Warning: introspective blog post. Skip over this one if you're here for the mobile stuff - I stop juuust short of posting kitten photos.
So farewell then, 2006. And what a year you were; I think I grew up more in the last 12 months than in the last 5 years. It's been interesting in the conventional, as well as the "chinese curse" sense of the word.
Casting a long shadow over the year was an event I alluded to in a post in mid-February: basically, I returned from 3GSM and my girlfriend of the previous 6 years ended our relationship. It's fair to say that it knocked me for six: I spent a week not sleeping or eating, followed by a month moping, lower than I've ever been in my life - so apologies to you if you met me in this time as I would have been distracted at best. For a couple of months after this I wasn't really doing much of any value, and can only thank the rest of FP for completely carrying me during this time - particularly Mr Falletti and Devi.
But but but... in preparing this post I made a big list of the positives and negatives of 2006, and was quite surprised at the sheer quantity of Good Stuff that happened - most of which is attributable to the blowing out of cobwebs this led to. So in no particular order:
I travelled more than any other year of my life; business took me to Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin and Barcelona, and play to the Lake District, Paris, Ireland (twice), Montreux, and Roskilde (in Denmark). Oh, and All Tomorrows Parties at Butlins in Minehead of course :)
I finally got round to cooking more than the regulation 3 dishes which had sustained me for the previous 15 years; not every one has been a gem, but my repertoire and confidence in this area has expanded significantly.
I drank my first Moquito.
I'm fitter and healthier than I've ever been, thanks to short but daily 3km jaunts around the Level in Brighton, and the ever-present Aikido. The latter supplied me with a much-needed routine, an excuse for travel (Montreux was beautiful, and I hope to return this year), much-needed exercise (*nothing* beats being thrown into the ground repeatedly by good friends), and support. In particular I leant on my instructors, Tom and Maria Helsby, during this year: thanks guys.
I went on a basic First Aid course, with Neil from FP - something I've meant to do for years.
I think I've finally sorted out that whole work/life balance thing, which had been unresolved for years and contributed significantly to problems early in the year. Here's a hint: 5 months working 12-16 hour days without a day off (which I did in 2005) doesn't endear you to your Significant Other. A lesson learned there methinks.
On the subject of work: the year was good, bar a single disappointment (a client who left us less honourably than I felt we deserved). Commercially not as good as 2005 which was a bit disappointing, but we've done some cracking projects for clients (the Ghost Detector, Puzzler, and a location-based game I Can't Talk About spring to mind), put a lot of time into our own products (some of which are for us only, others of which you'll read more about here in 2006), and improved on a lot of our internal processes (and will continue to do so, with a little help from our friends). Without blowing my own trumpet too much, we've got a cracking team of folks who know their shit and work well together: 2007 is going to be big for us.
I learned to play Mah Jong. About 5 times. Lesson: if you want to learn to play a new game, it probably helps if you don't play it once every 6-8 weeks and combine the play with copious quantities of alcohol (and marmalade). Thanks to Joh and Ed for persevering with that one :)
I got really angry about the local police CCTV van.
We threw two quite frankly excellent parties at Rosehill: the Woodland Disco for my birthday, and the far tackier School Disco for Dan and Wills's birthdays. Thanks to everyone who came and made these so great - particularly Team Mayhem, whose stamina shocks and awes. More to follow in 2007, and the fancy dress tradition seems to be well established now.
I went on an Alexander Technique course: something I've meant to do for years. Whilst it was enjoyable, I'm not sure how I'll manage to fit any serious study of it around everything else I want to do.
Horace and Monty, my two cats, finally proved themselves this year: nice one guys.
I did the Landmark Forum, and whilst I'm still uncomfortable with some aspects of it, it's directly led to some good things in my life: building a relationship which I've never had previously with my sister, and starting a friendship with my ex-girlfriend. I'm continuing to go to some follow-up seminars, and will see how it goes (probably writing about it here).
On the subject of Rosehill, I finally got around to doing more work on it: the old wallpaper and carpet has been banished, the ground floor hallway tiled, and the stained glass David made for me a few years back has been put up. I also have the planning permission I need to rebuild the bathroom, which may happen in 2007.
It was a musical year: the mighty Oddfellows Casino, the hideously talented Chris Letcher, The Nepotistic Mothband, Madeleine Peyroux, the Divine Comedy, Acid Brass, The Goldie Lookin' Chain, and a raft of festivals (ATP, Roskilde, The Electric Picnic) provided the soundtrack to 2006.
I learned a lot about my friends: finding a few who distinguished themselves by being unexpectedly wonderful to me when I was at my lowest (I'm looking at you, Los Mackriellos), catching up with a few old faces I'd not seen in years, and finding those closest to me supportive as ever (kudos to Dan, Claire, Nige, Nan, Julie, Nicki, Joh, and Ed). In the summer one of these rapscallions, Smiley Steve, became the newest permanent resident of Rosehill.
And like Mariah Carey, I save the best for last: wellies! With wings! Thanks for the fireworks, my dear :)
Cheers to everyone who made 2006 what it was (good or bad). And happy new year to you all :)