Posted by: Steve | January 1, 2013

2012 – A year in Muck Boots

Muck Boots 2012After the demise of my old wellies in 2011 I decided to break with tradition and kit myself out with a pair of new-fangled ‘Muck Boots’. They’ve proved to be a good investment, with 2012 being confirmed as the UK’s wettest year since records began in 1910.

It’s not just the weather that’s been unsettled in 2012, it’s been a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs for me personally, with family health problems and some long-overdue career changes to deal with.

Thankfully, Dawn’s mum has fully recovered from the mini-stroke she suffered in April. My dad is still as active as ever after his third treatment for bladder cancer. At 84 years old he’s still making it to the local bookmaker’s on a daily basis!

To escape the dreadful weather at home we took off for the guitar festival in Cordoba in July. It was a brilliant holiday, great food, wine, and a good hotel, The Hesperia, in a very safe and friendly city. The guitar festival was a little more low-key than we’d expected, but we did see some brilliant, authentic flamenco danced by Mercedes Ruiz.

Despite the recession (is it a triple-dip, or have they given up counting?) we’ve been very lucky to find ourselves in a position to pay off our mortgage. By reducing our spending a little we worked out that I could afford make some big career changes.

I’d been working as a quality manager for a medium-sized engineering company since 2007. It’s a role that I really wasn’t enjoying, particularly after the company opened offices in London and Qatar. In October I switched to a part-time job on the Performance & Development team at Northumberland County Council in Morpeth. No more daily 90 mile commutes to work! I’m also doing much more database development work, building on the skills I gained as part of my BSc in 2006.

As well as paying our bills, the part-time contract has given me enough free time to launch and develop my own software design company – metamatix. It’s too early to say if the new venture is going to be viable as a full-time job, the competition is cut-throat, but this is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I’m giving it my best shot.

Although the new business is demanding a lot of attention I’m slowly beginning to re-gain some free time for long walks with Henry, lots of chores around the house, and… some practice-time on the banjo!

I’m hoping to get back to some regular traditional music sessions around Northumberland later in 2013. Unfortunately I’m well out of practice and my playing is, well, pretty awful right now…

Did I hear someone say ‘it always was’?

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