Welcome to the Hurford family web site. Before we go any further, let's tell you a little about ourselves:
We're based in the UK, in a village called Downton on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border (here's a map). So, we have the medieval city of Salisbury just to our north, and the beautiful New Forest just to the south. Downton is a typical, sleepy, English village, and we have a bungalow right on its edge - two of our boundaries are field, a third the River Avon. We have a child who has left home, so just mum and dad share the house now.
First of all, there's Pete. He's the computer-savvy one, so he gets to go first! Pete is 54, and moved to the area in 1997, having moved around the UK a bit, and after a spell living/working in the USA. Here's a picture (2013):
Pete actually spent his whole working life in the IT industry, eventually running a consultancy which designed systems for several big banks, before taking a career break in 2013 and becoming a qualified bike (pushbike) mechanic.
But Pete had a stroke in 2016, aged just 48, which originally left him unable to walk, and left his arm paralysed. Pete has improved - he's walking quite well now - although he's still not driving. With a view initially to resharpen his IT skills, in early 2018 Pete started undertaking work from home, in preparation for a return to paid employment. You can read more about Pete's work situation here.
Because strokes usually reduce a person's stamina and their mobility, stroke survivors tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle, which in Pete's case meant that his computing background was ideal! As well as creating software through his startup, CurveBall Technologies, he also uses Facebook occasionally and maintains a blog, which started out being stroke-related but is now more varied. Other activities include charity work for Age UK, which just gets him out of the house regularly.
As you might guess from the photo (and from the career change), Pete was once an avid cyclist, and much of his spare time was spent on his bike somewhere in western Europe - the beauty of living by the coast is that Europe was readily accessible. Unfortunately, because the stroke affected his balance, he's still not back on two wheels, but he'll get there. Being able to ride again will at least be more convenient than waiting for buses!
Jac's the wife of the family. She was born in London, but the family moved to Devon when Jac was a teenager. Jac is one of three sisters, all of whom ended up along various parts of the south coast. Jac herself ended up in Bournemouth, where she was a nurse at the hospital, and where she and Pete met in 1998.
After having our daughter in 1999, Jac decided to move into Practise Nursing, mainly because it's easier on the body than hospital nursing, for someone coming back after giving birth. She is now very experienced and has worked at several GP practises in the Salisbury area. So, if you also live in the area, you might well have met her when she stuck a needle into you!
Our daughter, by the way, is grown-up and left home, so we have the house to ourselves once again.
Jac's quite creative, and one of her big hobbies is dressmaking - she's made many of her own clothes which generally attract compliments. At least this means that buying presents is easy!
Jac too has a Facebook account, although she's very much a computer user rather than a whizz - as evidenced by occasional trips to the local Apple store for technical support.
We are a pair of cat-lovers - Jac already had a cat when she met Pete, who adopted him very quickly. The cats appreciate our rural surroundings, they all tend towards being lithe and muscular from a healthy outdoor lifestyle. Unfortunately, this also means "presents" from time to time, With the amount of time we've lived in the place, we have had a few generations of cats, but there's generally at least one of them living with us at any one time. Currently we have two - one of whom came into the house when she was a kitten (we assume she was a stray) some years ago, the other came from our daughter, who'd taken him in but who couldn't give him an outdoor life. The cats can just about manage being on opposite sides of the same room, but that's about as friendly as it gets (unless it is breakfast-time)!