Steve n Jen's UK adventures

UK and European adventures. Read on my pretties, and discover what two stray Aussies can get up to on their travels.......

20 July 2006

July 2006 a

Sat 1 July 2006
Went to the Cooks and Bards SCA event near Gloucester. Met some lovely SCA people. Alaric was the only person to bring his armour, so instead he had fun with the other cooks in the kitchen. His egg, apple and grains of paradise dish went down a treat. Lots of madrigal singing all day, then bardic singing to after midnight. We didn't need candles at the feast, as you can see from this photo, taken at about 8:30pm. Everyone slept in the adjacent hall. Overall a nice event. Then went back home to Leeds.

Mon to Wed
Steve applies for a bunch of jobs. Jen doesn't get the Peterborough job, darnit.
Steve gets some phone calls about jobs, and also has an agency interview at 3pm. This goes well, except they finally reveal what their fees would be if we used them: extremely steep! Decided to give them a miss.

Thu 6 July 2006
Hop back in the hire car and visit Scotland. But on the way we stopped to see the High Force Falls on the River Tees.

RIght: the top of the High Force Falls, where Jen tells Steve to stop f***ing around and get away from the edge!

Above: we also stopped (before getting to Scotland) at Hadrian's Wall which was built by romans in 2nd century AD. The wall is the grassy bit in the foreground bottom right, we're looking straight down along its top! The wall has heaps of grass growing on top of it, as it stretches away over the top of cliffs. In other sections of the wall, it is very well preserved and without the grass on top.
Below: and so we finally reached the border of Scotland...

.....and we stayed at Kingshorn (north of Edinburgh) with an SCA chap named Richard, for two nights. He suggested we catch the train across the Forth Railway Bridge and into Edinburgh for some sight seeing on the morrow.

Fri 7 July 2006
Day tripped to Edinburgh.....

Above: The street as you come down from Edinburgh Castle (the Royal Mile).

While we were in the national art gallery, Steve looked up Jen's ancestor and here's a pic of him. We found that he had a long and chequered past like any good (bad) scotsman should, before the Poms snicked his head off.

The caption said: Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, c1667-1747. Jacobite.
Lord Lovat, chief of the Clan Fraser, fought for Prince Charles at Culloden. William Hogarth drew (this a portrait of) Lovat when he was in custody in St Albans, on his way to London to be tried for treason. Hogarth said that Lovat was counting the numbers of the clans who had supported the prince on his fingers, as he told the artist of his adventures. Lovat was found guilty and beheaded (aged 80). Hogarth is believed to have printed around 10,000 copies of this etching, which were sold for a shilling (5p) a print.

Whilst in Edinburgh, we stopped into some tourist trap shops and purchased for Jen: a Fraser clan scarf, plus a tiny bottle of Fraser clan single malt scotch whiskey, and a mini book of the clan history. She briefly considered getting Fraser clan coasters too, but realised that "tacky" doesn't even begin to describe...... :-)

Sat 8 July 2006
Leave Edinburgh, stop in at a fighter practice in Darlington (north of York). Then return hire car.

Sun to Wed
Apply for jobs etc. Steve also studies.

Thu 13 July 2006
NI numbers... Jen finally gets her NI number (like tax file number), hooray! Steve still hasn't heard back yet, regarding his. Jen goes to Manchester in the afternoon, for an agency interview.

Fri 14 July 2006
Jen goes to Birmingham for an interview. It goes fairly well.

Sat 15 July 2006
Steve studies. Jen spends next three days preparing a presentation for Tuesday's "all day" job interview which will be in Stratford, London.

Mon 17 July 2006
Drive down to London. Get stuck in traffic on the M25 (big ring road around London) - managing to do 3 miles in two hours, due to three lanes merging into one, as a truck had overturned on the motorway. Finally arrive at Elizabeth+Dan's place (SCA, Elizabeth is the seneschal of the London group) just after midnight. Don't get enough sleep.

Tue 18 July 2006
Jen does an all day job interview/assessment with 5 other candidates. Steve studies and buys the makings of dinner. Jen finally gets back to Elizabeth+Dan's place. An hour later, Jen gets a call saying she's got the job!
Pack up and spend the night in (Willingham, which is north of) Cambridge, at Deb+Clancy's.... Steve gets to use his armour again, yay!

Wed 19 July 2006
Head back to Leeds, return the hire car. Start looking online for rental properties in and around greater London. Must wait for a letter of "job offer" to arrive in the mail here in Leeds, before we can really talk to any potential landlords. Steve sets up Skype (username is alaricbangor) so if you have a computer, headphones with microphone, and an internet connection, we can chat for free - when our computer is turned on too, that is. Just remember we're on Greenwich time over here!