Excuse me for not being so attentive to this blog recently, but big changes are afoot and this blog will soon be getting a gritty reboot, Batman style. All the news now follows (warning: one is a lie):
After five years working for a terrific small(ish) oil service company, in a job with all manners of ups and downs, I have handed in my notice, taking effect from the start of June. Perhaps I will write a little more in the near future about what I will miss and not miss about this work, but needless to say it's been a remarkable five years that was entirely unanticipated upon my return from Korea in early 2006.
As of September this year, I will head off travelling for the next two-to-three years. I have decided to create a new Seven World Wonder lists, as six of the original seven no longer exist and a recent worldwide poll was conducted by a Swissman, therefore fraudulent. I have selected ninety-three man-made monuments that I'll visit on the travels, and that I've researching for the last few years, so to hopefully come up with a definitive list. More details will follow on this blog.
Weddings and Babies
My brother, after an awe-inspiring decade-long engagement, got married at the beginning of the year, and any time now will produce a baby via his new wife, Katherine. This means that some time in this month of May I will become an uncle for the first time. I'm not terribly sure what this entails. What do uncles do?
I also became a semi-uncle just a week ago when my cousin gave birth to a child. Yes, a child. I think a semi-uncle has less responsibilities that a full-uncle, so I can probably get away with just patting it on the head when I see it.
And for those of you who have heard of the delectable Handsome Matt you will be delighted too to know he will be producing a child. The timing of its arrival is excellent, as it arrives in August, and I will begin my travels in Sydney - Matt's home - in September. He has promised to call it "Baby Nev".
Aside from my brother's January wedding, I've got a couple more weddings lined up, both for friends of my girlfriend. My friends never seem to get married but hers seem much more keen. One wedding is in mid-August, and I haven't told anyone yet but I intend to dress up like a clown to make the day so much more memorable. The other wedding is next January in India, where my girlfriend - whose name I keep meaning to remember so I can share it with you here - will fly in and join me, in Goa. That is, if she's still talking to me for, ahem, leaving the country for many, many months.
Finally, due to work commitments I had to miss the recent Royal Wedding between will.i.am and Jane Middlemass - or something like that - which I was quite sorry about, as I was well up for a day of Union Jack waving and gin disasters. Instead, I slept through the entire thing. I hope they gave someone my seat.
Right now, I'm offshore Ghana. I arrived here a month ago, spent two weeks onshore and have been offshore since. It's a pretty full-on job, with probably the most equipment I've seen in one location before, and as such the last ten days have been spent in near-continuous action. It's really been quite tiring. Gone are the days of leisurely coffee breaks, and Football Manager extravaganzas (it is the year 2031 and Thurrock are in League 1 - but I haven't played in ages) and they have been replaced by set shifts of sweat, grease and stifling heat. Why, it's enough to make a man quit.
My colleagues are Bigboy, the Rabbit and SHAKATTACK, making up what is quite a strong team, and probably what will be my last ever team. I'm keeping my emotions in check right now, as there's obviously some time to go, but I fully expect to be a weeping, sobbing, shaking wreck of a man by the end of the month.
I came fifth in the annual Dancemaster UK finals, beating the likes of Chris "Swan Manoeuvre" Thomson and "Dynamo Kid" Aaron Mulberry, but couldn't overcome The Rhombus Triplets or, of course, Tricky Masterton. I totally nailed the Swoophoof round and my Human Beatbox wowed the crowd, but I was lacklustre in the Slidestep and the Charleston. But overall, it was a truly wonderful experience that words could never do justice, so I won't even attempt to.
Despite not having been to the cinema in almost five years, I wrote a film. It was under some duress, from ex-castlemate and last year's Edinburgh flatmake Mike. Early this year the documentary he shot in 2009 and edited in my flat last year was shown on the BBC, and he's set to another documentary in the summer about Faroese whaling, with consent from the Faroese government and with, I believe, interest from Channel 4. For the last year he's been interested in making a proper feature film, and had discussed at length an idea with me. We'd made a very rough start last year, but just a couple of months ago were able to sit down and talk about it properly, leading to the very rapid processing of a full script.
It still needs plenty of editing and adjustment, which we'll do over the summer, but has potential. For the curious, here's the "logline": A tale of two worlds colliding in a small village in the Scottish Highlands. Gordon, 80, an eccentric cantankerous crofter finds himself rescuing a Chinese illegal worker on the run, Grace, 20. The unlikely couple stumble into adventure as they discover they share a mutual enemy, which leads them to a dark realisation.
I'd love a beer right now.