From first boyfriends to Black Caviar. School bus bullies to our lost dog. Looking back at a memorable first year.

It’s a new year. I’m assuming you’ve all returned to some level of sobriety. To celebrate, let’s take a journey back in time, to the old year.

This blog came to life last March. The result of a dislocated ankle, that had me laid up at home for weeks, on the brink of outright insanity.

Someone, somewhere, suggested I start writing about stuff. So I did, with a bung leg pointing skywards.

Over time, it developed into a twice-weekly affair. Life, laughs and the family on a Tuesday; racing and sport on a Saturday.

Quite a mix. Something for everyone. Or, two piles of crud to be totally ignored.

The kids have featured prominently. For the most part, they’re fine with that. They usually get a giggle from it all.

To share details of their dance concerts is great fun. Possibly sleep-inducing for some. But still great fun.

Tales of my first meeting with Daughter Two’s boyfriend tickled a few of you. Horrified the ladies. Mortified Daughter Two.

Lots identified with my feelings at watching my other little girl become The Teenager. Dads everywhere were nodding quietly.

I’ve found myself thinking more about the old days. My childhood. Mum and Dad. Trying to recall the people and events that shaped me.

From feedback you’ve given me, we like the reminiscing. Simple things. Like playing outside as a kid every afternoon. Mum’s cooking. And facing up to bullies on the old school bus.

Of late, we’ve shared details of our first jobs. Sacrifices our parents made at Christmas. Many of you had similar memories. And how those of our generation (definition – old farts), are paying the price for being kids who didn’t know what sunscreen was.

There have been stories through the year that have been shared on Facebook and Twitter. The marvels of social media. So great to be a part of it.

The tale of our lost dog Coco has gone far and wide in recent days. Sadly, she’s still missing. But the support and encouragement we’ve received has been nothing short of amazing. Thank you.

We talked State of Origin. Those outside of Queensland and New South Wales were probably scratching their heads. No problems there. It’s only for a few weeks.

Something that did strike a chord was when a bloke becomes eligible to officially support his adopted state. Ten years? Twenty years? Never? Everyone had an opinion.

The debate even slipped into the mainstream media, in the days after the blog ran. That was a first. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe not. We’ll have another crack at it this year. Go the Maroons.

Not all of you are interested in the Saturday racing pieces. That’s ok. Racing is a passion of mine. I’d write about it even if no-one was reading. Which is sometimes the case.

It was a joy to describe the jubilation at Doomben, when Black Caviar came to town. Tears and cheers at a packed racecourse. Something we haven’t experienced for years.

We were able to have a giggle at kooky Kim Kardashian being scratched from Melbourne Cup week. And my excitement at the tradition of going to Stradbroke Day with a much-loved childhood mate.

Sad times too. Young Corey Gilby’s tragic death at a country race meeting. And the pain that lingers, after losing the amazingly talented Stathi Katsidis, way too young.

Then there was the highly sought after Melbourne Cup guide. Great fun. Of course, my top selection was scratched on Cup morning. And I gave the winner no chance. Who else can boast that sort of strike rate?

You can find all these stories and more in the blog archive. That is, if you care. And you are so mind-numbingly bored that you actually want to read more. That also tells me that you probably need to see a doctor of some kind.

Don’t forget, you can subscribe, so you never miss a word. Twice a week, direct to your e-mail address. Fill out the box at the top of the Hold All Tickets page. It’s free. Or, sign up someone you don’t like. Now that would be funny.

So, to the year ahead. There’ll be more fun. A few laughs hopefully. A crook tip or two. And a look back every now and then, at how things used to be.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It means a lot.

Who would have thought that getting busted up doing the gardening at my mother-in-law’s place, would lead to all this? Lucky for me, fact around here is almost always stranger than fiction.

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