Card 2002

The Hudsons’ 2002
Christmas Newsletter

The year in pictures
with Jennie, Andrew, Panang,
and our new addition, Redford.


Cooking up something special.

Please click on a photo for a larger picture.


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We spent most of the time watching our new puppy, Panang. Now three months old, she had to endure various inocculations and tribulations, but afterwards we celebrated by a trip to her favorite place -- Dog Beach. Read more about Panang.

Sadly Andrew’s grandmother Violet died on the 4th of January, she was 91. A farmer’s daughter from Oxford, she became famous for her local deliveries of milk, ability to knit Arran jumpers, and unmatched roast lamb dinners.

A note from Andrew about his business: I decided to "incorporate" my business this month. I had started PhotoSecrets Publishing five years and nine months ago -- in April 1996 -- and had been running it as a sole-proprietorship. While this was simple and easy in the beginning, having it part of my personal finances was becoming restrictive for credit, tax, and liability reasons. To give me room for future growth, I incorporated the business as a separate entity, a corporation called "Photo Tour Books, Inc." The new name reflects my increasing emphasis and plans for my Photo Tour series of books (coffee-table souvenir books), although I will still be producing the PhotoSecrets series (travel guides for photographers).
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photoAndrew’s band, the Koalas, entered their third year. They play every other month at the Comstock, a nearby bar, berating the locals with vague but loud renditions of classic rock ’n’ roll songs. In search of greater things, the band entered the studio (well, the guitarist’s school classroom with a four-track recorder) and laid down six new tracks for a demo CD.

Meanwhile, Jennie discovered gardening. After getting the wildly overgrown bushes cut back and the three 60-foot-high Ash trees trimmed, we planted flowers and flower seeds. We’ll see what happens.


This year’s holiday was to -- guess where -- England. Yes we continue a ten-year tradition. We headed first to Leamington Spa to celebrate the 90th birthday of Andrew’s Aunt Grace. She served in Egypt during the war and still fitted in her old uniform. Grace’s exploits were regaled in Uncle Bill’s poem, read by Auntie Ive; more tall tales were added by uncles Rich and Ken; and the large group was serenaded by the dulcet tones of Rebecca and Wendy.
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Auntie Grace and Jennie; Andrew’s mum Chris and Aunt Ivy; a grand room.

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Grace and Jay; Rebecca and Wendy; Grace in uniform.

After lunch in Oxford with Sue, John and the other half of Andrew’s family, we retired to Andrew’s mum’s house in Barnstaple. Then we headed down to Cornwall to see the fabulous place where Andrew’s brother Patrick works -- the Eden Project. We were astounded by Patrick’s new-found vast knowledge of plant-life, as we toured the tropical and desert landscapes inside the incredible conservatories or "biomes". While in Cornwall, we visited Gorran (where Patrick lives), neaby Mevagissey, Fowey, St. Mawes and the cottage where Andrew’s mum’s grandmother grew up in, as daugher of the ferryman at King Harry’s Ferry.

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The bench in Woolacombe remembering Andrew’s dad.

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Three domes of the Eden Project; Patrick and a cacao tree.

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Jennie and Chris brace the cold; at Chris’ grandmother’s cottage.


photoWe announced that Jennie was five months pregnant! It’s a boy and he’s due in August. At our second ultrasound we could see his profile, nose, arms and legs. Aah, he’s wonderful already. See the ultrasound scans.


Back in the garden, the flowers died. On closer inspection, we learned that they’d been eaten (alive!). Several evenings were spent rounding up and relocating the culprits -- 400 snails.

Of no use in this exercise was our wonderful dog, Panang. We took her (or perhaps she took us) to dog-training, where we learned the power of a loud clicking-device and many tiny bits of doggie treats.

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"A Photo Tour of Orange County", Andrew’s tenth book, was published. The book tested out a vertical format (rather than previous horizontal format) and more pages (112 instead of 72), and the photographs are more evocative and romantic. The entire book is now displayed online, take a look! Also formally released this month was a book that Andrew designed and is distributing: "Impressions of Bucks County", a beautiful collection of images photographed by Andrew’s hero and good friend, Bob Krist.
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Andrew’s two new books for 2002.


We celebrated our one-year anniversary as house owners. We started to "nest" in preparation for our new son, by starting our first home-improvement projects. Andrew built an island for the kitchen (below) and replaced all the light-switches, power-outlets and door-handles.

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The kitchen before (with a mock-up) and after.

Andrew bought a digital camera for the important task of photographing Panang at the beach and elsewhere. Two months before the big event, Jennie proudly showed her pregnancy.

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After several months of earnest practice, the Koalas played a milestone gig at the San Diego County Fair, the region’s largest fair. In front of a large crowd taking a break from the "Swifty Swine" pig races and the calf bottle feeding, the band played two hours of non-stop rock classics. Andrew got to use his new bass guitar and the Koalas were honored to play on the same day as Little Richard.

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The Koalas on stage at the San Diego County Fair.


We were visited by several friends, which is always nice (we have a spare bedroom by the way!). The Wilkinsons -- Fran (Andrew’s friend from Manchester University), John, Robert and Kate -- stopped by for a week, en-route from living in New Zealand to living in the Netherlands. The Tafts -- DeeDee (Jennie’s friend from her old PR job at Bailey/Gardiner), John and one-year-old Sarah -- popped down for a wedding. The Carringtons -- Martin (from the sailing club crowd) and Laura -- came house-hunting in our family-friendly neighborhood since Laura was pregnant.

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The Wilkinsons, Tafts, and Carringtons.

We met up with Jennie’s family -- sister Justine and parents Judy and Jerry -- to celebrate Jennie’s last month of pregnancy.

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Justine, Jennie, Judy and Jerry.

The radiowaves will never be safe again! On July 26, Andrew appeared on National Public Radio, interviewed by Diana Nyad on The Savvy Traveler. They were looking for someone to talk for five minutes about tips for travel photography, and came across the PhotoSecrets web site.

photoSays Andrew: It was fun. The producer called me on a Monday and ran over a few trial questions. On the Tuesday I went to NPR’s local affiliate station, KPBS, into their fabulous radio studios which looked like a scene from Frasier. Diana and I chatted for half an hour, linked via an ISDN line to her studio in L.A., and we taped a variety of questions and answers. Diana and her producer were very professional and friendly. The segment was edited and broadcast a few days later on Saturday. The producer liked my James Bond story and spliced in clips from The Man With The Golden Gun, which made it sound fun and exciting. Have a listen!


The big moment was finally here -- our baby was going to be born. We had the bag packed and waited anxiously. Due to the sad loss of Ruby last year, we visited the hospital often for monitoring. After seeing a slight "variable" (which might not have been anything significant), the doctors and us decided to err on the safe side and induce just before the due date. Jennie was put on an inducing drip and we spent about 30 hours in the hospital with Jennie in labor. It was well worth it as, on August 21, 2002 at 5:55pm, we welcomed into the world our wonderful son -- Redford.

Redford weighed in at a respectable 7 lbs 7oz (3.35Kg), measured 19-1/2 inches long (50cm), and had brown hair and blue eyes. He is, of course, an angel and we love him.

Unexpectedly we had to name him that day, so we chose two names that were the top of our list and called him Redford Fox Hudson. There’s no family-name (or movie) connection, it was a name we thought was distinctive, strong, masculine, fun and colorful. (Presumably that’s what we want him to become!) Read more about the name. We shorten his name to "Red". Grandma Van Meter, an elementary school teacher, has done unofficial polling among teacher friends and students and they like the nicknames "Reddy" or "Fox."

On the night of his birth, Redford experienced some breathing trouble so he was placed in the intensive care unit for a few days. This was a good thing for us since he was given additional care and we got a personal nurse to teach us about changing diapers (nappies) and other fun stuff. It was with great relief that we brought him home two days later, to be greeted by Jennie’s sister Justine, her parents Judy and Jerry, and our excited dog Panang. We were now, at last, a family.

This year, 2002: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec.
Previous years: 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996

Read next year’s letter, Christmas 2003

Last year’s letter (2001)

Back to the Christmas letter index.

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