Day 00: A chance to get away

Wow, what a year. People often say they sometimes live on a roller coaster of a ride for their life. Well, ordinarily I’d say, not me. Life is reasonable calm, and normal, whatever that is these days. But you get what I mean. For most people, life is normal. Well not 2013.

It started like any other year, well except I got to see Bruce Springsteen in concert in Sydney. What a show, what a great night. Things at work were going really well. Our big events went off without a hitch and the ACT government’s commitment of $15M to help build a new animal shelter was announced in July. Things were started to really take shape for RSPCA ACT.

My brother celebrated his 50th Birthday, we got away to Hong Kong in the middle of the year for a quick visit and my health was the best it had ever been. I’d lost around 30kgs and was in good shape.

Then things turned. I was the target of unwarranted abuse and attack by a senior staff member at RSPCA ACT. I did not ask, nor did I expect this type of attack. I was a successful CEO and we were on the precipice of great things. Maybe it was jealousy. Maybe it was his ego. Maybe he had undiagnosed mental health issues. I certainly do not know what the catalyst was, but almost overnight things got bad, very bad.

Personally, it was an incredibly stressful time for me and Mardi. I was ultimately vindicated, but my time at RSPCA was at an end.

I left for New York in a very depressed and exhausted state. I’d had a headache for a week when we finally jumped on the plane and I was wound up. Would I be able to unwind and enjoy a rest and look to a new beginning. Time would tell.

The flight was a great time to relax and start to let the stress of the last few weeks behind. We arrived into New York at around 7.00pm and met up with my brother of all people

He had celebrated his 50th birthday in August and then arranged a one night dinner in New York as part of a long trip he was having. We were lucky that we could combine a trip to meet up with him. We met up at Per Se. Just one of the best restaurants in the world. What an experience that was.

We arrived around 8.00pm and travelled to the Time Warner Centre, Per Se is located on the top floor. We met David and Kerrie and had a drink or two in the bar before going to the restaurant. Sweeping views of Columbus Circle and Central Park were laid out before us as we took our seats. From the moment we sat down, until the last chocolate the experience was perfect. The food was exquisite, coupled with divine service and attention to detail rarely seen. We were taken on a food odyssey sampling across 18 dishes produce from around the globe, with a very local influence. Each dish perfectly sized so that you got a rich flavour and texture combination, but not so big you didn’t want for the next dish, Dessert was a highlight for me with a selection of hand made chocolates.

We finish dinner well after midnight and walk the streets of Manhattan before parting ways  David and Kerrie are off to China on a cruise and we are starting our four week stay.

The night was a perfect way to start the trip. It centred me and allowed me to focus on what is important in life. Family and great relationships. The over dramatisation of what happened at RSPCA taught me how petty and small minded some people are. I’m sure in time I’ll look at the experience as a learning one, for now, I’ll enjoy a break and spend some quality time with my darling wife.

2017 Update

See Savings Pets for a story about my legacy to RSPCA and animal welfare in general:

Also visit for our permanent gift to animals.

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