image: chewed again

I suppose it’s been an unusual year for me.

New Year 2005 saw me unemployed, finally caught in the dot com crash. The minimal acting skills I developed at the local unemployment club certainly seemed to have been useful; I had an accidental role in a film earlier this (er…last) year. That’s that, though. Most of 2005 was spent working on small time contracts, with gratefully received pick–me–ups from the social security system. Things improved in December when I started work with a company in Flanders, on a new model of commercial printer.

So New Year 2006 saw me about to move to Antwerp. Unfortunately, that client’s managing director died suddenly, and his temporary replacement cancelled lots of R&D. So, despite having come for two years work, I found myself moving on after four months. Luxembourg beckoned; I moved there for work in PC Security in May. In the middle of that contract, I was offered work in November in Mechelen, back in Flanders, working with medical devices. That’s where I am now.

In consequence, my cat spent six months in prison in Kettering. Whilst it’s amusing to know she terrified the cattery staff, it meant she got little attention beyond target practice. I got her to Luxembourg in June. She recovered, after a few incidents; she’s here now, asleep on top of my laptop case.

I suspect the moves adversely affected my poetry. I don’t hear nearly so much now, except at conferences (Poetry Now ‘06 in Dublin, and this year’s Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry, where I read). Judge for yourself; this site includes podcasts of some of this year’s poems.

The strangest moment of 2006 was being raided by the Luxembourg vice squad. Someone had reported a prostitute working from my block of flats, so they raided every one. Fortunately, they kept the results quiet; nobody knows I didn’t find myself helping the police with their enquiries; my reputation’s safe. That presumes, of course, no one reads this blog…

Anyone who really knows me knows I’m crap at languages. I’ve always told myself the only way I’d pick one up is to live in a place where it’s spoken. This has proven true, to some extent; Luxembourg improved my French, Flanders has given me elementary Dutch. But almost everyone, in both countries, speaks English; so even when I live in places where they speak the language, they damn well don’t to me! Bah!

Where will I be this time next year? I really don’t know. But I have a hankering to work in Germany; there must be some chance that’ll happen. But, in my business, I never really know which company, where, will want my skills. I’m confident I’ll be somewhere in the EU, that’s all; subject, of course, to the mad whims of Murphy’s law.

Anyway, enough burble: a happy New Year to you.