Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NW6 to SW19

After Council Tax dramas hit the fan not too long ago in the MaxiPad, I decided that it was time to give the girls notice and move somewhere cheaper, and closer to work. Last night I completed a large part of the move, and now I am a Sowf London lodger!

Yesterday was my last tube ride from West Hampstead to East Croydon to work, ever! I savoured the sausage roll stop at the yummy, but grumpy pie van at London Bridge. And farewelled my one and a half hour commute to work!

So I have traded the Bakerloo/Jubilee tube line combination, for the Northern/District Lines, and the tram straight to work, in just 30 mintues! I arrived at work this morning, pre-coffee, and awake!! The extra hour and a half sleep in is going to be bliss!

I have moved from a top floor flat with a balcony, to a house in a leafy street, with a backyard. Way more savings, lots more sleep in the mornings, and stressless on the way to work.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A little Glaswegian

After finishing my book in the gardens at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, I released it at the Edinburgh International Book Festival after the Fringe show that afternoon. I then wandered around more of the New Town of Edinburgh, before boarding a train to Glasgow.

Just at that point where the sun goes down and the sky is that blue colour, I was raced through the Scottish countryside. Lush green hills, and at one point we passed a lake where we were at just the right angle for the sky blue colour to be reflected back like glass. One of those awesome train travel moments.

Arriving in Glasgow, I walked through the streets to check into the Victoria House Hotel for the night. After a full buffet breakfast the next morning, I walked through the pedestrian streets of central Glasgow.

Finding the Glasgow Cathedral by accident (I kinda lost my way there for a bit!), I then walked down to Glasgow Green and the People's Palace. The greenhouse style of the Winter Garden was quite warm after being caught in the rain outside, before walking through the history of Glasgow. (More photos)

A walk along the River Clyde, before lunch at the 13th Note, which is an OBCZ. More walking through this worker's town, before getting a bus out to the airport and my flight back to London.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Poofs, Lunch and Worms - EEF

After deciding to come up to Scotland for the August long weekend, a few people had asked if I was going for the Fringe Festival. After looking into it a bit more, I booked a few shows based on their blurbs...and managed to see an assortment of good shows for my two days in Edinburgh!

Saturday afternoon I found my way to the Gilded Balloon for A Can Of Worms. The best of the shows I saw, this stage show depicted two twins coming together after the death of their mother, and sorting out the boxes in the attic. Going through the assorted collection of hoarded memories, the brothers recall significant moments from their dark, and trouble upbring, often memories that the other was totally oblivious too. Bizarre and funny, sad and haunting, the set was merely cardboard boxes, but used brilliantly to let us know time and event as each memory was told.

Saturday evening I saw 4 Poofs and a Piano - Strictly Neurotic at the Pleasance Courtyard. Famous for their interludes on Friday Night with Jonathon Ross (not that I knew...shows how little UK tv I watch!!), these four lads sang their way through the trials and silliness of growing old, and being gay.

This afternoon I have walked around New Town Edinburgh before finding The Assembly Rooms, and the policical and disturbing (I Am) Nobody's Lunch. Based on a collection of interviewed conducted in America in 2003, this cabaret looks at the question of media and information, and what we really know, and don't know, about all that's going on in the world. Hot topic at the time like 9/11, Guantanemo, Jessica Lynch, and Tom Cruise's sexuality, the show consisted of people reactions, and misinformation, apathy and the reading between the lines. Funny, anxious and haunting, this US production was thought provoking, and right on the mark when it comes to the matter of what we think we know.

Three very different and great shows. I could have arrived and picked any shows off the boards and the ever selling box offices, but I am glad I picked random and interesting sounds shows for my Fringe experience!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Great Scot!

Finishing work on Friday, I raced out to Gatwick to get my flight up to Scotland for the long weekend. Derobed of my belt, my shoes, my lipbalm (noooo!) and my bottle of water, I passed though security only to find my flight delayed. I don't think I have ever had a flight from Gatwick that has left on time!

Arriving much later then planned, I missed my booking for a film at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Meant to be the next big US cult classic...thanks to Easyjet I landed after it had started!! Hearlded as the next big US cult movie, if Apart From That is huge....ahhh!

Coming into the city on a doubledecker bus, all the amazing, ornate buildings of Edinburgh were all lit up, and a light show seemed to dance over the imposing and spectacular Edinburgh Castle.

I made my way out to Bathgate, and the Dreadnought Hotel, where I had booked a room for two nights. A full English breakfast the next morning, I made may way back into town, and to the Old Town.

From the station I made my way up to Edinburgh Castle, and I did a walking tour through there. Seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the Stone of Destiny, I was reading about a time and war I know so little about. Walking through the ancient walls you can almost hear the whisperings of "they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately!!

I then walked down the bustling and very busy Royal Mile, heaving with people and street performers for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Street stalls and encouragement to go to a million and one different shows!

After a pint in The Clever Dick (the strangest pub names up here!), and a show or two, I wandered back through the streets and awe inspiring architecture of the Old Town before heading back. (More photos)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Buy Now And Pay Later

It's later, now! For the first time in...well, forever...I am starting to feel like I am controlling my money situation. Today, (being the day after payday!) I feel like I am successfully chipping away at my debt monster! This has been a goal of mine for sometime, of which I am finally taking action.

Accumulating debt for things like travel and study, I am now chipping away at paying off things like my trip to Sri Lanka in 2004, and my laptop for my studies, and a million other things I have done when I didn't have the dough (but no regrets - I've had a ball!!).

I have actioned what I have been calling my "Debt Management Plan" for some months now. This means things like, £2 for a week of lunches, instead of something interesting and appealing everyday! Cardboard (read, Rivita) and peanut butter one week (BORING!), and styrofoam (read, rice cakes) and hommous another (BORING!). Why does saving money have to be so monotonous and boring!!! I am also consistantly sending money home on a monthly basis, to chip away at the debt.

All this come about after some stressful weeks, about the threatening calls and letters that were arriving back home. I no longer have credit cards, and my debt accounts are finally being tended to. Does this mean I am starting to grow up and take responsibility??!! Ewwww!

But whilst starting to work away at this monster, I am careful not to lose my focus! The reason I am away from home and my family and friends, with the homesickness fading in and out, is to see and explore Europe - which is right there across the water - and all the other cool things that London has to offer!

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Jenny has been back in old London town for two nights, after returning to downtown Glenroy back in March, and it was so good to catch up with her!

On Wednesday night, I met her and Lizette around the London Bridge area for cocktails at Bar Blue, and a good chat! A bit of spice in a cocktail called the Masked Devil, and then it was off to Nandos (where else, with Jen??!!).

Yesterday the visiting Jenny lined up at the Victoria Palace Theatre in the morning and got us tickets for the evening showing of Billy Elliot. Restricted view, with the last minute and affordable tickets, found us front row and centre. Perhaps missed some of the young lads' footwork, but we got snowed on when it came down during the show, which was quite funny!

Quite like the movie, but better, the performance by the Colin "Billy" (there are 4 of them doing the season), and also the portrayals of both Michael and Mrs Wilkinson were really good, strong characters. Parts that made you laugh, parts that made your cry, but mainly laugh. I was a bit surprised at the language in the musical - I mean, I know there was some in the movie, but for all the kids in the audience...maybe it's just my Aussie standards coming out!

I quite understand the raving reviews this show is getting now, and we really enjoyed the night. Before goodbyes at the tube, I got to prompt a reintroduction for Jenny to the double cheesy....mmmm, double cheesy! Hee hee. Have a great rest of the trip, Jens!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Farewell Leilah

Last night a group of us gathered for drinks for Leilah's farewell and birthday celebration. We met for happy hour cocktails, and stayed till quite late.

At On Anon, at Piccadilly Circus, we ordered jugs of cocktails to share around and drink to Beate's birthday first. Charlotte and I, and Leilah...then Niny, and Hilary and Tina. The old crew back together, after some changing jobs, holidays, and some of us doing the same same!

Would have been a chance to take some good photos, cos everyone was dressed up and the venue looked cool...but, alas, my camera is broken. Another incident with the digi and a leaking water bottle in my handbag. Stoopid! I think this is the second in about 8 months. Oh dear.

All going well, Miss Leilah will be on the long haul flight home tonight, with no book to read, no change of clothes, not her toothbrush, thanks to the terrorist madness...but we'll see her at home soon!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kilburn locals

For Toni's last proper night in the MaxiPad, before more travels and then her relocation to the valley, I decided we should do a tour of the local pubs that we have always heard so much about. For dinner we ate at Speedy Noodle, which is one of those places near home that people have mentioned to service, huge dishes, and cheap, cheap!

First pub stop was the North London Tavern, a busy and chilled vibe pub. Pretty people locals (I think this is where that hot guy that applied for one our rooms recommended!!), we polished off our first Magners.

Next up was the Brondes Age, which we had spotted one night when we had had dinner up this way, where we sat outside and soaked up the Kilburn High Road atmosphere(this end is a little like Lygon Street!), and another Magners.

Aware poor Toni had to get up very early in the morning to get her taxi to the airport, we walked down to The Kilburn next, which was my favourite of the crawl last night. This pub is very cool.

The Good Ship was our last stop, and despite hearing good things, probably my least favourite of the crawl. A bit try hard pretentious, and well...empty! Set up for a dark and dingy nightclub style evening....a little sleazy and gross for us! More Magners and a short, and then home.

Have fun on your travels, young Tones-sta, and good luck in your new whizz bang job!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dreamy Midsummer Night

Last night after work, I met up with Renee and Graham for dinner, before Nae and I headed over to Regent's Park and the Open Air Theatre to see A Midsummer's Night Dream.

Outside at the moment in London has been awesome, with the ongoing heatwave, although wouldn't you know, last night the weather was a touch dodgy! Cooler than it's been in awhile, and quite windy.

The stage is set in the Park, hidden amongst the trees, with the stands radiated out from it. Tucked away, where you could be anywhere!

The wind in the surrounding trees added to the mystic of the play, although did force the actors to work harder on their voice projection!

As the night grew darker, the stage lighting was more effective, and more enchanting. Lots of fun and silliness throughout the play, and the actors rolling all around the set was very amusing. The rain started just towards the end of the play, and we got soaked getting back to the tube!

Anyway, I am off to Manchester today for work. Better get going....
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