11 years ago I embarked on a year long period of self-imposed abstinence from alcohol.Many said I was mad, most just said I couldn’t possibly last that long.

10 years ago, I celebrated my 30th birthday and had my very first drink for a year.
I’d managed to raise some money for charity, get fit, prove a few people wrong and said goodbye to a thoroughly enjoyably military career.

Last year, I decided it was time to get right back to basics..and what fun it was too.
Some of the best times I’ve had in years were in the last year, simply spent walking, playing like a kid, talking and my favourite, listening!
I heard some wonderful views.
Some interesting opinions on a wide variety of topics.
It has to be said, I did my fair share of provoking a lot of opinions too.
Growing the hair long, that goatee beard and periods of being teetotal and vegetarian all brought comments.

So, last month, I turned 40. My one piece of advice to anyone who considers this is just another birthday is to think again. Looking back at my life and recollecting a lot of the experiences that have brought me to where I am right now has been a lot of fun. But it’s also been quite humbling.  I’ve learnt a lot about myself and the amazing world I live in. No longer is their a fire burning of desire to prove folks wrong. That was then.
This is now. There is still a fire burning inside. Only now, many would say it’s for putting my feet up by….

This year I realised how truly grateful I am for the life I have.  A year that showed me how many great friends I have.
Family and close friends that I see and talk to regularly. Work colleagues, old friends that I’ve got back in touch with recently and Facebook friends that I share a lot of laughs with.
For making my birthday, nay, my life so special, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The below are dedicated to you all, my Beautiful Friends.
Here’s to the next 40. Slainte!

The one below is especially for those who prefer I keep it brief .