Welcome to 2009

Sincerely wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

In our family the winter months are more than top-heavy with celebrations. Starting with one son’s birthday on 14th December, we move on to Christmas, which is then followed by our wedding anniversary on the 30th, New Year’s Eve, another son’s birthday today (1st January), daughter’s birthday on 9th January, and then a get-your-breath back gap before the next son’s birthday on 23rd February. So whilst most people are beginning to relax, we are still buying and wrapping presents. Today’s gifts were all wrapped in newspaper at the special request of our eco-friendly son, who had also asked for second-hand presents, if at all possible!

The fact that two of the birthdays fall at Christmas time made it comparatively easy for us to ensure that our sons were born in the United Kingdom. Strange to think that in those days, although Greece was part of the European Union, British nationality could not be guaranteed to a child born outside the United Kingdom. In 1980, when our third child was expected, the only way to make sure of British nationality for a child of dual nationality parentage was for that child to be born on British soil. Since we already had two children who were born whilst we were living in the UK, it seemed only right to do the same by number three, so we spent a happy two months in Yorkshire over Christmas 1980.

When number four was expected, again at Christmas time, we again felt a responsibility to give the same guarantee of British nationality to him or her. By this time we had been living in Greece for about 10 years, and I felt slightly guilty about using the facilities of the National Health system even though I was still registered with a GP, who assured me that it was perfectly all right so to do. Anyway, we decided to keep the whole birth low-key, and spend as little time as possible in hospital and return to Corfu as soon as possible after the birth. Baby, however, had other plans for us, and with masterly timing allowed us to complete our New Year’s Eve celebrations before coming into the world in a blaze of publicity as the first 1989 baby to be born in Airedale General Hospital!

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