2015: A Look Back

2015 was the best year on record. Absolutely wonderful in every way.

Obviously the biggest thing to happen was getting a new Macbook. After 2 years without a laptop, using an iPad as primary computer, it’s been great to be back with the beautiful unibody silver Apple machine to help me achieve my digital needs. Working in tech without a computer is difficult, but doable — though I wouldn’t recommend it. The iPad is capable, but there are just so many limitations.

But the biggest change was moving to London with my beautiful girlfriend.
Quite simply, the move has been the biggest and most successful changes ever.


After a 2 1/2 year hiatus, I got a new laptop.


Visited Brighton Beach.


This year I ventured into beer brewing to varying degrees of success.

Being cute in London:

40 Days in London

40 days ago myself and my beautiful girlfriend set off on a ferry from Dublin to start our new life in London, and they’ve been the best ever! Not without it’s trials, worries, stresses and challenges — to be expected when moving to a new place — however everything is amazing right now and so far London is fantastic.

I secured a job in IT after less than a week, so there wasn’t much time to stay in pyjamas all day in exchange for early mornings, late evenings and long commutes. A busy working-week has ensured that weekends are spent tasting the varied cuisine available, getting to know the local area and generally floating around the city.

Why London?

I always wanted to live in London — though I never thought it would happen. I love cities. However, when Vicky first suggested she was thinking of looking for teaching jobs in London I was nervous and excited. Mostly excited. But also nervous — mostly because we hadn’t discussed moving in together yet. 

Later came adding property alerts for a reasonably priced flat around Greater West London where a job had been acquired — finding “reasonable” properties proved difficult. In the end we got a great little ‘starter’ place at a lower price than everything else in the area.

And so over the last 40 days I’ve lived in the borough of Ealing, West London — the very borough my Granny grew up in. In the biggest single change of my life, I now live in one of the biggest and best cities, with my best friend, in a job I enjoy and currently life is wonderful; a dream I never really thought would be a reality, to live in a place where anything is possible.

How to move all the stuff?


With difficulty. Seriously it was difficult. The photo above is all of my worldly possessions — I jokingly include Vicky in that category. This isn’t including a handful of stuff I left with a friend in Carlow to be picked up at a later date. Here we’re waiting for the bus from Carlow, which would be followed by a bus from Dublin which took us to London Victoria Station, via the ferry. Thankfully it was all very smooth, and the 24″ TV in the blue suitcase survived! This was followed by an Uber to the house.

Now what?

Now I’m just another person you know who moved to London. I had already fled Northern Ireland. Then gave up on the island altogether. I’ll be back at varying intervals, most likely keeping to the same schedule of the last 2 years; Christmas and summer (for my birthday).

Life is genuinely exciting right now and there’s so much to do!

Selfie

Yesterday it was announced that ‘selfie’ has been named as word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries, and sure why not commemorate the occasion with a selfie:

While it is considered by some to be one of the truest forms of vanity, it is true that, as humans we are certainly quite vain. We wouldn’t leave the house in the morning without spending a few minutes in front of the mirror, whether it is styling hair, covering blemishes, exaggerating cheekbones, extending eyelashes, blusher, lip gloss, eyeliner, mascara, foundation, lipstick, gel, wax, polish. Extend this and highlight that. Or go full-on Barbie or Ken. Then there’s the photo to show it off (not forgetting pouting/duck-face).

There are extremes to all things; No one is “God’s gift” and indeed, think like that and you should be shot down, but everyone should be proud of who they are and how they look. And in this age of profiles, avatars and countless online photo albums, we all like a some good photos of ourselves. of course some people’s idea of a good image of themselves is certainly questionable, the “selfie” is not something to be ashamed of.

It took a while, but I’ve certainly become partial to taking the odd photo of myself. Whether it’s due to living on my own and enjoying sharing my life with a number of people who I rarely see (more on that another day), or that I have grown more confident in my own self-image (I’m sure I’ll get around to writing about that too), but I accept that self-portraiture as no bad thing – it is not new. Technology today may have led to an influx of self-portraits, and the English language brought us to shortening words – making them fun – this is a great thing, and the way that it is changing us is wonderful, and to be embraced. Embrace it or be left behind. Be creative. Accept these things and enjoy them for what they are. Take a photograph of yourself. Embrace technology. Embrace the modern world. Enjoy the word. Just don’t go overboard, yeah.

English Market, Cork

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy markets; I never visited St George’s Market in Belfast often enough. It really brightens up the city seeing so many people enjoying a Saturday/Sunday afternoon just aimlessly browsing the wares and stopping for coffee and a cupcake.

The Cork English Market is no different; lots of fresh produce, and local wares and a fantastic atmosphere. I would buy all the things.

Some Thoughts on Cork

The one thing you will notice about Cork is that Cork people love Cork. Every single Corkonian I’ve met over the years has confirmed this, and my most recent visit to the city, last month, was no different. I’m always reminded of Andrew Maxwell’s sketch on the topic. Anyone I have met who no longer lives in Cork does so only out necessity, whether it is for college or work, but ensure they return as often as possible. Others I know refuse to live elsewhere despite how it may be more convenient to live in a different part of the city.

With its two rivers running through the city, and essentially being an island in the middle, it can be a difficult place to navigate as an outsider (“…the other side of the river.” “Which one?”), but with the right people looking after me (thanks Will!), and Google Maps, I didn’t get too lost.

It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve never felt that way about Belfast, and I don’t know very many who do. It does it’s best, but I couldn’t travel the world telling everyone who much I loved it and yearned to return. However, it is partly due to Corkish people’s love of all things Cork that makes Cork people so lovely. Besides a bitter sense of humour and accent that makes mine sounds like the Queen’s English, they really are a nice people.

Cork Pride Pt3 — Parade

While it was a lot smaller than Pride in Belfast, there was a great community feel to the entire day.
Even the guards had a smile on their faces:

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Cork City Lord Mayor, Catherine Clancy, who hosted the parade.

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Stephen Spillane and Lord Mayor, Catherine Clancy

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My hosts for the weekend, Will and Stephen

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Me getting my nails done by The Lord Mayor’s sister-in-law. One of those ‘only in Ireland’ moments.