Richard Kirk

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Christmas 2008


Merry Christmas from Vicki and Richard!

Since Vicki and I are so bad at keeping in touch with everyone, we have decided to take a leaf out of the book of many other people and create a Christmas letter to review what we have done over the last year. Being the computer-nerd that I am, I decided that we should do this in e-format rather than actually printing off letters, and so we have created this page. At least this way we can include lots of photographs showing what we have been up to and help to save the environment by not printing out many letters! If you are looking at a printout of this that someone has done for you then get with the times people :-P

Here goes then...

Start the year running

This year has been a big running year for both of us. This was particularly the case from January to April when Vicki was training for the London marathon. This involved quite a few different training races ranging from 10k through thick mud to 16 miles around Kingston/Hampton Court. Vicki did extremely well in the marathon beating the personal best that she set a year earlier and raising over £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in the process.

For more details of Vicki's marathon effort you can visit her website: http://www.victoriagwilliam.co.uk.

Vicki after her marathon
Vicki and Rich running a half marathon

1 mile in to the "Run to the Beat" London half marathon and we are already soaked!

After being inspired by Vicki's efforts in the marathon, I have also taken up running. This year I ran over 200 miles including completing the London "Run to the Beat" half marathon with Vicki. Unfortunately the running has tailed off a bit in the past 2 months, due the hectic Christmas build-up. However we are both signed up for another half marathon in Reading in March.

Thanks to everyone who came to support us at these races. Vickiís parents (Pat & Den) braved the weather for the London marathon and my parents (Joanna & Phil), my brother (John) and his girlfriend (Lauren) endured equally wet and horrible conditions for the half marathon.

Busy at work

Both Vicki and I have been very busy at work this year. I have been battling the financial crisis and turbulent market conditions, still in my role in technology at the bank. I am pleased to say that I haven't lost my job yet although a lot of people around me, including some very good friends, have been made redundant. It is a hard time to work through and has been very stressful. I am just thankful that I now have some time off to relax and will hopefully return to work re-energised in the New Year.

Vicki started her new job in accountancy in September. She is now splitting her time between professional exams and gaining experience shadowing colleagues in the office. In the new year she will have her first visits to clients who hopefully will be based in central London but could well be further afield - hopefully not too far though!

Holidays

In March I once again went skiing with a group of friends from work. This year 10 of us spent a week in Les Arcs in the South of France. I really enjoyed the trip and feel my skiing is getting pretty good now - at least I came back without any injuries which is a start! I will be giving skiing a miss next year as we are hoping to take other holidays together instead.

Our first foreign holiday together this year was to Alghero in Sardinia. The town was very attractive with a lot of different restaurants and bars to enjoy. The highlight that stands out in our minds was a boat trip that we took for a day that went around some of the coves near Alghero. The Andrea Jensen was a delightful boat and the hosts were exceptional. The dolphins that chased under the boat as we sailed particularly impressed Vicki.

Vicki in Sardinia   Richard in Sardinia

In August we spent 5 days in Dorset with my parents, my uncles Martin and John, and John and Lauren. We stayed in a beautiful little cottage in the picturesque village of Corfe Castle. We enjoyed visiting the coast, National trust properties and cycling around the area. Thanks again to my mum for organising this.

In early September, to avoid the traditional Summer crowds, Vicki and I spent 11 days in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria. Whilst in Hungary we spent time in Budapest and around Lake Balaton. We visited some of my friends from work, sampled some of the local spirits and made the most of the beautiful weather by relaxing in the outdoor spas. From Hungary we travelled up the Danube by boat and spent a day seeing the sights of Slovakia's capital Bratislava. Although picturesque we found there wasn't a lot to do here and were glad we only spent 1 day. The final stop on our tour was Vienna. We had a lovely time exploring the city and admiring the buildings, and would love to go back again!

There were some initial problems on this holiday, when we arrived at the airport we grabbed a bag and headed straight for the train into the city. Half way to Budapest, as we reflected on how smoothly our trip was going, we realised we had actually picked up someone else bag. A quick trip back to the airport fixed that one though and we definitely won't be making that mistake again.

Relaxing in Tihany, Hungary Richard in Vienna
Chain Bridge in Budapest Prater wheel in Vienna

Renovations

This year, after renovating the outside of the house with the new patio last year, we concentrated on the interior, and in particular the living room. We now have a lovely laminate floor, laid impressively in about 10 hours! If you need some flooring done we can hire out our services at reasonable rates :o)

Our new floor.

Christmas time

Our Christmas tree.

We have been in full swing of celebrating the Christmas season over the last few weeks. Both of us have had numerous work events to celebrate with colleagues as well as spending what is probably a bit too much time in various pubs around London. One of the highlights of December has been the party that we hosted in mid-December. It was a great night with lots of friends attending. If you came, thank you again for making it a very enjoyable evening!

Vicki and I will be visiting our parents separately over Christmas however we are getting back together for New Year in Rome. We are very excited about the trip, Vicki especially as she has never been before. Look out for photos of our trip appearing in 2009.

Hope you are all well. Wishing you all the best for Christmas and the New Year.


Richard and Vicki

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