…. so 13 is unlucky, I think not

With “13” being in the date of this year some may think it was going to be unlucky, but then I suppose for some it inevitably was, but for us, happy to say no it was another good year. Of course it was not smiles for 365 days, but then no one does that. Some of these posts have already been posted, scroll down to read them, but in the mean time here is a quick recap of the year …….

January brought a whole new meaning to getting fit for me. Jan and the girls would go out on various evenings to “Jazzercise”. On 26 January it was “bring a man along” so for a laugh I went along. Making a complete fool of myself, along with all the other men, we must have given all the ladies a good laugh. Surprisingly I came out wanting more, you see I have always loved music and dancing, so this was right up my street. If I could do anything different in my life, it would have been to be a dancer …. anyway the next class was on Monday evening, so along I went to sign up. I remember this girl (Rosie) asking me to stand at the front with her, so I could follow her …. I was having none of that and to the back of the class I went. Little did I know a year on, I would be standing front row, by choice and now and again even make it on stage to show my moves off ! …… I think so far up to date, I am somewhere around the 240 classes attended in a year …. Addicted, oh yes. I love it and feel so much better, lost a lot of weight, fit in my shirts and have made some great new friends ……. ps. one more Jazzercise story to come in November

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March brought another first, the Geneva Motor Show. I was invited along by a good friend Paul Westlake who I met on Twitter. He told me for £86 we could fly to Switzerland and back in a day and get into the show itself …. so that’s what we did. It was a great day and got some great pictures too. I must admit I spent the most time on the Mercedes stand and could have spent a fortune ! May be one year if my numbers ever come up.

Geveva Motor Show 120313 Frank Millar-4Geveva Motor Show 120313 Frank Millar-5

… sadness hit the Millar house on 20 March, we lost our dog Rudy. He was a good age and had a great life, it was only a matter of time and he lasted a lot longer than we expected. I had the job of taking him to the vets and not bringing him back….. the Millar house was very quiet that evening.

Rudy Millar

I suggested we leave it until Christmas to see if we replace him …. but I would catch Jan surfing the internet just days later and six days after we lost Rudy …. we had Archie ……. What he has destroyed so far (carpet, glasses, 32gb memory card, draw knobs, woodwork) I am not sure we will have him as long as we had Rudy !!

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 11.31.471963 was a great year as it was the year I was born. So fast forward 50 years and it was time to have a party……. I had been planning the party for over a year, well the guest list anyway. Having it at home we were limited in numbers …..yet we peaked at 90 …. all inside as well as it was a horrid evening outside. Some fantastic surprises, an old school friend, who turned up in his Aston Martin DB9 to my cousins daughter from Canada. It was the best party I have ever been to and will never forget it. Thanks to family and friends for making it one of the best birthdays ever. ( you can read more detail further down this blog)

_DSF3604_DSF3555_DSF3607The April tradition of going up to Sheffield to watch snooker continued this year, with a new addition, Peter. The six of us had the usually laugh, drink, curry and if I remember right we took in some snooker too!

June and in need of the break from working ( yes I have been working too, its not been all party party)  we were lucky enough to be offered our friends mobile home down on the south coast, so off Jan & I went for a few days ….. again you can read more further down the blog.

Who does not love Brighton ? We were again lucky enough to be invited down by my in-laws to spend sometime with them. We were only going to stay in The Grand. Now I have been to some nice hotels in my time, but this was one of the best. The service, staff and just everything about it ticked all the boxes. We were so lucky with the weather sunshine most days …. one morning I got up very early and just walked around Brighton, watching it wake up ….. so nice …..

Brighton-1so we had done the seaside, now it was time of some other friends of our’s, Ian and Tracy to spoil us with a boat trip on the Thames. They have a small little cruiser and we had a great day seeing the posh parts of Oxfordshire from a different perspective, the river. A picnic laughs and a good old chat  … and the odd beer or two… again another great day in 2013 was had

IMG_3411 IMG_3416August brings the British Beer Festival to London. Now if you know me, you will know I am a lager and bacardi and coke sort of guy, not together in the same glass you understand. So when my good friend invited me to come along, I had to think about it, for about a second, after all drinking was involved and I was willing to give anything a go. We trained it up to London and was surprised how much I enjoyed some of the beers. After the festival we popped over to Peter’s old stomping ground around Kensington and found an old pub he knew, which just happen to have a combination curry house within the pub …. so best of both worlds …. here is a little selfie we took ….. right at the end of the day !

IMG_3522Bank Holiday weekend had me working up at Danby Castle in North Yorkshire on the Sunday. So we decided to make a weekend of it and drove up on the Friday and booked ourselves into a B&B in York. We had stayed at the same place a few years earlier, just a typical old B&B, with great breakfasts. We spent sometime shopping and just looking around the great city. I can highly recommend York, it has everything you could want, shops, bars, sightseeing, history, bars more bars. I left Jan shopping on the Sunday while I attended the wedding, which as always was a good one. Monday we popped over to Harrogate, also a very nice place.

September 20 was a photo call shoot for the Pantomime in Aylesbury. The shoot was actual at Waddestone Manor and I was attending for a friend Charlie who produces a local magazine, Vale Life. Anita “get out of my pub Den” Dobson was the star of the show and she was obviously dressed in full costume and I got some nice shots. I must say she was a very charming lady and so down to earth and very nice with it.

0023 Sleeping Beauty 200913We had done The Grand in Brighton, so next the only natural progression was The Ritz in London ! This was Jan’s birthday present from the four of us. I booked it up well in advance, but could still only get a “Friday 27 September” slot at a reasonable time of the day. Now right up to the morning itself, Jan only though it was the two of us, but Carl, Laura & Jodie were also coming. It was a great surprise for Jan. We drove up to Westfield, left the car then carried on into the West End by tube. I love London and we were again lucky with the weather for the time of year. Nice and early as always, we had time for a quick drink in the pub before heading to The Ritz. Once are time came we headed off and what a great experience it was. All the Millar’s sitting down to tea, at the most famous venue for it, in the world. After tea, we headed into Green park and just has a wander around. The one thing all Millar’s love is London and one by one Carl, Laura & Jodie all drifted off to friends around London, which just left Jan and I. Walking around, we came across one of the show ticket booths, so checked out what was on …. “Jersey Boys” we thought, even though it was all a bit before our time, music wise. We had a bit of time to kill, so did a bit of shopping, then off to the show. All I can say is it was an amazing show, these people know how to sing, unlike those wannabe’s on Xfactor …….  The show finished at 10:15pm and we left the lights, noise and crowds of London behind and were back in Thame at 11:30pm ….. one of the nicest days ever had.

IMG_3912 IMG_3924 IMG_3932 IMG_3943 IMG_4488I don’t do a great deal for Charity normally, but always happy to take time out for Florence Nightingale Hospice. They were hold an event “Strictly Florence” in Aylesbury and asked if I would get involved in taking photographs. I arrived at the theater around 10:30 in the morning and could not believe what I saw over the next few hours until showtime. The amount of effort that goes into putting a show on is amazing, lighting, sound, dialog, practice, dress rehearsal etc…. WOW I was so impressed. Non pro dancers were going to do two dances in front of a packed house and pro judging panel, after only about 6 weeks of leaning how to do the dance!! I captured all the backstage going on’s and of course the show itself … in the words of one of the judges A-MA-ZING DARLING …. the dancers were fantastic, well done all who took part.

0297 StrictlyFlorence 061013 0190 StrictlyFlorence 061013 0086 StrictlyFlorence 061013November usually a dull month for me with the cold weather coming in, Christmas decoration going up to early and all the hype that goes with it. Well this year November was going to be very eventful. Ever been waxed ? well if you are a women reading this, the answer could be “yes” but if a male, the answer is probably “no” I was going to end up in the “yes” group ! Its back to Jazzercise and earlier in the year I was approached and asked (while sober) if I would be happy to be waxed for charity ( I thought I said, I don’t normally do charity!) and I responded like a fool with yes. So it was all set up for myself and two other nutters, Bob another Jazzercise man and another Frank to be publicly waxed in front of a crowd of  “Jazzercise” women ! What was I thinking. So a “just giving” page was all set up and there was no turning back. The morning of 9th came and the hall was all set up. One by one we were brought into the hall, striped off to our shorts (leaving our socks on of course) and the waxing began, much to the excitement of the crowd. It even worked out for Jan to have a go at ripping the hairs from my body. At the end of the day it was a great scream, literally and we raised just over £1,600 for charity.

004 Wax On Wax Off 091113 012 Wax On Wax Off 091113 020 Wax On Wax Off 091113Going to snooker every year up in Sheffield it was inevitable that we would make some friends, but did not really expect them to be female ! These woman know more about snooker than us and have met all the great players. Well this year one of them, Karen was 40, so she hired a cottage up in York and asked Roger (another snooker fan) and myself if we wanted to come and help celebrate her birthday, ten of us in all. I had a wedding on the Friday so Roger and I left for York after that and arrived in York around 10:45pm. A quick change then off to meet everyone down the pub! In the morning Roger and I did breakfast for everyone and jolly nice it was too. After chilling out in the morning, we had a table booked at a Chinese for 2:30. What we didn’t know was that this was a proper Chinese and the food that came out was authentic Chinese, or as we called it “A Bush Tucker Trial” it was so bad, it made the afternoon, we could just not stop laughing at what they were bring out for us to eat …. then it was upstairs to a private karaoke room, then onto a night club with our own VIP area …. then back to the cottage for about 2:30am .. a long 12 hour session of fun. Sunday was just a chill day visiting the Barbican where the snooker was taking place for a photo shoot and the legend that is Jimmy White walked in, so had a chat and some pictures taken. After that a walk around taking in the local ….. brew, then managed to get some free tickets to go and watch Jimmy play in the evening…….  Monday was home time, another fantastic weekend.

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IMG_4301December and it is the annual family meal where all the family get together, all paid for by the in-laws. The Lambert Arms was the venue Sunday at 2pm for a quick round of photo’s (yes taken by me) then a meal, merriment and lots of drinking. The meal was excellent and the venue put up with us and we had great fun. The meal ended up with “shots at the bar” Carl asked the barmen “bet you have never seen this on a Sunday before” his reply ” I have NEVER seen it before !”

009 Family Christmas Meal 221213 018 Family Christmas Meal 221213 042 Family Christmas Meal 221213Christmas was great this year I am not normally a fan, but we had so many great get together, chill days down the pub and no falling out at all, lot’s of curries and general enjoyment, it was the perfect end to the perfect year.

In closing they say life begins at forty, well they are a decade out, this year by far has been the best every for me personally. When you look back at all that was achieved, not forgetting I was still working during all this. To all the people I met along the way, including anyone who used my service’s, thanks,  that’s all I can say…. its been a blast.

Life IS short, turn all the bad news off on the TV, don’t bother reading a newspaper full information about some “celebrities” life …. get out and enjoy your own …….

BRING IT ON TWENTY FOURTEEN

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2 Responses to “…. so 13 is unlucky, I think not”

  1. Great post. Makes me want to actually do something in 2014, as 2013 was a bit slow for me.

  2. Cracking post as usual mate – Really looking forward to Geneva again this year (and still love the shot of me and Jodie!) – All the best. Happy New Year!

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