Christmas Letter 2016

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Christmas Greetings 2016

and our very best wishes for 2017, from Rosemary & Nick

First of all, we hope that you are well and that 2016 has had more ups than downs for you. We've had an interesting year and are going to share telling the news:

Nick writes: You may remember that we were expecting sad news in respect of both Rosemary’s Mum and our elderly rough collie, Archie. Well, sorry to say we did lose Archie in mid-February. Rosemary’s Mum Monica, however, is still with us. She has remained all year in the nursing home in Littlehampton where everything is done for her and she is well looked after, so, although her medical prognosis remains the same, she is soldiering on gamely!

The other major event of the year for me was having a total hip replacement at the beginning of November. I was suffering from arthritis in the left hip for some years, but after losing Archie we tried to be more active and take longer walks and that seemed to make the arthritis much worse for some reason! Anyway after a referral to the consultant in the summer, I was lucky enough to have the operation on the NHS but in a local private hospital: very fortunate. It is 6 weeks since the operation as we write this and the recovery is going according to plan, although it will take a few more weeks before walking normally and for any distance is on the cards.

Rosemary has had a quiet year work wise, but that has suited us well. She continued to publish blogs and videos on the web which are slowly but surely picking up followers for her food and whisky matching, and her Whisky Women club in Chichester has continued to be very popular.

In addition, Rosemary achieved the distinction of becoming a sexagenarian (for those of you who don’t know that means she attained the age of 21,915 days) and celebrated with a very happy gathering at Tuppenny Barn, a local organic growing and education project which she has supported for a number of years.

Rosemary writes: So many of our friends are in the same circumstances as we are with elderly parents and it is draining. The value of being able to get together and chat about it is immense, whether physically or remotely by the wonders of modern communications. We have enjoyed lovely visits from our German family this year, including one or two days when we managed to get Mum to the seafront for coffee. Once again the Shack came into its own for holidays and our beach often seems to be one of the few empty spaces left in Sussex! 

Our future...

 Stenness Loch on Orkney Mainland

Stenness Loch on Orkney Mainland

Nick writes: People are either alarmed or excited at the way the world has changed over the past year. None of us thought a year ago, that we would be leaving the EU and have Donald Trump where he is today, with all the influence he now wields over our future. However, for us, even before all these events unfolded, we were making plans for an adventure. With the prospect of being free of ties here in Sussex, and bearing in mind Rosemary’s interest in writing about whisky, we decided that the adventure we are looking for is a move to Scotland - and more specifically to Orkney. We have been there on holiday several times now, and really love it: both for the landscape and the vibrant and friendly community spirit. On our last visit in October, we deliberately used it as a practice run for living there full time and narrowed down the areas on Mainland Orkney where we would most like to settle. The current plan is to put our house on the market in early March 2017 and take it from there. Our first choice would be to buy a plot and build our own house, but if the perfect house came on the market at the right time, that is also an option. So, who knows where will be a year from now? If we sell the cottage quickly, we can always live at our shack by the beach from March to December, but much will depend on how Monica is at the time. 

 The Ring of Brodgar

The Ring of Brodgar

Rosemary writes: After 34 years at our lovely Cottage no doubt it will be an enormous wrench to leave but we are both ready to move on and start afresh. Yes, Orkney is 700 miles away but we do so love it there and, in many ways, Mum is surprised that we didn't actually make a move years ago - maybe age has given us the courage? She knows all about it and, in all honesty, I doubt that she will still be with us by the time we sell. Our plans are definitely helping with the present. January will be a busy month as we sort through 34 years of stuff - why not pop in and help!

 Rackwick Bay on the island of Hoy

Rackwick Bay on the island of Hoy



High on the wish list for our new home is better guest bedrooms and we shall be so happy to see you if you wish to discover what has drawn us north, apart from the Northern Lights; the birds and wildlife; two distilleries and breweries; fabulous salmon, beef, mutton and shellfish; Opera House live transmissions which are easier to get into than here; fabulous music of all genres etc etc - and the views. Do come and see for yourselves. I am relishing the thought of a polytunnel and creating a new garden. People talk a lot about the long dark winters but we will have about 22 hours of daylight in the summer!

Who knows how long The Old Cottage will take to sell but we hope the next owners will love it as much as we have. We are so looking forward to the next chapter of our lives and know that we will still be sharing it with you.

With our love and best wishes

Rosemary & Nick xx