Wow! It's been that long since I had chance to put what would have been in days gone by pen to paper. Thesedays, fingers to keyboard - and here I am 2 days before Christmas.
I wanted to extend my best wishes to everyone for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Whether you're a client (and we've had a busy year), a viewer, a listener, a friend - thank you for all the fun, laughs and great times that we've had in 2013.
It's been an amazing year for the little boy who came from 'on the phones' at BT to all of the projects I'm involved with - and I never forget how extremely fortunate I am to have the privilege of talking to so many people and having such a variety of things to keep this active Scorpio brain working. It's been a great year for The Jewellery Channel, as we go from strength to strength. It has been an honour to travel again to see where a lot of our jewellery is made, and see for myself the good work that the company's charity work does in India. I have to pay tribute to all of the amazing team behind the scenes too - we are an amazing family of people, however trite that sounds (it's so true). There is nowhere else in telly like this place, and we all love what we do and I hope that you see that on the screen every day.
Thank you too to my amazing friends and family, past and present - too many to mention. They have to listen to me constantly saying 'I'm sorry, I'm at working/the wrong end of the country/am filming' and yet still talk to me. Also, many friends on Facebook - thanks for being there, I often flick through my news feed in the middle of the night whilst at a hotel skimming though - smiling, laughing and crying along with you all.
Thanks to the team at the Liverpool Cruise Club too - it's been a pleasure working on screen and being able to speak to so many viewers and hear your tales of cruise holidays. I really enjoyed my time with the channel and wish them well as the cruise industry enters into a new phase in 2014. Thanks for a whole raft of kind messages about the shows. I pay particular tribute to producer Daniel Harrison. We've worked together for over 10 years on different projects, and he's a great talent in TV who is working hard every day to bring many TV companies ideas to the screen.
I hope to be involved in more travel-related projects in the new year - as holidays are so important to us, and so needed when we have pretty rotten weather over here sometimes (although we did have a great Summer this year didn't we). Talking of holidays - if you need travel tips for Lisbon, Gran Canaria, Berlin, Cornwall or Japiur, drop me an e-mail. I've been a lucky boy this year with holidays. Have to get the nose back to the grindstone to pay for them now ha ha. I've decided that I want to see much more sunshine next year.
Oh, and I turned the 4-0 this year, not as bad or terrible as I thought it would be. Apart from the obviously expanding waistline (no offence, but I'm not going to let that take over next year) it's all been tickety boo and I've survived it (and I didn't wake up to find any more lines that weren't there the day before).
It's been great to do a lot more voice overs this year too - it's something I love doing, and it's been great learning new techniques. I'm thinking of starting a podcast in 2014, just talking about some of the nonsense that I ramble on about when I'm on air sometimes on telly and the radio. A chance to 'chew the fat' on a whole variety of things. What do you think - I've got one or two ideas up my sleeve?
Any old way - a nice, quiet Christmas for me - catching up, relaxing and hoping the weather does at least stay settled. Jacob sends his love to. To you and yours, have a happy, peaceful and great christmas - and let's hope that all our dreams come true in 2014 (and, at the very least that we have more reasons to smile).
If you've read this far - have a DEREK MARKS ENDURANCE AWARD for 2013, it's quite an accolade :)
Lots of Love for now