Dear Friends and Family,
Pete and I thought we would start the tradition of writing a Christmas letter to keep you up to date with what’s been happening in our lives over the past year. As you can see the letter is already a bit late.
As we look back on the year that has past, we are thankful for God’s many blessings and His amazing grace.
The year started with the purchase of our new home in Weltevreden Park. It is wonderful to have place of our own and something we can invest our time, energy and money into. The first hurdle of owning our new home was to get the pool blue. The house had been standing empty for three months and the pool had become a breeding ground for mozzies and goodness knows what else. Pete took on the challenge and over the next month or so he managed to get the pool looking beautiful and blue which is impressive for a guy who didn’t know the first thing about pool maintenance. The other challenge has been the garden. Having never owned a garden before, it has been quite a shock to see how fast things grow (especially the weeds) when the drought broke in Joburg and the rains eventually started. We have spent many a weekend since mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. However, watching things grow, planting new plants and caring for God’s creation has also been a joy more particularly for Kathy.
In February, we found out Mom (Trish Solomon) was pronounced cancer free. This was wonderful news after a year of chemo and radiation treatment. We are so please to see her bouncing back after a very tough year. It’s our prayer that she will continue to get stronger and be around for many years to come.
The sad news on the Solomon side was saying goodbye to Otto, Kristy and Jesse who decided to immigrate to New Zealand. Otto left in April and Kristy and Jesse followed in July. We were very sad to see them go.
Sad news was counteracted by good news with Helen and Gary announcing their engagement early in the year so plans got underway to go to England for the wedding in July. The wedding was a festive occasion. It was lovely to meet Gary’s family and catch up with many of Helen’s friends who had made the great trek to England.
The week prior to the wedding we had a family holiday in an old manor house (Roache Hall) in the Peak district. For those Jane Austen fans, a visit to Chatsworth House (Pemberley) was a must. Over the top opulence is the best way to describe the house. However the gardens were spectacular. Our manor house didn’t quite live up to the likes of Chatsworth but slept 30 people comfortably and had everything we needed for a wonderful family bonding time.
After the wedding, Pete and I left the rest of the family and made our way down from Manchester to Kent. One of our first stops was Stratford upon Avon where we spent two nights in this very quaint and beautiful town – the perfect spot to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Unfortunately the history of the place didn’t rub off on Pete as no sonnets were composed or read during our celebratory dinner of fish and chips.
Kent is the place of the Solomon’s earliest recorded ancestors. They were farmers
in Shorne. We visited the local the church where Joseph Solomon and some of his family are buried. Although it may seem a little morbid to be visiting grave sites while on holiday, it was fascinating to delve into the history of where we came from.
The trip also afforded us the opportunity to meet up with some friends and family which was fantastic. It was lovely to see you all. Let’s hope it’s not too long before we meet again.
Other sad news this year was the passing of Granny Seals at the age of 98. She had been senile for a while but suddenly got sick in the middle of June. She died peacefully in her sleep just before the family left for England.
On the work front, Pete started a year contract with Multichoice in October 2015 and enjoyed learning different skills and working alongside people of different cultures. At the end of his year there, he decided to move to a smaller start-up company called SovTech, where he’s now wetting his feet in different areas of software development. Kathy celebrated her 10th year at Cornerstone and continues to grow in her position there.
It was lovely to catch up with the extended Solomon family and friends at their annual Christmas party on the 18th December. The weekend visit was all too sweet and short. We will definitely need to prioritise more visits to PMB in 2017.
We hosted our very first Christmas Eve dinner at our new home this year and celebrated with Mom & Dad Seals, Janet, David, Ethan and Stephen Dodd. A great time was had by all.
We would like to wish you all a very happy 2017. May the coming year bring you all much joy.
With lots of love,
Peter and Kathy