|Sent on:||Wednesday, December 21, 2011 7:00 PM|
As a newcomer to the New-in-Town Meetup Group in 2011, I thought I'd share with you my personal review of the year....
BIG THANKS GUYS
Firstly, I'd like to take the opportunity to say a BIG BIG THANK-YOU to Debs, Ellen (sorry El), Jools (come on MKL), Esther, Patrick (your Avatar lives my friend) Sarah & Ray.
Apologies to anyone else I may have missed.
A special thanks must of course go to Debs, whose tireless work often goes unsung (well not today!) Her ability to maintain membership at the regular socials, her ingenuity in coming up with new social events and her clear zest for enjoying life never ceases to amaze me.
I simply cannot thank you all enough however for the hard work you've put into organising the many many fab meetups and social events we've had this year. I've got some great memories (and photos) which I will always treasure.
HELP, I NEED SOMEBODY (But not just anybody!)
It hardly seems like yesterday that as a nervous newbie to Milton Keynes, let alone the New-in-Town Group, I attended my first meetup event, the pub quiz at The Ship Ashore, Willen, organised by Debs!
I'd been in MK for a several months and while I had already fallen in love with the City, I was clearly feeling lonely, having moved here from the North of England on my own. It seems silly now, but at the time I was having difficulty adjusting to a very different way of life down South (I mean you have that new fangled thing called electricity for a start lol.) My family say I am now turning into a 'Southerner' (I have no idea what that is, but I kinda take it as a compliment.)
We joined up with the MK Lightning Ice Hockey Supporters Club (a whole new chapter in my life that one lol) and it went from there, going every Tues & Sun to the quiz, winning the quiz trophy (for Golly who wanted it more than even he will admit) and raising £500 into the bargain for the fantastic cause that is Willen Hospice.
As a footnote and for those of you who don't know, the MKL Supporters Club are a very knowledgable bunch (except when trying to guide me up the motorway to an away game lol) and often win the quiz, or come runners-up.
Without exception, and despite these difficult times, the team always give back their prize money in support of the local Willen Hospice - that left a clear impression on me from the start, so well done guys!
I NEED A DIARY (just for my social life)
Since then my social life has taken off, to the point now where I have to pick and choose the meetups I can attend due to a busy work & social schedule, but I'm not complaining on that one.
There have been many highlights for me this year, but the one that will live long in my memory is the gliding trip, organised by Ray, at the back end of the Summer. Never been in a glider before and the view from several thousand feet across the local countryside was simply breathtaking. This was a fantastic day out with some great people (and who can forget dear old Scary Mary lol.)
I had always been thinking about learning to fly, but this just put the seal on that for me, so come the New Year, I'll find the time somehow and it's off to Cranfield to try and get my NPPL.
ICE HOCKEY IS FOR LIFE (Not just Christmas)
And of course, I also have the Meetup Group to thank, especially dear Jools, for organsing the group complimentary tickets to MK Lightning Ice Hockey. I'd already become a member of the MKL quiz team and been invited to the games when the season started in September, but deep down I feared I wouldn't like it, having always followed football since being a young boy.
How wrong can someone be about themselves! I'm now rapidly ticking off the away ice rinks visited, Peterborough, Telford, Slough & Manchester with Guildford & Swindon to come in the New Year.
I quickly fell in love with MK Lightning, the sport itself and their fans. It makes a refreshing change from the corrupt, overpaid, litigious and expensive to watch world of football that I had left behind up North.
I've now joined the great MKL hockey family and look forward to both home and away games each week. I'm certainly going to get to as many games as I can next year, as I simply adore this sport and it's not too expensive to follow either!! Very proud of my G Man shirt too, so big thanks to Craig for that.
It's been said the MKL supporters are the loudest and most passionate in the EPL, well I can personally vouch for that having been stood within feet of the drummer at Manchester on Sun night. Even though we suffered a rare defeat, the loyal bunch sang and clapped their hearts out to the very end, before enduring the long drive back home. (Boy, does it feel a long way home when you've lost.)
Totally hoarse come Mon morning, having done my fair share of singing on Sunday! Come on the MKL.
Still waiting to meet my favourite players Matt Towalski & Grant McPherson, but Jools has offered to introduce me at a home game. (Now you try getting to meet Wayne Rooney, or have them befriend you on Facebook in the way the MKL players have - not that I'd want to meet Rooney for the record lol.)
After losing more than a stone in weight to a mystery virus (although I put it down to being dumped out of my boat on the lake where I sail and taking a mouthful of Blue Algae in the Summer!) I have now slowly started to put it back on. I should blame my own indiscipline of course, but instead will put the blame on Laure (for her wonderful parties and irresistable French cooking Mmmm) plus all the MKSC quiz nibbles and the meetup Christmas meals we've having (no more turkey please...)
Big thanks too for Mikey at Ship Ashore for our Xmas meal last week.
I am looking foward to the Christmas meal tonight at The Old Beams, organised by Esther, a fabulous organiser and a true friend! (Make mine a char-grilled steak please - I said char not chav lol.)
Might even make it to see a film at the Move Night tomorrow, as my business is now closed 'til the New Year. Yippppppppeeee!! (Not sure everyone will want to watch Snow White though.)
YOU CAN'T BEAT FRIENDS (Well you can, but of course you risk arrest!)
On the subject of friends, I now have some lovely friends, something which I clearly owe to the Meetup Group. I won't embarass them of course by saying who they are, but want you all to know that I truly value your company & friendship!! You all mean a lot to me...
2012 & ONWARDS
I believe the New-in-Town Group has gone from strength to strength this year, adding new members all the time and it will surely continue to grow throughout next year, indeed I have a very good feeling for 2012.
This more than adequately demonstrates that Debs and her merry bunch of assistant organisers (sounds like Santa and her likkle elves) have got the meetup formula just right!!
I have yet to attend a meetup where everyone doesn't try their hardest to make even the most nervous of newbies feel very very welcome, to the point where they come back for more. (After all we were all newbies once.)
If I have to make one New Year's resolution, it will be to attend far more meetups than I have managed to do this year, but with starting up a new business in 2011 this has clearly demanded much of my time. I will, however, be allowing myself much more time off next year to enjoy life, the New-in-Town Group and my friends, because sadly life is all too short.
I'd like to finish by wishing every New-in-Town member a fantastic Christmas & a Peaceful New Year. For those of you out there who are feeling unwell or lonely right now, remember you have the Group for support and we're ALL your friends, so make the most of them, I know I did and I never looked back!
Stay Safe this Christmas wherever you are!
Steven Lewis X
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