As always, life away from Integra revolves around family, music and sport.
Family wise all is pretty good although some health issues for both the FD and myself cause some grief, we are very resilient people and very much focused on our glasses being half full not half empty.
In September we had a fabulous fortnight in the Greek Islands, staying on Rhodes and Leros but also visiting Symi and Lipsi. The weather was sunny and warm and I went swimming every day.
Our next holiday is planned for February when we will visit Copenhagen in Denmark.
Our son and daughter and their respective partners live close by and we see them regularly. Our six grandchildren are growing up fast with the two boys seemingly outdoing each other playing football and filling their bedrooms up with a never-ending collection of man of the match and player of the season awards. Our eldest granddaughter will be seventeen in January and she is no longer a child but a beautiful young woman. At the other end of the age spectrum our youngest granddaughter is five and Christmas will, once again, be a magical experience.
December last year saw me undergo a triple heart by-pass and it is simply incredible to have recovered so strongly and positively.
The support from family, friends and from across the property industry enabled my own positivity and resilience to shine through – thank you again.
Music wise, I have been stepping up the number of gigs being attended and, in recent weeks, have seen Wishbone Ash (3 times), Sari Schorr, Del Bromham and Stray (great autobiography too), When Rivers Meet, Ian Parker and Aynsley Lister, Pat McManus, Mississippi Macdonald, Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham and have ticket already booked in 2023 to see Laurence Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Camel (twice) and Mississippi Macdonald.
I have been getting back into playing live and have been playing regularly (every fortnight) at the Thatched Cottage in Maidenhead. These are open mic nights and the standard of my fellow “artistes” is excellent, ranging from professional musicians to talented amateurs. I also played at the Wishbone Ash convention in Leicester on both the Friday night and on the Saturday afternoon.
As I write, the football World Cup is in full swing and England are still in STOP PRESS - spoke too soon - we lost to France in the quarter finals! The timing and location of this tournament is wrong and it has created a month long break for teams in the Premier League and Championship.
Watford will resume matches shortly and will do so from a position of fourth in the league. They started the season underwhelmingly but have got stronger under Slaven Bilic’s leadership and as players have recovered from injury. Two or three key signings in January and I feel we are capable of a straight return to the top division.
In Joao Pedro we have the best player outside of the Premier League and a number of other exciting prospects.
Paddy Power must be bracing themselves to pay out big time as I have had a little flutter on Watford getting promotion
We shall see!