Ditton Corner
Ditton Corner

Coburn-Mulligan Gazette 2022

Christmas 2023


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Spectators of the show: The supergroup AAMNH attending the ABBA Voyager holographic concert

Super Troupers in '23 

Making up for lost time, getting out and about and attending sports events and concerts, including an unexpectedly joyful evening watching holograms of Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid perform ABBA's greatest hits.

Covid? Time to forget you. We have enjoyed getting back to the lifestyle of the day before you came. It has been great to get out again and go to concerts, football matches, and social events. We're finding ways to face a new tomorrow. 

Knowing Me Knowing You

Not done though. It goes on and on and on. We've had covid recurrence and friends suffering bad attacks. But I don't want to talk about things we've gone through. The game is on again. We were able to get out on a safari holiday and get back together with friends on a full social programme.

Mamma Mia

Helen has resumed her millinary activities, including competitions where the winner takes it all. 

Andrew has been hard at work raising money money money for his company Risilience in a Series B funding round. Turns out it's a rich man's world.

Take a Chance on Me

The summer also involved a trip round the battlefields of WWII in Normandy with our old school chums who have an interest in military history. Now planning a trip to Waterloo. (No, honestly. Not contrived at all.) 

Dancing Queen

It has been a great year of getting out to football games - Helen has made good use of her Arsenal season ticket. She has a dream, a song to sing. And we have had super times at concerts and just getting back amongst the crowds again has been excellent. So all we can say is, thank you for the music!

Back to Africa 


Helen and Andrew had a mid-year safari holiday to the wetlands of the Okovanga Delta in Botswana. Two years of drought (that pesky climate change again) has shrunk the water sources, so the animals are concentrated in a smaller area making the game drives very rich encounters. Successful anti-poaching measures have increased the population of elephants, to the extent that lion prides have learned to how to turn them into jumbo-sized breakfasts. An amazing and unique ecology.

For further details, Helen's travelogue, and the full photographic record see our holiday webpage: Botswana 2023

A Day at the Palace


Risilience won the King's Award for Enterprise for its work on helping large companies cut their greenhouse gas emissions. So Andrew went to Buckingham Palace to be presented to the King, who has championed climate change causes throughout his life. A bit of a surreal experience, surrounded by equerries and white-gloved flunkies. His Majesty told Andrew to keep calm and carry on. So by royal command, I guess he'll have to.

You get a flag
And a photo opportunity with the guardsmen
And a branded logo

We'd Watched Him Get His New Hat


We'd seen Charles invested earlier in the year. Britain went through a period of coronation madness in May as we witnessed our new monarch being bestowed with the Sword of Destiny, the Spurs of Righteousness, and the Crown of Wisdom in a variety of costumes and sitting on several chairs. We watched it all in amazement around the TV and tried to remember when we elected him.

Henry teaching a class at UCSB

Henry in Santa Barbara


Henry is now in his fifth year of PhD at University of California Santa Barbara. A peer-reviewed publication on the etymology of 'shark' has been a highlight, as well as teaching a course on Detective Fiction (not just whodunnit but howdidtheydunnit and why?), and exploring how AI will reshape literature of the future. 

Replanning Cambridge University Library


Helen’s work at Cambridge Architectural Research is now encompassing a strategic review of Cambridge University Library, to provide a brief for its forthcoming masterplan. Eight million books, hundreds of readers (plus thousands online) and a hunting party of peregrine falcons to accommodate!

A Grand Day Out in SW19


Our summer family reunion was a day out in Wimbledon on Centre Court and at the Rosewater Pavilion Hospitality Venue. There was a little bit of rain, which prompted the inevitable Mexican Wave round the stands while they closed the roof, (and Jane, Alice and Helen performing yoga in their seats) but we got to see matches played by Men's and Women's eventual finalists. A great tennising day out.

Helen's Hats in 2023


Helen’s millinery output has been recognised by inclusion in the Hats Made Me show at the Hat Works museum in Luton. She was also shortlisted for the prestigious design award sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers, and participated in Open Studios at Makespace in Cambridge.  One of her hats sold in luxury department store Fenwick’s of Bond Street!

Alice and Martyn Go on a Bear Hunt


Alice and Martyn went to Slovenia for wildlife and scenery. Their bear-watch was successful in getting up close with one of the native wild brown bears. But not too close. Fortunately they didn't have to test out which of the two of them is the faster runner. Alice is Head of Education at the British Orthopaedics Association. Martyn has a new job at ThreatSpike, a cyber security company, and they are enjoying living in High Wycombe with Misty their cat.

Alice and Martyn are both keen runners. Not just to escape bears. Alice ran the Cambridge half-marathon and several other running events this year.

Reposing the Wedding Snaps


A coincidental return to our reception venue at Darwin College for Eric and Theresa's party meant that we took the opportunity to reshoot a wedding photo on the same college bridge. 36 years later, there's less hair but more foliage.

Then: Undergrown in 1987
Now: Overgrown in 2023

20 Years of Shrinking City Studies


Congratulations to Dr. Mackay!  Helen’s PhD student Faeeza successfully completed her thesis on long-term prospects and resilience of Shrinking Cities. SCiRN, the International Research Group that Helen helped found, is planning a twentieth birthday celebration in Paris next summer.

Dr. Faeeza Mackay - Helen's PhD student graduated

Verbatim Theatre


Cambridge theatre group WriteOn is exploring the technique of verbatim theatre, based on actual words of contributors.  Our theme is things said to children that have had a significant impact on the lives as adults. Andrew’s brother Nick volunteered for interview by Helen – amazing material!  We are currently editing interviews for a stage production next year..

Churchill Review


An enjoyable year with the Churchill College Writers’ Group – alternating between virtual and in-person meetings.  Helen’s had a flash fic piece She Collapsed published in the Churchill Review.  Their Christmas party on Nov 25 handily coincided with the feast of St. Catharine, patron saint of milliners.

History will be kind to the Churchill Writers Group for they intend to write it

Saving Private Brian


We visited Normandy to visit the D-Day landing beaches and invasion zone on the 79th anniversary of the landings, together with old school chums, Andy Greene, Martin and Kate Webster (AKA 'The Brians'), re-living the Spielberg movie of a similar name.

For the full campaign documentary see Normandy 2023

Rowing Bumps 2023

We host a riverbank picnic these days for the annual summer Bumps and Carnage University College rowing races. And a fine day it was this year, with a frenetic day of boating action and cheering bank parties, fuelled by Pimms and college tribalism.

Eight Go Mad in Dorset


The Coburn-Mulligans got together with old university pals, the Baileys, Pates, Withers, and Cooper-Ruffles for a reunion in a farmhouse in Swanage. A wonderful weekend of walks, spider orchids, castles, and steam trains. And lots of very nice food and wine. And just a bit of nostalgic undergraduate humour.

Risilience with Three I's


Andrew's company Risilience celebrated its second anniversary and continued to add prestigious corporations to its client list. The Risilience platform helps companies analyze their carbon footprint and figure out how to get to 'Net Zero' emissions. The amount of CO2 that clients have pledged to eliminate now totals half a gigatonne a year, so if they implement their Risilience-designed plans, the world will be a cooler place. Risilience raised a Series B funding round at the start of the year, and Andrew has had a busy year as CEO at conferences, sales trips, and endless investor meetings.

Entered-the-Dragon Boat Race 

Risilience entered a team in the Dragon Boat Races in Cambridge this weekend. The only problem was that it happend to be the hottest day of the year to do energetic things. The Risilience team acquitted itself admirably, with the 5th fastest time of 35 boats in the qualifying rounds, progressing to the semi-finals, and missing out by 0.8 of a second on being a finalist. Andrew learned that when it was his turn to beat the drum, the crew’s performance noticeably deteriorated: the incentive programme of providing vegetarian fallafels worked much better. Thus proving that the carrot is better than the stick. The dragon boat event raised over £10,000 for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, Cambridge Hospital. Thanks to everyone who donated to support the Risilience team and contributed to a worthy cause.

The Mad Yarn-Bombers of Cambridge


A fine array of crocheted ornaments adorned the post box in Fen Ditton periodically through the year. Even though it was nothing to do with us, these fine efforts deserve to be recorded for posterity. Knit on, whoever you are!

Crowning Glory of Bowls


Uncle Nick, Andrew's brother, is a bit of an afficianado of crown green bowling. Promoted to the Aston B's this year, he has achieved award-winning status, piling the silverware on the mantlepiece. Andrew's attempts to emulate Nick's technique of bowling under-arm-on-the-thumb went straight into the gutter. He complained of bias.

50 Years on the Dark Side


The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd has been the soundtrack to much of Andrew's life. He bought the album on its release 50 years ago, and saw Pink Floyd debut it in concert. So he had to see it again a half century later to the day, with the pals he went to the first gig with, at the anniversary tour by Australian Pink Floyd. It brought it all back - sitting in the dark at the start, with the strengthening heart beat until the opening birth chord. An amazing piece of music played by consumate musicians.


Delyse & Bruce Get Hitched


At the end of March, we were up in Lancashire for the marriage of Helen’s cousin Delyse to long-term partner Bruce at the fine Registry Office in central Accrington, followed by a hoe-down at the Haslingden Cricket Club.


Ronnie Cowgill 1953-2023


Ronnie Cowgill, husband of Helen’s cousin Pam, died after a short illness on 30 May.  Such a fun guy – much missed! 

And Our General Photo Scrapbook...


An album of more of our 'photos of the year'.

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