Tuesday, 24 December 2013


We are trying to go even more paperless this Christmas and will be buying a goat for Uganda instead of cards and stamps.

We have had two new additions to the Abbott household this year
Jenny got a pony in May - Ben, a lovely 13.3 half Connemara aged 13. He is so good natured and willing. We had a few teething troubles, while the vet was lunging him, the head collar snapped & he galloped down the front drive with Annabelle & the vet sprinting after him - luckily he didn't go to the road and the they finally caught him in a field.
One night he jumped a 4 and a half foot gate, when Jenny went out to see him in the morning, he had vanished! We had a very stressful morning reporting it to the guards and searching. He was found by Annabelle's cousin, John, grazing happily in a huge field near the castle.
The third time he escaped he undid the head collar rope & galloped down the back drive, this time with Jenny & Annabelle in hot pursuit. Again all was well & he stopped before the road. Needless to say we now have a 5 foot electric fence & a new head collar! Jenny took Ben to riding camp which was a great success. She is looking forward to joining the pony club.

Edward now has a pet - a bearded dragon called Puff. He is really quite enchanting and Edward is great at looking after him. Puff eats fresh fruit & veg and live crickets and meal worms. We usually manage to get silent crickets but we have discovered if we keep them for a long time and feed them well they begin to chirp. As Puff is kept in the sun porch under our bedroom we had some very tropical early wake up calls in the summer!!

Annabelle had 6 months work in a Montessori school in Bandon, working one to one with a four year old with high functioning Aspergers. She found this very challenging yet rewarding as she could work with his psychologist to help him to function in a class situation. He became much happier and started at a main stream school in September. Annabelle is now back doing supply Montessori teaching and has had plenty of work this term.

Gary finished his maternity cover at Cognex and got another maternity contract at SouthWestern an outsourcing company and is working on the Newspread account. This is the distribution arm of the Irish Independant. It is much closer to home - only a 20 minute commute which is a refreshing change

Jenny got confirmed,
and it was made extra special as Gareth (her godfather) and Emma came over for the weekend.

Other big news is that Emma, Annabelle's sister is marrying Tim Cooper in April. They are still living in Uganda but are getting married on the beach in Mombasa, Kenya. It is just immediate family going. We are all so thrilled about the wedding & to be going to Africa again!

We had a wonderful trip to the uk in the summer - we were there for the wonderful weather & spent some idyllic days in Brecon with Gary's father, his godparents and sister & sister in law. The highlight was probably the day spent at the waterfalls in talybont, swimming and sliding in the river and having a barbecue.
We then spent a week on a friends canal boat in Newbury. It was perfect. We spent lots of afternoons at the outdoor pool at Northcroft hanging out with friends. Thank you to all of you who made that week so special with their hospitality, meals, moorings & wifi, and the boat-you know who you are.

We spent a lovely few days in Killarney, we thought we would explore Ireland as the summer was so glorious. It's only an hour away but the landscape is very different, spectacular mountains and lakes. There is so much to do and see there and we finished the trip with a visit to the aquarium in Dingle.

We invested in two kayaks in the summer and all had so much fun on them and they are beginning to pay for themselves with all the mackerel we caught.
We were given a very large tent and went to Ballilicky. We spent a night camping right by the sea with friends which was great fun. We ate freshly caught mackerel for supper and will defiantly be going back there next summer!

Gary had two trips to Brecon to see his family, one with Edward (we also went to see Red Kites being fed) and one with Jenny (we went on a climbing wall with Tina & Trace). Both were fantastic trips.

We have had a lovely year and it has been great to see some of you over here.
If you are coming to Ireland for a holiday we would love you to come see us - we have plenty of room.

Happy Christmas to everyone with lots of love from the Abbotts

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