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.......

17 October 2006

Oct 2006 a

Wed 3 Oct 2006
Jen goes to the Earls Court Show. This is a recruitment fair, and Jen helps her Human Resources department at their stand. Good fun. Got a free red work shirt with the company logo embroidered on it.

Thurs 4 Oct 2006
After Jen finishes work, go out to Ikea to buy pieces for a shelf. While there, we also buy a nice plant at a great price. Late that night Ciaran is asked "like the new addition to our family?" he looks around the floor looking for a dog or cat, only to have the plant pointed out (overhanging him) and he jumps with surprise.
The trouble with Ikea is - if you visit on the weekend its too overcrowded. After work is difficult too, as the trains stop running (to get home) before you can buy stuff. So, we asked the price of the taxis, didn't like the answer as there's a "special rate" to depart Ikea, and so Steve walked across the road to the local Tesco supermarket and used the free phone to order a (cheaper) taxi home.

Fri 6 Oct 2006
Steve is a god! He manages to get the projector receiving in colour from the TV box. Hurrah! He also installs a new shower hand-set wall mount, so that we can all stand up straight in the shower, and have the water sprinkle at an angle instead of straight down. Double hurrah!

Sat 7 Oct 2006
Muster in the park. Travelled to the south side of London with the armour. Steve has a hit in the park and attracts curious on-lookers. Some of us hand out flyers. Sit and chitchat with other SCA people, enjoying a shared picnic. A nice sunny day and hopefully not the end of Summer.

Sun 8 Oct 2006
Put up the Ikea shelf. This shelf is for the projector, TV box, amplifier, ipod, and DVD player to sit comfortably out of the way. Love it. Steve is a god (again)!

Tues 10 Oct 2006
Jen enjoys some girly "internet window shopping" with Kiriel via Skype.
Steve enjoys some boyish internet gaming fun with Gavin via World of Warcraft.

Thurs 12 Oct 2006
Jen's british drivers licence turns up in the mail. Hurrah! Jen's workmates come over for after-work drinks and nibblies. Steve puts on a great spread of mini snags and dips, chips, beers and spirits. We introduce the guests to TimTams. Told we should try "penguins" apparently the local equivalent - but we'll have to test out the theory.

Fri 13 October
Jen has a staff "away day" at the Novotel. Pretty good overall, great location and quality food and drinks. It was good to learn about working more as a team. These are Jen's colleagues (the two blurred faces are the trainers for the day).

Sat 14 Oct 2006
We have decided that Ikea definately sucks.
After picking up a hire car today (for tomorrow's drive to Heathrow), we decide to also visit Ikea. A combination of: insane car park driving, queues, items out of stock, screaming children, teeming masses, and finally, credit card only lanes - discovered after queuing for half an hour, all makes us quite fond of internet shopping. Down with Ikea.

Sun 15 Oct 2006
Alarm - 5:45am. Dark. Urrgghh. Accustomed to alarm at 8am. Shovel breakky into mouth. Get in car, navigate to Heathrow terminal 4. Discover the flight of our house-guest is running 2 hours late. Decide to buy the paper and enjoy some quiet together in the italian cafe upstairs. Excellent. Feeling much more human. Steve's oldest niece, Clare, arrives with her usual lovely smile and grace. We took the scenic way home from Heathrow - along the river Thames, West to East through the centre of London. Get back home and wave Ciaran bye bye. He's off to Europe, and we'll see him again in 6 weeks' time.

To ensure jetlag has the least impact we keep Clare active right until 10:30pm. Steve and Clare walked around the London Eye, to Parliament Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, National Galleries, Pall Mall, Buckingham Palace, Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, etc.

Then in the evening we all went on a Jack the Ripper walking tour. The tour guide was very knowledgeable, and it was a strangely fascinating, if somewhat gory, tour. We finished by going into the Ten Bells - London's oldest pub (established 1752) where one of the victims was last seen alive. This is the pub, but a photo I found on the net, as we only saw the pub by night.

Mon 16 Oct 2006
Steve returns the hire car. When we picked up the car, the hire place was closing and told us there was no damage to our car, and didn't inspect it with us. They told us to call the following day and report damage if there was any. Lucky for us we had the camera with us, with date stamping, and they accepted this without charging us for someone else's damage.

Above: Hire car damage, before we even got behind the wheel.

Steve took Clare shopping, visiting Topshop, The Apple Centre, and Harrods! All concerned decided to have a quiet night.

Tues 17 Oct 2006
Clare gets up early and gets a train toward Aylesbury. We'll see her again Friday night for another weekend of being tourists.

Sept 2006 b

Fri 15 Sept 2006
Steve's Birthday! One year away from his big 40th!
Jen takes Steve out to a nice Indian restaurant. Jen does curry now - or at least, a mild chicken corma. We decide we'll be visiting Australia in September 2007 for Steve's family and our Aussie friends to celebrate with him.

Sat 16 Sept 2006
Enjoy a nice relaxing weekend at home.

Tues 19 Sept 2006
Attend the local residents'/council AGM. Interesting unto itself. Discover a bit more history about the local area. The "fries" or "pineapple" public art is actually called the "railway tree" by the artist.

Wed 20 Sept 2006
In the evening turn up to local SCA meeting at the Shakespeare's Head tavern. Some outrageous ideas float past, like the idea of booking out a slice of the Globe theatre (to see a Shakespearean play) for all those Tudor and Elizabethan fans out there. Great photo opportunities indeed. We all agreed to look for an affordable venue in London (!!!) for future SCA events or meetings.

Thu 21 Set 2006
House inspection. We pass easily - we're obviously not sub-letting others, nor are we drug addicts or running a crack house etc. We go to SCA singing practice in the evening.

Fri 22 Sept 2006
Jen's been working for 7 weeks now, and is right at home. The people are lovely and the work is exciting in a good way.

Above: Jen worked on the cover of a bid to build the athlete's olympic village for 2012. Our consortium is down to the final two - pretty exciting stuff!

Sat 23 Sept 2006
PARTY!!!!!!! We hold a housewarming party. First guests turn up around 3pm, and we all enjoy a fabulous variety of drinks, nibblies, and board games. Yes it was a boardgame party. Some games of note were "kill doctor lucky" which is essentially anti-Cluedo; also, "the great brain train robbery" which was a zombie game where you try to install a brain with the highest IQ and fight other zombies for their brain. Yes very strange but also hilarious. These are created by "cheap ass games" based in London, and the company has recently gone bust. Card games and backgammon were also played. Taught locals how to shot-gun TimTams. The house has now been sufficiently "warmed".

Sun 24 Sept 2006
Jen has read through heaps of brochures, sifting out information about trading in her Aussie drivers licence for a British one. Can't apply at the local post office - it has to be a special one. Yesterday morning before the party, Jen hopped on a train, finally tracked down this special Post Office, only to be told, try some other Post Office, but make a telephone appointment first. Phone up and finally get the actual story, that the only place in all of London where I can trade in my licence without posting off my passport, is in Wimbledon, and only 9-5 on weekdays. Grrr.

Mon 25 Sept 2006
Pay day - hooray! If only it was more frequent than monthly.

Tues 26 Sept 2006
Jen takes morning off work to go to Wimbledon to submit an application for a British drivers licence. Lucky she took extra cash as it cost £42 to get the passport check (rather than posting the passport away). The reason to do this is, apparently compulsory car insurance is much cheaper if you're female, and hold a Brit licence. Also, UK residents must use a brit licence after they've lived here for over a year. Finally, the aussie licence isn't destroyed, it gets sent back to the issuer (main roads, QLD).

Wed 27 Sept 2006
Ciaran turns up and is welcomed as our first proper Aussie house guest.
Spends the next few days doing all manner of groovy touristy stuff. Steve studies.