On this fateful day Darren was born. The clouds parted and the angels sang. Oh, hang on. No. No they didn’t. Russ got a bit jealous of his little brother though throwing a clock at him, scarring him for life!
On this day Michelle Samantha Green (aka Shelli) was born – two weeks late and after a 24 hour labour – in Sidcup hospital. She was the first (and only) child born to Val and Michael Green… but she wasn’t spoiled at all, honest!
Having spent far too many years at school Darren got cold feet about A Levels and university and left for the greener grasses of the workplace, starting an apprenticeship at GEC Avionics.
After spending some months in a work placement in the Performance Test team in MASD, Darren took a full-time roll in the team at the end of his apprenticeship. Working in MASD Darren got to know Val (Shelli’s mum), becoming very good friends.
Shelli sees Darren for the first time, through a car window whilst picking her Mum up from work. It was infatuation at first glance!
After leaving Chatham Grammar School for Girls with 3 A-levels, Michelle heads off to the big smoke to study journalism at City University.
At the end of a three year degree, Shelli is lucky enough to walk straight into a job at FT.com, the website of the Financial Times.
While Darren was away on business down in Cornwall David (his dad) died of a heart attack. This was to be a pivotal moment in his life, making him assess where he was, what he was doing, and where he wanted to be.
Shelli and Darren get chatting down the pub and become friends. They exchange email addresses so they can keep in touch. Darren’s first email opened with “Hello, beautiful”… smoothly done!
Needing something new after his dad died Darren moved on to pastures new, starting a new job at Sun Microsystems, moving to “sunny” Slough where they were based.
Shelli moves from Medway to Reading, starting off in Sonning Common before settling in Caversham.
After a couple of years learning her trade at the Financial Times, Shelli makes the move to Reuters news agency as a General Reporter and Sub-Editor.
With Sun Microsystems moving offices to Bracknell Darren moved to Twyford, just outside Reading. A much shorter – and nicer – drive to the office that was for sure!
Darren and Shelli never quite move beyond good friends, but friends is awesome (and Shelli can still secretly ogle Darren’s bum). They get together fairly regularly for drinks and the odd New Year’s eve.
Shelli gives birth to her first child, a beautiful daughter called Asri Mae.
Sun Microsystems decided to sack the entire division in April – not good news with Alice due to be born in December that year – so Darren once again had to find gainful employment, starting a new job at McAfee, the antivirus people.
Darren became a very proud daddy with the arrival of Alice!
After a short battle with Leukaemia, Shelli’s Dad (Michael) passes away suddenly in Guys Hospital, London. He is 59 years old.
Proud daddy moment number 2 for Darren with the birth of Elisa!
Shelli gives birth to her second daughter, the gorgeous Eleni Rose.
Losing his dad when he was only 52 was bad, but 10 short years later Darren lost his mum too. A very sad day. Thankfully she got to meet Alice and Elisa.
With Asri in school and Eleni nearly a year old, Shelli goes back to work to rediscover what it’s like to be called Michelle and not just “Mummy”.
Sadly, Alice and Elisa moved to Rochester. This was to be another pivotal moment in Darren’s life that would lay the foundations of adventures soon to come.
Struggling with work and life in general after Alice and Elisa moved away, Darren had a mad idea: why not walk the length of the UK? And so the seeds of a major adventure were planted.
Committed to walking the length of the UK to escape the rat-race, Darren left work to spend the next three months preparing for his 1100 mile walk. A leap of faith like no other he’d taken in his life to that point, but this was something he needed to do with everything else that had happened.
Darren spent three months walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats. A painful, amazing, life changing adventure, more of which you can read at his walking website. This was to be the beginning of Darren’s love affair with Scotland. Having walked many hundreds of miles he fell in love with the Scotland as soon as he crossed the border, but Loch Lomond literally took his breath away!
Darren throws a party on a boat to thank everyone who supported him on the walk. He gets so drunk, he can’t remember half of it and hilariously phones Shelli in a panic the next morning to ask if he’d “done anything inappropriate” to her.
Shelli moves to Sonning Common from Caversham where she rents a house for her and the girls. The house backs on to the school playing field, but somehow they’re still late most days!
Sshhhh! It’s a secret! Darren and Shelli started seeing each other – whoop! Instead of “coming out” straight away, they decided to keep it quiet, especially from their beautiful girls, to see how things went. When they were sure this was it, that’s when the girls would know about them as a couple.
Back to work! Having spent 8 months away from work and “normal” life, Darren returns to the office at McAfee having been offered a roll in the AMCore test team.
A day out in Henley with the girls as “friends”. They didn’t know about the new relationship status change with Darren and Shelli but a great day out was had by all.
Darren and Shelli spend the weekend in the wonderful city of Bath, their first weekend away together! As well as having a fantastic weekend away, Darren took part in the Bath Half Marathon raising money for St. Mungo’s.
Shelli’s first running challenge! Having never run before she decided to take on the Bupa London 10K with Darren and Alex, something that was to become a yearly tradition for them all.
Darren and Shelli take their first trip together to Scotland, visiting Steve and Jill. A great weekend spent being shown around Ayr and the surrounding area by their very special friends.
A big day out for Darren, Shelli, and the girls: London, their first major day out together seeing the sites and eating delicious ice cream!
Almost nine months into their relationship, Darren and Shelli decide it’s time to tell their beautiful girls. They do it separately during their individual summer holidays, and are pleased that all the girls are excited by the news.
Shelli takes on her first walking challenge, deciding to join Darren for the 18 mile Chiltern Three Peaks Challenge. She takes work friends Alex and Matt along for good measure! It’s hard work but she catches the walking bug…
Darren and Shelli have the pleasure and honour of helping Steve and Jill celebrate their wedding in Ayr, being charged with taking their photos…gulp! Another great weekend in Scotland!
Darren turns 40 in March 2012 and decides he wants to do something awesome to celebrate. So off they go to Morocco in August to climb North Africa’s highest peak, Toubkal. It’s a fantastic, if not challenging, holiday. Shelli discovers she really doesn’t enjoy being on the edge of a sheer drop (but somehow overcomes the fear to make it to the peak), and Darren learns he can cope with extreme heat (with a little help from ice cream!).
Always up for another challenge, especially one that pushes her beyond her comfort zone, Shelli runs the Bath Half Marathon with Darren. All of the hours of training paid off when they both went over the finish line together to collect their medals!
Darren surprises Shelli over a pint of beer in the pub with the news that he’s been looking at houses they could buy together. And so begins the epic process of house buying. It’s not long before they’ve had an offer accepted on a lovely house in Woodcote, and Darren’s place in Twyford is snapped up.
Holiday! Scotland! The first big family holiday together to Loch Lomond. An absolutely fantastic time was had by everyone, with the girls falling for Scotland as much as Darren and Shelli.
With a move to the new house in Woodcote now imminent, Shelli gives notice on her rented place in Sonning Common and they move in with Darren in Twyford. It’s a little cramped but it’s only supposed to be for a couple of weeks.
Darren and Shelli receive the devastating news that the house they’ve been trying to buy has been taken off the market. Six months wasted. They start looking again and within a week have an offer accepted on a house on the same road. Only thing is, this one needs a whole lot of work.
After all of the disappointment and stress of the previous 9 months, Darren and Shelli became the proud owners of their home in Woodcote! The place needs quite a bit of work but it’s home and that’s all that matters!
Having moved into their new house in December 2013, Darren and Shelli spend the next year decorating (with a massive help from Mum and Dad). There’s still plenty of time put aside for family fun, with trips to Chatham Dockyard, Go Ape and walks through the woods featuring this year.
Whilst taking in another section of the Thames Path on a bright but cold January day, Darren brings up the subject of weddings and what Shelli would want her wedding to be like, much to her surprise. Amazingly, they both agree that a small family affair in Scotland would be their dream wedding.
Having seen Darren and Shelli’s collection of medals from all of their running challenges, the girls decide they want to take part in a challenge too so we all sign up for the City of London Mile, a free running event. Medals collected the troops were treated to a traditional post-race Wagamamas!
Second big family holiday since that fateful day when Darren and Shelli got it together (finally!). This time they head to the South of France. Shelli, Darren, the four girls and Mum and Dad stay on a holiday park in Frejus. Sunshine, swimming pools and laughter feature heavily on this holiday… oh and beer, beer features a fair bit too!
A family trip to St Tropez takes an unexpected turn when Darren drops down on one knee and pops the question. He surprises everyone (apart from Dad, who found out a few days before). Shelli is so surprised she can’t even get the word “yes” past her lips, so nods instead. A very happy day! More on this in our Blog from Darren’s perspective and also Shelli’s.
Back from their amazing holiday in France the happy couple crack on with organising their wedding, looking for potential wedding venues in the Loch Lomond area. Shortlist drawn up, and venues contacted, they spend a weekend with Steve and Jill looking for the perfect venue to say “I do”. Ross Priory wins (more on this here) and they book their wedding for the 2nd August 2016, exactly 1 year after Darren asked Shelli to marry him.