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Christmas News 2022
This has been a fascinating year with change, adjustment, excitment and more change to come.
The main change is that Victor retired on 31 December 2021. Afrer discussions with both health advisors and his employer it seemed that early retirement was the best option for his Long Covid related health issues. That took a lot of pressure off him and he has settled well into the new, more relaxed lifestyle, albeit still having to deal with the LC issues.
Victor recently wrote about his experiences, his 40 year career and his current expectations. Published in a Newbold Church compilation, Praise God, his chapter has also just been published online for Christmas - with very encouraging responses. You can read it here.
Victors retirement has equally made life better to Luisa and has meant we can spend more quality time together doing the things we love. Luisa really went to town on the garden and it has looked totally splendid in every season.
Two major purchases this year also made life significantly better. We purchased a Di Blasi R30 mobility scooter which we can use on tracks as well as pavements. This has increased significantly our ability to enjoy the outdoor life - and even to help Victor walk further as Luisa enjoys riding it when Victor wants to walk. Swoping back and forth increases the range of our adventures.
The second purchase was a campervan - a 24-year-old Mazda Bongo conversion. We spent a long time searching for the right one, plus it needed the seatbelts to transport our three grandchildren - but now we have it we have fallen in love with it, taking frequent camping trips or just using it as a day camper to enjoy the countryside.
Our chidren and grandchildren are all doing well. Steven granduated with his MA in Systematic Theology this summer. We are proud of him as he continues to minister in Cornwall. Jena is a massive support to him but has also made several career progressions in her chosen profession of medical sales. The youngest of their three foster children is now 18 and off to university - so now all three are independent adults though always in our hearts and prayers.
Tim is progressing in his work as a policemen - and even more in his skills repairing his Land-rover defender. However, his off-roading does bring him a lot of joy, as does his daughter, Emily, who has just turned 8 and is a joyful presence in her frequent stays in our home.
Amy restarted her career after an 8 year parenting break and is loving her receptionist role at the University of Surrey. John also changed jobs this year moving from Bracknell Forest Council to a new environment with a larger London borough. He is enjoying the change but thankfully can work from home three days a week. Their girls, Ava and Erin and growing fast and thoroughly enjoying school - along with regular #granddadadventures.
The year was full of holidays, exploring with our campervan: Devon, Somerset, Shopshire, and Chichester harbour among others. We are expanding our UK horizens. However, our two main holidays were in August with the family on Dartmoor and then in November with the Portuguese family in Portugal.
The Dartmoor holiday was camping in a stunning site at Widdicombe-in-the-moor. The whole family loved it with terrific weather, exiting places to visit, or just chilling on the campsite - either with the daytime sunshine or the evening bonfires.
Portugal took Victor and Luisa to Lagos in the Algarve to almost two weeks before spending the final week with family in the Lisbon area. It was a wonderfully refreshing break, exploring a new area for us, going on a dolphin adventure and just enjoying nature. It was also wonderful to revisit the family after a long gap - and to be reminded of how much we love the country.
After lots of thought and discussion we have decided to relocate. In the New Year we hope to find ourselves living in a Devon village near Dartmoor and with wonderful open views across the countryside. While we love Bracknell and will severly miss our neighbours and friends here, we believe that the relocation will be better for our health with the clean air, beautiful nature, and the more tranquil pace of life. We will let you know more in due course.
A big thank you for all who have kept in touch thoughout the year - and for for the Christmas greetings that are pouring in. Friendship is such a gift and we really appreciate it. God bless you all.
Christmas News 2021
Last year we missed our newsletter. Sorry about that. Blame it on burnout and lockdown - not to mention a little thing called Long Covid. We appreciated all your messages and keeping up with your news. Here is our attempt to catch up!
The last two years have led to a lot of changes in our lives. On the most positive side, we have watched our grandchildren growing up. They just turned seven this December and bring us so much joy. Grandad adventures are the best - especially the holiday times. The advantage of lockdown was also no more travel for Victor - which means more family time for all of us. Our youngest, Emily, still lives with us and it is such a joy to see her developing in such a positive way. Ava and Erin live 5 minutes away so we have plenty of their company as well.
On the challenging side of our lives, all three adults living in our home have caught Covid twice - first in March 2020 and then again in January 2021. Victor got it the most seriously, spending time in hospital and then going on to develop Long Covid. While he has done his best to move forward both physically and cognitively it has been a long and slow battle with many relapses and setbacks. Eventually this led to a decision to ask for early retirement on health grounds. 31 December 2021 is his last day of employment - just short of 40 years in a career that took him in unexpected directions but that he thoroughly enjoyed.
For a short history see: https://ted.adventist.org/news/in-all-things/.
We celebrated forty years of marriage back in August. We were blessed to be in Cornwall and had a wonderful time. We believe we can say we are closer together now than we have ever been.
Despite the passing of Luisa's mum back at the beginning of 2020, Luisa still finds herself in a caring role. [A very moving video of mum's funeral is available on our YouTube channel.] It is perhaps in her nature - but with Long Covid in the house she has been an absolute pillar of strength. She has also been even more involved in her crafts - and now also has something like 90+ houseplants scattered across every single room. Our guerrilla garden out the front of the house brings joy to the whole neighbourhood with our massive profusion and variety of daffodils. We have also planted two miniature trees and are in the process of building a rockery.
We are not really sure what next year will hold. Togetherness and family is a strong part of it. Increasing health and strength is hoped and prayed for. If that comes then Victor hopes that he can freelance using the skills he has picked up over the years. There are also plenty of DIY and hobby projects that we have in mind.
Watch Victor's Christmas reflection, 'In all things' by clicking here.
We take this time to wish you and yours all the best both for the holiday and the new year.
Victor & Luisa.
Christmas News 2019
Forty years! That’s the almost unbelievable truth. It is 40 years since a memorable Christmas Eve when a vivacious young Portuguese girl invited a shy
English boy back to her grandma’s house for the Christmas eve celebrations.
We have been together for every Christmas since – and now married for 38 years! Both Portuguese and England Christmas traditions focus around family – and that has been central for us over
In 1979 it may have been the hospitality of Luisa’s grandma and her family. Today, we share the hospitality with our children, grandchildren and, just hanging in there, Luisa’s 98-year-old
mother who, although confined to bed, brings a lot of joy as she shares her love with all comers – including the excellent care team that provided additional support three times a day. It is
hard to believe that it is almost nine years since mum moved in with us, transferring 90 years of life experience from Portugal to England!
That does mean that Luisa is now a full-time carer, but still finds time for a variety of crafts, some gardening and, of course, her grandchildren.
Victor still enjoys working in communications for the Adventist Church’s Trans-European Division and this year added three new countries to his travel list, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the Ukraine. They
were among the venues where he provided training or inspiration. His three highlights of the year would be filming in Jordan and Egypt in February (Film to be released in 2020), providing
coverage of the TED Pathfinder Camporee with 4,000 vibrant Pathfinders engaged in a myriad of
activities, and, to seriously increase his skills, a photo-tour
workshop in Iceland. Along with a group of experts he travelled the island, honing his skills and learning from others.
Steven and Jena are still in Cornwall where, along with their work life, they are in their 2nd year of fostering three teenagers. Steven is still in love with the surf – just
check his Instagram or Facebook pages for evidence!
Tim is delighted that he is back in the police having just completed the first section of training with Thames Valley. He has two other joys: A land rover Defender that he loves to
take off-roading; and his wonderful, fun-loving daughter, Emily. Five years old she has now started school. We are pleased that her mother is moving back closer to Bracknell so
hopefully we will see more of her next year without the long return journeys to her current home in Cambridgeshire. Emily generally spends every 2nd weekend with dad as well as
Our other grandchildren, Ava and Erin, are much closer with John and Amy just five minutes up the road. Like Emily, they have also started school and are loving it. They also enjoy
outdoor adventures which means all three grandchildren had a wonderful time when we spent a week with them and their parents in the Peak District. That would be another highlight for our
Not all is perfect. Work schedules are sometimes very intense, and caring for Luisa’s mum has become much more of a challenge and restricted our lives considerably. However, we are thankful for the many blessings in our lives and we continue with the joy that started 40 years ago.
Merry Christmas to all our friends and family – and rich blessings for 2020.
Victor, Luisa & family
Christmas News 2018
Wishing all our friends and family a very Merry Christmas. We hope you enjoy our annual news update.
As we head towards Christmas our three granddaughters have just turned 4-years-old and bring us increasing joy and love with every passing day. Amy encourages the twins with an outdoor life
so we often find ourselves walking with them. They also enjoy arts and crafts. Tim’s daughter, Emily, is generally with us every 2nd weekend and equally enjoys craft time with
grandma. Her mother now lives in East Anglia, so we don’t see quite as much of Emily, but she loves being with us and the girls all love playing together.
Victor continues to enjoy his job as Communication and Media director for the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church. It does mean more travel than he would like but new travel experiences this year have included the beautiful city of Tallinn, Estonia; the historic city of Sarajevo in Bosnia
Herzegovina, and Dubrovnik in Croatia.
In the spring he also enjoyed filming two new episodes of Reformation Journey, this time focusing on Mary Jones, the young Welsh girl who, 200 years ago, chose to walk 26 miles barefoot in order to buy the Bible she so much desired. He
also filmed 15 short videos of Israel Reflections – though only 11 are available so far!
Consultations, training, editing and news writing keep him more than busy.
Victor’s busiest time coincided with his 60th birthday as the TED ran a European Pastors Council with 1,200 participants in Belgrade Serbia.
While holiday’s have been difficult due to family circumstances, Victor and Luisa did manage to spend some time in Cornwall and Devon, and to explore with the National Trust closer to home.
‘Family circumstances’ revolve, to a degree, around Luisa’s remarkable mother who turned 97 this year. If you want to cheer her up, show her a great-grandchild – but she did slow down a lot
over the past 12 months including a minor stroke back in the spring. We now have a carer come to help with her every morning which is a big help to Luisa.
Luisa’s relaxation time is very much focused around crafts (as well as the grandchildren). She has joined the newly formed Binfield Craft group.
Our children are all doing well. Steven continues working with youth in Cornwall, while his wife, Jena, has progressed in her career in pharmaceutical sales. If that is not enough,
they have the surprise addition of 3 teenagers in their family. They are lovely kids and will be with them on a long term fostering basis. Tim had to take a short break from his chosen career
plan but hopes to be back in the police full-time next year. While caring for young twins is a full-time career in itself, Amy is getting more engaged with photography and with writing.
Recently she has also started to become more of an advocate for those with special needs – visible or hidden. Her husband, John has had a promotion within Bracknell Forest Council and seems to
be extremely busy keeping the council efficient and running smoothly.
That leaves the dogs – who are not getting old, 12 and 15. Kalie still goes out for walks, depending on her mood, and sets the pace which means dog walking does not provide as much exercise
as it used to – but it is still lovely to be out in nature together.
The best way to keep up, as always, is on one of our various Facebook pages – as equally we enjoy hearing from you and enjoying your exploits.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year,
Victor, Luisa, Manuala, Steven, Jena, Tim, Amy & John, Emily, Erin & Ava.
2018 TED Christmas Video
See also the Christmas video Victor had fun creating with his colleagues at the Trans-European Division. Health warning. It might possibly make you feel hungry! Watch it here.
Christmas News 2017!
Christmas Greetings from the entire Hulbert tribe! It has been an eventful year. Victor has just completed his second year leading the Adventist Church’s Communication and Media department in the Trans-European Division. Once again it has led him to new experiences including first visits to Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden – and return visits to a variety of other countries – training, reporting and advising.
Two highlights: Victor found himself in Italy for World
Refugee day – worshipping with and interviewing migrants who had made the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean. Listening to those stories touched his heart. He is already
making preparations for 2018 – meeting refugees who are making the best of life in Serbia and elsewhere.
His second significant highlight was filming a series of short social media videos, Reformation 500.
Travelling to significant sites in England, Germany and Italy, his aim was to make the essence of the reformation understandable to a 21st century audience. Working with a great
team, and a superb videographer, it seems he succeeded – but you can judge for yourself!
Luisa continues to juggle the roles of carer for her 96-year-old mother, the joy of assisting with our three grandchildren – who just turned three this December, and looking after the house and
dogs while Victor is travelling. Somehow she manages to pull it all together while at the same time continuing with her crafts, re-designing our home office, developing the garden, and helping
out with the children at church.
July found us in the Lake District, renting a 16th century thatched cottage and delighting Ava and Erin, who with their parents, John and Amy, joined us for the week. The twins rejoiced in greeting the cows morning and evening, exploring castles and rivers, experiencing a thunderstorm in the middle of Lake Windermere and generally running around the cottage and garden at high speed. Victor also got the chance to fly his drone. Some of the footage from his new hobby is getting seen around the world.
Tim started in his chosen career this autumn. He is now a member of Surrey Constabulary – keeping us all safe. Still keen on his motorcycling, he finds that the quickest way to work as
well as a good hobby, and continues to dote on his daughter, Emily.
Jena also started a new job in Pharmaceutical sales while Steven is stimulating his mind and developing his career plan as he has started on an MA (part time) in systematic theology.
John keeps gaining new skills within the management of Bracknell Forest Council while Amy still finds herself full-time hands-on mother to the increasingly active twins. All three
grandchildren start in nursery in January – so that may give parents (and grandparents) a little more free time!
Life has not been without it’s challenges, but we are grateful for family, friends, and God’s leading.
We wish you the very best for you and your families. Have a great 2018.
Victor & Luisa
Manuela (Luisa’s mum)
Steven & Jena
Tim and Emily,
Amy, John, Ava & Erin.