2009 – The Best Bits (Pt. ii)

Part (ii) as promised …


I guess the biggest commotion that I caused this year was related to this blog post. We actually bumped into an old school friend in Tesco just last week who asked had we set a date yet … obviously having not read the whole post and still under the impression that we were engaged! So … just to clarify to anyone still in any doubt … Jen & I are finishing 2009 together … but not engaged!

There was however a real proposal this year that delighted me. Two of my longest-known and best friends, Chris and Su got engaged at the beginning of October. Chris has also asked me to be his best man so I’ve plenty of time to plan the stag-do and put my speech writing hat on in time for April 2009! I’m looking forward to it already!

BB Camp – London

A lot of things made BB camp different to usual this year … heading off late on a Friday night, not that many senior boys attending, no need to pack our own tents and marquee and even Doddsy not being there! The week itself was a wet one … infact a very wet one … but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment that camp always brings because our boys always manage to find some way to entertain themselves and the officers!

I think my highlight of the week was the trip to Thorpe Park which turned out to be one of the very few completely dry days we had and the pure adrenaline rush of several of the rides including Stealth. I was also pleased with how my epilogue went … based on the determination of Steven Bradbury not to give up when he lay in last place at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Woodvale 2009

Looking back, words really don’t do justice to the amazing week that I was part of in Woodvale this summer. I took charge of the teenage group in the mornings and was completely overwhelmed by how well the kids engaged with us and was also so thankful for the rest of the team who helped me out in those sessions (thanks Suz, Laura, Pony & Chris!)

Personally the best bit for me was the moment on Saturday night at Woodvale’s Got Talent when three of the boys who had been causing a bit of chaos most of the week, stood up in front of a church full of their peers and sang “Our God is a Great Big God.” Accompanied by the actions, these guys belted it out and by the end of the second chorus, the entire church was joining in and a sea of hands were performing in time with them … amazing … even just writing about it now still gives me goosebumps!

Job Hunting

It hasn’t all been fun and games this year though so I felt like I had to include the most frustrating thing about 2009 as well … the search for a full-time job! Throughout the year I had been applying for pretty much anything that was going in the graphic/web design field and had been getting the response that always began with “Dear Mr Kelly, Unfortunately …….”

It became quite demoralising and there were times that I had completely given up hope and just stopped looking and all I kept hearing was that something would come along at he right time. Just as that line was beginning to wear more than a little thin with me, I did get a small glimmer of hope when I got invited to interview by the BBC for a position in their new media team … but unfortunately nothing came of it so 2010 looks set to begin in exactly the same way that 2009 is going to end … still working part-time in Next!

Autumn Internationals

November is a big rugby month, the Magners League is normally well under way and the international break brings the best of the southern hemisphere to the north. This year I did manage to get to two of the three Ireland games, against Australia in Croke Park and Fiji in the RDS in Dublin. It was great to see Fiji for the first time and in a new venue like the RDS, which may not have had the same massive atmosphere as 80,000 people at Croke but was still a great experience. Hopefully by the time next November comes around, the new Landowne Road stadium will be open for business!

So I guess overall 2009 has been a bit of a mixed bag of feelings, expectations and emotions for me. I do plan to sit down before the official end of the year and work out a few goals for 2010 and a few things that I’m already looking forward to … but for now I guess I’d like to say Merry Christmas to you if you’re reading this and hope 2009 has been a good one for you too!


Grand Slam ’09 …

What a weekend … anyone who knows me will know I’m a huge rugby fan and will watch it at any level.  Saturday evening really tested my nerves to their extremes but thankfully Ireland managed to pull it out of the bag when it mattered.

Congratulations to Declan Kidney and his staff and squad … a job well done!


A Change From The Norm …

I haven’t posted anything in a while because, well there was nothing major to report … and then just like buses (as the saying goes) loads of things happen at once!

I was asked to continue with the design elements of the PULSE services in my church, which this year is focusing on the theme of “Running On Empty? … Filled With God’s Power”.

For the first service I decided to just introduce the theme and based the intro around a video I found on YouTube a while ago where a guy took a time lapse of driving across the USA.  I used the song “Road I’m On” by Three Doors Down to accompany the video and just had the theme fade in at the end and the PULSE logo to end on.

November also means one thing … rugby internationals!  I managed to get to two of the three tests this year, against the All Blacks and Argentina.  The All Blacks game was the second time I’d seen them play Ireland and the third time overall but I still get goosebumps when you hear the Haka live in a buzzing stadium like Croke Park!  The seats were right on the touchline beside the players tunnel so was a pretty amazing spot for photos!


For the Argentina game, Jena and I were in the Hill section of Croke which also gave a pretty amazing view of the whole ground … and even though we won, we still were nowhere near convincing!

I also got word in work that I’d be spending a couple of weeks away from the AbbeyCentre helping to set up new home stores in Sprucefield and Holywood.  To be honest I was dreading it, because it was total carnage trying to organise how we were getting there and what shifts we were working … but having just finished the Sprucefield store, I have to admit I really did enjoy it.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean it was hard work and there were nights I came home feeling like I’d been 12 rounds with Joe Calzaghe, but meeting people from other stores as far away as Edinburgh and Aberdeen was really cool.  Seeing the whole shop take shape and knowing that I was part of it was also a really good feeling … I don’t normally speak about work in such a positive way but this time I really enjoyed it … see if I feel the same this time next week when I’ll have done it all over again in Holywood!