family

#107 – Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

‘To Callum
Good luck and phone your mum.
Brum love
Glynn Purnell’

The countdown to my leaving the UK in 2016 for an unspecified amount of time was under way and, as part of my goodbyes, I was treated by my mum to a meal at the restaurant of one of my favourite Chef’s, Glynn Purnell.

The menu of choice at his Michelin star restaurant? The 9 course tasting menu.
To put it simply, it was a phenomenal dining experience.

Cornwall Street in Birmingham is the home of Purnell’s Restuarant. It is actually quite an understated building and, if you aren’t looking out for it, it is somewhere you could easily walk past without a second thought.

We were greeted immediately upon arrival, our bags and coats put to one side, and allowed to push the conversation (more…)

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#106 – Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa

‘I’ve been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s a tower, and it’s leaning.
You look at it, but nothing happens,
so then you look for someplace to get a sandwich’
 – Danny DeVito

Truth be told, Danny DeVito hits the nail on the head with this one. In fact, the accuracy can be acknowledged by the fact that the second time I ended up in Pisa I didn’t even want to bother visiting the tower, however I made my way there with my then-girlfriend so she could experience what all the fuss was about – and I mean “fuss” in the most sarcastic of ways.

Anyway, you’d have to go all the way back to 2010 and a day trip from Florence to Pisa for the first time I visited the Leaning Tower and its Duomo. Apparently either during – or perhaps after – construction, the tower began to sink due to the ground being unable (more…)

#90 – Be the ‘Best Man’ at a Wedding

On Saturday January 29th 2011, the evening before turning 50, my Dad proposed to Helen (my now step-mum) during a celebratory dinner at our favourite local pub-restaurant, La Collina. Present that night were myself, Helen’s parents, and Helen’s brother with his family.

On Friday 1st July 2011 I celebrated my 18th birthday with my whole family for the first time. However, unbeknown to me, a single present was held back by my Dad and was instead given to me at a small BBQ at his that following weekend. The present was a book titled (more…)

(Untitled thoughts of one who doesn’t say thank you enough)

“You don’t know what you have got until it is gone”. A common phrase that everyone will have been told at some point or another. It’s applicable to pretty much all walks of life as well, from the unsung hero, to the all-rounder at work, to that friend who may fly under the radar but will never let you down when you need them most.

Most importantly, it’s a phrase that should resonate strongly when it comes to your family, especially your parents. At least, it does with mine. All three of them. And it is especially prevalent when it comes to social media interactions. (more…)

The boy who moved away

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things,
trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself,
changing yourself, changing your world.
You’re doing things you’ve never done before,
and more importantly, you’re doing something’

– Neil Gaiman

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Sitting atop Mt Ngauruhue with my mascot, Khaleesi

In my 2015 year review, the boy who started to live, I finished my post with the above quote by Neil Gaiman. If anything, it is more relevant for 2016 than in any year previously.

Why? Because over the course of this year I have made mistakes. Some were negative, but others did lead to positive outcomes. That is just on the surface though. If we look at it as some sort of checklist then;

  • Making new things? Check
  • Trying new things? Check
  • Learning more about the world around me? Check
  • Pushing yourself? Check
  • Changing my world? Check
  • Doing things I’ve ever done before? Check

If we measure 2016 against this then, without doubt, it is my most successful yet. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though. I may be extremely fortunate to have ended up in my current situation, but it didn’t come without sacrifice and hard work. So, as the year pulled into its home strait and the emotional goodbyes were had, there I was. One a plane bound to New Zealand. Now here I am in Australia, my home for the foreseeable future.

When I say it that way, it just seems to cap off a very strange year. Not so much for me, but just in general. Those working in the newsrooms have certainly earned their keep in 2016, because when there wasn’t tragedy striking at the heart of Asia, Africa or Europe, then there has always been another high-profile death. There was no such thing as a slow news week either because, if there was nothing new to report regarding the above elements, then the various forms of media outlets could always fill their boots with Brexit and the rise of Trump.

As I said, 2016? A very strange year. On a personal level though, I have to admit, it’s been pretty great… which is probably an understatement.

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A Very Aussie Christmas

Christmas 2016 is one I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Not because it was the first Christmas I had featuring the Australian half of my family, and not because it was my first Christmas outside of the UK, but because it was Christmas that took place in the middle of summer.

Rather than piling on the layers and filling myself with Bailey’s & Hot Chocolate, I was jumping in a swimming pool and watching the sunset whilst on the beach. It was odd. It was surreal. It was different.

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(Untitled thoughts of one who is flying away)

It’s 368 days since I landed back in the UK after a 6 week excursion to Australia’s East Coast.

I said then that my goal would be to return within 12months – I never expected to come close to completing the feat however.

I’ve had such a great time back in Milton Keynes though, creating a lot of fantastic memories along the way. I’ve made new friends and re-connected with old ones. More importantly I’ve spent a lot of time with my family.

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The boy who started to live

‘Open your eyes, look within.
Are you happy with the life you’re living?’
– Bob Marley

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At the start of the year I wrote a post titled the boy who began to grow up, which reviewed my 2014 and outlined what I hoped to achieve by the time 2015 came to a close.

The focus for 2015 was to forge an environment in which I could reclaim my life as my own, creating a plethora of stories and memories along the way. This is something I truly believe I have managed to achieve. I would argue that 2014 provided me with a disjointed roller-coaster ride, replaced by a 2015 which – for the most part – was relatively smooth-sailing and ended with a trip of a lifetime.

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(Untitled thoughts of one who is travelling with a heavy heart)

I left on the 15th August 2015, boarding a flight from London Luton to Amsterdam Schipol at 07.35, the plane due to leave at 07.55. It has been 20 days since then. And there are 10 days until I return.

This is the single longest time I have been both out of the UK and away from people I love since I was 14 yeard old and went on a 23 day trip around Europe with the scouts. That was 8 years ago.

Since then, the longest amount of time I have spent out of the country is probably 14 days. Of course, that was with my family.

I’m not going to pretend I am not enjoying myself. There are aspects of the 30 days journey interrailing around Europe that I don’t enjoy. But these are counter-acted by many facets that I love, or I am learning to love. Yet, that doesn’t stop it being hard. And believe me, it is hard. In fact I’d say both emotionally and physically that this is one of the most challenging things I’ve undertaken. Sometimes I feel like I’d rather be writing my dissertation or taking my A-Level exams all over again.

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When Four Became One

“The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you” – Elbert Hubbard

In June of this year, I moved out of the house that I – along with three others – called home. This August I moved away from the city that introduced me to these people, nearly four years ago.

The first of the three I met in September 2011, during the first night of Fresher’s Week. The evening ended in unexpected circumstances as we witnessed an ambulance called up to campus as another student had drunk so much she passed out on the cold pavement.

The second I met a little over a week later in my first Wednesday seminar for ‘An Introduction to Theatre History’. However, it wouldn’t be until a week or two later during a class discussing ‘Lysistrata’ that we would actually speak to each other. Of course, an instant bond was formed.

The third I introduced myself to at the end of the first term. The ‘diversion’ I had to take led me to being late for my class but no harm was done. A couple more meetings and a few months down the line we sat down to play Halo [either Reach or ODST] one evening, not stopping until the game was complete, by which time the sun had risen.

Over the last (almost) four years, these three have become some of the most important people to me, so it was with a heavy heart that I left our house for the last time and handed the keys back to the letting agency in June.

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