Howling Jake’s Caught The Bug (No, Not That One)

So this is my second blog in a matter of just days. I assume it is the novelty that will in time wear off. And thinking about it, really a blog is nothing more than just today’s fancy dan term for collecting and documenting your thoughts and opinions, not unlike writing a diary of yesteryear.

So yesterday I turned 60 years old. A bit of a milestone which puts me in reflective mood. An odd time really because you never actually think of yourself turning, in my case, 60. Forty years ago – where has the time gone – I was a young gun in my twenties doing what 20 year-olds do. Dispatch riding in London, attending music concerts (think the Stray Cats for which I dyed my hair blonde), carefree, few real responsibilities. That’s right, kids, us old guys were young guys once. Back then, I could not imagine myself at 60 just as today, should I get there, I can’t actually think of myself at 70 or 80 years-old for that matter. Try it yourself. Try to imagine an older you – I’ll bet that you can’t.

I think back on the stand out or flash back episodes in my life – seeing the actual Faberge eggs in the Kremlin museum; getting ruined on tequila in a Paris Novotel with work colleagues; getting ruined on grappa in Ravenna with those same work colleagues; an amazing all you can eat steakhouse buffet in Sao Paolo (given back in the day I could eat for England, they didn’t make any profit that night); eating just the biggest burger ever in a greasy spoon café, the Flying Pig, with my work wife Caroline Burden (I took her to all the best places); driving way too fast over the speed bumps into the head office car park of B&Q with good friend Richard Towers; catching the Ferry, sharing a cabin and driving across Holland and into Germany and then back again to Hellaby for a trade show in Frankfurt with kindred spirit Phil Glenister; accompanying Emma Ryde in a mobile product display to customers’ premises; attending Soulla’s wedding to Jim in London on route to America; busting a gut to return from a business trip in America to attend a supplier’s Christmas party because Roy Wood’s Wizzard were booked to play; attending my own wedding to Sandra with best man John Osman; attending Hans Juergen’s 60th birthday party in Germany; pre- and post match beers with Mick Malloy, beardy Phil and Festa  in an Estonian working men’s club near Valley Parade; meeting and marrying soul-mate and wife of 35 years Sandra, having son Howling bambino Samuel and welcoming his girlfriend Howling Ashlee. And the list goes on with so many more memories – 60 years’ worth – that each of us will have.

Am I proud of some of my achievements? Of course. Like getting my MBA to finally prove more to my father – long since passed away by then – than myself that I wasn’t an intellectual failure. Am I ashamed and do I regret some episodes in my life and some of  my behaviour? Hell, yes. Sadly, not all in the past. Still extremely short of patience and language that would surely make a miner blush.

But overall, not unlike the headmaster’s comments on too many of my school reports, “lacks concentration, inclined to be the class clown but on balance not bad maybe but could do better next term”. I am hoping that I have indeed a few more years left in the tank to “do better”. 

And on that pensive note, I will end today’s sermon. If you get chance and have the appetite, why not tune in to my radio show – the First Resort – most Tuesdays from 7-9pm. I am the Most Reverend Howling Jake Ryan. Don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened. And until we meet again, peace be the journey.