Christmas letter 2021

We’d almost forgotten that January 2021 started in Tier 5 lockdown restrictions.

Thank goodness that it’s been possible to stay in touch by Facetime and Zoom and go for walks with friends this year. Thank goodness for the vaccines too.

January 2021 Katharine built and launched a new website and started freelancing again. Mark used Zoom again for rehearsals for the Gresham’s choirs, St Andrew’s Church Choir and, Fakenham Choral Society. Sadly, the Holt Community Choir didn’t sing again until September 2021.

February 2021 Holt St Andrew launched a YouTube channel to live-stream church services. The channel was launched with Mark’s first recital of the year which clocked up over 223 views. From Sunday 7 February, services were live-streamed every Sunday and that has continued. Lockdown afforded Katharine the chance to sing solos at Sunday services until the Church Choir resumed singing on Palm Sunday. Mark has performed four series of organ recitals at Holt St Andrew in 2021. For some reason, seeing oneself performing on YouTube has strangely lost its excitement.

Katharine secured several new clients in 2021, mostly working on website updates and website development for St Francis Leprosy Guild, Hox Therapeutics (private), Nuformix plc and, Holt St Andrew. She also wrote her new blog expressing her views on many subjects. Georgie and Katharine also worked together for several clients combining their creative skills which continues to be satisfying and fun. Katharine has also worked with some favourite former colleagues and freelancers.

Throughout the year we’ve enjoyed miles of walks in Sheringham Park and along the coastal path (sometimes on our own) during the lockdown and it always delights.

And we’ve enjoyed some hilarious walks with Anne and Russell Starkie, most recently at Blickling Hall. .

Walk with Anne and Russell Starkie

April 2021 Before the lockdown restrictions were all lifted, Katharine met up with TLMEW Furlough Group of Elizabeth Allen, Marie Arnachellum, and Alisia O’Sullivan at Ferry Meadows Cafe in Nene Park. AND we could get our hair cut for the first time in months!!

May 2021 Then we managed to see some friends, including the fabulous Joanna Markbreiter and Colin Peterson at their wedding on 7 May in Battersea.

Gresham’s Celebration of Music And slowly the world started to change; this was the first live concert that took place at Gresham’s this year in the outdoor Theatre in the Woods on 27 May.

June 2021 Katharine visited the village of Shotesham (and their old family home Dukeshead, where she spent her childhood) for Joan Oldfield’s funeral, to see Caroline’s grave and to see Lotte Cardoe. (Fingers crossed, Katharine will meet up with her old school friend, Lotte’s daughter, Katrine Cardoe who has lived in Australia for nearly 40 years.)

In June we started monthly Evensongs at Hindringham church with various members of the Thomson family (James, Charlotte and Jimmy) and some of Mark’s colleagues. In June, my great friend, Penny Carmichael’s mother, Toni died, which was very sad. On a happier, we celebrated Dick Girling’s 75th birthday a year later than planned.

July 2021 At last Georgie and Katharine were able to visit Caroline’s cousins, Annie and Chris Hitch, in Saxmundham. Mark played for and Katharine sang duets at two OG weddings (Monteverdi’s Pur ti miro with Alice Carey for Melanie Lintott and Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu with Joanna M who was staying that weekend with Colin P). Finally, the Holt Festival returned, more or less intact, with Mark running the fringe events at Holt St Andrew.

Katharine as Cupid

July 2021 Despite being postponed several times, North Norfolk Chamber Opera’s performance of Orpheus in the Underworld finally went ahead as a concert at Cley and Upper Sheringham churches (Katharine as Cupid and Mark as Musical Director)

Pier at Weston-Super-mare

August 2021 Georgie and Katharine visited their cousins, Jeremy, Marion and, Veronica Woolf, in Brinsea Barns, Somerset and en route, visited old school friend Ann Ramsbottom in Goring-on-Thames. (Jeremy and Marion visited us all in Norfolk at the end of October.) Mark played for Susie Self at her first live concert for a while in Blakeney Church. G, K and M all had lunch at the Swan in Ingham with dear family friend, Sue Hitchcock.

Also a treat this year, was to see Robert and Helen White in London which coincided with a visit to say goodbye to Joanna M and Colin P, leaving for Nigeria.

August 2021 We enjoyed a delightful picnic in Blakeney Harbour with the wonderful Tim and Clare Bennett.

August 2021 At the end of August, Solal del Castillo, whom we met in Geneva, came to stay. We sang Pergolesi’s Stabat Martyr to a rapturous reaction at Church!

September 2021 In September, NNCO chose Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea as its next Opera. It will be performed next May in English. Mark is Musical Director alongside former Gresham’s colleague, Paul Hands as Director. Katharine is performing the role of Nero (the Emperor of Rome and Poppea’s lover).

After several postponements, we finally met at Tim and Katie Ambler’s beautiful house for a wonderful soirée singing Tom Lehrer songs.

In September we joyfully commemorated the life of Logie Bruce Lockhart at Gresham’s Chapel, followed by a visit to the wonderful new Dyson STEAM building.

September 2021 In September, Mark took part in the Round Norfolk Relay – the first time for two years. Mark’s long-term friend and colleague, Lynne Roberts, was his valiant cycling minder during the race.

Archbishop John Wilson – chief concelebrant at the service

September and October 2021 We attended John Bradburne’s Centenary celebration at the Church of the Holy Name in Manchester on 25 September. JB was an OG and warden at the famous Mutemwa leprosy colony in Zimbabwe supported. A month later, we celebrated the 125th anniversary mass of the foundation of St Francis Leprosy Guild at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark.

October 2021 In October, we celebrated Mark’s birthday, enjoyed House Music, live at Gresham’s and the next day, left for a wonderful (and long overdue) holiday in Dubrovnik. We stayed at a lovely hotel at Lapad Bay and visited Old Town where Game of Thrones was filmed.

November 2021 We manage a flying visit to visit to Cambridge to hear Sam Aldersey-Williams sing at King’s College Chapel.

November 2021 Singing the Faure Requiem Mass for All Souls at Holt St Andrew was as uplifting as ever and also Gresham’s concert of the same at Binham Priory, both conducted by Mark. The Remembrance service in Holt was very moving as ever and Advent came early this year, on 28 November with a heavenly service at Holt St Andrew. Rather less so, was the spectacle that was switching on Holt Lights!

Binham Priory

December 2021 Then Christmas arrived. Some Christmas services and concerts were postponed or cancelled due to the Covid-19 Omicron (including a performance of The Messiah at Holt St Andrew with the wonderful Elle Oldfield and Jacob Harrison, the Iceni Choir singing at Wiverton too). Others, the Iceni choir singing at Binham Priory, The Messiah at Gresham’s (and a myriad of other Gresham’s Christmas carol services), Fakenham Choral Society’s Christmas Concert, and all the usual services at Holt St Andrew all went ahead. Katharine also passed her Grade 6 singing with 87%.

Now for the New Year and all that it brings. We are sadly not celebrating with Hil and Rob Markland in Worcester as planned due to Katharine’s hideous cold, but here’s to a wonderful 2022 regardless.

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