Happy New Year Mancavers!

Sorry for the world’s longest reflection and introspective on 2015 but its only once a year right?

No wild partying tonight. …hell not even a single alcoholic beverage as I’m away to Portsmouth to collect Grace for the weekend tomorrow. To anyone reading this you survived the numerous culls this year so I either genuinely like you and enjoy your company or you slipped through the net. If it’s the latter please identify yourself for culling.

2015 represented a massively lucky year for me. I shouldn’t be where I am now. I shouldn’t have what I have now but I do and for that I’m eternally grateful. I have no right to be sat here as I am now and should probably be drinking myself to death somewhere alone.

I love my girls to bits and am lucky to have someone as driven as Lucy H Lucock. She has been a rock this year. She has achieved so much in 2015 and I’m very proud of everything she has achieved. She’s lost a lot of weight, gained her health and confidence back. She’s become a Slimming World Consultant leading her group in Potters Green and has been inspirational to so many others. Keep up the inspirational work babe! I love you x xx x

My other girls, Grace and Phoebe, despite only being half-sisters are the most charming and loving sisters you’ve ever seen. They love each other so much and is evident in the sounds of laughter around the house when they’re together. A right pair of cheeky scamps and when it’s silent you should worry! They’re cunning. …verging on the malevolent and evil.

At times this year it’s been hard for the Marden clan. Some of your follow the drama that my sister causes and it was right but tough to tell her she’d made her bed and had to lie in it but ultimately it’s done her the world of good. Tough love was required and if it sounded harsh it needed to be. She needed help and couldn’t see it nor be told. Now she sees that and she’ll get the right help away from the poisonous toxic influence that was in her life. It was a pleasure to see her smile when she saw the girls at ColinAndZoe-mas. She’s back.

Colin and Zoe are an awesome couple. I’ve not always seen eye to eye with my brother but as he has gotten older its been a pleasure to watch him become the husband/father/man he is today. He’s a better husband than I was. He’s worked hard for it and he deserves everything he’s got. Zoe is his rudder, guiding and pushing him along. You couldn’t ask for a better sister-in-law and aunt to my girls.
Finners or Finley to give him his proper name is a cheeky so and so but every time I see him he’s becoming more and more confident and social. He’s a great little lad and a good foil to Phoebe and Grace.

Debbie is somewhat new to the family and every time I see her I can see just how happy she makes my Dad, Steve, even if her ability to play games is adversely affected by gin and she cheats. Lol. They’re a perfect couple and an awesome team leading a tag tag bunch of reprobates and ne’er do wells. I can see just how alive my Dad is with her and she has been everything my Dad needed and more. I couldn’t want for a better evil step-mum.

It’s been a long road for the family and especially my Dad. He’s always been my hero. …i never tell him stuff like this. He was the reason I studied what I studied at Uni. Everything practical I have today is as a result of him. If there are elements of my character you like you have this man to thank in part. The arty, creative, food-porn writing, moody sulky drinker in me….that’s all Mum. I’m sure wherever she is now she’s sat partying Oliver Reed, Keith Moon and Lemmy Kilminster under the table!

Lucy’s lot treat me and Grace like we were thier own and have really welcomed us with open arms and patient temperaments. I don’t think of it as putting up with northerners more like having another Gran and family. Thank you Michelle and Margaret.

Lucy’s siblings love the bones of the girls and would walk to the ends of the Earth for them and I couldn’t ask for two people to love the girls any more. Darrell and Emily. ….you’re both awesome and welcome at Chez Marden anytime.

I’ve not really managed to achieve much over the year and I should have done more. ..I need a driving force to keep cracking the whip. Messrs Evans and Alderman I’m looking at you! With that in mind I’m pledging to do more. …I’m going to start with 1 miniature a day so by the end of 2016 I should have 365 minis done. That’s my target for 2016. I realise that’s low but I have a work/family/fun balance to maintain. …and if something had to give it would be the pledge.

Hobby wise I’ve met a great deal of people and dealt with a lot of people I’d like to call friends now. …some people seriously went above and beyond this year when I was pretty low. ..thank you all. Anthony Evans, Rob Alderman, Chris Nicholls, Gareth Mosley, Brent Jay, Derek Maynard, Mark Rapson, Andy Thomas, Mike Bissell, Diggity Dug, Alexandre Dupuis, Ellis Norris (my green blooded brother from another Mother), Mark Southerd, Mark Waz Bretherick, Matt Heath and Steph Heath, Scott Young, Shaun Sullivan. Honestly there are far too many of you to name everyone individually and if you haven’t been is not because you haven’t inspired or been awesome to me.

Some of you may be aware that I’m part of a review website on Facebook called The Hairy Gamers with my long term bro-mance and partner-in-crime Tris. It’s been hard at times to keep pushing forwards and getting stuff out there. We’ve struggled but through everything we’ve kept going and I couldn’t have done it without you Bro! 2016 brings exciting times for us. ..taking on more, new blood in Gareth and James who’ve joined the family. Pleasure to have you guys onboard and here’s hoping for a successful and infamous 2016 for the Hairy Gamers. I want more. ..I want to get involved in more and take on more so if you have anything you want us involved in drop me a line on jase@thehairygamers.co.uk

Lastly my pretend family who’ve all been so welcoming. As some of you may know I spend a few weekends a year in a field and The Silent Tide are like a second family to me. …by that I mean money sucking leeches that drink on the sweat of my brow! Ha ha ha im just kidding. Since day one Dan Max, Stu Art, Andy and Sarah, April and Darren, Harry and the new Mrs Sarah, Andrew, Simon and Tony & Anu have made me feel involved and welcome. I’m not just a poor man’s version of James Tucker like some spreadsheet monkey. Nope. ..I’m just a lowly lowly cook. Not just me but Grace and Lucy too. You’ve made us feel part of the family and for that I thank you all. See you in a field soon! Unless you play X-Wing or we have a social in which case you may see sooner.

So what have I learnt this year-

Work smarter not harder.
Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy.
Rage is not my friend.
I take on too much and fail at too much. …do less and do it right and better.
True friends are a rare commodity.
The love of a good woman is important, the love of a bad woman is priceless.
Hard work is its own reward.
I need more time for gaming and painting.

Happy New Year everyone. See you in 2016.