Ten major moments of my life

Here are the 10 major moments of my life:

  1. 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)
  2. My father passing away when I was 17 years old. I have always felt that I have lacked someone to turn to for advice.
  3. Joining the army – turned my attitude around totally and brought discipline into my life (eventually, see 4)
  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.
  5. 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.
  6. The birth of all my children.
  7. 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)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Another go at the bucket list

Our day out at Oakwood Theme Park

My son came home for summer from university, and as he is a poor student he went and looked for a summer job and was fortunate to find one at Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire. http://www.oakwoodthemepark.co.uk/

As part of the perks of the job he was allowed free entrance to the theme park for him and his family.   We took them up on this wonderful offer and spent the day there having a whale of a time.

The weather was not so good but that did not spoil the day for us at all.  Obviously my son did not want to go into the building where he worked as he knew that his friends in there would take the mickey out of him and try to embarrass him in front of us, so we stayed away from there, apart from when we needed the bathroom and then he stayed outside.


The first ride we headed for was Megaphobia.  What an awesome roller coaster!  Courtney was not fussed on it, it looked like she fainted as soon as it went around the first corner.  (which was a worry) but she was ok, just hiding from the ride!  My son and I went back on the ride later in the afternoon and that confirmed it, what a brilliant roller coaster, it felt like I was going to fall off every time it changed direction or went up or down.

Anyways, to keep Courtney happy and vomit free we then went into Neverland for a sit down, drink and look at the map.  We then went onto the London Taxi Ride, which was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  Listening to a couple have a domestic in the car in front of us – no holds barred!  As a reward I was allowed a Latte – which was superb, so much better than I thought it was going to be.

We then went for the water chute thing, we got wet then had lunch. After that, we went on a journey to the Neverland’s, it was really professional because, the children (dolls) who were sleeping were actually breathing you could see them move! In the next room, we saw the town of Neverland and in the town of Neverland was the house that Wendy lived in, the house lights were actually on, and for the kids, Tinker bell was flying around the room magically opening everything (it was a shadow picture of her flying around the room.) We saw Vertigo being used by three very scared people, I have never heard screaming like it (and I have seen combat).  It was so funny – that was when it rained quite a bit which was fortunate as it eased off when we went back out onto the rides, looking at the children’s rides.  We went on everything, including the ghost train (which was being run by a former school friend of my eldest son).  On the way out my wife and son went on Drenched, which they were – totally.


We had an excellent day and managed to tick off one of the things on our bucket list, although it will be quite a few years before Courtney goes on another white knuckle roller coaster again.

Gratitude and us

Recently my mother has been taken very ill. She has emphysema from a life-time of smoking.  Whilst I was sat with her late at night in the hospital the nurse who was looking after her on that long night shift said that we should be grateful that my mother was “asleep” through this all and that the machine she was attached to was breathing for her.  I felt a little annoyed with the nurse at first as she was interrupting my thoughts at that time.  I was actually thinking what was I going to do without my mother.  What was I going to do on a Sunday now that we were not going to be able to talk to one another if she had to stay in hospital, what would I do if the worst were to happen, how would my life change. Which, upon reflection, was incredibly selfish.  So I decided to put together a list (lists are after all very popular at the moment in our house) of things that I am grateful for.

The list has both serious and frivolous items on it as I am really grateful for a lot of “crap”.

Things that I am grateful for:

  • Having been brought up by my mother and father in the way that they did
  • Bank holiday weekends
  • The first coffee of the morning
  • Tenby in the summer sunshine
  • Historical castles
  • Eating someone else’ chips from their plate
  • Holding a hot cup of tea in both hands outside when gardening in the cold
  • Welsh isms (isnit, buy year etc.)
  • Windscreen wipers keeping in time with the song playing on the radio
  • My daughter’s imagination when she is playing with Lego
  • Being able to park right outside my house on a Friday evening getting in from work
  • Ice cold milk drink
  • Going to the cinema and seeing how excited my daughter is
  • Watching my son work something out on his own – with no outside help
  • Driving to work on a Monday morning at 4 am and seeing no other cars on the road
  • Blue Christmas lights on a tree in someone else’s garden
  • Sleeping in fresh bedsheets
  • Eating free samples with no intention of buying them
  • Completing a to do list on time
  • Gravy in a Yorkshire pudding
  • Crispy Yorkshire pudding edges
  • Watching the first seeds budding
  • Sitting in the garden listening to silence
  • Listening to an invented story by my children
  • Socks straight out of the tumble drier
  • A family meal out and my daughter’s food arrives first – she gets so excited
  • Reading a Where’s Wally book – and finding Wally first
  • Getting a 9 letter conundrum watching 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown before John Richardson does
  • Slightly burnt toast with marmalade
  • A day in my pyjamas
  • Strawberries and cream on a summer’s day
  • Waking up and staying in bed for another half hour just in the half and half sleep zone
  • Biting into a cold apple
  • Singing
  • The internet