Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Message 2016

Apologies for a very late Christmas message, especially to those who have already received Christmas cards and come looking for a message that was not yet written. Life has been, if possible, even more hectic than ever this December.

We have had a very eventful year and many good times. The year started with Mari heavily pregnant but active and in good form, even toughing out 2 weeks on here own in January whilst I was in Adelaide, Australia undertaking an upgrade on Fiberpipes 2 Glassfibre pipe production lines (Fiberpipe is a licensee of Flowtite, with whom I have now worked for nearly 10 years).

After coming home from Australia and travelling to Germany for another cancelled Cross Country ski race we spent the winter holiday in Maris works chalet in the mountains above Rujkan. Mari is still working as a public health advisor for the county council. This would be our last holiday for a few years without a small baby/toddler so it was a good chance for Daddy to introduce the boys to Slalom. After so many hours on Cross country skis they took to it like ducks to water. Une, who is normally quite sensible and careful, showed no fear and quite a bit of talent. I was dismayed when he announced "that was fun, can we do it again" at the bottom of a 2.5km run, bits of which scared the daylights out of me, and then experienced one of the darkest moments of the year when he vanished into the distance on the second run and I found him at the bottom "looking at his watch".


Mari gave birth 17 days early on a Saturday and we were lucky that her mum was at her Chalet and could come at short notice to look after the boys. They had a great time and talked themselves into an extra large portion of honey on their sandwiches!! Kai Nevin came to the world Healthy and without complications.


I have become obsessed with growing chillies, of which I am very fond. From previous failures, I knew that I needed to do a little extra to ensure germination. I spent (just) a few hours developing and building a growing system with fully automated soil heating, grow lights and moisture measurement. This proved highly successful and Mari has (mostly) been very tolerant of chilli plants here there and everywhere. I have enjoyed many a fresh chilli including Bhut Jolokia which was the Guiness record holder for hottest in the world until 2011. This year I hope to grow Carolina reaper which is the current record holder, I have also plans for an automated heated "cold frame", although, with everything else that's going on, this may be a project for another year.

Mari's dad turned 90 in May this year and we all took a trip to the west coast of Norway to celebrate in Maris sisters newly extended and refurbished farm house on an Island near Bergen. We had a very good time and were lucky to experience good weather, which really doesn't happen often. It is such a beautiful place when the sun shines.

Our summer holiday started with a week in Finland celebrating our god daughter (and nieces) confirmation.


A little later it was on to Ireland for a few days in a country house hotel in Wicklow before travelling on to Cork for my younger sister Clare's wedding. We took advantage of having the whole family in one place and Kai was baptised in my parents and oldest sisters local church in west cork. After this we enjoyed a great week in together with most of the rest of our Family in self catering Cottages on the small west cork island of Inish Beg. We almost had this wonderful estate all to ourselves and really enjoyed ourselves. All in all a very memorable and enjoyable holiday, although I did become a little bit weary of packing everything a family of 5 with a small baby needs in and out of cars and aeroplanes!

Une is now 8 and in the 3rd class of primary school. He is doing well at school and really enjoys mathematics and reading, he is also now starting to get a hang of reading English, so much so that he follows when I am reading for him at bed time and complains if I miss out words or read words in the wrong order. We have been reading the whole of the Hiccup memoirs (How to train your dragon) and are now on the 11th book and finally getting close to finding out if Hiccup can save the day... I can highly recommend these books to parents out there!!

Liam, who is 5 is now in his final year of barnehage (kindergarten) and struggled for some time with being one of the oldest and not having older boys to look up to and hang out with. Right from the start he had his big brother to look after him, and has always been physical and enjoyed being with the older boys. It took him a while to feel comfortable and enjoy being the one the others looked up to and followed.

 Both boys have ended up with quite a handful of activities, and the first days of the week are a bit of a logistical challenge. Une has Baritone and Football on Mondays, Hip Hop dancing on Tuesdays, Piano and Swimming on Wednesdays. He is showing a fair talent on the Piano and at times it is difficult to get him away from it. He would probably be also competent on the Baritone if he had the motivation to practice! Liam also plays football and started hip hop this year. Having 2 boys in 2 different groups added to the already challenging logistics and meant that Kai had to be dragged out on Monday evenings so we were very grateful when Liam was allowed to join Unes group despite being 1 year too young. Their group made it to the final of the "dance off" and danced on stage in a venue in Tonsberg. The dancing school do a great job and it is really impressive to see what they achieve especially with the older groups. Both boys absolutely love it as well!!

Mari went back to work (50%) in the middle of November and I have started 50% leave. We will continue like this until May next year. Although we have applied for a place in barnehage starting in May, Kai will most likely start in August. We are not yet quite sure about how we will handle this gap, but it will most likely involve us using up most of our holidays and taking some unpaid leave.

Despite all the driving here there and everywhere and a new baby in the house, I have managed to take advantages of any "dead time" (while boys are at football and hip hop) and keep up my running. I havn't run any marathons this year, but improved my times on all other distances. We have purchased a sports buggy which I run with every time I am at home with Kai and he is ready for his sleep time. (we are now on 50/50 parental leave).

Work on the inside of the house is progressing, one of the reasons why the run up to Christmas has been extra busy and this post is so late. The first of the new rooms is almost ready and was used as a guest room for Maris sisters family who visited for the Christmas celebrations.

It's too late to wish you all a merry Christmas, but we hope you had you all had a good one and wish you all the best for 2017. Love and regards to all our friends out there around the world, Any, Mari, Une, Liam and Kai

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Kris-Kindle 2016

The demographic of KK is changing. The first of the third generation will soon pass the age of consent and more importantly for all the aunts and uncles, the age when he qualifies for Christmas and birthday presents. It's good to have one less to think about before any more turn up.

KK therefore has a new member, who cannot be defined as a couple. Therefore we are back to individuals. One can only assume that also those who were mad enough to marry into the Family are included (for the first time on their own 2 feet) and that long term partners who live under the same roof are also in for the first time on there own.

So, please correct me if I am wrong, but this years KK is made up of the following.

2 Grandparents.
5 Siblings
2 Husbands
2 Wives
1 Partner
1 Grand Child.

Probably just as well that we've kicked off a few weeks earlier than last year. There should be time for lots of fun and games as people give their cryptic or otherwise clues. The best news is that I already know what I want......

As ever some hints about what the other nieces and nephews would like are also highly appreciated.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Message 2015

The main theme of this year for us has been the work on the house. Construction work on the extension started early in February and continued for about 10 weeks. Then the builders returned after the summer holidays and made the external modifications to the south end of the house including new double glass doors and a patio/steps out to the garden. We have had an architect prepare a fully updated set of drawings that will transform the house inside and out. It's going to take a good few years to complete this work, and we'll be living in a half finished house for that time, but at least we now know exactly where we're going and so far we are super happy with the results.



We did a lot of the stripping and tidying ourselves and the periods when the builders where here were quite intense. There was a little bit too much "musical rooms" at times as we had to empty most of the rooms we were living in.

It's a lot less finished on the inside than the outside, we're doing most of the inside work ourselves so, as ever, we are not short of things to keep ourselves amused! I can at least say that it is insulated, so the house is no colder than it has been.

Une finished his 1st year of school and started 2nd class after the summer. He is doing well and enjoying school. He is also playing football and attending hip hop dancing. Just this evening he has been to a "dance off" where his group had made the finals in the category of best improvers!

Liam still has one more year after this at kindergarten, but all the same has been in the oldest group since the summer. He manages fine with the older kids and really has a good time and gets involved in all the activities.

We had a long weekend with Mormor (grandmother) in Beitestølen during easter and it was great to be able to get out for a couple of proper skiing trips with the boys. Une and Mari had a trip of well over 10km and we all had a 6 km trip back to the chalet from the top of the ski lift in absolutely fantastic conditions.


This summer we all visited "Uncle Stephen" in London and the boys enjoyed a trip to Legoland in
Windsor (as did their Dad and Uncle). After this we enjoyed a week in a Norwegian mountain chalet together with Grandma and Granddad (and Mormor for a couple of days).


We were very lucky to have a weekend away on our own for my mates wedding on the Wirral, thanks to good friends that were looking after Une and Liam from Sunday to Tuesday. This was the 2nd time in the last 7 years that we have had a night alone together, so three whole days in a different country was something very special. We had a great time!

I still have some travelling with my job and this year trips included South Africa, Argentina, Columbia and Saudi. Whilst there is an awful lot to do at home with the kids and the building work it is still exciting and a privilege to be able to see the world and experience different cultures. All being well there should be a trip to Adelaide early in the new year.

In addition to travelling with work I found time to travel to Sweden for the 90km Vasaloppet (cross country skiing race), which I completed in a little under 11 hours and to England for Bacchus Marathon which I just managed to cross the line under 4 hours (but only by 8 seconds!). In addition I also ran two Ultra Marathons, 52km and 50km. Next year it will be Konig Ludvik Lauf in the German Alps!

Mari is still with the Fylkeskommune (County Council) and a lot of her efforts have focused on a pilot public health survey for the inhabitants of Vestfold and 3 other counties. Mari has also been heavily involved in setting up a "beredskapsvakt" (civil response group) with Red Cross in the municipality.

We both turned 40 this year and enjoyed a great garden party with friends and family in August.

We took the hard decision to have Peggy put to sleep in February. She was a very old lady of around 14 years and we have very fond memories of our time with her.

Our 3 remaining Bengals now have free access to the garden via a cat flap and we now enjoy deliveries of dead mice at frequent intervals. Most likely it's Asia who is terrorising the rodent population, but we have yet to confirm this.

The final "little" bit of news is that Mari is expecting, and all being well, I will get even less done on the house from the end of March on. We've be for a few scans and everything looks good with the baby and the Mum. No, it's not two and we don't know if it is a girl or a boy"


So, here's wishing all our friends and family a Very Merry Christmas and All the best for 2016!!

All our love, Andy, Mari, Une and Liam.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Kris-Kindle 2015

So, definitely time to get this malarkey underway for another year. It's €100 per couple again this year and each couple can choose if they will have individual presents or 1 joint one.

Get posting, we've only got a few weeks before things need to be sent. Creativity and hilarity is desired.

The other thing that is desired is wishes for the smalls and clothes sizes if appropriate.

Monday, March 23, 2015

House Improvements #30. Taking shape.

As ever, I've fallen behind in my blogging. Now, however, as I look out of a 19th floor window over the beautiful Colombian city of Medellin high up in the Andes, I have a couple of hours to kill before bed so what better to do!

Things moved on quickly and by the end of the second week the roof construction was in place and the extension was really taking shape.

 
It was real thrill to come home from work each day and see the house dramatically changed from the day before.

 

In what will be the new office, we decided to have the room open all the way up to the roof joists. The original house does not have particularly high ceilings so we decided this was worth the extra effort and cost to add a feeling of "roominess". The office is well used, with all the bills to pay, e-mails to send and Mari working from home up to one day a week.

 
We were both surprised by the depth of the beam required to hold the weight of the roof (even though it is dimensioned for snow). Even after we've put in an air gap and 30cm of insulation this is going to be a great feature.


During the second week, the windows and balcony doors also arrived. We've organised all the materials ourselves and surprisingly enough had to ask to have these delayed and stored in the factory so we didn't have to store them for weeks ourselves.

 
We'd have to wait another 2 weeks before we saw these installed, but it was good to know they were here and would not delay the job.



.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

House Improvements #29. Main Construction Week 1

With the delays in the foundations, it was decided to start construction immediately in the new year instead of a week or 2 before the holiday. With the start of construction imminent I put in the order for the first load of materials. Primarily the 1 1/2" x 6" that would be used for the frame and some 2"x4" and 2"x6". 2 days later this was outside.

 
As agreed, construction on the frame of the extension started last week on Monday the 12th of January. We had a meeting with the builders on Monday morning early and as we set off to work, they set of to fetch all there equipment.

Arriving home on Monday and Tuesday was a slight disappointment with apparently very little visible progress (although they had fetched a lot of equipment on Monday and put down the bottom support on Tuesday and measured all the relative heights, so they had been working hard).

Coming home on Wednesday was a different story. Suddenly most of the wall frames for the ground floor were in place. I travelled to Germany on Thursday morning and when I came home on Saturday this is the site I saw.
 
 
Here's a view of the new "library" with it's large windows and high ceiling.
 


and here's the new entrance/porch.

Only issue this week was the telephone cable which did not survive a meeting with the chainsaw the used for removing the old cladding. This did not take long for me to fix and we had phone/internet again on Saturday evening.

With the frames of the first floor complete, week 2 was due to start with flooring for the 1st floor.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Summer Holiday Rota System (SHRS), a suggestion.


We discussed this briefly during the summer holiday in Cumbria and would like to go further on this idea, please discuss in the comments.
 
Why have a SHRS?

It will make it easier to reach a common decision each year, and it is good to be able to plan ahead. The Nicholls family is growing and communication about holiday plans can take a lot of time and effort.

What are the obligations?

It is great if as many as possible are able to join in on the common holiday, but it is entirely voluntary for an individual or a family. There should be a good reason for diverting from the rota one year, for example, somebody arranging a wedding with a desire for a common holiday in connection with this.

Specific responsibilities:

Those that live in a host country take the first initiative for arrangements that year. Those that do not live in neither Ireland, Finland or Norway are responsible for the “Other country” year (see below).

Here is the system:

It is based on the pattern since 2011 and we shall call it BISON.

B= Break year (2011)

I= Ireland (2012)

S= Finland (Soumi, since it makes a nice word!) (2013)

O= Other country (2014)

N= Norway

 

This means that it is Norway in 2015, and ahead the years will be like this:

2016 =B

2017= I

2018= S

2019= O

2020 = N

 

What now?

Comments and discussion please. Agree, Disagree, Don't know....

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmans Message 2014


So, another year has gone and this one has been no less hectic than all the others.

The year started with both boys still very happy in their last 6 months together in kindergarten. For the first time as a family we treated ourselves to a traditional "winter holiday" and rented a chalet for a week in Vierli up on Hardangervidda. We had a great time. We finally built the Lego Campervan that we had bought Easter 2013 during our visit to Legoland. We dug out a snow cave and made a snow castle and did lots of cross country skiing. Unes' skiing abilities came on with leaps and bounds and during the week he managed a trip of 9km which took him over the 50km total for the season he needed to be awarded "gull barneskimerke" (gold distance).

 
Not long after, Mari, who had a temporary 80% position at the National public health institute in Oslo landed a full time and permanent job as an advisor in epidemiology for the public Health group in Vestfold fylkeskommunen (Vestfold county council). This job is based in the nearby town of Tønsberg, a welcome end of four hours a day spent commuting. She is enjoying having the possibility to work on long term issues with the knowledge that she will be able to follow them all the way to the end.

During the summer, after a long drive through Europe, we enjoyed a fantastic 2 weeks in Cockermouth. Together with the rest of my now very extend family and Peggy, who enjoy returning home, we rented Woodhall.


This is a lovely country house and gardens which had space for all of us. During our time there we discovered all the fun things to do in Cumbria that we hadn't done during the years we lived there. Both children and parents had a fantastic time and one of the highlights was hanging off the side of Conister on the "via ferrata", while the rest of the Family visited the slate mine!



I continue my running and cycling and our trip to Cumbria coincided with the Lakeland Marathon in Coniston. Mari and I, together with 3 other members of the "family" ran the half distance and enjoyed a tough but spectacular outing in the fells.


Later in the year, I joined my younger brother Stephen and a couple of mates and ran the Bacchus marathon in Dorking in September. My time was an unimpressive 4:39, but in my defence I had my week old broken nose straighten 2 days before the race. Also, Bacchus is off road and not flat with a winning time over 3 hours.

 
Une, now 6, started school in September, and whilst the change from Kindergarten has been a challenge, he is loving learning and his reading is really starting to develop. Liam, 3, has not missed his big brother in kindergarten too much and really enjoys being one of the bigger boys. Une started swimming this autumn and continues to play football. Liam, has been doing Gymnastics, which he really loves.

As ever, the list of projects started this year is longer than the list of projects completed. one job that did get finshed was building Maris new bike, a foldable full size 26" mountain with a "Changebike" frame purchased from Taiwan. Mari folds it up and puts it in the boot of the car so that she can park outside the toll ring and cycle the last bit into work.


Another project, which has taken up a lot of time during the spring and the Autumn was changing the roof on the lowest part of the barn. It was a job that had to be done, but turned out to be even bigger than anticipated and the extent of the job and the scope was perhaps not fully understood and agreed, still the roof is now on and it's no longer leaking or liable to disappear in a gust of Wind.

 
Otherwise, as you can see in some other posts, we started work with an architect earlier in the year and are now underway with an extension and substantial internal changes on the house. It's going to be a process that takes a number of years, but we are looking forward to adding our own touch to the house.

We still have 3 of our Bengals, Asia, Anitra and Amazing. They are getting older but still healthy and highly active. Peggy is showing signs of her 13+ years and has had a few scares. Just now she is doing OK, but is quite deaf (although this is partially selectable).

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

House Improvements #28. Foundations, heating cables, windows and doors.

Around the beginning of October, a few men and a digger turned up and proceeded to remove part of the front of the house. Before they arrived, it looked like this.

 
And after a day, there was a small bit of the house and a large chunk of the garden missing!


I must say that, even though I prefer to do things myself, it is quite fun to come home each day and see that other people have been there and that the job has progressed. The new foundation walls went up quite quickly, but due to the contractor using his head instead of the drawings and our late decision to have heating cables in the external steps and entrance finishing the job took a bit longer than planned.


But here it is, foundations complete. The delays meant that the next part of the construction will not start until the week after new year. That's no real problem, we're not in that much of a rush and the window supplier has agreed to hold the windows until the are needed early in February. Good news, the barns already full without having to find space for 8 windows and 2 balcony doors!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kris-Kindle 2014.

As requested, and as ever not before time. Here's the 2014, ever more extended family Kris Kindle. It has been decided that, since BLS (or is that LBS!) and London Son are both co-habiting and having partners that are considered a part of the afore mentioned extended family, we will go back to couples. Same rules as ever, but this time it's €100 per couple.

Whilst a couple based KK may make the shopping easier, will it make the choosing of that one wants harder? I want titanium bike parts, but doubt that that's what we'll end up asking for...........

Get advertising and, in the spirit of KK, let's have plenty of laughs and if there are to be any competitions let's, not in the spirit of KK, have something other than music!!!!

Home improvements #27


After, a few years of 2 posts/year we've started a project that we feel is really worth recording for the future, and whilst Facebook is great for sharing photos and such, it's limited and not all have access. So, let's see if I can't manage keep updated on progress on "the blog"

I'll start with #27, because we've actually done loads in the house already, removed clay insulation in the basement roof and re-insulated, remove saw dust from the loft and re-insulated, a complete new electrical installation and fuse box (and all the walls still open after that process), the games room split into 2 bedrooms a new stove in the dining room and much, much more.

And so, onto more serious business, as the boys grow up, we have more and more missed a proper porch and a decent access to the garden to the south where the sun and the sand(pit) are (as well as the trampoline and kitchen garden).

To help us find a solution we found ourselves an architect, from the capital as it happens, not local!! Needless to say, what could have been a porch and a new door has turned into a 50 square meter extension and a set of drawings which leaves about 3 rooms in the house untouched. Here's a little taster.


Those of you who know our house, will see the change, this is just the outside, the inside changes are just as significant. As of today, foundations walls are complete, within a week or two, the front steps and internal floors will be concreted and construction will start. More later (perhaps!)....

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Christmas Message 2013

This years Christmas Message is early for once! December's going to be a busy month, starting with a trip to Saudi for me and then a couple of Days in Brussels for Mari, so our Christmas cards are written and we are trying to be a little ahead of the game.


The most significant happening of the year must be Maris' completion of her PhD, which she successfully defended in May. So I can now refer to her as Dr. Wife. Mari has now left the Veterinary University and is now working at the "Folkehelse Institut" (Institute of Public Health) in the department for Infectious disease epidemiology. This is a 6 month contract but there is a good chance that it will be extended. She has a 70% position and some possibility for home office so the commute to Oslo is manageable as well as fetching from Kindergarten most days.


No major changes for my work, still doing an acceptable amount of traveling, this year mainly Germany, Turkey and Poland. Next year I will most likely have a few trips to Saudi and a trip to Kazakhstan fairly early in the year, which will be, erm cold!

My efforts to keep myself fit now include cross country skiing races, something that I would never have dreamed of doing a couple of years back! My biggest achievement was completing Birkebeinerennet, a famous 54km race with well over 1000m accent over a mountain between Rena and Lillehammer. It was tough and I was very pleased to see the finish line after 5 Hours and 48 minutes. I have also started to run a lot more and as part of the Birken Triple I ran the Birkebeinerløpet half marathon (off road). I completed this with a badly twisted ankle, which meant that I could not run for about 4 month. Next year we are planning to run the Coniston Fell half marathon in July and the Bacchus Marathon in September. I am sure that my brother Stephen is really looking forward to joining me for these challenges!


The boys, Une, now 5, and Liam 2, are both growing and full of life. Liam is a real joker, something Mari claims comes from me..... Une can be a little more serious at times, but also great fun. He loves building Lego and can disappear to his room and work on a set for a long period. During last winter we attended skiing sessions which gave him a lot more confidence on skis. He has also been doing Jazz ballet, which has given him a real sense of rhythm, and started playing football, which, for the time being, is mostly an opportunity to be social and have a laugh with his friends! Liam is full of words and a real 2 year old, especially when he decides he can do something on his own!


Peggy is showing her age, she had a couple of age related episodes this year, but for now is still going fairly strong. Sadly, Vegas our oldest male Bengal, had to be put down before the summer. A combination of problems gave us a real issue to get any nutrition into him and he was wasting away.

We have done a fair bit on the house and the garden, including drainage around the basement which should help to dry it out. The majority of the electrics in the house are now changed, including a new fuse box, and we have come a long way with the insulation. In terms of aesthetics it may seem that we are going backwards, but we will get there in the end! So, lots of projects on the go for those of you who like working holidays!

Here's wishing you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2014!

Love,
Andy, Mari, Une and Liam


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kris-Kindle 2013

Here's the first of the blogs now traditional two yearly posts. The second, may or may not come before Christmas day, but it will come!

So, Kris-Kindle time. Same rules as ever, individuals buying for individuals, €50 maximum limit, anonymous givers, good hints required.

In addition Dr(formerly known as Mrs) VL, would like, ASAP, ideas for presents for the 8 or so Nieces and Nephews that we have presents to buy for.

Get posting, remember, cryptic and witty posts are appreciated (just as long as the answer becomes clear in good time). Next year, I'm going to start this blog post in July. I knew what I wanted then, but now I have forgotten!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Message 2012



2012 started with us sharing parental leave until the summer. After the summer holiday Liam started full time in Kindergarden. We were very lucky to get a place in the same kindergarden which Une is in. Liam settled in very well and it's been great for both of the boys to have each other. It's a real pleasure when you fetch them and they are sitting in the sand pit together or climbing on the big cushions in the gym room. For us, having both boys and full time careers proves to be a challenge and sometimes it feels that life is one constant struggle to get places on time whilst getting enough sleep to meet the next, equally hectic day. All in all though, life is good and we are really enjoying family life and watching our boys growing up.

Liam is a real live wire and unlike his big brother is not afraid to try and fail. He spent the summer trying and almost managing to walk and was toddling around by 11 months. Since then he's mastered climbing on whatever is available and really is high and low and all over the place. There's no resting when he's about but he's great fun and a real character. He seems more interested in mastering the physical challanges that life presents than mastering language but he is very clear with his nods and shakes of the heads and generally manages to indicate what he wants by pointing.

Une, on the other hand, really has mastered both languages and is now working on the (both) alphabets and simple maths. He's been going to "jazz ballet" and had a performance together with older children a few weeks back. He really enjoys this and will continue next year. He's also cycling on 2 wheels and completed  a couple of races, a challenge which he has really enjoyed.

Mari is nearing the end of her PhD. Her thesis is pretty much complete and she plans to hand this in during the first 2 weeks of the new year.  After that there is an approval process which takes about 6 weeks and then the final public hearing. Knowing Mari, I expect this will go fine. Then, there's the question of getting a job! Nothing in the pipe line just now but fingers crossed.

I'm still working at Flowtite and with our 45 production facilities around the world I am kept more than busy enough. There lots going on including a large upgrade project in Saudi and plenty of development work in many lands. I've been overseas a fair but mostly managable amount including time in Turkey, Qatar, Saudi, Germany and Poland. There will be more trips to Turkey and Saudi next year and plenty of possibilities to travel to other exciting places if it fits with everyday life. I'm still keeping as fit as I find time to and have competed in a number of events including my first ever cross country Ski race, 41km in just over 4 hours and the worlds largest mountain bike race the 94km Birkebeinrittet with 18,000 starters which I completed in 4h15mins. This year is even more ambitious including the 54km cross country Birken ski race and a (terrain) half marathon.

We've only had a few trips overseas as a family this year, but managed to have a great Easter Holiday in Finland with the Finnish gang and summer in Ireland for my Dad's 70th celebrations. A rare occassion when all of my parents 5 children and 10 grandchildren where in the same place at the same time.


Peggy is showing her age and is quite stiff in her back leg. For many years it seemed that she would be forever young, but time is now catching up with her. She's given us and the boys a lot of happiness and many great memories and she will be sadly missed the day that she is no longer with us.

The other half of the room we split in two is still half finished and the only real progress in there has been tidying enough so that we have space to hang clothes to dry! The fuse box still needs moving, only half the loft is fully insulated and as for the basement and the barn!!!!! We did manage to find time to fetch the other half of my 3rd tractor from Bergen and the David Brown restoration has made some progress in that it is now half painted! Too much to do, but that's the way I like it. Mari, on the other hand, has simply given up!!

Life is hectic but we still like to find time for visitors. So, if any of you want to come over then give us a shout!

Wishing you all a very merry christmas and all the best for 2013

Love Andy, Mari, Une and Liam.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kris Kindle 2012

It's that time of year again and time for the blogs annual spate of activity. Other social media (you'll find me on Facebook) and a lack of time have taken over for the time being but the Kris Kinlde tradition continues.

So, we haven't had our letters yet, but that doesn't stop us from posting. Kid sister requested this blog post and said that she is hoping for one of her cycling freak brothers to buy for her..... Hmm, what does she want then.

In other news, can parents please post what their kids want quite soon. Request from Mrs VL which I am sure is appreciated by all.

Now, remember that we like witty and cryptic posts....

Get posting.