 years before I was born.

Talking of Susanne, we had a lovely surprise at the end of November - a visit from her and my beautiful granddaughter Sarene (Rene). Susanne had driven from England to Portugal in her camper van to help a friend in distress, and called in on the way back. I hadn't seen Susanne since before we left the UK almost eighteen years ago and I'd never met Rene, so it was quite an emotional experience. We stayed outside on the terrace and "socially distanced" when I wanted to hug, so it was a strange visit. But I really admire my daughter for successfully completing such a demanding trip!

2020 - Some Family Pics

Simon"s 50th Birthday Party! Harley - Ian's new great-granddaughter
Christine with silly birthday glasses! Hairy Ian after the first lockdown
Christine's granddaughters Millie & Olivia Susanne in 2020!


In 2019 Christine made a grand total of three Official Granny Visits to the UK - in 2020 it was a big, fat zero. She really misses hugs with her granddaughters Millie and Olivia (Livvie).

Croquet is hardly a close-contact sport, but all meetings were cancelled :-(

On the greater family front, Tim (57) lives with with Catherine ("Kitty") in South Benfleet; Kitty got touched by CoVID but thankfully survived.

Marianne (56) was last heard of in Hove, Brighton but has since moved elsewhere - her son Cantlin (33) is a software designer and can be discovered here

Susanne (see above) is nearly 55, lives in Leiston, Suffolk, and has four children; Thor (33) and Aerie (31) who have left home and Aster (16) and Sarene (nearly 13), not forgetting her new granddaughter Harley. AFAIK her husband Sarrif still works with Huawei as a network designer.

Christine's eldest son John (53) still lives with Hilary in Mitcham and his son Ryan (25) is living and working in Derby.

Simon (nearly 51), Sara and daughters Millie (14) and Olivia (nearly 13) live in Essex, Simon is a Sales Executive at a car dealership.

Our Peter (nearly 37) still lives in Berlin with his Spanish partner Karen, and is a software developer for "Aroundhome".

My expat "support & social" group La Vie en France (on Facebook) and (on Groups IO) continue to thrive; I enjoy the management and technical aspects and there are occasional get-togethers, but it can take up a great deal of time.

In addition I run groups for The Engineers of South-West France, The Engineers of South-West France (on Facebook), The Valentine Golf Society, The Marconi Old Geezers' Society and a village blog for Sainte-Colombe-de-Villeneuve and Sainte-Colombe-de-Villeneuve (on Facebook).

  

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