#TeamDurky getting ready for turkey but vegetarian options are available. And don’t forget the sprouts!



“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” (The Record Lie) ― A.A. Milne, If I May

“Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.” ― Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary

My cunning ploy has been revealed. Start the blog with a quote, using someone else’s words and I don’t even have to think.

Or, is there another reason? Is it that I just like quotes? Who know and, to be frank, you probably aren’t that bothered really.

So here we are, for those of us who recognise it, Christmas is almost here. Clearly, with the days of commercialism the true meaning of Christmas gets shrouded in presents, parties, Father Christmas, and all of the wonderful fun that it brings. But, in these troubled days, it is so important – for those whose religious beliefs recognise it – that we remember the true meaning and also that through those beliefs, we seek to spread peace, happiness, love and unity with all.

Okay, that the serious stuff – from the heart. But, I’m sure you’re more interested in the fun and celebrations. I’m certainly looking forward to some serious celebrating and family time as the extended #TeamDuke aka #TeamDurky gather together to celebrate that we are able to gather together as one. Who would have thought it 12 months ago? We are truly so lucky to be one.

They say 12 months is a long time but the last 12 months has shot by. This time last year #TeamDuke, aka me, Ben and Liv as the core, were getting ready for our first Christmas as a 3 and we were focussed on making it truly special. Despite a little sideshow that was playing out through out Christmas and New Year we had a magnificent time. Thank you to the many that contributed. We will always, always be grateful. You’ll never know how important you were.

It’s been a year to rejoice: –

* Very shortly Audrey and I will have been together for a year. Audrey’s effect on me can never be truly expressed in words. She came along at a time when I wasn’t sure where I was going on a personal level. Lacking in confidence and struggling with trust. But Audrey has brought real magic and love to me – but also to Ben and Liv.
* Gaby has come into Ben’s life and, again, brought magic to him. A real diamond! I’ll leave it there to avoid any embarrassment.
* Ben has also secured a great job where he is showing Just what great potential he has. As you would guess, I’m rather proud.
* Liv – back at university and has settled in magnificently and has done done incredibly well with her first exams. She’s also got a job and is enjoying being part of event security. Liv has grown so well and I’m very proud of her.
* And we have our first dog – Ringo aka Dufus. We are so lucky to have such a lovable creature in our family. I think Zeekee quite likes him.

That’s just the immediate #TeamDuke/Durky stuff. Sorry if it’s a bit self indulgent but I’m so proud of where our journey has brought us all – so far.

One of the purposes in sharing our story is to encourage others to reflect of their own stories and, hopefully, celebrate what has been achieved. It is so easy to pick out the bad bits of the year. Hell, those who have regularly read my blogs will know I can veer a little too much towards to looking at the bad stuff. Poor me? Not at all. But, if you want to pour me a cup of tea I’d be happy to talk about why, sometimes, I just need to say it as it is.

But, as I said, we should celebrate what we have. Breathe in the good and roar out the bad. Perhaps find an empty beach – and then run up and down for 10 minutes. Okay, a minute. On the outward run, towards the sea, wave your arms celebratory. You’ve just won the lottery. And, then on the inward run, towards a bench, roar out that bad stuff. You’ve just realised you forgot to go to the shop to do the lottery. See how many times you can do this. Even if it doesn’t quite do the trick immediately, it will make you laugh. And even if it doesn’t make you laugh, it will make me laugh at the idea you’ve just done it.

Easier said than done? I guess it’s a choice we all have and it’s a daily choice as to how we face each day. I for one have to think about that as we fall into 2018. As I have said, 2017 has had lots to celebrate. Yet, I still spend too much time walking around with a face like a slapped backside.

Crazy – I have a wonderful and loving partner, a wonderful son and daughter. As the Killers would say, it’s all ‘wonderful, wonderful’. Add to that the amazing family, including Eilidh, Liam, and Gaby, and friends. Not forgetting Ringo, Zeekee, and Susie (Audrey’s dog). We have a lovely house, I have a job I enjoy etc etc. And yet, a face like a bulldog chomping on a wasp.

How many of us do that though? We forgot the wonderful things in our lives and concentrate on one thing that annoys us – it might be a bill that has just arrived; it might be the weather; it might be the traffic. Whatever, but it’s something that for some reason we allow it to become more important than feeling grateful and happy. Maybe we need to find that beach to breathe in the joy and roar out that bad stuff.

As I said, it’s going to take work on a daily basis. As I write this I know I could quite easily slide into a not so good mood. Crazy – it’s a few days before Christmas; I’m on holiday from work; I’m seeing Audrey for lunch. What the hell is wrong with me? But, that’s just it. Nothing, apart from I’d like to have slept a bit longer, so I am at risk of that taking over my thinking rather that preparing, not only for a great day but for a great few days and a magnificent life.

So, as #TeamDuke/Durky prepare for our turkey, or vegetarian option, I for one need to keep coming back to basics – back to love, back to reality (sounds like a blog from last year). What an awesome year it has been. Yes, there have been some downs. But the ups outweigh everything and I am so grateful.

Right, time to breathe in the good and roar out the bad because today is going to be a great day.

I wish you all happiness, health, and fun. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy a wonderful time.

Love to all.




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