The weather has been pretty lame in London for the last couple months, or I guess you could say all year but mainly the last couple months as the expectations are higher, since we are officially in the 2nd month of summer. For some reason on the Tour de France weekend the sun decided to come out. According to the media there were over 1.5 million people in attendance and definitely everywhere you went there were loads of people.
It made for a great day with the sun, the huge crowds and the worldâ€™s most popular cycling event. Rach and I donâ€™t really know anything about cycling but it was good to see it in the flesh. The Saturday started off with a parade of cars going around throwing free goodies into the crowds (bottles of water, food samples, tiny toy bikes etc) as well as people dancing to music on floating dance floors on top of vans. This was on just before the race started.
Sorry for the massive delay in getting these photos up. I can’t believe how quickly time goes past. In a couple days it’s been a month since we moved into our new place. Gees it really does fly when you’re having fun Anyway, I know some of you have asked or wondered why we moved out. I’ll keep it short in saying, if it wasn’t already obvious, we moved out because of one individual at our last place. That individual even snoops around on this blog spying on us. Clearly that person doesn’t have much of a life. The individual knows we know they snoop on here. We’ve already busted the person and displayed them a special private message for them only. Anyway enough of the rubbish, on to the new place.
We woke up today nice and early (and excited because we’re flying to Dubai tonight) and I looked out the window to see if it was raining and was amazed to see everything covered in snow! It looked very pretty, our first snowfall for this winter! All the cars and trees in our street were covered in snow, unfortunately the snow wasn’t still falling, it would have been great to see falling snow. More snow is forecast for tonight so hopefully that doesn’t delay our flight out of London.
February is supposed to be the coldest month so no doubt there is still more snow to come.
Stay tuned for our update and photos from Dubai
Just thought I’d put up a quick post about what’s been going on lately. Well things feel like that they’ve slowed down a little bit and we’ve just been getting into the normal routine, although on the other side of the planet.
We went to Barcelona again in late October. We had a great time and it actually felt like a holiday because we did a lot of relaxing. We weren’t in a rush to see all of the sights like last time and I loved the cheap shopping compared to London.
Rach and I went for a shopping expo one weekend at a complex called Bluewater. This place is huge. We spent all day there and I didn’t see all of the floor space. It has over 300 stores, all in the one mall. Believe it or not though I walked away with nothing and Rach walked away with a winter coat and a few other things.
Jo W decided it was time to see some London sights for the first time after being here for nearly 18 months
Jo and the guards
We went and saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. There were heaps of people around as clearly it’s a popular thing to do. It was the first time I’d seen the palace or the men with the red coats and big tall fluffy hats.
The great thing about London is every thing is really close. We walked from Buckingham Palace to the Westminster Church, to Big Ben, to the London Eye and then on to Trafalgar Square. It’s all so close to each other.
Big Ben is very cool. My bus goes passed it and the London eye each day and I still look at the big clock each time. It’s got a lot of detail and looks great in day, as the gold plated parts shine and it also looks great at night too with all the lights on.
We love free drinks
My recruitment agency GCS put on a meet up for all of the GCS contractors from my work. As you expect, they make a lot of money from us contractors for doing didley squat. So myself and every one else were keen as get some of my money back. Iâ€™d heard that GCS put on a good party.
This party was wild and out of control. We started of with beers and not long after we got there, on the bar were fifteen c-s-cowboy shots. Then my main drink of the night is crushed lime, Vodka, ice and thatâ€™s it. I know it sounds horrible cause you can clean stuff with Vodka but the lime does an excellent job of masking the metho like flavour. Adding a cube of sugar makes it even sweeter. More rounds of c-s-cowboy shots fifteen at a time kept coming. In no time at all every one was well over the limit then some one brought down boxes of cigars. These were â‚¤20 – â‚¤30 pounds per cigar which is about $50 – $75! Every one was getting into them. There horrible and a good way to make your clothes smell. Mum, if youâ€™re reading no, I donâ€™t smoke. I was just posing for the photos. But yes I still donâ€™t mind a drink or two
Stevie & Adrian
An unreal night was had and by the end of it every one was well over the limit, it was quite funny. Every one had a great time. Itâ€™s always good when a group of people hit a party all with the same objective. That is to get legless
I turned up to work as per norm and I was he only one there. Two people didnâ€™t turn up for work. One citing â€œstomach bugâ€ issues. The others trickled in slowly up until 11am. Some were looking pretty bad but it made for good conversation at lunch time.
For more photos of the night check out:
SW4 was bound to be a hit. It’s a day musical festival which had a massive line up and of course it’s right in our back yard. Itâ€™s only a ten minute bus away and even shorter for Jo and Pat. I guess you could compare it to Field Day but with a much bigger line up. The line up for the day included big names such as Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Steve Lawler, Pete Tong, Judge Jules, John Digweed, James Zabeila, Seb Fontaine, Sander K, Shape Shifters and many more. The event is hosted in the well known, massive green Clapham Common Park.
The weather was predicted to be cloudy, with sunny intervals and rain. Who knows what that really means? To our surprise we had clouds and sunny patches all day until the last hour when it started pouring down.
We’ve been in London now for 7 weeks but it feels like much longer than that! Looking for a place to live and a job was a bit annoying but now that we have both of those we have so much more to look forward too
I started a new job on Monday, working as a PA for 2 directors. Its an ongoing role so no more temping yay! I temped for the last 3 weeks at 2 different places and they were the most boring 3 weeks of my life!
We finally moved out of the dodgy place we stayed at for the last 6 weeks! It was so annoying staying there in a room with no TV, I missed TV! As well as sometimes having to have cold showers or walk to the other side of the place to look for a shower that has hot water! A girl we were talking to in the kitchen one night said she had a mouse in her room and she went to complain at reception and they just laughed at her. It was such a quality place! We seemed to have such bad luck with houses a lot of places we tried the room had either been taken or they didn’t want couples as well as some places we looked at were just crap! We moved into our place on Thursday which is great, our room is massive and the house has recently been refurbished so its all nice and modern with a great kitchen and bathroom which you don’t see too often in houses in London. We are living with a South African couple, a Aussie guy and a Kiwi chic, they all seem really nice which is a bonus. So it was a great week overall getting a new job and moving into a new place except now its starting to get cold and the days are grey and rainy, I’m not looking forward to winter at all!
We have booked a couple of trips, we’re going to New York in September and Barcelona in October. Adrian and Nat are also going to Copenhagen in September. We will hopefully do some weekend trips to places in the UK soon.
More photos of our place:
Ladder to Terrace
I was pretty excited about this as I was interested to see a large international motor show and to compare it to Sydneyâ€™s. The complex was massive. There were two massive buildings with hundreds of exhibitors and hundreds of cars. There was an outdoor mini racing track where they were testing out the Mazda RX-8 and MX-5 to see who would get the quickest time. There was also a massive four wheel drive park set up to show what the new generation four wheel drives can do.
I was most interested the super car paddock. In the photos youâ€™ll be able to see that I pretty much went straight there first, to snap up some good photos before the crowds got too large.
As youâ€™d expect there were some unreal cars on display such as the amazing Pagani Zonda (1 of less than 100), the Ferrari Enzo (1 of only 400), the ultra rare papaya orange coloured Mclaren F1 (1 of only 5) and many more.
I was stoked to see the Japanese GT winner Xanavi wide bodied Nissan 350Z. It seemed out of place amongst the super cars but Iâ€™m glad I got the opportunity to see this beast. Iâ€™ve always wanted to see a Jap GT race. Itâ€™s rumoured a round might come to Perth. Continue reading
The day started out really sunny and nice but an hour before we were to leave it started raining. We were a bit annoyed because we thought the cruise would be pretty horrible in the rain but pretty much as we were walking to the boat it cleared up and a bit of sunshine came out.
The cruise along the river Thames was very cool, there was a guy on board telling us what was what and some history about the buildings, and he was a bit of a comedian too. He talked about this architect that has designed numerous buildings around London his first one being the Millennium Bridge. The queen apparently opened this bridge and while she was walking along it started to wobble so much so that hey had to close it for 18 months while they stabilised it.
We arrived unwillingly in London after a great time in Portugal and of course great weather. We were in for a rude surprise to hear the weather in London would be 18 degrees, windy and cloudy. I guess we’d better get used to this, as there’s much more of this to come.
We spent our first three nights in a budget hotel, which was definitely budget. It looked like an old hospital or mental home. The price was expensive too.
We spent the first few days looking for a temporary shelter over our head for the next few weeks so we could just relax and get on with doing the important things e.g. looking for work and a more permanent place to stay without the worry of not having a place to stay.
We ended up being recommended to a place that specializes in people like us. People who are looking for a place to stay with no commitment and for short to medium lengths of stay.
Iâ€™m not going say how much the room is per week but letâ€™s just say when itâ€™s converted to Australian dollars that itâ€™s probably more per week than any one you know paying rent in Australia and that would be for a house too The room has what we need and will do for the short term. It has a great view out on to the major park in the area. Itâ€™s close by to a tube / metro stop. Itâ€™s close to the high street (the street with all the good shops) and last but not least itâ€™s close to Johannaâ€™s home.
Any way, I better get back to looking for work.
Ps. Keep checking back for the rest of Lisbon and Portugal.
Dinner last night for Jo’s birthday was good fun. We went to this unsual restaurant that served thai buffet with the usual stuff, prawns in stir fry, beef meals and what not. But the only catch is that it was all tofu shaped and coloured to look like real meat, even the prawns had the orange lines painted on to them so they’d look like real prawns. What the! Any way it was great to catch up with Adam, Jen and Kate. I also met this girl Belinda, who I knew of and after talking for a while we both know heaps of the same people and we just started drawing connections left right and centre. She also went to my high school too and knows friends from several different circles. Small world.
Any way, just quickly a few other things about london:
– You have to have a paid licence to watch TV!!!!!!!!! And you have to pay for it to watch free to air!!!! Did i mention paid? What the!!!! Check this out: http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/information/. Apparently they hunt you down too and knock on your door and demand payment. People pay on a monthly basis too. 25 pound a month. Rip off!
– The pciture above is of the largest tube escalator. The photo doesn’t do it justice as I’m already a fair way down, but these things are so steep. According to the injury prevention signs around the place, people get injured a fair bit. When I say steep I mean steep, like you can see down the top of the person in fron of you Just kidding but I guess you know what I mean?
– Apparently getting cash out at the same time is only a new thing here and half of the staff don’t know how to do it…
Any way, today we’re looking for secure storage to go store all our stuff in while we go for our big journey.
Ness wanted to know what we ate for dinner on our first night, well we went to a pub, Jo warned us of the some times lame standard of pub food. I ordered a chicken breast with bacon on top with melted cheese, chips and salad. It sounded good. Well what came out was different it had bbq sauce squirted all over the top like as if they had 3 year olds adding the sauce. The salad (if you could call it that) had the basics but nothing to write home about. The chips looked like they had been cooked for an hour Overall the meal didn’t look pretty 2 out of 10 for presentation but it got a 7 out of 10 for overall taste so I guess you can’t complain. Rach had a rissotto which she said was great.
Any way gotta run. It’s great seeing the comments. Keep them coming. Nadia, kindly informed me that the castle is London Tower. I also put the photo up as well.
Rach & Jo
Adrian & Rach
Today we caught up for lunch with Jo and sat right next to the river Thames where we could see the gherkin building that Jo had talked about as well as the apparently famous Tower bridge and some castle and the city hall.
A few quick points about London so far:
-At an early glance, things here donâ€™t seem that expensive even after conversion from pounds to dollars. We went to an equivalent of Rebel sports where brand name clothes and shoes were cheap as compared to Australia.
Tower of London
Food prices donâ€™t seem that bad either, sometimes the same or a little bit more, nothing that I would call â€œexpensiveâ€. No doubt we’ll see the expensive side before too long.
– There one dollar coins are the same size as our two dollar coins. I first thought Iâ€™d been given back extra change i.e. 2 x 2 pound coins but sadly it was only 2 x 1 pound coins.
– The car selections here are so much better here than back home. Lots of different brands, versions, diesels and station wagons that we donâ€™t have home. Holdens are called Vauxhauls here too.
– The police drive BMWs not Holdens or Fords.
– It took us a while to see our first traditional style phone booth
Later tonight we’re going out for Jo’s birthday dinner. It’ll be good cause Rach and I will catch up with all of our other friends here in London.
Ps. The blog time is now in London time.
We touched down in Heathrow airport at close to 6am and it was fresh 5 degrees outside. Customs was easy as, I thought it would be harder along with a few more grueling questions. Signage around the place was useful and in no time at all we were on the underground tube. It felt like it was the afternoon because weâ€™d been up for 3 or so hours but really it was 7 am and London was all going to work and school. The closer we got to central London the more packed the tube got. It was busy enough that at some stops people couldnâ€™t get on to the train. We thought we were going to have a hard time getting off the train with our already difficult to carry luggage (I had to carry Rachâ€™s big back pack as she was struggling with it). Teri met us at the station and we went back to her place from there.
The tube is easy as to use. There are helpful maps and signs every where in the stations and on the trains. I hope that we pick a place to live that is close to the tube as itâ€™s so easy to get to places on it. Rach and I have been back and forth and via different routes a fair bit so far with no probs. I read it once before and totally agree, the tube map is something you will become very familiar with. Being on the tube makes you feel like youâ€™re in Sydney because the maps of the tub network look like the same maps of the Sydney rail network. As well as London being very multicultural just like Sydney, youâ€™d never know you were in London just by looking at the crowd.
We went to our 1st contact orientation day. We caught the tub in to some where and grabbed some lunch from Subway. Subway here donâ€™t have chicken fillet. What is going on? At our orientation, they spoke to us and about 30 other people all from home, NZ or South Africa. At the session we signed up for our bank account and got our UK sim card and a phone call card.
Later in the day we caught up with Jo. After to speaking to her for a little while it felt like weâ€™d seen her just last week, even though it was really almost a year.