The Russell Christmas Letter 2017

We hope that you have had a really good year and that the coming year will be a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous one for you and your loved ones!

Jasper visited Vienna for the first time last Christmas when he was just four months old, and he will be visiting us again for Christmas this year. We have seen him many times during the year in person and on Skype. It has been exciting to watch him grow and develop. Like Emily and Rebecca before him, Jasper was already walking at 10 months old and, like all babies, he is always getting up to something unexpected and we've had a lot of laughs about his antics.

Zoe's first Christmas, too!

Jasper under the tree

Jasper in the kitchen

Jasper in the park

Jasper and a cracker

Emily and Jasper

Jasper trying on new shoes

Jasper in a box

Marian had been looking into the possibility of beekeeping for some time and last year came across a website for wild bees (pollinators that don't produce honey). Keeping wild bees requires virtually no maintenance, and she found out that the wild bee organization would provide a wild bee hotel for our garden in 2017. It was delivered with a little box of bee larvae near the end of March. The bees emerge soon after they are delivered and are active until about the end of June when they naturally die. During their active time, they collect pollen from blossoms and flowers in the vicinity and put larvae into the holes of the hotel. When the holes are filled, the bees cover the holes with mud. In September, all of the people who have bee hotels in their gardens take the filled hotels back to the wild bee center where the larvae are harvested and the hotels are cleaned and prepared for the next year.

New wild bee hotel with larvae in white box

Deconstructing the hotel

Bee hotel layer

Harvested larvae
Marian travelled to Florida in June to visit her daughter Margaret and family. It was a very enjoyable visit that included a trip to Sweet Pete's in Jacksonville and a big birthday party at home with a large group of Samantha's friends celebrating her seventh birthday. Marian got to see Tiffany playing basketball and Samantha doing gymnastics.

Tiffany and Samantha

Margaret, Tiffany, and Samantha

Margaret, Tiffany, Samantha, and Chris





Rebecca graduated with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design, achieving a First Class degree from Staffordshire University.

First Class Degree

Rebecca's Graduation Day

Daniel and Rebecca

Caps in the air

John was very much involved in a major event in Vienna - EuroHash 2017. He processed all the registrations and payments for around 800 Hashers from all over the world, but mainly in Europe and the US. This lasted from late 2015 until July 2017. Eventually we had the event on a weekend in July. John and Marian spent a week at a registration desk in the main venue (which was in an old bread factory - Ankerbrot). This was exhausting but great fun dealing with all the questions.

John, registering Hashers

Enjoying a beer after the run

The founders of the Hash in Vienna

In July, John finally got a new car - a Range Rover Evoque - to replace the Volvo that was written off last December. Zoe grew quite a lot during the year and is probably almost fully grown now, although she is part Maine Coon and might grow a bit more. We've enjoyed her cat craziness very much.

John's new car!

Zoe two months old

Zoe five months old

Zoe seven months old

Zoe 13 months old

Jasper and Emily came to visit for three weeks in September. During their visit, we spent a weekend in Sopron, Hungary, sightseeing and running with the Hash House Harriers. Marian and Emily, with Jasper in tow, took a tour of the Harrer Chocolate Factory which included tasting many different types of chocolate. We got an early snow at the end of November that stayed on the ground for more than a week. It was very pretty. We hope it will snow again when Emily is here, since she really loves snow.

World traveller

Sleepy Jasper & John

Chocolate factory in Sopron

First snow, 30 November

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Copyright 2017 John Russell, last updated 21 December 2017, Number of hits =