I bumped into a guy I went to school with yesterday on the Belfast/Gatwick flight, Keith & his wife Kristyn are home from Ohio for Christmas. Talk about a blast from the past 🙂
On the 15th July I jumped on a place (well, two planes, and jumped is hardly right, as easyJet stung me an extra £40 for being over weight) and headed to Durham, North Carolina, for a couple of months, work offered me an exciting opertunity, and after some discussions with my wife, we took it, she joined me here a week later. Her work has been good enough to let her take some extended leave so she can spend the time with me out here, she joind me out here a week later.
We’ve been living in a hotel since we got here, but on Wednesday we move into an apartment in Chapel Hill, NC, about 15 minutes from the office & the hotel we are in now.
So far everything has gone very smoothly, no major hassles or problems.
Before I left, we had a big family & friends BBQ at our house, and although the weather did it’s best to put a dampner on the whole thing (I ended up BBQing in the garage door, helped by my Dad and my brother in-law, the garage now stinks of food..) it was great to see everybody and I was touched to hear everybodies good wishes. Thank you to everybody who turned up and even to those who couldn’t 🙂
We’ve been out and about trying to explore our new surroundings, doing our best not to die in the heat.
So far we’ve eaten are way round most of the local places (living in a hotel does have draw back, constantly eating out becomes a chore and is doing my waistline no favours at all), shopped at the local mega mall and smaller strip malls, been to Jordan Lake, the Museum of Life & Sciences.
 my luggage, not me, although they would have been justified in that too.
I have just left my job of the last 5+ years, we went out to Auntie Annies for beer & AM:PM for food to celebrate the occasion. Thank you to everybody who made the last 5 years interesting & enjoyable, it’s certainly been an experience! We endured the bursting bubble, the threat of redundancy, an MBO and many other things I’m sure. A double thanks to all those who turned up tonight and made my send off special, it really is much appreciated, even if you were all just there to make sure I really left this time (I tried to leave once before, in August 2001, it got as far as the card going round the office…but I was convinced other wise at the last moment!)
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Time for pasture new.
UPDATE: Jonny has posted some pictures here: http://www.jfrancey.com/cpg134/thumbnails.php?album=46
A friend of mine, Robert, is on the committee for the Northern Ireland Charolais Club, the club usually runs a BBQ during the summer (with some fine charolais steaks!) as a fund raiser, this year was the biggest that I’ve been to so far, apparently over 800 people turned up! Friends of ours, Chris & Cheryl flew back for the special event. Now, Chris is notoriously conservative when it comes to spending money, which is why it came as a huge shock to us (and his fiance!) that he was the winning bidder on a life size, anatomically correct, plastic cutout of a Charolais Bull. Wonders will never cease.