Saturday, October 29, 2005

Happy Birthday to me!

Yesterday started for me really at 3pm the day before, when midnight ticked over back home - it was my birthday there!! When midnight ticked over here in London I was chatting on MSN to the girls, and then got prezzies as well!! How exciting!

Waking up on in my new jarmies (thanks Jen!!), the sunrise was gorgeous!! The commute to work the usual nightmare, although improved muchly by my new MP3 Player - thanks Charlie!!), but upon arriving at the office our doorman wished me a happy birthday!!

Flowers on my desk when I arrived made the idea of working all day managable. Phone calls during the day from home (always makes me homesick being away for my birthday day), and then, at least, it was beer o'clock!!

Sunset from the train back into town from work was also beautiful -I am taking these natural spectacles as a good sign for the coming year!! I headed into town and met Jenny and Jes for drinks outside in the mild night at Corney & Barrow in Exchange Square. Met up by Nat, and Mark and Mendle, we eventually headed to Brick Lane for dinner.

After wheeling and dealing for our dinner deal with the spruikers, we selected a curry house to eat. Yum. Charles joined us to help with all the free bottles of wine.

Seemed like the longest birthday ever! Had a great day! Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Better get to work now, I have a train to catch this evening, and I have to get out of here on time! How exciting!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ewan and Dolls

Yesterday while I was battling the UK Social Services System (what do I need an NI number for, anyway!!??), Jenny popped down to try our luck with tickets for a show for that night. Sure enough, we scored tickets to see Guys and Dolls!

Ewan McGregor and Jane Krakowski (Elaine from Ally McBeal) put on a dancing singing show last night - which was really fun! Ewan sang like a normal person (not that over the top singing we were tortured with in Moulin Rouge!!), and was looking quite fine! Hee hee. We even got to hear his real accent at the end, when he talked to the audience - very good!

When I got home the clock ticked over, and I reached the Saturn Returns years - eww!! Surely I have done all this stuff already - and I actually like what I am doing now. Not ready for any changes!!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

10 Year Reunion

This weekend is my 10 year high school reunion. All the available girls from the class of 1995 from Loreto College in Ballarat are gathering on Saturday to find out what everyone is up to, talk about who has the most children, and to reminiscence about those carefree and easy days.

Can you believe that it is 10 years ago tomorrow that we all dressed up as white angels and ran around the streets and shops of Ballarat, terrorising people on our muck up day??! Tame in comparison to other year levels, sure, but fun and innocent nonetheless.

Of course, the idea of the reunion was a major motivating factor for me to be overseas. I am sure I am one of only a handful of our year level that don't have at least one of the three M's - Marriage, Morgage or Maternity. And let's face it, in the small town gossipy circles, those are really the things that are talked about.

So, I will be thinking of the crew meeting up on Saturday at Gee Cees - hope they have a great day1

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mourning my youth

The email invitation read...

I have a scary birthday coming up, and given that turning 28 kinda means that you are a "grown up", and you sort of need to take things more seriously, at least a little bit, I think I should see it in in style. A least mark such a coming of age with some immature binge drinking and subsequent oblivion.

So I am planning on doing something appropriately silly on the 22nd of October, which is a Saturday.

The mission will be, should you be game, 26 pints in 26 pubs all over London (I am sure we can squeeze in another 2 pints in there somewhere!), at the Monopoly board locations. You will need a Zone 1-2 railcard, and your strongest stomach!

So yesterday morning, a very hungover Jenny and I (full rested, and ready to go!!), set out for Elephant and Castle tube station bright and sparky for the start of our Monopoly Pub Crawl.

Following the instructions for the original route, we set off to The George in Old Kent Road where we joined about four other groups waiting for the pub to open at 11am.

Taking heed to the advice on the website, my consumption of half pints began here, before we caught a bus across Tower Bridge in search of Fenchurch Street Station. Thankfully several other groups knew where to go and we got to follow them to find the pub here.

After finding ourselves walking in urine smelling subways to cross the street, we finally found The Aldgate Exchange, which was the stop for Whitechapel Road. A tube ride away was Liverpool Street Station, where the destination was The Hamilton Hall. Gorgeous inside, this pub used to be a ballroom. After a quick detour at the golden arches for a much needed double cheesy, we were on a bus to the Angel Islington area.

Charlotte joined the crawl at this pub, who caught up on the count with a full pint. Brilliant!

The Castle on Pentonville Road, which was stop number six, was a very nice pub. A half pint of that yummy Belgian white beer, and some Monopoly game props for later (naughty!!), we walked up to King's Cross Station, where the assigned pub had had a name change. Very confusing there for a minute!!

Next was The Rocket on Euston Road, where Jes joined the crew. A half pint later we were on the tube to find Marylebone Station (I can pronounce that now, after being in London for 8 months! Hee hee!), and a very crusty pub there in the station.

Getting a little lost following the instructions for the next stop, we eventually found The Rose and Crown for the Park Lane half pint.

Finding the Mayfair pub among the little alleyways in the heart of London, Renee and Rachael joined us for the crawl at The Grapes.

The pub for Piccadilly was closed when we found it, it was obvious we were not engaging in the time stressing that was required for all the stops. As it was starting to get dark, we found The Red Lion for our next installment.

Here, at the Pall Mall square on the board, we managed to terrorise some poor unfortuante English lads who were doing a baby version of what we were doing, before we hit the streets again.

Spotting the The Lord Moon of the Mall for our Whitehall stop, the allure of the golden arches across the road was all too tempting. We made another cheesy stop, and I think being in that over lit environment was my downfall.

Crossing back to the pub, where Nata and her friend Tash were waiting to join us, I had reached the "no more beer for me" stage. Stumps were called here, at stop number 14 on the instructions. But that was only 6 full pints - can that be right!!?? (More photos)

There will have to be a Part 2, to reconvene at Whitehall, very soon.

I had such a fun day! And it was such a great way to get around and see London, even if it was through beer goggles towards the end!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not quite Bloom

Even now and again I get home in time to see the news, and occasionaly there is footage of a movie premier going on in London somewhere - all very glam and exciting. So when Charles got himself a job last week in Leicester Square, I had sent him on a mission on his first day to get the Premier goss. And he came up with the goods - reported back that Elizabethtown would be tonight.

After setting Jenny onto the all important Google research, we discovered that it would be Orlando Bloom! Ohhhhh! How exciting!!

So tonight, we shot out of work to get ourselves down there to the Square for some major perve action.

But, alas. Upon getting down there (which was a bit of an ordeal, cos the Northern line is still cactus), it's wasn't Orlando at all - it was Corpse Bride with Johnny Depp...hmmm, could have been good. JD is alright - right?!

Course, he didn't turn up. Did get very close to director, Tim Burton, pictured here, though. Lots of people were quite excited to see him - am I missing something!??

And the female star of the show, Helena Bonham Carter was there, with the big hair. Course, I didn't know who she was, so all that excitement and blue carpet treatment was a bit wasted on me for this night out. Maybe next time.

So without the satisfying Orlando perve that we had hoped for, Jenny, Nata and I headed for Chiquito for sangria and mexican food. Yum!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Angel with Dom and VJ

The lovely VJ has returned to civilisation after 2 years in PNG, and is currently on his way to live in Berlin. Last night Dom and I got to catch up with him while he is doing a stopover in London on his way over.

I haven't seen VJ since Nick's 30th, and it was ace to see him! We headed to the Bierodrome in Angel for several beers and a gossip. Nice white beer, with lemon in it? Interesting, and effective. Ending the night with a curry - very good!

I caught up with Dom on Thursday night too, and we ate at Giraffe, which was very yummy, although this is the second time I have been on an aborted mission to find the infamous Brick Lane...will I ever find it??? How does one get there!??

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Back to BookCrossing

Now that I am settling into work, the weekly routine, and living in London, I have finally attended my first London BookCrossing MeetUp last night, since moving over here.

I have missed the regular meets that I attended back in Melbourne, and not having been to a group since the core Melbourne gang came to me in Ballarat, and a catch up in Tokyo, I haven't had my act together till now.

The group in London usually meets at the Stamford Arms, which is also an OBCZ - very dangerous!!

Quite a large group meets up for this monthly gathering, with a core roup of regulars. There were quite a few people there for the first time, and also loads of expats in the group. Americans, Italians, and another Aussie, of course!

As usual, I ended up taking away the same number of books I took along, so no gains there for me, although I always seem to find books I have wanted to read for ages in the stacks piled up on the tabels!

Monday, October 10, 2005

AFL in London

Recovery day today, after spending the day at the footy yesterday. Jenny, Charles, Harminder, and I headed down to The Oval here in London for the annual AFL exhibition match. And I don't care what the critics say, I loved seeing a bit of real footy action in London!

Of course, as the critics have said, it is just an excuse for the Aussie expats in London to have a day of drinking - but what's wrong with that! Walking into the ground, late as usual (wouldn't want to break tradition just cos I am on the other side of the world!! Hee hee!), there was such an array of different team jumpers, all brought together. That can't be bad!

Shortened quarters, smaller ground, and without the big names in the sides, Freo and the West Coast played it out for the AFL Challenge Trophy with a bit of the traditional London game biff here and there. I spent the 3rd quarter in the line at the bar, making the game feel like it just wizzed past! Freo won in the end, and we were treated to hearing their theme song over and over. Oh dear! (More photos)

The traditional pitch invasion by the crowd was then on - I must admit, I was a little disappointed that noone took on the lax security before the final siren!

The pub was the next stop for us, naturally, and the remainder of the day is a little hazy to recall.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Food, music, Sunday, Monday

Sunday, after shopping away in Oxford Street, and all those department stores, with Jenny, we headed to a new find of mine for dinner. I had happened upon St Christopher's Place last week - it's one of those hidden little alleys off a big London street.

Eat-Thai was the destination, and the mussaman curry was all it was dreamed to be. Mmmmmmm!

Monday night, the homeless lad currently living at our house, Charles, took me out for a little live Aussie music. He convinced me to attend brandishing the headline as an Alex Lloyd-type. Maybe in size...but still, Darren Hanlon was light and entertaining. It was good to hear some Aussie lyrics, where you could actually follow what he was on about! Even if they were about bizarre things, like Squash!! A very short but uncanny replica of a young Russell Crowe, the boy from Gimpy, Qld, was quite funny.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Tate and Frida

Yesterday I took myself off to the Tate Modern to view the Frida Kahlo exhibition.

Before my entry into the exhibit, I wandered around the general collection. It's so cool that most of these galleries all over London are free, and so you can absorb all these pieces whenever you want. Picasso's Weeping Woman is on display here, and it's quite enchanting.

Having just read a book about Kahlo and her affair with Trotsky, and hearing different people's reports on her work, it sounded like something that would appeal to me. And certainly the grief, the look at disability, miscarriage, and self were all interesting. The Broken Column was the one that had me standing in front of it the longest. The experience of disability at such a young age is all right there, isn't it!

After the two weeks of training for work, I am now up and running, and ready to get on with it. Billable hours, overtime and bonuses will be my world of work from now on!

Shopping in Oxford Street awaits for today, to try and address that "I don't have anything to wear" routine every morning before work!
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