Turning 40 last year was supposed to be the start, or at least that's what people have you believe. The simple truth was that I've been lucky enough to have been living a rare old life for a few years now and whilst it's not been without it's downs during a period of frankly ever-surprising roller-coasting along, I've had way too many ups to begrudge the odd set-back.
Last Wednesday, jumping into a cab to Wakefield station mid-morning, a cabby enquired as to where I was bound for; after telling him I was heading to London, with the intention of getting the 9.30pm back (arriving back around midnight) he asked "Oh right, that your normal day then?" - not really I replied, "I'm flying to Budapest for the night on Thursday". Truth is that there is seldom that seems in any way 'normal' about what I do or who I deal with - and for that I am extremely lucky.
So turning 41 on Wednesday has very little to phase me, hopefully most of my nonsense is out of my system and I can begin perhaps being moderately moderate - which would be a start. It's took me a while to get used to the spell of good fortune that's beset the studio although it's not something I wish to take for granted, despite recent happenings underlining that the good things appear to keep coming.
As for London, a couple of meetings and then some fine socialising with my mate Miles and some games-industry folks at a schmooze-up at the B.a.f.t.a. building on Piccadilly (and the late, great 'Stella Express' home, which meant I didn't get home until 3am).
The next day, Thursday and fortunately a mid-afternoon flight, took myself, John and Kilburn off to Budapest for another meeting, some ludicrous amounts of food (the irony of 'Hungary'), some devilish shots ('Palinko' & the obscene 'Comicum'), "Old Man's Pub" (just what were they suggesting?) and a brief walk around the city prior to flying back on Friday evening.
Hungary and Budapest impressed us, in terms of a city that has rich history and no shortage of grandeur as it copes with life outside of it's communist past - and a people of genuine hospitality. We'll be back - it kind of reminded us of Prague but without the bit of Blackpool on a friday night thrown in.
Saturday and despite poor Harry being off-colour, I took him to one of his friends parties where the slightly bonkers family had invited 40 kids... kudos to their patience! I'd agreed to shoot photos of the event and to be fair, it all went reasonably swimmingly and I was quite pleased with the shots given my new cameras ability to meter the light really well practically every shot. It makes me look quite useful in terms of photography!
We ate out on Saturday night, a family do on Trina's side. We went to the Aagrah in Garforth, just outside of Leeds. The meal was excellent as it happens and I'd always been under the impression that Akbar's in Leeds was pretty much the bees-knees but on this showing, I'm not so sure - it was perhaps the best curry I'd had in some time. My brother in-law was also sporting his new beau, after coming through a sticky separation some time ago - it's good to see him smile again and despite me being on form, I don't think I managed to offend her too much.
Sunday was a day of action; finally getting the deposit sorted and the final details of the Kitchen in place and we have a start date in the not-too-distant future. We also agreed (and ordered) all our appliances and as a result, thoughts have turned to the bathroom... great...
This week I'm pretty much in the office all week and that's timely given I've a lot to sort for the Games Developers' Conference, which kicks off three weeks today. Next week I've got 2 nights in Amsterdam at the Casual Games event, so I've really got to crack on.
On Friday, to 'celebrate' my birthday we're off to the Brewer's Pride in Ossett, most likely for copious amounts of Addlestones and perhaps a game of Perudo. Simple pleasures indeed.