Happy 21st Patrick Ardouin!

Happy 21st bro – I hope that you have a fantastic day and a well-deserved beer to celebrate.

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Image: February 2013

I know that over the years, I have been very good at playing the role of the somewhat boring no-fun kill-joy older brother, and that we still have to agree to disagree on some things, but I am proud to call you my brother.

I have fond memories of our family holidays together, and your younger more adventurous drive encouraging me to go down the high fireman’s pole at the Santa Maria playground, or to go on the Cyclone rollercoaster at Dreamworld. This encouragement is undoubtedly responsible for my love of rollercoasters today. I remember holidaying in New Zealand in 1998, and introducing ‘Wanganui fire-bombs’ to everywhere that we travelled. I remember the hours that we used to spend on the trampoline and our ‘ruck ball’ tournaments which used to provide hours of entertainment. I can remember Christmas mornings where we would get each other out of bed at about 3am and patiently sit in the lounge watching episodes of The Simpsons until we were permitted to open our presents at 7am – nowadays it is Daniel who is the one getting us out of bed on Christmas! Alas came the day that you became taller and stronger than me and the International Ruck Ball tournament had to come to an end. We began to pursue our own hobbies, and would clash and fight more often. We would frequently tell each other to move out of home and looked forward to the day when it would actually happen. Of course, by the time that it did actually happen, we were both older and rather than fight over our differences, we had learned to appreciate each other’s differences and respect that, so it was actually a quite sad and poignant moment.

I have always admired how you stand up for what you believe in and what you genuinely feel is right. Like myself, you are determined to leave this world in a better state than when you found it, and although we sometimes have different views on how to go about that, I have a great deal of admiration for the fact that your views are always your own, are logically sound and are uninfluenced by what you think others would want you to do or say, instead opting for what you know to be right. Your willingness to give everything a go is rather inspirational – where many of us would not dream of venturing to places such as visiting Cambodia in this modern day world for fear of loss of some of our modern day comforts and safety, your sense of intrigue dominates.

I may have led by example in some arenas, but in terms of many of the finer aspects of enjoying life, it has been I who has followed your lead – you were the first one to demonstrate that one could go out partying, have a fun time and still be alive the next day, you were the first of us to manage to acquire a girlfriend and whilst I was slightly jealous that you had a girlfriend before I did, it did spur me on that if someone so closely and genetically related to me could attract a girlfriend, then perhaps one day I could too.

So as you celebrate the 21st anniversary of your existence with a drink in hand, I hope you look back and are proud of what you have accomplished, these are the first of what I know will be many moments worth celebrating and I look forward to being by your side to raise a toast.

Happy birthday Pat.

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Image: January 2005 (with Daniel)

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