2017: Half Way!

I cannot believe we’re a halfway through 2017 already so time to cast my eye back on my 2017 post and see how I am getting on!

Well it started after amazingly well with a standard brilliant trip to New York to see the Islanders.  Jon was out there at the same time and it we were very lucky to see some seriously epic Isles performances and got to meet some of the players outside the Barc too which was great.

2017 so far has been full of epic away days.  Over recent months they have been absolute carnage with Woz, Emma, James, Frank, Ron and co.  The FA Cup Semi Final and the Final itself were incredible and I cannot believe we came out of the season FA Cup Winners yet again.  Amazing memories at Wembley again and spent with great people.  No league for us last season and devastatingly no UCL either so it is Europa League for us next season.  Not very happy but trying to look on the bright side and it may help me scratch a few more countries off the world map.

I signed up to the French Improvers Class, the next step in the certification ladder.  I have completed it and did the exam last week, so I am waiting the results to see if I have passed and hopefully get my French Improvers certificate.  If I am in Birmingham with my next client would love to do the 3rd level in September.

I wanted my current contract to run its course to June and it has!  I finish this week and I will take 2 months off before seeking and hopefully starting with a new client.  It has been really good with the current client and have worked with some great people, but it was definitely time to leave and deciding not to renew was a pretty easy decision.

In the first half of 2017 I got to go on some pretty epic Stag Do’s, Jason’s was particularly messy in Bristol and I didn’t even make the evening due to excessive, toxic Rattler cider!  Fuge’s stag was great because was a chance to catch up with all the long time friends and it was a cracking laugh.  The final stag has just gone and it was Kim Bowling’s stag in Budapest which was again epic, and a new country for me so BONUS!

The weddings that follow the stag were pretty special.  Kim and Jason’s was an amazing day and night, a great occasion with. all family and friends and it was great to see her and Jason so happy and Dougie was brilliant the whole day.  Fuge’s was also a great day and evening, and had a very drunken but fun evening with all their families and friends, they were all a great bunch.

Speaking of family, my nephew Dougie is growing up way too quickly, but is a proper cool dude now.  I love spending time with him and there’s no shyness there with him anymore which is great, so feel like finally we have a proper bond.  I got to spend some time with my 2 Godson’s Bradley and Charlie too this first half of 2017 so glad to be able to spend as much time with all 3 as possible.

I got tickets for Worcester races (Ladies Day) for my folks’ anniversary and that really was a great day, made even better when I bagged a 50/1 winner (on a £5 free bet).  It was boiling that day and pretty sure we will be going next year too as it was class (and close to Brum).

Me and the best mukka were lucky to be at boxing’s 2 major 2017 events this far in Haye/Bellew at the O2 and AJ Klitschko at Wembley.  Both were amazing and because Haye/Bellew were floor seats we were our normal pest selves and got quite a few photos with the celebrities knocking about.  AJ/Klitschko was definitely another ‘I was there’ moment after we did Froch/Groves 2 but maybe had too much Jager this time beforehand!

I challenged myself to do 5 countries this year and 6 months in that is already on the cards to be smashed.  I already mentioned I had done Hungary for Kim’s stag do, and I am about to tick off UAE, Morocco, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus.

I do still have some things to do though that I said I would like to do.  I said I’d like to do a PDC darts event again but I haven’t got around to that yet and I also said I wanted to do 3 more Michelin starred restaurants this year but I have not done any up to now.  I have had some cracking meals in and around Birmingham mind in some top restaurants but that is not the point!

I said I wanted to be credit card free by the end of 2017 and I am well on course for that but ask me again after my 2 months off travelling!

I am still doing well on the charity front, helping the homeless in and around my area and contributing to friends/families fundraising but I have not yet found the volunteer project I want to tick off by the end of 2017… something else for the second half.

I said in the preview that I was going to knock the home improvements (fitted framed wardrobe) on the head but that is very much back on the agenda, with it being booked in ready to be built and fitted next month.

Unbelievably, 6 months in I am still doing the 1 second everyday videos!  I am not pretending they are all (or most) riveting but at least I have kept them up and I am hoping it will look cool at the end of year when I click the button and it churns out my 2017 1SE.

As always there are sad times too.  We said goodbye to the lovely Annette Clarke who was a legendary Gooner and one half of an amazing couple.  The funeral was a fitting send off for a great lady and good to see so many of The Arsenal there.  She certainly will be remembered when we are all hitting the away games next season and I hope Russell doesn’t stay away too long as The Arsenal away needs him!

Obviously I am excited about my 2 months off now and excited about finding and starting with a new client.  I’ve already booked 2 trips for Hockey (1 this year one into next) and I want to spend some time trying to establish a New York Islanders fan group of sorts in the UK so have snapped up newyorkislanders.co.uk. I am trying to speak to the NYI organisation for some official support/backing.

My Sasco apart from all of the above is worryingly empty for the second half of 2017, but when looking for new client its important to keep as free as possible.  Europa League Draw is in august so no doubt that will fill quite quickly.

I am buzzing to go and see Ricky Gervais: Humanity tomorrow and then I am off on my travels!  Follow the blog here to see what I am up to during the 2 months.