Friday, June 24, 2005

Heatwave and Hogwarts

How about this heat!!?? Apparently THIS is the heatwave the Brits have all been fretting about - and it's going to be all gone and finished with, and raining again on the weekend!! What the...!? No wonder the POMs are such whingers - the weather is all over the place!! Better soak up the high 20s before they go away again! Work on that tan!

I am out at another assignment now, for a week. I am up north somewhere, 3 hours on the train from London.

On Tuesday I meet Jenny at King's Cross St Pancras Station for coffee, to work out some arrangements for the house, and so that I could get my ticket to come out to work the next day.

Oh course, no visit to that station is complete without a little play with the luggage trolley running into the wall at Platform 9 and 3/4!!!! I mean, without visiting the platform that takes wizards to Hogwarts in Harry Potter!! How funny.

Feeling a little silly (well, I was), we each had a go to see if the magic would work and we would get to board the magical red train....

Thank god the Aussies have finally won a match over here in the cricket!! I mean, I will never doubt Ricky's ability to win the Ashes again, but these lead up games were starting to get embarrassing!!! I mean, I am happy for them to get all pumped up, for us to shatter them come August - but still!! That's better, boys!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Wimbledon Championships

Day 1 of The Championships started with rain and thunder, as I joined the queue for a ticket inside the ground. I had joked that it wouldn't quite be the full experience without those dudes running across the courts with the covers in a hurry - but I was joking! Luckily after getting wet walking to the end of the line, that was the end of the rain for the day. (Jenny wasn't quite as lucky. Yep, I was late for the line. Having time issues at the moment!) This photo here was an hour of queueing down, an hour and a half to go!

Once inside, Jenny had gotten us great seats on Court 19, and I settled in for two solid games. First up was Aussie girl, Samantha Stosur. Lots of Aussie flags, colours, and accents around. Was so nice to hear people apologise to each other when clambering past someone else, as Aussies tend to do. So refreshing after 4 months of the Brits!! In the shadows of Court One, Stosur was beaten by her Czech opponent, in two sets.

Next up was one of our all time favourite Swedes, Thomas Enquist. Mmmmmm, Thomas! Love a hot Swede! And Thomas always looks good. With Jenny's Swedish language skills, I am certain she managed to have Thomas wonder who the Swede was calling out to him in his native tongue - without a blonde in sight! Our cheering didn't help, though, as he battled out 4 sets to a too good Korean. How many long, tough Thomas games have we sat though over the years, girls!!??

Was so exciting being at Wimbledon. After years of staying up late back home for the two weeks to see the Championships, to actually be there was so cool.

I joined Jenny again for a bit of James Blake, after a wonder around past Henman Hill and the practice courts for a bit of player spotting. (More photos.) Thinking he was set (what happened there!!??), I walked over to Court 2 to try my luck with the crowd, and see if I could see the match in progress over there.

Being a seasoned tennis go-er, and having a proper tennis education (thanks, Mum!), I knew that despite the crowd, I just had to be patient to get in and see the Pou. The ultimate example of the Aussie Tall Poppy Syndrome, we love this lad when he is on song. And the crowd were loving him today as he hit his shots, had a dip, and won. But it's been such a long time since we have seen him in this sort of form.

I wasn't actually going to bother see him at all. I am the first to admit that I am one of those who bag him endlessly when he's shit. And he is shit all together too often. So much talent wasted on lack of mental toughness and focus. He could be so good. Of course, I'll support the Aussies, especially this far from home. Even from the nose-bleeder section! And he came home with the goods. Could he be a threat this year? Only if he keeps his mind on it.

A bit of rain, some sun and some sunburn, and lots of tennis. At the Mecca of tennis! Awesome.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Glorious Summer Weekend

Summer is here, at least for the past 2 days it has been! It's been up around 30C and gorgeous, all weekend. Even though it was rainy and cold on Thursday! Go figure. A place worse for weather than Melbourne, and even Ballarat!!??

Yesterday I went across to the Wimbledon Village Fair, with Renee. Met up with some mates of hers, and before we knew it we were sunburnt, chatting, and had had a few too many Pimm's! Perfect. Bit of tennis player spotting - I swear I saw at least 2 - but really it was a bit of a family day in the sun.

Running late and sunburnt (usual story), I went into the city last night to meet Ash and Nat, and Justin, Ruyg, for dinner and a few drinks. Had to introduce Nat to Pimm's! Was good to see people from back home, although felt funny that Ruyg and Reid siblings were meeting up on the other side of the world without Melissa and Clinton. (A bit conspirital really - I mean, when will the next time the four of us will be together and drinking!! Hint, hint, nudge, nudge!!)

Today after a decent lie in, Nat and Kimberley and I have lazed the rest of the day away in Battersea Park. What a great weekend.

Oh! I have a date with a boy on Tuesday. Can you believe it!? Almost unheard of! How exciting! I'll have to try not to be my usual scary self!

Life's good.

Friday, June 17, 2005

We got a house!

Jenny and I have just been off signing our life, and last remaining cash for awhile, away on a rental property! We got one!! How exciting!! The place we have got is in West Hampstead area,

just off a High Street (that's where all the shops are here in the UK). It's on the brown, Bakerloo tube line, and Kilburn Park will be the tube station we will most likely become very, very familiar with! Our house is a short walk from the station.

Very excited. We had actually labelled this house the Secret Life Of Us house when we were looking around, because of the rooftop terrace description in the ad. And it's not a bad terrace in real life, either! Can see lots of gatherings happening up there! So lovely. So excited!! I think we'll be calling it the "Secret Life of London" house from now on...SLOL.

We will be all set to move in just after I finish my next work assignment, at the end of the month. Things are slotting in a little too nicely at the moment! Very scary.

A permenant address means so much. I can finally get a real bank account, have all my luggage reunited, and I will actually know what I have here, at last! I will no longer be holding my breath hoping for a homelessness solution at the end of each work assignment, and neither Nat or Charles will not have to give up their floor space for me and my stuff anymore!!

Our new digs are actually just a stone's throw (ok, maybe a 10-15 minute walk) from THE Abbey Road!!! ("That's the Beatles, right?", says Jenny. Oh dear.) So after handing over the pounds to hold the house (ouch!), we walked in the drizzle to see the infamous road, studio building, and THE crossing.

The Abbey Road Studios building is quite a gorgeous looking building, in a residential kind of way. Without knowing a bit about it's fame, I would never have guessed it was a recording studio. Reading the history of the studios, and the amazing aray of names that have worked in these rooms, is really quite mind blowing. Apart from the Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Spice Girls have all recorded albums here, among many others, and a whole host of movie scores have been made right here.

After a few walks across the crossing in the rain, holding up traffic, here is a pic of me crossing in the rain. Will be nice to come down here on one of the rare days the sun is out here, and get another shot... (Another photo.)

We had a quick look in the Abbey Road Cafe, too, before jumping back on the tube back to our respective dossing abodes.
Will have to sit still and not spend any money now for a little bit. Is that possible!!?? Haven't got two pence to rub together today, now! But we have a really cool place to live!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Time flies...

when I am on assignment. I am finished another, which was only for a week, and back in London today. Feels good to be back. Am always on such a high to be released from work!!

The week of work was pretty good. The client was fun and laid back. I don't think I have drunk so much red wine for quite some time! This client has a dog, and so he managed to include the sites of the area for our daily walk for the doggie, so I got to see the best of the area - visited Pevensey Castle, of William the Conqueror fame, and the amazing looking white cliffs at Beachy Head.

More househunting with Jenny today, once I got back into town. The rule is that you have to see a lot of shitty places before you find the one, right? Well, I think Jenny has seen our quota, so our place must be just around the corner! A couple with promise today.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

At The Beach!

Have just walked along the shore, in the sunshine! There is something calming and grounding about walking along the edge of the ocean. And I haven't seen the sea since Ireland... The sunbathers are out, and it's lovely - although the wind is still cold - the POMs are mad!!

I am down in the south east of England for a new work assignment. Just a week this time (unless they change it). New client, quite a cool and relaxed guy. I am not on the wagon either, cos he likes to have someone to drink with! Ripper!

Was dragged along to see Episode 3 of Star Wars last night, with my client and his brother. Being one of the only people on the planet able to say I don't think I have seen any of them, I thought that it would just be too hard to know what's going on. (I think we had to watch Star Wars in Year 8 for Science - but I either wagged that (probably not, Mum!) or we were too busy doing things like writing on other people's hands, or something, to pay any real attention). But I did get it. The lads weren't overly impressed, and were bagging everything to Ewan's accent to the lack of gadgets they included. I didn't mind it - I had no idea Star Wars was actually all about the love of a woman!!

Have a couple of hours break now, so I am going to soak up the sun and gorgeous green-blue sea, with a book! It's a hard life!! Hee hee.

Oh! And househunting was quite good. Just looking for a 5 th person - know anyone? *wink*

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Red Wine and Tim

A perfect way to end a busy weekend!

I finished my assignment, which is always exciting. The prospect of 5 days off till the next one had me thinking I could probably sleep for the whole time. But, as if! Nat has also commented that when I come to stay, her weekends are jam packed. Hee hee. Happy to help!

We went out for drinks and a bit of dancing on Friday night. Saturday night I went out to a piano bar to catch up with Renee for her birthday - "there'll be singing, darling!" she had said! Piano was very cute and intimate, with the occasional number from the good looking guy behind the bar (the owner?) making it a bit special. Lots of BJ and EJ all night too, which meant I did know the music! Afterwards we ended up at someone's house in the outer burbs for more drinks, a DVD, and I'll have to confess, a nap! When the movie ended and the dozers awoke, it was daylight! Opps. Getting a lift back to civilisation and creeping back in to Nat's - I was just in time to listen to the footy.

I really needn't have bothered with the footy, but it's hard to resist! Tried to sleep off my all nighter yesterday, before meeting up with the gang for a picnic in Kensington Gardens in honour of Cailtin's birthday during the week.

After that (!!), Nat and I rushed off to Ronnie Scott's to see Tim Freedman. Very exciting. Sexy Tim in a intimate little venue - without the band he was chatty, and told lots of stories behind his songs that I hadn't heard before. I don't think I will hear Blow Up The Pokies in quite the same way again. He played lots of the favourites from previous albums, and gave us a sneak peek into the new upcoming Whitlams album just finished - due out at the end of the year. (Yippee!) Sounds like our Tim has been doing some reassessing, with the new material seeming to shift away from Royal In The Afternoon sentiment, to almost quite the opposite! Couple of the new songs sounds like the party man is looking to settle down now!! Tim and 'some fine wine' - very yummy night.

I am about to head off into the city to meet up with Jenny, who is fresh off the plane ready to set up life in London too! Another person to play in London with! How exciting! I think we are doing a spot of househunting, too.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Busy long working weekend, and job offer

Have just come off a very busy working weekend with my client. Lots of gardening, if you can believe!! The things we do to make a living!!

More going out and partying for my client, and long alcohol free nights for me. Went to assist and watch the London School of Samba play a gig, of which my client is part of, at Guanabara. Very cool venue - would be great for a girl's night out! Will have to plan one soon!!

Before the weekend, I attended an interview for a "real" job. Karen had passed on my resume, and they had contacted me for an interview. As a lead up to the interview, they sent me a practice exercise for the psychometric test which would be part of the interview. Scary! Very scary!! First glance had me reeling - I mean, does anyone remember algabra anymore!!??

The first half of the interview went well, and despite initially not being overly convinced the job was for me, the interview sold me on the organisation! And must have been visa versa, too! Very young company, young team - working in Rehab all over the UK as a Case Manager. Very diverse clients, diverse situations, and few restrictions about what you can't do for them - which matters for me!!

The second half was the psychometric. Being trained and qualified to administer the standard IQ tests, I like the idea that because I know all the answers (!!), I can't actually pin my IQ down with the WAIS. This test was looking at your ability to analysis information, and then make decisions accordingly. Excellent for Case Management and Social Work.

I must have passed! They have offered me a position - if I can get myself registered over here.

So this is the thing - what am I? I call myself a Social Worker, but can't qualify as one in Australia or the UK because I don't have a Bachelor of Social Work. Not that wording...I have 'same same but different'!! I can work as one in Australia, because belonging to the Association is not usually a requirement. Plus, I am not really a psychologist, as I have not done my registration in Australia. Haven't started my probationary period. Have not found the job nor the stream of psych that I wanted to commit to. Hmmmm. What box do I fit into!?


I was mortified to read of Corby's sentence in a British paper over the weekend. 20 years! It's horrifying on so many levels.

I am the same age as Schapelle, and could not imagine surviving 20 years in an Indonesian jail. Let alone for something that I was innocent of.

And I do believe she is innocent. A victim of a plant, and then a victim of the unwillingness of the Australian government to take action for the individual. Same old, same old. But this is this girl's life!

I cannot believe that anyone who has travelled outside of Australia in this post-Sept 11 world, would think that placing a bag of marijuana on the top of your luggage would work out. Let alone adding 4 kilos to a bag only containing your body board. Noone could be that stupid.

Carrying marijuana into Indonesia would be ridiculous in the first place. Anyone who has been to Bali knows that. Noone would be stupid enough to think they could make a profit or whatever out of it. Plus Corby has reportedly done loads of travel to Bali - she can't have been stupid enough to be guilty. I cannot believe that anyone would be.

But the idea that perhaps the bag was planted at an Australian airport has the government hiding for cover. The notion that Australian standards are to blame would be outrageous, and too costly to fix, especially in a country that votes according to threats to their interest rates. Anything that may cost more money is something we don't want to deal with.

I can't believe that the footage of bags through x-ray machines is not kept until the bag is claimed at the other end. What's the point of it at all then??
And the weight arguements I have had at check-in - where is the accountability? They always record what my luggage weighs! What happened when she checked in??

The whole Corby ordeal, to me, shows just how bad the Australia/Asia relationship is in a shambles. And I do see Indonesia as the gateway into Asia realtions for Australia. To see that Little Johnny and The Downer have had no impact, couldn't negotiate anything, would not go in fighting for Schapelle - too frightening to really think too much about.

This could be any of us, travelling around the world. And our government does not have the balls to fight for justice, or for our lives.

And this is without thinking about the comparison of Schapelle's sentence to those sentenced for the Bali bombings...
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