Right, so then… Happy New Year. Glad we got that out of the way, no need to belabour the point. I haven’t been blogging at all lately, though in fairness the last couple of months have actually been busy for me. I have been working. Sort of.
We have been just over two and a quarter years living in Germany and in all that time I haven’t earned much money, nor do I have a full time job. I’ve done some freelancing stuff for a couple of companies back in London, but never enough to ensure our monthly expenditure was lower than our income (actually, there was one month, but its only one out of twenty seven or twenty eight). Over the last couple of months I’ve picked up some more solid work from some online freelancing sites, and its possible that its all turning around a bit right now. I have two things on the cooker, that might prove to be worth pursuing right now. One of the two is potentially fun, and involves building portals (and plugins) for OastOne. We have a nice test version up and running right, which I won’t link to because its ephemeral. The second is setting up a company with some guys I know online (one of whom is a customer from one of those freelancing sites I mentioned earlier, but there’ll be more about this in a later post). Actually, I have three things, but the third is just to continue trying to build up freelance customers and jobs as best I can. I’ve also built out a small portfolio site with which I hope to establish a presence on teh interwebs. So, with all of this you can see why I haven’t been blogging
as much at all over the last couple of months.
We were in Ireland for Christmas, and took a three day trip to The North at the start of the trip. I have to prefix this by saying that I had never before been further north than Newry (and that was with my dad1 on a technical call at some point). We drove to Belfast and stayed there in an incredible hotel that was cheapish, new and incredibly comfortable all at the same time. (I can’t remember the name, but if anyone is looking for a place to stay in Belfast in the near future then let me know and I’ll dig it out.) Belfast is a pretty cool city. I’m not sure what I was expecting really and I guess my perceptions were clouded by twenty years of looking at the Troubles on the news. I just had a really interesting segue through Wikipedia there. Anyway, so my perception of Belfast was completely different from the reality. It’s a lovely city, and one I would visit again should I have the chance. One thing which we couldn’t do was see the Titanic museum in the Harland & Wolff shipyards, or the graving docks for her or her sister ship; the Olympic. We did get to see the huge cranes (Sampson and Goliath) and the whole rebuilding of the docklands, which looked much the same as Canary Wharf does in London. I also re-discovered Subway! I had stopped eating in Subway about twenty years ago because I hated the bread they put on their rolls. Turns out that after twenty years you can be wrong about something – and I had a monster sub with just about everything on it :-)
Anyway, the next day we headed north around the coast road for Antrim. We stopped for lunch in a place which worried us (actually just me) when we discovered that we were two of the only four customers in the place. Turns out the food was amazing. Its a little off the beaten path (actually its about 5 miles off the coast road, at the end of a cul-de-sac) but totally worth visiting if you’re in the area. Again, ping me for more details. We eventually got to Portballintrae, after driving through the highest snow I’ve ever seen in Ireland. There was a good metre of it up in the hills. There we went to see Dunluce castle (awesome, and very very cold), and finally the Giant’s Causeway. Twenty years of living less than two hundred miles from this amazing feat of nature tells me that I really am fucking stupid for dismissing such beauty without ever having actually seen it. Its breathtaking. The weather really helped too – it was fucking cold, and misty, and the sea was rough. It wasn’t the kind of day that I’d suggest going to the beach on, but it was just spectacular. The picture really doesn’t do it justice (it was taking with my phone), though I think even with my SLR I couldn’t have captured the heart of that place at that time. We walked the long way back to the car, heading further around the bay, up the cliffs and then back over the top to the car park. The view from the cliff path was… white. We could hear the sea breaking below, but couldn’t see it because it was all hidden by this carpet of low-lying fog. I loved it there, but you probably got that already. Anyway, we headed back to Trim after that, stopping off in some huge (by Irish standards, tiny in comparison to Leesburg corner or Jersey Gardens for example) outlet mall for some retail therapy.
Okay, I’m going to post this now, because I have to get some homework done for tomorrow, and its getting late. If I have time, I’ll start the rest of this post a little later. If not, then it will be tomorrow.
1 SceneMaker.eu is very much currently under construction. In February and March 2010 it'll be broken and down while we figure out exactly how it's going to work.