Dear family and friends,
A lot has changed in the past year – we had said we would be home by now but instead we have spent the last few months getting ourselves organised to welcome our first child into the world. For those of you that have been living under a rock since September, the baby is due on the 9th of April – and yes it will be a pom.
Since finding out that we were pregnant, we have had several appointments with the mid-wife and the usual two scans at 12 and 20 weeks. It was really amazing to have the scans and be able to see our little baby growing. It was also special to discover the good news about being pregnant while we were back in Australia so we could tell our family in person. We plan to convert the second bedroom into the nursery and have been madly shopping on the weekends to get everything we need. It’s actually been quite surprising how quickly it has all come together, but we’re sure there will be an endless supply of little odds and ends to get as the time gets near.
But back to where we left off last year. We had Katharine and Steve come over for last Christmas and had a wonderful time with them. It snowed on and off for their whole trip and the white Christmas made Richard very jealous. As soon as Janet finished school, we went to Helsinki for a long weekend. We were typical tourists including visiting the zoo, with a handful of other crazy Aussies, in the freezing temperatures. Once back in England we went to the pantomime and spent the evening being the biggest kids in the theatre. We also enjoyed the magical experience of outdoor ice-skating with the beautiful backdrop of Somerset House. We had our (now annual) Christmas tree party which was a great opportunity for Katharine and Steve to meet our friends. Other than that, we spent most of our time eating and playing Wii.
In early February, Fran decided at the last minute to come and visit us. We thoroughly enjoyed showing Fran our “English life”, but the highlight would have to be meeting up with Toby and Dave in London to see Wicked. Even though it was only a short visit we loved being able to introduce Fran to our friends over here and share this part of our life with her.
As usual we’ve taken advantage of the great variety of shows on in London this year, getting to see Love Never Dies (sequel to Phantom of the Opera), Legally Blonde, Sister Act and the classical spectacular at Royal Albert Hall. Seeing a show at Royal Albert Hall was an English experience we have always wanted to do and Janet also ticked off the Ascot Races when she went with the ladies from school. She saw lots of men in tails suits, Martina Hingis and even the Queen. However Janet’s favourite English experience of the year was definitely when her and Melissa (friend from school) went to Wimbledon straight after school one day. They watched Andy Murray on the big screen from Henman Hill and then got centre court tickets to watch women’s doubles. To top off the experience, they had strawberries and cream. It was a dream come true for Janet.
In March Adrian’s Mum and Aunty Linda dropped in as part of their European tour. We have started to perfect the local tour and had loads of fun showing them around. We did the mandatory walk through the fields and farmland and explored a few pubs for lunch. Later on in the year we were also delighted to see Paul Hemmings for a couple of days and spend some time with him.
The end of the school year for Janet was busier than normal as she decided to get her Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This is normally part of a post-graduate course and takes a year to complete but Janet being a Dalzell decided to do it in just 6 weeks. With a few stressful moments and a lot of hard work she passed her final assessment with flying colours and is now officially a British teacher. Once this was over, Janet enjoyed her first school trip to Normandy with the year 7’s. This school year Janet has changed roles and is currently teaching half a time table of maths and filling the rest in as a substitute teacher within the school and doing maths admin work.
Adrian’s job has been pretty routine all year, but he has decided to make a change in the new year and will be moving on from Ephox where he’s worked for the past 8 years to go and work for a finance company in London next year. The role is fairly similar, doing software development, but in a completely new area of technology and dealing with a lot of financial stuff he doesn’t yet understand. He’s really looking forward to the opportunity to pick up new skills and take on the new challenges.
Our big holiday for the year was a trip home to Australia in July so we could see our family and friends back there. Janet headed down to Leeton to visit her Nan and southern family, while Adrian headed north to visit his family in Far North Queensland. Going back home is a strange feeling, on the one hand we seem to slot back into our old lives but at the same time it’s surprising how much has changed while we’re away – especially in Brisbane with all the development works going on. Time with family is never long enough but we managed to fit in lots of dinners with family and friends and spent some quality time with our beautiful Goddaughter Sarina who is growing up far too quickly.
After Australia, we had a short turn around in the UK and then headed off to Russia for a river cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg. We were the youngest on the cruise by quite some way but made friends with a group of Australians who we got to know very well. It was fascinating to learn about the Russian way of life and especially to see their side of the cold war and even more so of WWII as it’s so easy to forget that they were actually on our side. The country is covered in amazing cathedrals with the traditional onion domes and the Tsar’s palaces were absolutely breath taking.
We tried to round out our summer travels with a road trip through Wales, but only got part way into it before the car had other plans. It was only a minor problem but we couldn’t get parts for two days because it was a bank holiday weekend. As a result we got to experience a Welsh tow truck driver’s humour for 6 hours as we were towed back home. He seemed to know pretty much everyone we went past, flashing his lights and waving happily. The favourite Welsh joke when driving to England seems to be to ask if you’ve got your passport and we must have heard it about 10 times. All that and all that was needed was a £10 part that Adrian fitted himself.
For those that haven’t discovered it already, we’ve been keeping a blog of our adventures at www.thesuttons.name. You can enter your email address there as well and you’ll get an email whenever we post something new. It’s been a great way to help us keep in touch and share our stories and photos with everyone back at home.
We hope this letter finds you in good health and that the New Year brings peace, joy and happiness.
Adrian and Janet (and bubs)