Sam aged 0!
I remember this so well... I laid him on his tummy on my bed - and to my surprise he held his head up and made such a startled face! So I rushed downstairs and grabbed my camera. This was in the days before he had even learnt to crawl!
I think it made for a lovely photo.
Sam aged 1
This was taken at Camber Sands in September 1996, and this holiday was the first time Sam got to really play on the beach! I remember we had a very sunny week. I loved this picture so much that at Christmas that year we created a laminated calendar featuring this photo to send out to friends and family. I thought he looked very grown-up, considering he was still only 1 year's old!
We returned to this spot in August 2005 with my mum.
Sam aged 2
Here he is in the back garden with his Teletubby Dipsy.
These toys were especially hard to obtain as Teletubby fever swept the nation that year... so he was fortunate to get one so soon!
I really loved this picture, and for his 3rd birthday his mother created a birthday card with the photo at the centre which we sent up to CBBC... and it was shown on the screen by presenter Dominic Wood with other children's photo-cards, just prior to that day's edition of the Teletubbies! Before an audience of millions, no doubt...!
Sam aged 3
Here's Sam with his Gromit jumper! He was a big fan of Wallace & Gromit at the time, and would watch the three W&G films over and over, and recite the dialogue! My mother spotted this jumper (which someone had knitted) on sale at the cafe of our local park where he used to play, and thought it was perfect for him.
Funnily enough, Sam's head was later 'extricated' from this photo(!) to be scanned onto an animated video I gave him for his 4th birthday entitled 'UR the Star' - put together by a company who make little personalized films as presents.
Sam aged 4
Sam was by now attending Birdwood Nursery full-time, and this was the photo taken when a professional photographer visited to snap all the children. It was actually the same nursery I attended myself... many aeons before!
Sam aged 5
This is Sam's official school photo for his first year at Boyne Hill Infants' School. I still have this photo on my keyring to this day! I think he looks very smart in his uniform - and what a lovely smile.
Sam aged 6
Sam's getting a bit older now... this was taken at Carters Steam Fair, Holyport village green. He's standing by the trailer that is full of old-style penny arcade slot machines - which we had great fun trying out! I thought this photo was very natural, and I liked the bright colours of the fair around him. He's also wearing his Action Man t-shirt!
Sam aged 7
This is Sam in his Harrowby School uniform the day of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. His class performed a song that their teacher had written especially for the occasion, and performed it live in front of the BBC cameras at Boultham Park, Lincoln.
The crowd all joined in later for a finale of 'All You Need is Love'... the lyrics of which were helpfully printed on the reverse of these balloons, as demonstrated here by Sam! It was great too seeing him on stage doing his stuff.
Sam aged 8
Again this is a professional photo, taken at the Windsor 'Old Portraits' studio near the castle when we took a boat trip from Maidenhead with my mum one summer's day. We both got dressed up for a photo, and then they also took this separate one of Sam which I thought was quite charming.
Sam aged 9
Sam by one of the Lutyens fountains in Trafalgar Square, which he also paddled in later! This was during the summer of 2004, and just out of shot (apart from Nelson's column) is a giant prop of Thunderbird 3 that was used for the movie which was currently on release. There were lots of children playing in the water that day, and a real holiday atmosphere. And of course Sam's now wearing his glasses, as he seems to have inherited my short-sightedness!
Sam aged 10
Here we are, back at Carters Steam Fair - this time at Pinkney's Green, Maidenhead, in early May 2005. Sam is posing with a sword he won on one of the sideshows! We did this photo especially to put on the site.
Sam aged 11
Here's Sam, showing off his trophies for finishing as top player in the regional Yu-Gi-Oh tournament (held in Edgware) in March 2006! Winning this tournament qualified him for the National Championships in Birmingham in May. Sam was surprised & delighted to win, & with some tough opponents, it was no mean feat. He attends a local Yu-Gi-Oh tournament in Slough (see Sam Stuff), where he has been honing his skills as a player since 2004. The ring-binder propped up beside him contains hundreds of his Yu-Gi-Oh cards - slotted into specially-made transparent plastic sleeves.
Also notice the 'Down Under' T-shirt he's wearing - this was a present from my brother (Sam's Uncle Maurice) from his latest trip to Australia during Feb/March 2006.
Sam aged 12
Here's Sam during our Isle of Wight holiday in July 2007. He's wearing his Reading FC replica football shirt - they'd just finished their remarkable first season in the Premiership (finishing 8th position). On the reverse of the shirt are his name & number... his number being his age - 12! We had this shirt made up at the beginning of that famous season.
This was our second summer holiday visit to the Isle of Wight running - we stayed in Sandown (as in 2006), but this time Miranda joined us too. One of Sam's favourite things from our first visit was the chair-lift ride at The Needles, which transports visitors down the coloured chalk cliffs to Alum Bay (where Sam's sat above) & back up again... if they wish! I must say I didn't quite share Sam's enthusiasm for this transportation - I don't like heights & I found it all rather scary! But, a bit like a scary rollercoaster, it somehow just makes you want to go back & do it all over again & repeat the experience - so that's what we did!
Just to Sam's right (above the jetty) you can see the Needles rocks themselves, & you may just be able to make out the lighthouse at the end. We later walked along the cliffs round there to the Needles Battery, & saw it up close - it was another lovely sunny day & a great holiday!
Sam aged 13
Here's Sam up on the ramparts of Pembroke Castle, taken during our visit there whilst on a week's holiday in Tenby with Miranda in July 2008.
Sam said he'd like to go somewhere different after our two previous holidays in the Isle of Wight in 2006 & 2007 - so I suggested Tenby, as I hadn't been there since a family holiday when I was 9, & I remembered what a lovely place it was!
We had a very enjoyable week, and even had some sunshine - like 2007, July 2008 was rather rainy, but we were fortunate enough to avoid most of it! We had a great day out at Pembroke Castle, and Sam said he'd like the above photo to be used on my site - so here it is!
Sam aged 14
Here's Sam up pictured at the amazing Thornton Force waterfalls at Ingelton, North Yorkshire. This was taken during our stay in August 2009 with Miranda at her Aunt & Uncle's House in Whalley, Lancashire.
Miranda knew this area very well, as her parents were from this part of the country, and had many childhood holidays here. This was the first visit to Ingleton for Sam and myself - we really enjoyed the 5-mile walk that circles the many waterfalls along the way, and the hills of the Yorkshire Dales. Sam enjoyed climbing around all the rocks that surrounded the waterfalls.
Following our walk, we finished our day at Ingleton with a visit to the White Scar caves - the longest show-cave in Britain. Again, Sam said he'd like this photo to be used on the site, so I'm happy to oblige!