Here are the 10 major moments of my life:
- Being held back a year at school (for lack of attendance – totally my own fault as I was a fool) but then making friends with my best 3 friends ever, Gerwyn, Peter and Greg (still friends today 34 years later)
- My father passing away when I was 17 years old. I have always felt that I have lacked someone to turn to for advice.
- Joining the army – turned my attitude around totally and brought discipline into my life (eventually, see 4)
- Getting bust (reduced in rank) from L/Cpl too private. Before this happened I was a complete arse. I thought I knew everything and would not listen to any advice. I spent a night in the cells then lost my rank, to be perfectly honest I was very fortunate not to be kicked out of the Army. My then sergeant spoke to me (no shouting) just spoke to me and I saw myself through his and other people’s eyes and I did not like what I saw in any way shape or form. I cannot say the change from being complete arse to being a useful / decent bloke happened overnight but I did try much harder and gave everything my best shot from that point onward, I left the army as a Warrant Officer.
- Meeting my wife at my friends leaving party in Ayia Napa (we met in a bar called Napa Dreams run by a gentleman called Dino). She was on holiday I was on the beer with my mates, we met and 9 months later we got married.
- The birth of all my children.
- Training with a guy at the rugby club who was certifiably insane, he got banned from rugby for life – twice! Training with him was insane, he made sure the training sessions were so hard it was painful, but this stood me in such good stead for my later career choice of joining the army. The army training sessions were much longer and more intense but no matter how hard the PTIs tried they could not intimidate me as much as Chris did at the rugby club. Interestingly when my eldest son started to play rugby I met Chris when my son’s team played his (he is allowed to train rugby but not play I think?). He is a totally changed character as he is not a born again Christian, much more mellow and, dare I say it, happy. I was really pleased to meet him again and introduce him to my family Starting my University Course. I never had the best attendance record at school, in fact I seldom got there, my mother would send me, I would always attend registration but getting from there to my classes was always something that I found very difficult to do, I had other distractions like working on a building site earning £5 a day labouring or going around the back of the school barn to have a crafty cigarette (this turned into a habit that I fortunately broke 10 years ago). I always thought that I was stupid / not worth bothering with. Then a colleague of mine, Simon, mentioned that I could study from home which I looked into. I tried a taster course and got an A grade. I then signed up for the full degree (only 2.5 years to go!) I really enjoy the studying and get a great sense of achievement when I get my marks for the assignments – pass or fail I always give my best and they always reflect the effort that I put in so good or bad they show my true capabilities. Because of this study I have been promoted at work into a management position and hopefully I will get an opportunity to run a complete engineering project team later this year or early next year (I currently run the training team for all customer training)
- Going to war in Iraq, first as a Tom then as a commander. Nuff said really, first time was full of fear for myself the second was for those that I was responsible for. Gladly this will never happen again as I am now on the outside of the army looking back with rose tinted glasses.
- Buying my first copy of Private Eye. I used to do a lot of traveling on trains and buses when I first joined the army. Travelling around on public transport reading man mags was not an option as they often had full page spreads of ladies with very little clothing on, so one day at Crewe Train Station I picked up a copy of Private Eye and have not looked back since. I find it funny and outrageous at the same time. I cannot tell you how much I laughed when I read that my local council, and my local councilor made Rotten Boroughs in the magazine.
- Becoming a grandfather for the first time, about 10 minutes ago! So happy I could burst! Looking forward to getting to see the little man next weekend!