ith links to top resorts, a directory of ski trips and skiing related information."> Kilo Diary

Go BackBelow is a history of my life with various photographs of events or places worth visiting. Click on the photos for a better view and then use your back button to return to this page.

� Rotaski 1998 - If you copy and use any photographs from this site, please acknowledge the source. Thank you

YEAR
1964 Born at an early age in my parents bedroom in Streetly, South Staffordshire.
1965 - 1971 Family holidays were to Bournemouth, Dorset - 1965, Abersoch, Wales - 1966, Saundersfoot, Wales - 1967, Bembridge, Isle of Wight - 1968, Perranporth, Cornwall - 1969, Newquay, Cornwall - 1970, Poole, Dorset - 1971 and also a trip to Holland where we stayed with family friends and I purchased a stuffed duckling - why ? I don't know, I was only seven years old.
1972
UP
My parents fail to get me a ticket to the League Cup Final at Wembley, believing I'm too young and I miss my beloved Stoke City beat hot favourites Chelsea. Our Family holiday was to spend a week with my Godmothers family in Luccumbe, Isle of Wight where I spend a night sitting in a tree watching Badgers.!
1973 - 1979 Family holidays were Erquy, Brittany, France - 1973, Luccumbe, Isle of Wight - 1974, Carnac, Brittany, France - 1975, Luccumbe, Isle of Wight and Illfracombe, Devon - 1976, Luccumbe, Isle of Wight - 1977, Newquay, Cornwall - 1978 and Hittisau in Austria in 1979.
1980
UP
I complete my compulsory education and am one of three in the school awarded with 'Senior Colours' for swimming, helping the school become the 'Wolverhampton Schools' Senior Boys Champions' and the 'Cannock & District Senior Boys Champions'. Family holiday was to Newquay in Cornwall.
1981
UP
Life starts when I start work at Mason Richards and earn some money. Well, a little bit anyway. I miss my sporting involvements and so form the Mason Richards 5-a-side team (Who later gain the nickname Mango V after my first taste of mango in an Indian restaurant). I qualify for the bronze medallion in lifesaving. I pass my driving test shortly after my 17th birthday after spending a crash course two week family holiday driving round Scotland, based in Oban.
1982
UP
I visit my first Youth Hostel at Bridges and then Ludlow in Shropshire on a cycling weekend with Paul, a friend and neighbour. Family holiday is in Newquay, Cornwall where school friend Ian joins the family, although he nearly didn't as he travelled down on his motorbike and chose the M6 rather than the M5. We leave my family in Cornwall and tour back on Ian's bike.
Rocksalt
Lichfield Cathedral
1983
UP
I visit Patterdale Youth Hostel in the Lake District with Ian, my best mate from school. I get involved with the Lighting rig and take photographs for a talented Rock Band called Rocksalt. Gigs are played in places such as Sutton Park Festival, Rugby Prison and all night in Lichfield Cathedral.

The Mason Richards Football Team become international with a tour of Northern France and happen across Charleville-M�zi�res, a Wonderful town in the Ardennes. The Place Ducale is a spectacular centre and fine example of 17th-century classical French architecture.

I no longer join my parents on family holidays as it's much more fun to go on holiday with friends. At this time my parents start going on exotic holidays abroad. !

Shaftsbury
Shaftsbury
Famous hill where a young boy flew down the hill on a bicycle in an 'Hovis' advert.

He-Man
Ian, still young at this point, manages an amazing feat of strength at Corfe Castle.

1984
UP
We visit Llanberis and Bryn Gwynant youth hostels in Wales in snowy January and attempt Mount Snowden - the Slippy Face.

With Ian, I execute my first Parachute Jump at Montford Bridge, a small airfield near Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Later in the year we spend a week on the South Coast camping and visiting Cranbourne and Bridport youth hostels. Unfortunately 'Beer' hostel is closed for the night ! In April we try Chepstow hostel and join the Youth Hostel Association (YHA).

Being a member of the Queen fan club, I manage to get hold of four tickets to see them at Wembley only to find that these 'gold dust' tickets are for the Friday night and I only return from a week away in Torquay on Saturday morning. Luckily I easily sell these and head off instead to the Palais de Omnisport in Paris with Ian and two other friends to see the Works tour.

Freddie
Freddie in Paris
Brian
Brian in Paris

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Wendy

Wendy in Blackpool

1985
UP

Ian's Brother Andy joins us on a walking weekend Youth Hostelling at Wilderhope Manor and Wheathill Farm in Shropshire. I go on a European Tour with Ian stopping with friends, in hotels and youth hostels, at one stage visiting four capitol cities in three days. Later in the year I move jobs to work on the start of one of Europe's biggest shopping centres. A work colleague Bruce introduces me to the Charity organisation Rotaract and I join the Wolverhampton Club. Rotaract was formed by the Rotary Club and has thousands of members Worldwide. I quickly joined in and one of the first events was a day out in Blackpool. Little did I know that Blackpool would feature in a big way later in my Rotaract life.

I am Sailing
I have my first experience of real sailing aboard my Uncle's yacht. That's not the Horizon, it's a forty foot wave in the Atlantic !

The Wharf Shed

'The Wharf Shed'
An old canal wharf building in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. Used for Rotaract weekends away on many occasions.

Ayland

Simon at Banbury

Staithes
Staithes in North Yorkshire, where Captain Cook was born.

St. Govan's

1986

St. Govan's Chapel on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path near Tenby in South Wales
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1986
UP

I take part in my first raft race between Ironbridge and Bridgnorth in Shropshire, organised by Bilston Rotaract.
I take part in the 'Round Britain Endurance & Economy Run' organised by Wolverhampton Rotary. This involves three rally drivers driving non stop around Great Britain using the coastal roads, stopping only for petrol. I, Simon and Anne - Marie are the drivers in the support vehicle. This takes one week and the achievement gets recorded in the Guinness book of Records.

Llandudno
I travel with my Brother Chris to Cologne (Koln) football stadium, Germany to see a concert line up of Krafft, Level 42, Gary Moore, Marillion and finally Queen. Freddie was again Brilliant.

Freddie


Freddie in Koln

Brian

Brian in Koln

Fish

Fish in Koln

A trip with my German Pen friend Dietmar to South Wales and we try Broad Haven youth hostel. The now annual Youth Hostel trip with Ian and Andy visits Beverley and Whitby in Yorkshire and Ian and I also visit Saffron Walden and Hunstanton Youth Hostels.

Ugley

Rotaract organise a trip to Ostend for a beer festival in which Bruce tries to drink more than anyone else. Rotaract forms the worlds longest human Caterpillar at the National Garden Festival Site in Stoke on Trent.1986 proved to be a very busy year. In February I joined Anne-Marie, Trevor & Simon on a Beaujolais run to Macon in France. The Beaujolais is released at 12:00 midnight and the aim is to be the first back to Britain.

What a Meal

Mommeson Vineyard, Macon

Knackered

Home by early morning

MAD MAD MAD

Bingo in Cornwall !

1987
UP

1987 becomes a very busy year; I try Skiing for the first time with Club Travel in Pinzolo, Italy.

 

In June I become the President of Wolverhampton Rotaract and also in June attend the International Rotaract Conference 'Interota' where I make many friends from around the World and some very good ones from New Zealand. I attend an 'Interota' reunion in Kirkcaldy, Scotland where I tragically miss a putt on the eighteenth green at St. Andrew's, the home of Golf.

In the hole - NOT

Minehead, Lynton & Lynmouth and Ilfracombe in North Devon is the destination for the first three night YHA weekend and Rotaract spends an eventful time in Cornwall where Bruce tries to vault a garden gate and doesn't.

Lindisfarne
'Lindisfarne Castle'
Built in 1550 and owned by the National Trust. It is located on Holy Island in Northumberland and is cut off from the Mainland at high tide.

Paris
'place du Tertre'
Where artists gather
In the shadow of the impressive Sacre Coeur in Paris
Where for art thou ?
Romeo & Juliet
1988
'The Balcony'
Verona, Italy

No 10

A famous door, but can you get this close to it ?
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1988
UP

Banbury

Banbury '88

I attend the National Rotaract Multi District Conference (MDC) in Glasgow and decide that due to the fact I spend three days without any sleep whatsoever this event deserves to be attended every year. I then spend the rest of the week (after a very long night's sleep) touring Scotland with Tim from Tipton Rotaract.

Trossachs Hotel

The Trossachs Hotel, Loch Achray. Simply Stunning.

Wolverhampton Rotaract visit Paris and I organise a trip to visit the 'Rovers Return' pub for a drink. The 'Rovers' is well known to anyone who has watched Coronation Street.

Rovers Return

District 1210 and Wolverhampton Rotaract takes Banbury Camping rally by storm, Winning the 5-a-side football, Volleyball, Male and Female Welly Wanging and Drinking competitions ! Skiing takes place with Club Travel to Folgarida in Italy. Youth Hostelling tries Castle Hedingham, Colchester and Blaxhall

Constable

Flatford Mill

PUB

The smallest Pub in Britain

Chopper

Coastguard at Aldburgh, Suffolk

Franz
The Great Franz Klammer shows that he understands English humour and even buys me a beer too !

Teazer
Teazer perform in Bloxwich with a guest appearance from Kathy, A kiwi I met at Interota '87

Nectar
'Tan Hill Inn'
Great Britain's Highest Pub, located on the Pennine Way North of Hawes in North Yorkshire

1989
UP
I form a mixed indoor cricket team called the 'Helmets' who join Division 2 at Wolverhampton and in their first season win the division. MDC visits Brighton on the South Coast The youth hostel trip goes to the Welsh border and we stop in the jail at St Briavels Castle and then Bath YH.

Jail

St Briavels

Slag

Llanfair.....gogogoch

I visit Anglesey and stop off for a look at the World's longest place name.
I decide to organise my own skiing trip and take 44 people to Les Crosets in Switzerland and Rotaski is formed. In the same year I meet the greatest Skier of all time - Franz Klammer. Members of Rotaract District 1210 form a rock band named Teazer.

1989 Ironbridge to Bridgnorth Raft Race organised by Bilston Rotaract

I want me mum

Entering Jackfield Rapids

Fools

Thomas the Tank Engine

Timer

Timer shots become a popular pastime of a few Rotaractors.

When somebody puts their camera on the floor, sets the timer and shouts 'TIMER' you race from wherever you are in the room to have your photograph taken !
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1990
UP

CleeBrown Clee

Sanitary Owl

I buy my first house and get views of five hills.
The Welsh Mountains, The Wrekin - a former Volcano, The Clee Hills, The Cleeve hills and The Malverns.

The Helmets are promoted to division 1 and win the league and cup competition. Skiing visits Serre Chevalier in France where I have a go at snowboarding but decide to stick with the skiing and I go to Livingo in Italy with Andy and Kevin. I join A.D.A.S. in the Architectural section as a farm buildings advisor !

HeroBoarding in Serre Chevalier StarUnicycling in Jury's Hotel, Dublin

MDC is in Dublin where one of the speakers is Simon Weston, the Welsh Guard injured in the Falkland War. Annual youth hostel trip visits Tintagel, Boscastle and Hartland in Cornwall.

Foxes

My Pets !

Timer

Timer shots are particularly good when your waitress gets involved !

1991
UP
The Rotaski trip visits Gosau in Austria whilst the YHA trip visits Cleeve Hill, Stow on the Wold and Duntisbourne Abbots. I travel with three Rotaract friends to Poole in Dorset to visit the R.N.L.I. to discuss a Rotaract project to raise funds for a Lifeboat. The project becomes known as Rotaboat. MDC is in Bradford, Yorkshire although I miss my family of nine fox cubs who decide to take residence in my garden. Still, it gives me a feeble excuse not to cut the lawn. I become the Chairman of our first ever Rotaract District Conference, which we hold in a gem of a hotel 'The Metropole' in Llandrindod Wells in Powys, Wales. This hotel becomes a regular destination and immediately becomes affectionately known as 'The Ropple' and Rotaract District 1210 holds its' Conference there annually.

The Fleece

'The Fleece'
A medieval pub at Bretforton near Evesham actually owned by the National Trust.
Interspray

'Interspray' setting off round the World.

6:00 am Ocean Village Southampton

1992
UP
MDC is hosted in Birmingham where the Rotaract District Chairmen are persuaded to back the Rotaboat project at a National level.
GenerationsIan becomes a Dad and four generations of the family get together
Woody's Top, Shining Cliff and Lincoln are the venues for the YHA weekend and Rotaski visit Tonale in Italy I get involved in the 'British Steel Challenge' round the World yacht race, which was conceived by Chay Blythe. Blythe, the British Yachtsman who was the first to sail round the World in the wrong direction - against the prevailing winds and tides. My support goes with Interspray in the challenge. One of ten identical yachts taking part in the race. 'Mango V' my five a side football team have an away game in a camping field in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

What a laff

'Mango V' Wet but happy

Buffoon

You have to enjoy life with a boss like this bloke !

Top Chaps

Owner of the 'Ropple' David Baird-Murray and Manager Dennis Gardener

Smoked Salmon

Scotland '93

'Sam' my parents Golden Retriever. Nothing but the best Scottish Smoked Salmon

My Baby

Sam feeling the chill at the Harbourside

A tadge otter

Sam - a little Otter !
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1993
UP
MDC moves back to it's first ever location of the Isle of Wight. Andy Steggall composes a song called 'Rescue me' to raise funds for Rotaboat. We record it at Rich Bitch studios in Birmingham. Home of 'Electric Light Orchestra'.

Rescue Me

'Rich Bitch'

No Grey's here

A Red Squirrel - Still around on the Isle of Wight

Rotaski travels to Crest Voland in France and the YHA trip visits Arnside, Ennerdale and Wastwater where Colin joins us, in the Lake District.

A number of District 1210's Rotaractors who are nearing Rotaract retirement age form 'The Jaffa Club' after a bar-be-que at Andy's house and vow to have the same sort of fun and entertainment that they've had in Rotaract but without holding any meetings !!

Jaffa club formation

Formation of the Jaffa Club

Timer
Older but still playing timer ! (Oldtimers ?)

I can see the pub from here

A break whilst walking over Scafell, England's highest peak.

Dyathinkhesawus

A Cumbrian Dinosaur 'Dyathinkhesawus' !!

I attend the World Bog snorkelling Championships in Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales and with Steve 'interview' the Ladies World Champion, a swimsuit clad Australian. Steve, Rotaract District 1210 Chairman then organises a Bath Race at Trentham Gardens in Stoke on Trent where a Rotarian is seen to have a blow up doll water skiing behind his bath !

OOH Mr Hunt !  t-kri7.gif (13997 bytes)

Bath Race

Smelly Bog

Bog Snorkelling

Billious

Bill, a Director at Work who has unfeasibly long legs !

Steve loses again

During a 'Jaffa' weekend at the 'Ropple' - Andy beats Steve at the 'Slap the card onto your forehead' game.

 

1994
UP
MDC is held in Blackpool and District 1260 announces that they have raised 10,000 pounds sterling by creating a giant mosaic in Milton Keynes shopping centre.
An early ski trip to Mayrhofen in Austria with Ian, a former Rotaractor from Kettering results in a meeting with Roy and Carole who then Join the Rotaski group in 1995. The Rotaski trip to Claviere in Italy is followed by a Christmas trip to Tonale in Italy.
'Mango V' visits the Lake District and takes part in quad biking, archery, go karting, rowing and my first attempt at driving an argocat vehicle.

Jason and the Argocat

'The Argocat'

Robin Hood

Archery

York, Lockton and Boggle Hole are the YHA destinations. We visit Castle Howard and Ian gets held to ransom.

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Ian at Gunpoint

Motto

The YHA

Wembley

'Wembley'

The twin towers of England's National Football Stadium

Horizontal

Martin's interpretation of how to ski moguls - Legs together Ski's apart.

On his back again

Martin see's how the professionals always show the bottom of their ski's to the camera. But he's being doing it for years.

The big battle

North V. South
The Rotaski Boys from County Durham take on the Southerners at Broomball in Folgarida, Italy. A game played in ordinary shoes with ice hockey sticks and a ball. Most of the playing time is spent on one's arse !
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1995
UP
I miss my first MDC at Lowestoft since 1988 due to work commitments but still manage two skiing trips to Folgarida in Italy and the Cairngorm in Scotland. A group stops at the Aviemore Highlands hotel managed by Dennis Gardener the former Manager of the Ropple. 'Mango V' visits 'The Ropple' for our lads weekend away and again take part in quad biking.

The winner

Quadding in Wales

Bald Steve

Jaccuzziing in Wales !

The YHA lads are accommodated in their second Castle at Pendennis and also stop at Exeter and Coverack, but this time spending the weekend travelling by Mountain bike rather than walking.

This is the life
November, and all the hard work pays off when Rotaract visit the R.N.L.I. headquarters in Poole and I say;


"I name this lifeboat 'Rotaract I', may God bless her and all who sail in her"


Nice View

Sam takes a look at the wildlife in my back garden

Kingy

My pet Kingfisher !

 

Squidger

My pet Squirrel !

 

Darlo Boys

The Darlo boys with Ian and I in a bar on the slopes at Bardonecchia, Italy.

1996
UP

euro96.jpg (37793 bytes)The YHA trip again cycles, but to Solva Creek, Trevine and Pwll Deri in Wales. I manage to get three ski trips in again with a recce trip to Flaine in France with Ian where we meet Andy & Sarah from Bradford. Stokies here

Stokies here, Stokies there
Time to fly the flag in Flaine

I attend the England V. Scotland game in Euro 96 at Wembley when Gazza scores 'THAT' goal. When you've got Martin- the Scotsman sitting next to you - life doesn't get very much better !

A trip to my Chairman's apartment in Val D 'Isere in France shows me how well the Boss can ski and the Rotaski group goes to Bardonecchia in Italy. 'Mango V' visits Barmouth in Wales and I have my first go at clay pigeon shooting and quad biking.

Britannia

Britannia

Stoke City's new stadium under construction

Scared of Ducks ?
Halfpenny Green

Vineyard in South Staffordshire who make a very good English wine. Along with work colleagues, I am challenged by our Solicitors at Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting, Hovercrafting, Karting and  'Duck' dog trials !

Hot air

1997
UP
Rotaski goes to Monte Campione in Italy and I try riding a skidoo for the first time. Well worth trying. YHA weekend is Dartington, Salcombe and Maypool.

On 4th May, after 119 years of football at the Victoria Ground, Stoke City play their last league game against the team they first met in the league, West Bromwich Albion. As per usual against the Baggies, Stoke win to send a capacity crowd home very happy.

Stoke 2 Albion 1
A pic of the Boothen End, where I normally stand but can't get a ticket for the last match.
Beat the Albion Again
Stoke City banner passes across the Boothen End.
You'll never beat the City !
The team say goodbye.

A new season and a brand new stadium.

Britannia Britannia Britannia
Two shots of the North Stand and One of the McEwans stand on August 27th against Rochdale - the first game at the Britannia Stadium.

I then join a new group of friends 'The Corks' later in the year again in Salcombe for their annual weekend away.

Nice Bush !'Mango V' go away to 'The Ropple' again and take mountain bikes. But find a very slippy Welsh mountain to try and get up. Who wants to play the fart game  ?Most of the family manage to make it through a Chinese Christmas Day for a more traditional gathering on Boxing Day.

Highlander
The magnificent Eilean Donan Castle at Loch Duich.

1998
UP
Rotaski takes a trip to Schladming in Austria and I again attend an MDC, ten years after my first in Glasgow, in Aberdeen, Scotland. I spend the rest of the week in spectacular parts of Scotland such as the Isle of Skye and Glen Coe, Eilean Donan Castle has to be visited if you've ever seen the film Highlander.
Retail Park
Dunnottar Castle, South of Stonehaven stands in a spectacular location and dates from the 5th Century
Aberdeen

Kilo, Buttle, Jo, Brad, DJ, Caroline & Ange during a walk on Aberdeen sea front on a windy afternoon. Later to become an extremely wet afternoon after being caught in a torrential rainstorm.

The YHA weekend is in Keswick, Longthwaite and Buttermere in the Lake District. I develop a web site for work and decide that Rotaski should have a presence on the web.

After becoming good friends with Andy & Sarah, met on a ski trip in 1996, I officially become a 'regular' supporter of the Bradford Bulls rugby league team which Andy follows avidly. 

I am invited to join Kingsley Homes Ltd for their annual staff golfing weekend. This is held in Edinburgh, Scotland where I manage to play the first nine holes of the 'Braids 2' course without losing a ball despite the course being ninety five per cent heather with the rest being made up of greens & tees !

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I enjoy my first visit aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia

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1999
UP
The 10th anniversary Rotaski trip heads for Sansicario in Italy but only after Andy, Ian and myself get some practice in Val Thorens in France.
San1.jpg (27462 bytes)Andy, Sarah & Sam enjoying a drink in the Bar Val1.jpg (39346 bytes)Ian learning to lean well forward in Soft Powder !

I spend an excellent few days touring Scotland as part of 'Highlander II' a convoy of 20 MGF's

I join Kingsley Homes for their golf weekend again held in Edinburgh and play the best golf I've ever played in glorious sunny Scottish weather.

Continuing support of the Bradford Bulls gives me my first visit to Old Trafford. After the Bulls win the super league, they then take on St Helens in the play off final but unfortunately go down 8-6

I start my own business developing Websites.

The annual YHA weekend visits Epping Forest, Chatham and Canterbury in Kent and is not impressed ! Apart from finding a couple of great pubs we found the North end of Kent to be full of scrap yards and second hand car dealers.

gloria.jpg (28121 bytes)After missing a year I rejoin 'The Corks' at Salcombe for 'Salcombe 6'. I design T shirts for the weekend which seem to get noticed when eleven are paraded around the village and when we again take over the beach for the annual cricket match.

2000UP I spend New Year in 'The Ropple' in Llandrindod Wells and the days before in Yorkshire - researching pubs for the Fat Badgers Guide to Quality Inns

The eleventh skiing trip is held in Pra Loup in France where Roy provides the weeks entertainment with a spectacular crash caught on video.

After being unable to attend the two visits which my beloved Stoke City make to Wembley during my lifetime, it becomes third time lucky when stoke reach the Auto Windsrcreens Trophy final and retain their 100% record of wins at the national stadium with a 2-1 win over Bristol City. I spend a few days in London getting thoroughly drunk...

After watching Bradford Bulls beat Warrington in the semi final of the Silk Cup held at Headingley in Leeds, I am unable to get a ticket for the final which takes place in Edinburgh on a bank Holiday weekend. The Bulls run out winners against arch rivals Leeds Rhinos 24-18

The annual Salcombe weekend is booked in for the last weekend in July with everybody following Steve's trend of 1999 by taking false teeth.

The annual YHA trip heads for Golant, Penzance & Land's End in Cornwall and I get an extra visit in to Beer Hostel in Dorset the day before heading down for the annual Salcombe weekend.

I join the modern world and purchase my first digital camera enabling me to put my photos online.
Bewdley Flood, Worcestershire Salcombe, Devon Llangollen, Wales

2001UP sandisk 557.jpg (61701 bytes)The twelfth skiing trip heads off to Austria and during a recent visit to a fancy dress hire shop, I purchase 5 Rod Stewart style wigs and produce them at the airport thinking we could wear them out on slopes one day. They turn out to be such a popular purchase that they are worn all week both on and off the slopes and we become minor celebrities in the Outback bar in Leogang. We are inundated with offers from people wanting to buy them off us, we are asked on stage with the band, have the band wearing them during their performance whereupon they ask us to come back the following week as it's "The best gig they've ever had". We also get all the locals and skiers of many other nationalities to join in with a Austrian single 'Hey Baby' by DJ Otzi which ends up with almost everybody in a bar in Geneva airport joining in. The song then later becomes a No. 1 hit in the UK.

sandisk 669.jpg (51455 bytes)After a fifteen year gap since , I'm invited by Ade to join him on a sailing weekend in the Solent with friends. Richard skippers the boat we're on with Keith skippering a second yacht.

DCP00807.JPG (48415 bytes)The Annual Salcombe trip is blessed with scoring sunny conditions.

The YHA weekend is attended just by two of us and we head off to Bangor in North Wales. Ian's brother Andy can't make it and is disappointed to find out that we share the Youth hostel with two coach loads of female Basketball players !

sandisk 214.jpg (31799 bytes)I pay another of many visits to Old Trafford to watch the Bradford Bulls take on Wigan in the final of the Super League playoffs. After a disappointing game against St. Helens in '99 The Bulls demolish the Warriors and I feel a need to take a photo of the scoreboard at half time as Bradford are already 26-0 up !

After Two years of building websites, I create the website for an Oak Frame Building manufacturer Prime Oak Buildings and then remain with them designing buildings.

Bangor, Wales Leogang, (Saalbach), Austria Ludlow, Shropshire
Sailing (Cowes) Salcombe, Devon
2002UP sandisk 371.jpg (85639 bytes)With Stoke City's 100% winning record at Wembley, I visit the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to watch them play Brentford in the Second division play off final due to Wembley being closed for refurbishment ! However Stoke become the first team to break the South dressing room jinx by winning the game, probably becoming the only team to have 100% winning records at both Wembley and The Millennium.

sandisk 812.jpg (41691 bytes)I join Keith and Ade on a further trip sailing in the Solent and we get much better weather than the previous year.

sandisk 994.jpg (52702 bytes)Following the success of the 'Rodettes' skiing in 2001 and a comment of "How on earth are we going to beat that holiday" we purchase four Gorilla suits for a trip in January to Tignes in France. This proves to be a skiing highlight as we once again become minor celebrities around the resort. A second 'reccy' ski trip to Les Deux Alpes with Ian in March requires the suit to be used again which gets me lots of hugs & kisses from some very nice Dutch women !

In Salcombe we take a trip aboard the old Salcombe Lifeboat which is run a a pleasure craft by the former Cox who also featured in a TV documentary on Salcombe lifeboatmen and the 'Salcombe Fringe' takes place at Baggeridge.

sandisk 101.jpg (48017 bytes)The Gorilla suits make further appearances at both Valley parade in Bradford (temporary home of the Bradford Bulls whilst the new stand is built at Odsal), where we are invited onto the pitch and introduced to the crowd and also again at Old Trafford in the Play Off Final although some Manchester bouncers won't let us into the pubs wearing football ?? shirts (or Gorilla heads). They also appear on a night out in York where we are allowed into pubs

Stoke City Promotion Les Deux Alpes, France Sailing (Cowes)
Salcombe, Devon Tignes, France

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2003UP The Annual YHA trip takes place in January and we end up staying at a farm in Norfolk as there are no hostels open.

sandisk 056.jpg (67552 bytes)sandisk 435.jpg (33005 bytes)The Rotaski skiing trip is to La Plagne, France in March, the Gorilla's appear out on the slopes again as they do in a January trip to Chamonix, France where three Andy's take four kids away to experience some of the best off piste conditions you could ever wish for.

Having bought myself an MGF Trophy for Christmas in December 2002, I join in with a few MGF days out including the fantastic Scottish Highlander trips organised by the Central Scotland MGF group.

IMGP0709.JPG (51960 bytes)Mango V Football Club decide to venture into Europe 20 years after the previous adventure in the Ardennes. This time we choose Pisa in Italy but don't ascend the leaning tower as there is a four hour queue - we choose to go to a bar instead. 

IMGP0559.JPG (72172 bytes)The Gorillas put in another appearance, this time at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to watch the Bradford Bulls beat Leeds Rhinos in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.

IMGP1062.JPG (42544 bytes)We introduce Roy (A member of Rotaski Elite) to sailing with a weekend sailing from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Kirkudbright in Scotland but after a night on the ale, cooking a full English whilst bobbing about in a lively Kirkudbright estuary or the bouncing back in a force 7 Near Gale, Roy spends 9 hours being ill over the back of the boat.

IMGP1138.JPG (67185 bytes)I join 'The Corks' on their weeks holiday aboard a Canal Boat along the Stratford Canal and am pleasantly surprised that it's not boring travelling at around four miles an hour - it's a really relaxing way to spend a week.

West Yorkshire Pisa & Florence, Italy
Esholt BBQ, West Yorkshire Stratford Canal, Warwickshire South Glamorgan, Wales (MGF)
Aberdovey (Aberdyfi), Wales Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk Rugby League Challenge Cup Final
Cotswolds (MGF Day Out) Highlands, Scotland (MGF Highlander V) La Plagne, France
Chamonix, France Salcombe, Devon Sailing (Whitehaven)
2004UP IMGP1761.JPG (71966 bytes)The YHA trip breaks from tradition and stays in the same hostel for more than one night - but only because there are not many hostels open as it's still only March. Andy loses it on Branscome Beach when I do a 'Neil Kinnock' and fall over whilst trying to get back from a wave - the photo I was taking came out alright though !

IMGP2798.JPG (47680 bytes)Following the success of the Mango V trip to Pisa & Florence, we chose to try Bordeaux in France and find that it is a lovely town. We have a trip on the train to nearby Arcachon, the oldest resort on the C�te d'Argent where we hire bikes & cycle to the Dune du Pyla - Europe's highest sand dune, a spectacular expanse of sand which is well worth a visit.

IMGP1885.JPG (23233 bytes)I again travel up to Scotland to take part in the Highlander VI run which takes place around my favourite part of Scotland - the West Coast. Andy Bates and I choose to divert from the route all the other MG's take (via Eileen Donan castle) as we've done that before and take the ferry over to Skye. After taking a superb lunch of Cullen Skink we head back towards our hotel at Kyle of Lochalsh and witness some spectacular cloud action over the Cullen Hills.

IMGP2459.JPG (45166 bytes)I also join in with a well established MG run from Llandudno where we get special permission to park on the prom where all the tourists wander past admiring the cars.IMGP2308.JPG (53597 bytes)

Other MG events include a weekend at Silverstone which includes MG racing, a run around Shropshire taking lunch in the excellent Inn at Grinshill and a weekend driving around the Welsh hills taking in lots of dams and an excellent military road over he top of the moors. 

IMGP2337.JPG (60081 bytes)The annual Salcombe weekend enjoys superb weather and I enjoy meandering my way back along the coast using the ferry at Dartmouth with a quick pub stop in Teignmouth.

IMGP1534.JPG (63886 bytes)I manage to fit in thee Skiing trips in 2004. Rotaski Elite head off to Courchevel in France with the Gorillas appearing on some of the days. I spend a long weekend in Zell am See in Austria, meeting up with the Darlo lads, a group from Darlington who used to ski with Rotaski fifteen years ago but who now organise their own skiing holidays. IMGP1495.JPG (22600 bytes)The three Andy's also head out to Kitzb�hel in Austria to ski the Hahnenkamm, part of which, the Streif is regarded as the most demanding racing slope in the Alpine Skiing World Cup. We also find probably our favourite alpine Bar, a converted toilet in the middle of town and Andy learns how to fly an helicopter !

IMGP2645.JPG (42057 bytes)There's also plenty of sailing trips in 2004 - Long weekend's in the Solent including being overtaken by The Waverley, the last sea going paddle steamer in the World and a week long trip to the Channel Islands which turned out to be a race to Cherbourg and back as there was a massive gale heading up from the South which would have stopped us from getting back to Blighty in time. We were then overtaken by H.M.S. Gloucester as we got back into Gosport.

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I spend a weekend with 'The Corks' on their Canal boat on the Thames, exploring the river from Eynsham to Abingdon & back and also spend a weekend in Weymouth, Dorset.

Beer - Devon Bewdley Flood, Worcestershire Esholt BBQ, West Yorkshire
Bordeaux France Courchevel Skiing, France Highlands, Scotland (MGF Highlander VI)
Sailing (Isle of Man) Kitzbuhel Skiing, Austria Llandudno MG Run
Dambusters MGF Run A Night Out in Esholt ! Thames Boating
Sailing (Cowes) - May Sailing (Cowes) - Sept Sailing to France - July
Salcombe, Devon Shropshire MGF Run Silverstone
Weymouth, Dorset Zell am See, Skiing - Austria
2005UP IMGP1001.JPG (21612 bytes)The Annual YHA trip doesn't happen in 2005 but Ian does join us on one of the years sailing trips. We get superb weather in April & Ian burns his bald bonce. In June, Paul from Mango V joins us for the first time and is immediately hooked as he was when I introduced him to Skiing.
IMGP0965.JPG (49606 bytes)Apart from three weekends in the the Solent we successfully manage to complete a trip to Jersey & Guernsey with two fantastic overnight sails across the Channel. We also spot a magnificent Ocean Sunfish between St. Peterport & St. Helier.

Picture 045.jpg (26735 bytes)The Rotaski trip heads for Mayrhofen, Austria in January but is plagued with queues as it turns out there are two Austrian Bank Holiday's during the week. A number of new people are introduced to the Sport of Pegging and lots of fun is had in Mayrhofen bars.
Stakesy, Roy, Ade & I also head off to Vebier in Switzerland to experience some of the best skiing that can be found in the Alps. We book everything independently as we're fed up of Ski Tour operators forcing us to endure a really crap cafe just outside Alberville, which turns out to be quite handy as Roy & Ade have to travel back to Geneva to pick up a new passport for Ade as he lost his hand luggage in the airport. They drop Stakesy & I off at the Portes du Soleil so we can have a day skiing with the Darlo lads, returning via the 'White Wall of Death' at Les Crosets. Picture 008.jpg (24951 bytes)Because our flights are a day early, we spend a night in Montreux Youth Hostel and pay a visit to the Freddie Mercury statue where I force the other three to endure the cold whilst I take a photo to reproduce the Queen album 'made in Heaven'.

IMGP2973.JPG (67794 bytes)During the Salcombe weekend where we once again get great weather, we hold a golf tournament at Thurlstone where I win despite me wearing sandals and the others wearing golf shoes !

IMGP0396.JPG (43389 bytes)I join the MGF register event at Avebury & Stonehenge where Andy Bates & I disappear to a much better lunch pub than the one chosen where the Nutty Landlord announces everybody who walks in through the front door as as 'Lord & Lady....'.  

Sailing (The Solent) April Sailing (The Solent) June Sailing (The Solent) July
Channel Islands Sailing Esholt, West Yorkshire BBQ Mayrhofen Skiing, Austria
Salcombe, Devon Stonehenge SWMGF Verbier Skiing, Switzerland
Uttoxeter Races Chester, Cheshire
2006UP IMGP1403.JPG (40912 bytes)Just one Ski trip in 2006 as business at Prime Oak is manic. Rotaski head off to Le Corbier in France. Not the best resort in the World as it's very quite at night. We tried to see a local band but left before we'd even got a drink as they were absolute pants - It can't be particularly nice for a band when they start their first track and the audience burst out laughing and leave - But then the French have never been too good at music have they ?

IMGP1716.JPG (10565 bytes)The Cosford air show is again held in June and my sister & Brother in Law host their annual BBQ as they live at the end of the runway and this year I'm not sailing - Great weather and a great show with Spitfires, the Eurofighter and the Red Arrows.

IMGP1930.JPG (39036 bytes)IMGP1839.JPG (44796 bytes)In July I head off to France again with my old Boss, Pete Barby and other current & former Mango V players, to Le Mans Classic. The usual 24 hour racing you get at Le Mans but with classic cars, we travel from Shropshire with An Alvis, an Aston Martin, Porsche, Austin Healy, E-type Jag, MGB, Jaguar XK150, Cobra and a VW Scirocco which two of the young lads bought for the trip, drove to Le Mans & back and then sold for more than they bought it for !

IMGP2233.JPG (50631 bytes)The YHA trip reverts back to using a Youth Hostel again when we get flights to Jersey for �12. As there's only one hostel on Jersey, we use that for the long weekend little knowing of the morbid history that the former Children's Home has. We experience fantastic weather and hire bikes for the weekend. A trip to Gerald Durrell's superb Zoo, somewhere I've wanted to visit since childhood is as good as I ever expected, better in fact.

IMGP1999.JPG (28696 bytes)I only manage one sailing trip in 2006 which clashes with the annual Salcombe weekend so I miss that for only the second time. Sailing is to the Bay of Biscay in France. We fly out to La Rochelle, a place well worth a visit and flights can be found to what is a tiny airport, quite cheaply. We don't get much wind but have a great trip anyway.

Cosford Air Show - June Jersey - September Bay of Biscay Sailing - July
Le Corbier Skiing, France Le Mans Classic
2007UP IMGP2764.JPG (33984 bytes)In April 2007 I sail for the first time with Cath, someone whose been on many a Rotaski trip. We sail with a friend of hers, David as his wife doesn't like to even though he owns a quarter of a boat. I really enjoyed this visit to the Solent - not only for the great views of the Needles at six o'clock in the morning but also for the Dolphin that followed us from the Needles for around half an hour.

IMGP2989.JPG (64184 bytes)In May, I take my Coastal Skipper exam and despite not doing the Day Skipper course or any of the other seven theory courses that are required for this level of Sailing - I pass ! The exam lasts from eight o'clock in the morning until three a.m. the following day. IMGP2987.JPG (66347 bytes)Ade also qualifies as Coastal Skipper and Stakesy as Yachtmaster. The end of the week sees a load of other friends arrive in Gosport & we take two boats out for the weekend - I have a boat full of women but thankfully the sea breezes drown out most of their chatter !
During the week, I get to visit the RNLI maintenance works at East Cowes, twelve years after naming the Rotaract lifeboat only to find that the boat has actually arrived there from Scotland that morning for its annual service.

Later in the year I get my Short Range Radio Operators license which is required for Coastal Skippers.

IMGP2856.JPG (32797 bytes)I head down to Kent for a weekend for Nigel's birthday and we spend the Day at Buckmore Park, an excellent Go Kart track that many Formula 1 Drivers have used over the years. Along with Chalky from Prime Oak & his mate, we finish fourth out of around twenty teams - only being beaten by the teams that are at Buckmore at least once a week.

My first visit to Poland is to join Martin for his stag night/weekend in Krakow - a lovely place. I also spend a weekend in the Cotswold's with Welsh Paul testing pubs for Fat Badgers after going to a Martyn Joseph concert in Stroud.

IMGP2551.JPG (92117 bytes)IMGP2557.JPG (66763 bytes)La Clusaz in France is the destination for the Rotaski trip and experiences no snow one day and too much the following day, whilst Stakesy & I also get a very early ski weekend in December arranged in St. Moritz in Switzerland after deciding we were bored three days earlier. I lose my mobile phone in St. Moritz but luckily it is found by a French woman from Monaco, unluckily she doesn't bother to send it to me even though she promised she would.

IMGP3704.JPG (65935 bytes)IMGP3768.JPG (37713 bytes)The YHA trip was back to just Ian & I and not hostelling. Flights were dirt cheap to Londonderry in Ireland and the hostels don't look very impressive in that neck of the woods so we stopped in hotels instead. A visit to the Giants Causeway which was a little over commercialised for my liking was bettered by a walk over the Carrick a Rede rope bridge - fantastic. We also visited Bloody Foreland, a name I'd sniggered at on a map when I was seven and have wanted to visit ever since. It is almost as impressive as the West Coast of Scotland.

IMGP3430.JPG (69025 bytes)IMGP3554.JPG (38468 bytes)I again win the golf tournament in Salcombe and this year decide to spend the whole week down there so book an hotel for the start of the week - luckily the hotel has available rooms for the weekend where I chose to stay put as it rains on the campers all weekend - I on the other had have sunshine all week before everyone else arrives and spend a delightful day out in Polperro, Cornwall.

Hamble Sailing - April Buckmore Park, Kent Gosport Sailing - May
La Clusaz, Skiing - France Krakow - Poland Devon - July 
Cotswolds - June Ilkley BBQ - West Yorkshire Leicestershire - August
Londonderry - Ireland St Moritz, Skiing - Switzerland
2008UP In 2008 I get my First Aid qualification and also my PADI open water Scuba.

IMGP3975.JPG (41861 bytes)I join the Darlo lads Skiing again in Zell am See and ski in probably the darkest conditions ever as Welsh Paul joins us and loses his skis at the top of the mountain.

IMGP4010.JPG (42956 bytes)Stakesy & I then have another week in the Three Valleys in France have have the worst service ever from Crystal - A company we will never use again as not only was the brochure highly inaccurate but they also charged us twice for the lift pass at �170 and won't return calls or answer emails.


DubrovnikIn June we charter two yachts from Sunsail and spend a superb ten days in Croatia. Stakesy has one boat with a few girls as crew and I skipper the other with Welsh Paul and his girlfriend Claire crewing. Jeanette (Stakesy's fianc�) manages to arrange for a couple of apartments for two nights in the centre of Dubrovnik as hotels in the centre are impossible to get into - well worth visiting, a lovely place.
I spend a few days in Limerick training Prime Oak Ireland along with a visit to Belgium to train the new Belgian arm of the company and a weekend with Andrew Day, our designer based in Truro who never makes the head office meetings (although the weekend is mainly spent Fat Badgering)
Having not been to an England cricket match for years, I visit Edgbaston with Ian to watch England against South Africa.
Andy and AndyHaving also not been to a wedding for years, I then have three stag weekends to attend, Duncan's in Edinburgh, Nigel's in Newcastle and then back to Edinburgh for Stakesy's. I then act as Best Man for Stakesy as he weds Jeanette. It was less than 5 minutes after they were married and not even out of the churchyard before she told him to take his hands out of his pockets. Pity she wasn't that quick three weeks earlier when we were having a little gathering around the fire pit at two in the morning when Stakesy stepped backwards whilst chopping some wood and fell into the cold icy water of Hebersghyll at the bottom of the ravine, resulting in a few broken ribs and a cancelled honeymoon.

The end of July sees the annual weekend in Salcombe get great weather and a helicopter landing on the first green during the golf but with our golf skills, nobody hits it.
In September I visit the Southampton boat show for the first time, parking across the water in Hythe & coming in by Ferry, a very good way to avoid parking costs and queues. New recruitsI then head down to Lymington & introduce three new people to sailing before one crew departs and I'm joined by another to then spend the rest of the week sailing across to France. We get superb 25 knot southerly winds which get us to France three hours earlier than expected, this means that both Stakesy & I are in our bunks at four in the morning when our crew start shouting that there's some strange white water in front of the boat - oopsthe SAT NAV seems to think that we actually hit land but luckily Stakesy was sleeping in his full sailing gear and was able to turn the boat around possibly inches before there was a loud crunching sound!

Ventnor SunriseIn October the annual YHA trip heads for the Isle of Wight, a stop over on the way down at Salisbury YH is the only hostel as there were none open on the island. The NeedlesWe were stunned to get superb weather (t-shirts & shorts) and consequently I get some great sunrises and shots of the Needles.

Cow BarnIn December I'm introduced to the Cow Barn in Lower Penn, purchased by a Property Developer I used to work for, although full of cow pats, I think "This would be a good place to live!"

Zell am See, Skiing - Austria 3 Valleys, Skiing - France
2009UP Martin on his arse againThe now annual, long weekend skiing with the Darlo lads heads off to Courmayeur, somewhere I've been before and wouldn't really choose to go back as it's expensive, has too many bottlenecks and requires a wait for a cable car to get back down at the end of the day. My view doesn't change as we are constantly told to make the last lift at 5pm or we have to walk back down the mountain thereby forcing us to abandon any idea of a few drinks in a mountain restaurant to round the day off. Wavey Davey from the Darlo lads is tasked with sorting the accommodation but Martin finds a better hotel, half board at half the price so the Brummie boys choose the alternative.
The Taylor TripletsTop Banana Taylor decides to take the kids skiing for the week and asks me to be his pretend wife as he can't bear to call me his ski guide. Thankfully it's twin beds although that doesn't cut out Roy's snoring.

Donimics crashA few minor tantrums during the week with the kids is easily bearable for a week on the slopes in Madonna di Campiglio and although we slightly lose Hannah for a while in Folgarida and Donimic has a tearful moment when I suggest some great little 'bumps' to ski over and then photograph him falling on his face - we have a great time and it's smiles all around as I persuade the kids to try their first Black run.
The middle of the year involves lots of family stuff as my Cousin Caroline emigrates with husband Rob & son Matthew to Australia and my parents celebrate their Golden wedding anniversary.

I join Stakesy & Jeanette & the dogs for a night in Ellesmere Port during their canal boat holiday and Nicola Hudsonfollowing a visit to the Britannia Stadium to see Stoke City, I call in to the Motiva Stadium in Stone on my way home to watch Stoke City Ladies beat West Brom Ladies as I'd exchanged a few messages with Vicki Mitchell on the Oatcake message board. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and had my camera with me and as they were playing away at Wolves the following week, I decided to go and support them again.
England v West IndiesFollowing last years visit to Edgbaston to watch England play South Africa in a test match Ian and I return to watch England against the West Indies in the third one day international. England ScoreboardWe miss the start of the game because of the massive queue to get in but then witness England demolish the Windies with the highest one day score at Edgbaston.
This time I decide to take my camera but because of the high amount of action, 'forget' to take many photos. Luckily I decide to pick up the camera just at the moment Jimmy Anderson smashes the wickets with the last ball of the
match.
Graeme HickThe YHA trip is just Ian & I again and we head off to Guernsey, the only problem being that Guernsey doesn't have any Youth Hostels so we stop in a delightful pub/hotel The Fleur du Jardin  We manage to get cheap flights from Bristol where I suddenly find I am sitting next to cricketer Graeme Hick on the plane. Although he holds the record for the highest score in first class cricket 405 not out against Somerset, I'm not aware if he's ever bowled England Captain Mike Gatting like I have! (OK, it was in the nets at 'Stumps' indoor cricket centre next to Villa Park when he was playing for Wellingborough and he had just knocked me for six and just because I then when for spin rather than pace so he went for another maximum, just because I didn't manage to get any spin on the ball and it went straight on - I still bowled him!)
Matt Le TissHick revealed he was playing in an England all stars match against Guernsey with the likes of Phil De Freitas and Gladstone Small, we decided to see if we could get to see the game. When we sat down to watch, we found we were sat next to Mr & Mrs Le Tissier.
The Thompson TwinsSailing trips to the Solent in June, July & September had a mixture of crew & conditions.
Windy daysThe June trip saw three virgins in David Bettany, Joanne Thompson & Steve Thompson when we got great weather and a close encounter with a cardinal, July where the virgins from last year experienced some 25 knot winds and CrewSeptember Where the Skipper (Stakesy) didn't turn up as he went off to sail the Bay of Biscay instead.
Zell am See, Skiing - Austria 3 Valleys, Skiing - France
2010UP

Where's Crappo?Skiing in 2010 sees the Darlo Lads trip venue chosen by me as Martin finds cheap flights to Munich, I therefore suggest that it's probably the only chance any of us will get in ticking 'Skiing in Germany' off the list so we head to Garmisch - a world cup ski resort and previous Olympic venue but not a huge amount of skiing. Gary finds a pleasant looking hotel in the town centre which turns out to be simply brilliant. Really friendly staff and superb food The Atlas Grand.
The weekend was a complete disaster from start to finish, that's what happens when you ski with stupid people. Thankfully, I wasn't the cause of any of the
problems. - First morning Martin dropped four off us off at the lift before heading off to get skis for Mike who'd forgotten to sort them the night before
like everybody else who don't posses their own. We then find out that the lift we have been deposited at is the lift for the Olympic ski jump which isn't
connected to the skiing in any way. We phone Martin numerous times to say 'pick us up' but it appears he's now lost Mike. Turns out that Martin is waiting at the back door of the shop whilst Mike is stood outside the front door wondering where Martin has got to.
Day three sees Crappo head off to put his skis in the car whilst we sit in a bar at the bottom of the slopes - because they're expensive and he doesn't want
them nicked. He comes back to inform us the car has been stolen. It's not until there's only four cars left on the car park that he realises he's in a hire car not his own. Apart from other little disasters such as losing room keys, the funniest moment happens on day 2. We decide to ski in Austria for the day so
head off Lermoos, unfortunately Gary takes a left turn at a T junction as he spots a sign for a ski lift so we end up at the new 100 person cable car at
Ehrwald which takes us up onto the Zugspitz, Germany's highest mountain. We have a great day skiing aprt from one guy Steve who doesn't do drag lifts so he's stuck on the same run all day. At the end of the day, we head back down in the brand new huge 100 person blue cable car although we notice that Crappo appears to not be with us despite being with us in the queue. Whilst we wait for the last cable car down before it shuts, we get a call from Crappo saying that they can't find the car in the car park and where were we. Turns out they went down the mountain in an old rickety 20 person red La Rosierecable car into not only a different resort but also a different country and a three quarters of an hour drive from where the were supposed to be. We've not mentioned it since, much.
She's been PeggedA second ski trip heads to La Rosiere in France with Jenny, Welsh Paul & Claire with some of the coldest weather I've seen in a ski resort for quite a while, we introduce a few new people to the noble sport of pegging.

On the bench or ski lift?Stoke City ladies ask me to become their 'Media Officer' and I continue to take photos of their games including their cup final win in pouring rain. Stoke Ladies Cup WinnersI also then design a new website for them and get invites to see England Ladies play and qualify for next years World Cup including entrance into the exec suite where the team come and join us after the game. I get given a full set of training gear and attend Hope Powella few meetings/events at the Britannia Stadium and am then asked to head a fundraising committee. I'm then asked to take photographs at Birmingham FA when Hope Powell, England Ladies manager holds a training session and demonstration and my photos are used on the FA website.
Dublin GuinnessI jet off to Dublin for the night to meet a prospective Prime Oak client so take Jenny and we do a bit of Fat Badgering whilst we're there.


Tenerife CrabIn March, Jenny and I visit my parents in Tenerife who spend most of the winter there every year. Jenny takes eight bikinis with her but doesn't get the chance to wear any of them as we head off every day exploring the island.


Round the Island startIn June I take part in the 'Round the Island' race for the first time. With a mixed crew of complete beginers and three experienced sailors we head down to the Hamble River a day early to get some practice in and sort out who is most suited to each individual role on the boat.
Off St. Catherine's PointWe are given a 06:20 start time which we think is going to be in our favour as the superfast racing yachts which start first are likely to round the Needles whilst the tide is still against them but then if we don't get to the Needles early enough then we won't get through Hurst Point. Skipper Steve takes the helm through the start line perfectly and I take over the helm and take us down the Solent and around the Needles. We pick a great route as we overtake supposedly faster boats that started 20 minutes before us before we even get to the Needles. After Steve and David take the helm around the South of the Island, I then take over at Bembridge for the run in to the finish line and we scream past lots of boats during the run in to Cowes, some of which started over an hour before us.
Once we are parked up in Cowes, we get a call from Steve's wife who has been following our progress on the internet, to tell us that we finished 149th out of
the 1754 boats that entered beating not only Velsheda but also Ben Ainslie by 179 places and he's got three Olympic Gold medals!

Pam & SidMy cousin Pam asks me to take the 'official' photos for her wedding to Sid which I happily do although without wanting to be called 'official' as everybody then tries to take the same photos as you.

MollySadly, at the grand old age of 13, Stakesy's dog Molly passes away. A dog I have a strong bond with having been there from the start and one of the finest dogs dogs I have ever encountered. Jeanette's tribute on their blog on the website, (Hebersghyll Newfoundlands) I created for them for the birth of Jess's puppies is a fitting tribute to a superb dog. My memories of coming back from the pub and sliding Molly across the kitchen floor when she was the size of a very fluffy football, will stay with me forever - What a great dog!
Lake BirdieThe Annual YHA trip heads back to the Lakes although we stop in a pub for the first night, the excellent Britannia Inn. We then try Cockermouth and Grasmere Youth Hostels. 

Zell am See, Skiing - Austria 3 Valleys, Skiing - France