Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Last Year's Loose Ends

So the world has moved on into 2014, and yet since August I've managed just a single post on this blog. It isn't that I haven't done anything interesting since August, but for some reason I've just never got around to blogging about what I have done. I suppose at least part of the problem is having multiple blogs, and now a twitter account as well, which means that when I do have something to share this blog isn't always the most appropriate place. So to make up for the lack of posts I'm going to do one long(ish) post that will hopefully bring me up to date.

After my trip to Gent in August the rest of the summer was fairly quiet; no work or personal trips and nothing particularly interesting to report from the garden either. Things started to pick up in mid-September when we had visitors to stay for the weekend of the Penistone agricultural show, for which the weather behaved. If the summer had been quite though, I made up for that in October.

First up was a trip to Thessaloniki in Greece for a ForgetIT project meeting. This was my first trip to Greece and it was definitely an interesting place to visit even if I did keep getting mixed up with the different alphabets (note to self: write things down for taxi drivers in the local alphabet). Half the fun of these work trips is the socializing with other participants and this time was no different; the photo shows some of us watching the fish in an unbelievably clear ocean on the first evening before dinner (thanks to Søren Schaffstein for the photo, especially as I didn't take any of any interest). As usual I didn't have that much time in which to explore, but I did experience a magnitude 4.5 earthquake on the final morning; I was in a rather decrepit lift at the time which certainly added to the experience!

Given my schedlue for October it was unfortunate that I managed to pick up some form of throat infection while in Greece that left me barely able to talk. I was fine when I boarded the place home in Thessaloniki but by the time I arrived in Munich I could hardly talk at all, even copious volumes of weissbier while waiting for the plane to Manchester failed to improve things.

Five days after getting back from Greece, and with a throat that still didn't want me to speak, I headed to London to take part in the BBC #newsHACK event at Shoreditch Town Hall. I've already blogged about this event over on one of my other blogs, so I won't bore you with the technical details, but I will point you at our hack/demo and possibly more interestingly show you the video of the pitch session: If you don't want to watch all 27 demos, you can skip to around 55 minutes to see our presentation; including hearing how bad my voice was when I tried to answer a question.

I ended October with a visit to the National Railway Museum in York for a one in a lifetime chance to see the six remaining A4 steam locomotives together (two of them are usually to be found in North America). As with the #newsHACK event I blogged about this trip elsewhere, so I'll just include the obligatory photo at this point.

October also saw me being paid for the very first time for the 3D models I have on sale via Shapeways; my first sale was back in January 2013, but they only pay out when you've made at least $30. I won't claim this as profit, as I spent more than I've made on test prints, but it's a very good start! In fact someone ordered another model this morning so hopefully 2014 will be profitable.

November was again mostly taken up with work, but we did take a few days off to have a long weekend in Warwickshire so we could attend both days of the National Poultry Show at Stoneleigh Park. I always thought that it was interesting looking at marque worth of chickens at the Penistone show, but I think I was all poultried out by around lunchtime on the first day. I'm not entirely sure how many chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys we looked at but according to the programme there were nearly 7000 entires plus 500 sale pens, and as some of those will have contained more than one bird you can begin to imagine just how much there was to see. The hope was that by the end of the weekend we would have a much better idea of which breed(s) of chickens we would like to keep once we have sorted out the garden, but if anything I think it just gave us more options! Still it was a fun weekend.

December mostly saw us getting ready for Christmas and visiting relatives, and strangely I haven't taken many (if any) photos so there isn't really much to show for our travels. Anyway that brings the blog nicely up to date ready for whatever 2014 may throw at me. I hope you've all had a great holiday and wish you all the best for the new year!
1 January 2014 at 15:45 , ADRIAN said...

Have a really good year Mark.

2 January 2014 at 04:17 , GB said...

Best wishes to you both for the coming year.

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