A decade retrospective
So, inspired by a number of other retrospectives I saw on Social Media towards the end of last year, I decided to write my own decade retrospective! Turns out it wasn’t an easy task (with a memory like mine), but it was a really rewarding exercise going back a re-remembering everything that had happened! Turns out it was a lot! Kudos to LinkedIn and Apple photos for jogging my memory! Here goes.
Let’s start with the important stuff! Ten years ago Esther and I were engaged and planning our wedding at the fantastic Stubton Hall which happened on 25th September 2010 — I know this because Esther has had it engraved on my wedding ring and 2 bracelets! And my first achievement of the decade is not forgetting our wedding anniversary! My second big achievement is staying married to my wonderful better half!
Of course a wedding means a stag do which was in Liverpool! I still have strangely fond memories (if a little hazy) of playing beach cricket dressed as an 8ft penguin! The rest of the stag do is not for public disclosure!
We also went to a load of weddings too, notably my sister and Dan, Rachel and Rob, Alex and Rosa in Spain, my brother Andi and Lindsey, Adrian and Romana, Vix and Laurence, Alison and Dave, Vanessa and Dan.
Birthdays were a big thing in the 2010s with Max having ten of them and, with the arrival of Isla in 2012, she had 8 of them! Seeing the kids grow into the fabulous people they are has been a real pleasure. Of course we have also experienced landmark moments like their first days at school, plays, sports days, concerts, matches and everything else! They’ve also fully engaged the services of mum and dad’s taxis being ferried to rugby, golf, cricket, tennis, dance, acro, swimming, football, hockey, netball … and several other activities that I’m sure I’ve left out! As we end the decade it’s astonishing to think that very soon Max will be leaving primary school and embarking on secondary school … with Isla not far behind! I can honestly say that they fill me with pride every single day, get on like a house on fire and I can’t wait to see how they develop over the next 10 years. Truly amazing pets.
We’ve spent the whole decade very happily in the same house which has transformed brilliantly as our needs have radically changed! We’ve converted the double garage half into an office and half into a utility room. We’ve moved the kitchen from the wrong end of the house, built a fabulous extension, created a lounge for mummy and daddy to escape to (essential), added a boot room, opened up the garden to create a play area complete with a putting green (for the kids obviously!) and we’re part way through re-roofing the place. Probably about time we moved then!
It’s not all been plain sailing though — we’ve had our fair share of challenges with my dad (stroke), mum (cancer and double mastectomy) and sister experiencing health challenges. Happily all have come through brilliantly — a real credit to them all and the strength of our family. Sadly however we did lose Esther’s dad, Miguel — a truly great chap with a real lust for live. He is still sorely missed today. As a result we moved Esther’s mum, Marie-Carmen over to the UK — I’m yet to decide whether that counts as good or bad news! We’ve also been robbed twice (shed break-ins rather than the house) including just before Christmas.
In happier news, we’ve had some amazing holidays — starting with an incredible honeymoon — a 3 week road trip around California taking in San Diego, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco, Carmel, Cambria and Santa Monica! We didn’t do as much skiing as I would have liked but we did at least introduce the kids who really enjoyed it. We’ve spent loads of time in Spain, a couple of weeks in Centre Parcs, been to Florida twice, New York, Lapland, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Liverpool, Stamford, Stubton and Samoens along with lots of fab weekends away around the UK with both friends and family. In that sense we’ve been truly blessed.
We’ve also met some fantastic people who will be friends for life. We’ve ditched some dickheads too!
Professionally, 10 years ago I was managing a large organisation transformation programme at what was then called Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) — it’s now APHA. I spent the first 4 years of the decade doing that … before moving to Defra for a short stint consulting on a number of programmes. I then moved across to managing a major programme at the Home Office before moving to Rainmaker where I spend the last (just over) 4 years.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people and, in the last 4 years, a really diverse range of clients from across Central Government, Local Government, Healthcare, Housing Associations, Third Sector, Policing and the Private Sector.
It also turns out that I can turn my hand to developing businesses as well as delivering programmes having successfully worked with over 30 clients. I’ve learned loads and am looking forward to a really exciting next decade professionally!
Esther has also launched her Counselling and Coaching practice too and is doing brilliantly — making a real difference to people’s lives — I couldn’t be prouder.
We’ve also done some great stuff too. I had the privilege to help one of my dad’s lifelong ambitions come true by taking him to play the Old Course at St Andrews — what an amazing experience that was! We’ve also really got into Secret Cinema (I think we’ve been to the last 6!) and seen some great concerts including Robbie Williams, the Radio 2 Christmas Party (Chris Evans’ leaving do), Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra, War of the Worlds, the Kaiser Chiefs (at Elland Road!) and Take That (don’t judge me).
Other notable events include a couple of Leeds United matches at Elland Road (not enough), England rugby several times at Twickenham, England football ladies and mens at Wembley, England cricket at Lords (thank you Simon), the Tour de France, Rugby World Cup, the Olympics and Leicester Tigers — including having the privilege of seeing Max play there. And finally, as a family we’ve raised thousands for good causes.