When I started this blog in 2004, I was a father, and I ran a training company and we worked from home with minimum extra help. I didn't wear glasses, I was just a regular (sleeping) member of the Chamber of Commerce and FSB, and I didn't know a lot about the area I lived in, or its governance. We had a cat, had only a vague idea about how public transport worked although we used it when we could, and worked a five day week - all be it extended into the evenings sometimes.
Six years later, and I'm now a grandfather as well as a father. We run a training company and a hotel / training centre - with the admin still at home, but a separate premises with a team of (excellent) staff. The Federation of Small Business fell apart in this area and I found myself much more involved with the Chambers of Commerce - very much a local organisation rather than a centralised business itself, and I'm currently President of the Melksham Chamber. I wear glasses, we have a dog in addition to the cat, and I've got myself interested in local economic issues - with a bias towards the transport provision that's needed to sustain a vibrant economy and a lifestyle that people want into the future. On the political side, I know the elected representatives around our parts, and many of the officials working for / with them too - and I have built up a great respect for people who have a tremendous knowledge, and give a great deal of time, to try to resolve current issues and make things better for the future - often against a background of archain and excessive rules and regulation, vested interests, a few bad pennies, and an unhealthy apathy from the silent majority. Work and related activities have expanded from five to beyond six days a week, and "quiet time" work has often switched from quieter days and evenings to the pre-dawn period. Don't get me wrong - I'm not necessarily objecting, and I find it very hard to motivate myself to do things I don't enjoy, so that's something of a proof)
So - whence the next six years?
I started this series of articles looking back and forward at my 3000th blog, but I've held back the last and more personal chapter until Aeryn's arrival - my granddaughter, born yesterday morning.
The last six years has brought a lot of changes, and I don't know what the next six will bring. I would no longer jump on a motorbike (I feel my balance isn't as good with glasses), I don't suppose I would be accepted to make a parachute jump again, and clearly over time there will be other limitations. Some will be overcome with increased ingenuity and efficiency and tools, others will just need to be accepted. And I want to have more time for family things - for current, previous and next two generations. There will be times - I hope - over the next year or two that I can borrow Aeryn and take her (and perhaps Delene and Chris too, and Lisa and Gypsy) out for a walk, to some place, for the day, or just enjoy their company at one home or another.
Six years ago, I didn't have all the outside interests that have eaten in to my time, nor the hotel, to look after. I had the 'slack' to take on some extra things - and did so with a keen vigour; but then perhaps I took on too much - or, rather, I took on things that were within the capacity I had at the time, but then became an overload as other things demanded more time. In spring of last year, we had an unreliable member of staff and I found myself doing her job as well as mine, and when she left I continued to do so. The intent was that it should be for a short term, but we let short term develop to medium term ... and up to 18 months. And I took on one or two other things which I wanted to do, I had the ability to do, but I didn't have the time for. So come this summer, I was stretched to the limit and a need to take on more when a member of the team went off sick for an extended period stretched my further - to the extend that I wasn't really doing any of the voluntary stuff to a standard I could be proud of.
In order for things to get better, they had to get worse ... things have had to be left on the back burner while we have recruited and trained extra members for our team; I'm delighted to report that I'm now able to pass over the hotel - with confidence - to an extra four people, three working part time and one (Rachel, who deserves a "mention in dispatches") full time. And that's giving me time to start picking up some of the voluntary balls I have dropped. You'll note that I've said "some"; there will be some thinning out for my own sanity and I'll not be standing for re-election / to be re-volunteered for a couple of things.
So - whence forward on this? I'm still passionate about an appropriate rail service on the corridor through Melksham (as I write, I'm waiting for a rail meeting this evening, and I had them Monday, Friday and Saturday last week). I'm still passionate for Melksham's businesses and I'll be continuing my support for that through the Chamber of Commerce. I'm sure those items will bring in a proportion of related topics as I'm very much one for an integrated transport environment ... but it'll be much more focused than of late.
With the hotel ticking over much better, and with Chris back much more in the early spring too, we might even end up with some time to relax ... indeed, we've already planned for that - Lisa's Siblings are coming to the UK for a holiday next summer, and cruising from Southampton for a couple of weeks, and we'll be joining them. Come to think of it, that may not be what others describe as "relaxing" but it's said that a change is as good as a rest.
This personal look forward is a bit woolly - it's strong on family, it's strong on the training and hotel businesses, and it's strong on transport and Melksham business. It shows an appreciation that we're not getting any younger ... but it leaves so much undirected / unplanned as we simply don't know. I'm very conscious that Chris makes appearances in the text here, but Kim and Tyler don't. I can confidently predict that Tyler too will be a dad in a few weeks, but as that's in Naples, Florida I don't see us being so involved. Kim is now working a couple of shifts a week for us - one of that excellent team; she's not got quite the same momentous news that Chris and Tyler have, and I'm not about to start shouting from the rooftops like one traditionally does with a new baby about what's going on with her. But she's very much - very, very much around here and with us as is Dad (in fact the two of them are off in Bath seeing the new baby before us tonight!) I would have found it hard to predict from 2004 to 2010, so I'll be no better if I try to predict from 2010 to 2016.
Last - but not least (in fact top of the stack) - Lisa. She and I will both be here, around, together, and in Melksham come 2016. That much is the easy prediction.
Links to other articles in the series
A brief look back
Looking forward in overview - the next 3000
How will course presentation change in coming years?
Course subjects - what does the future hold?
Well House Manor - the next six years
Personal stuff - back and forward six years. (written 2010-11-08, updated 2010-11-09)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesZ950 - Purely Personal 
Christmas Season Piccies - (2006-12-30) 
Too busy to blog it - but it's great (mostly) - (2007-01-24) 
A two day gap - first time in five years? - (2009-05-24) 
The great thing about snow .... - (2009-12-23) 
Ruth Davis, 1916 - 2010 - (2010-03-28) 
Congratulations, Kimberly - (2010-07-25) 
Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03) 
Birth Notice - Aeryn Cassandra Ellis - (2010-11-07) 
Zyliana Kyrei Cox - (2010-11-16) 
My First Christmas - (2010-12-26) 
Melksham Campus - a win / win opportunity, but a severely lacking decision process - (2011-03-31) 
Melksham Town Council - vacancy in the Spa Ward - (2011-04-10) 
The juggler - (2011-05-08) 
Quiet Monday in - (2011-05-23) 
If its Sunday, must it be Weymouth? - (2011-08-30) 
A threat in the post? Poor marketing practise from Smiletrain? - (2011-09-19) 
Melksham has a heart - have your picture taken and support the defibrillator appeal - (2011-11-06) 
Aeryn at 1 - (2011-12-19) 
Initial thoughts - response to GW Rail Franchise Consultation for Wiltshire - (2011-12-31) 
Emerging proposals for land to the east of Spa Road, Melksham - (2012-02-03) 
Kiss - (2012-04-28) 
How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27) 
Zigzag bus - forward for the future, or decaying service? - (2013-06-09) 
Wedding Photos - Kim Ellis to Kyle Londors, 22nd August 2013 - (2013-08-23) 
Improving travel advise information in Wiltshire - (2013-09-06) 
Not treading water, but not risking the ship for a 0.5th of tar either - (2013-10-06) 
Looking to the future at Melksham Station - (2013-10-26) 
Celebration of the fruits of LSTF, and of the people who have helped and are helping - (2013-12-15) 
Sharing my personal best of 2013 - (2013-12-31) 
Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08) 
A different vision for the future - (2014-07-09) 
Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12) 
What can you and I learn from online quizzes? - (2014-09-27) 
Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29) 
Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04) 
Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08) 
A big change in August - (2015-12-25) 
Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19) 
Rumours of bus changes by First in Wiltshire - what we know and suspect - (2016-03-01) 
The end of competition on a bus route - the effects from then end of the 234 - (2016-03-02) 
Buses - how did we get into the situation we are in? - (2016-04-02) 
Lisa writes - on the referendum vote today - (2016-06-23) 
The technical article feed continues - personal updates more proactive on Facebook now! - (2016-10-30) 
Visiting Los Alamitos Bay Yacht Club - (2016-11-23) 
Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22) 
Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24) 
Why you should vote for Lisa in Melksham Central - (2017-05-01) 
A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27) 
Learning how to be a more effective community partner - (2017-07-15) 
Sale of effects and furniture - 12th and 13th August 2017 - (2017-07-25) 
Looking forward to the autumn. - (2017-08-19) 
Some thoughts on 2017, and looking forward to 2018 - (2017-12-31)
Some other Articles
Java - basic rules for arithmetic, variables and conversionDoing several things at the same time - Java threadsFresh Paint - Java ArraysSetting up individual variables, and arrays, in Java - some commented examplesLooking back and forward personally - 6 years each waySending out an email containing HTML from within a PHP pageHow to display information from a database within a web pageRail services back to Radstock?Coincidence, or Conspiracy - a wrong email address