Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Katie has arrived!

After a big night out on Christmas night, and then recovery, and then a biggish night out last night, I managed to get myself on the bus out to the airport to pick up Katrina - flying in from Australia to hang out with me for three weeks. Woo hoo!!

Very brave little Katie, after flying on her own for the first time, and her first time out of the country since we were little, she emerged from the Arrivals door sparky and ready to go.

We have walked around Uppsala today, on a little tour of the town for Katie, so she could see the buildings and parks covered in snow. (More photos)

Now it's dark already, and it's only only 3.30pm...but the town and the bicycles are still covered with a layer of snow!

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Magic of a White Christmas

After a late breakfast today, and a chance to chat to home, we headed outside to see Uppsala. And right on clue, the snow started to fall.

At first it was just wispy little bits, but then it got heavier and thicker, and settled whilst we were looking inside the Cathedral. Coating the small town with a white layer - we got our White Christmas!

Crunchy and slippery under foot, we wandered through in awe, soaking in the magic, and the perfect timing of it all. Was so gorgeous!

We walked around the big castle in town, and the university buildings, and then along the river and main streets - all while the snow was falling, and settling.

It's still falling now, adding to the blanket from this afternoon, and looks like settling in for the night.

God Yul! God Yul to all!!

(More photos)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve

Upon finishing work early, and running around to do all my Christmas shopping (had to wait till payday), I received a Festivus miracle, and found everything on my list! Weird! Then home to pack, and to bed early.

The next morning Jes and I were up at 3.30am, and on a train out to the airport by 4.30am. After having my Christmas crackers convisgated at the x-ray machine, we boarded our flight to Sweden. We arrived to a white coated world, and the frosty cold - but managed to follow our instructions and find the buses to Uppsala.

Jenny and Nata were at the apartment to meet us, and Charles arrived a little later. Once all gathered, the spirits were poured, and the girls started up the cooking frenzy.

The big Christmas meal is traditionally celebrated on Christmas eve in Sweden, and so we laid out our spread of turkey, Swedish meatballs, vegies, and the berry sauce! After an entree of rice pudding, and some frightening turkey carving, we filled up as is Christmas tradition everywhere!!

Many more drinks, and present exchange, and our respective calls home - we all went to sleep hoping that the piles of old snow would be added to overnight...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Carols by Scandlelight

Last night Heather invited Charlotte and I along to Carols by Scandlelight, outside of Zimbabwe House on The Stand. The idea was to sing carols (after a session at the pub, I had thought!!), and shake the tin for The Just Children Foundation.

Of course, I went for the politics, although it seems the group organising it went for the singing. Once they had pointed out the presumed section of the choir I should join, I knew I was in trouble!!

Charlotte and I ditched, I'm afraid, to head to the pub for a pint. It was too cold for carols - even for people who liked carols!! Great idea, but they were a little serious for me!

Now for the all important question - am I going to get a White Christmas????

Happy Festivus to all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Looks like I have finally completed that pesky little Masters I have been chipping away at since 2002. I have been invited to attend a graduation ceremony, and it says "completed" on the result page on the web...although one of the individual units says not finalised. Half holding my breath!!

But surely all good, though, and now I get to add "MICD" to the letters after my name! Cool!

So, that's a Master of International and Community Development, if you don't mind! I may never get to use it, although I'll have the HECS/PELS/HELP debt forever!!! Lucky me.

Of course, I certainly didn't manage this all on my own. Big thanks to Michelle, for those years were she completed my research for me (librarians can be useful!!). And a big hats off to Jen for her contribution this year. Hee hee.

Now, for the big challenge - I need some people to take it upon themselves to sabotage ANY attempts of mine to ever study again. Active sabotage, seriously! Unless I can show enough saving to cover the lifestyle I am accustomed to for the full duration of any proposed study plans, without the need to work for that period, with cricket trip allowances (!!), destroy all applications, information about, and all paperwrok for any crazy further study ideas. PLEASE!!!!! I can't imagine this popping up again, cos this one was painful - but just in case insanity calls!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Warming the House

Even though we have now lived in our house for about six months, we never got around to having a house warming. But now that the weather has turned, the house was in much need! So, last night we had a Warming the House party.

People called upon to assist us put a bit of heat into our little home starting arriving...well at four, actually. And things got silly quite early. Hee hee.

There was mulled wine, and mistletoe (which was successful, from what I hear!), a bit of dancing, and general messing about.

The top floor managed to get quite warm, despite our perspecs roof and distinct lack of insulation!! Misson accomplished. Now we will just have to try and trap that heat in for the reminder of winter - what's that, like the next 5 months??!! Brrrrr!

I think we had quite a good turn out, considering how close to Xmas we are now. The girls from work trekked across the city to be here, and the top floor was packed!!

I had a ball...and maybe too much to drink. (More photos)

The lack of daylight hours over here in London is making the old hangover rule about trying to get up while it's still light very difficult indeed!! I fail in this one today!! Opps!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Black Eyed

No no, I haven't hit my head again. I'm talking Peas!

Jenny won tickets to the Black Eyed Peas, in Birmingham, for last night. We've had dramas since she got notification about them, cos how were we going to get there!!?? But then work came up with the goods with a new referral up that way for me, so we were sorted!!

I finished my assessment and a train finally came my way after sitting in the tiny shelter called a "Train Station" out in some little English village, and met Jenny at the station. We walked through the Xmas lights of Birmingham shopping district, and found the Carling Acadamy, to be met with a giant queue.

Jen flashed her notification of her winnings, and we were ushered in as guests. Nice!! A few drinks to thaw out and get us through the support act, and the Peas were up!

Fergie sure has a big voice for such a little person, and such great assets, they wrote a song about them!! Hee hee.

Hey Mama, Shut Up, Let's Get It Started, Don't Lie, Don't Phunk With My Heart, and of course, Where Is The Love? The crowd was really into it, and the Peas commanded crowd participation. They were great!

My Humps, how funny is that song! Hee hee. Fergie was full of energy all night, and the lads were dancing it up. (More photos)

Was a great night, although the train back to London, and figuring out how to get home from Euston wasn't quite as fun. But all good for free tickets!!

People got me questioning
Where is the love?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Different Story

A yummy lunch in Brighton with Dom on Sunday, and then a train ride back to dark, gloomy and cold London. I went out for a Xmas dinner with the gang (Nat, Kimberley, Cam, Caitlin and Jack, Mark and Mendle) on Sunday night, before some of them run away to far away places for Christmas. We went to Nyonya in Notting Hill for dinner, and the Beef Rendang was all that I had imagined all week!! Hee hee. Mmmmm.

Had rather a large night, cos I was hungover all day yesterday - opps!

Despite the dodgy head and tum, I met Jenny at the Prince Charles Cinema after work for a little George Michael treat. We got to enjoy a candid peek into his life through his documentary A Different Story.

Hearing insights into his childhood, the early Wham! days, and the break into his solo career. A rare listen into the pain of the loss of his lover to AIDS, and then the loss of his mother more recently. And of course, THAT bathroom incident in LA. Quite revealing, although he's very uncomfortable talking about himself. This piece is really for his fans, a little window into his life, and the stories behind his work.

Footage of live performances of the beautiful Jesus To A Child, and then the goosebump inspiring Find Me Somebody To Love for the Freddy Mercury tribute are always amazing. And of course revisiting FastLove and Outside - so love his work!

I have always been such a big Georgie boy fan, so not much he revealed here was news to me. It really is either a 'sorry guys, I am not ever going to tour again, and this is all I can give', or it's a 'stay tuned for dates'. I would give me left arm to see the man live!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


After work on Friday night I hopped on a train down south to Brighton. In less than an hour, and thus, less time than it would have taken to trek home from work, I arrived in the seaside town to meet Dom.

A few pints at the pub, and then Chinese for dinner, Dom and I, and her friend Zoe, got to catch up and chat for the evening.

Yesterday we walked along the shore from Hove, where Dom's lovely apartment is, all the way along past the shell of the old pier, and then up to the amusement rides at the Brighton Pier. Very much like walking along in St Kilda, being near the sea was gorgeous. The cheesy carnival style music delivered 'Last Christmas' by Wham! as we checked out the flashing lights and the rides, which is always the indictator for me that Christmas is near, and there is no more denying it! Oh dear!

We then walked inland a little to see the beautiful Royal Pavilion, and too a tour inside to see the amazing rooms and stunning pieces throughout. We then stopped in Queen Adelaide's Tea Rooms for some cream tea - how very British!! (More photos.)

We walked around town to wander through the South Lanes and the North Lanes, where Christmas shopping and the tourist crowd was bustling. So very cute and funky are little stores tucked away in the cobbled lanes here. Would be great if I had lots of money for shopping!

This afternoon when Dom finishes work, we will meet for lunch before I return to London. It's so good to see Dom, and now I understand why she has settled down here instead of the big smoke!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chelsea match

Getting up feeling a little hungover and getting transport to the footy for a Saturday afternoon game - was all very nostalgic for the real footy today...although with so many differences!

I met Charles, and his mates Travis and Adam at Stamford Bridge in Fulham for the Chelsea v Middlesbrough match. Now this is part of the English Premier League. This photo here is Chelsea warming up.

Getting through the gates, I had to surrender the lid to my bottle of water. It took awhile for me to understand what the steward wanted - apparently worried about potential missiles. Hmmm.

Of the 41 666 people there this afternoon, I think there was a handful of opposition supporters, but they were all sitting in the one place. Can you see the Middlebrough fans in the corner of the stand in this photo? Surrounded with shoulder to shoulder police! Scary! Apparently when you order your tickets for a game there is a warning that is opposition supporters sit in the general area, they will be thrown out!
And yes, those are heaters all the way along the top of our stand!!

The atmosphere during the match was electric - even when nothing was really going on on the pitch. The Chelsea crowd sang, and chanted and clapped almost all the way through the afternoon. The noise was electric, and very impressive. About 10 000 men singing and carrying on. Love that stuff!!

The stadium erupted when a goal was scored by Chelsea, in the 62nd minute. It was like they had got into the Grand Final or something!! Hugs all round, and even the Manager, Jose Mourinho (one of the hottest older men alive!!) gave Terry a hug after he scored. All very funny, to me!

One reason soccer will never hit the big time for me though, is the circus surrounding injuries. Today one of the Chelsea players went down, and writhed in what looked like agony. Considering how the player was carrying on, and the instant stopping of play, I thought he must have broken his leg. Perhaps there was even bone sticking out, given the reaction. So they run out the lifeboat size stretcher, and by the time it gets out to him, he is standing, and miraculously he hobbles and hops off to the sidelines. The game continues, and what do you know? The player ends up running back on seconds later, physically unhindered! It's just silly!! What a bunch of sooks.

It was quite fun, and such an experience going to a real soccer match. I still don't really know the intricaces of the game, nor why they do most things, but seeing it live, and being able to see all the movement all over the pitch was better than on telly, for me. Also got to see the giant Viduka in action too - see you in Germany in June, Mark! Hee hee!

Oh yeah, and Chelsea won 1-0. (More photos)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Work Xmas Party

Yesterday everyone in the office was counting down the hours till we could rush out of there. When our designated "get ready" time finally arrived, I dashed out and schlepped (Jenny uses that Swedish word so often, I no longer know the proper English equivalent - what would it be, dragged my arse?!?) across town to change. The dress I had worn to Katie's 21st had arrived in the mail just in time (Thanks a million, Mum!!), and so I was ready for the big HCML Xmas party.

A tube ride back across to the Hilton London Kensington in time for drinks, the evening began. The tables were decked out with bonbons, and the wine was flowing! Dinner was very nice, all three courses, and then the dancing began.

(More photos)

Awards went around for Best Dressed, Sexist Male, Sexist Female, and Best Bum after considerable and careful voting by all, and thus the silliness kicked off. It was such a fun night, all dressed up and a chance to have fun with the full gang from work.

Heather, myself, Anna, Chantal and Charlotte
Posted by Picasa

For the first time since...well, when would it be...back in 2002....around March, I actually liked the job I am in. I have survived my second performance review, and am starting to get to a point where I can get things moving on cases. Life is good!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...