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.......

29 January 2007

Jan 2007 b

Thu 18 Jan 2007
Steve installs a new hard-drive in his computer and somehow manages not to lose any of his data from the 'broken' drive.
Jen proudly poses in front of this banner she designed for the upcoming event at the House of Lords. (note: the faces are blurred for this blog)

Fri 19 Jan 2007
Jen skips off work a little early, to go with Steve to check out a prospective SCA event site about a half hour drive north (but still within the M25 ring road).
The site is pokey to say the least.

Above: Here's the main communal area, with very little space.
Below: The bedrooms are squeezy, and the beds are almost too short for Jen let alone big lads like Steve.

Unfortunately the car overheated on the way home. We let it cool for an hour, refilled the radiator and drove home.

Sat 20 Jan 2007
This morning after adding water to the radiator, Jen drove the car to a nearby garage only to be told the radiator needed replacing. Bummer. Didn't like to look of the place so decided to schedule work with a proper Honda service centre. In the evening we went to the local SCA Revel. This time it was indoors. We packed a bunch of candles, banners and other stuff, and gave a hand in decorating the hall. There was dancing, madrigal singing, tale-telling and more. The food was 'pot-luck', so many people brought various dishes. Steve cooked too --> chook lombards Good!

Sun 21 Jan 2007
We decide its time to look for a new SCA helm for Steve, as the old one is looking decidedly worse for wear. Search the 'net for some good styles, and decide this is the kind of thing we'll get made....(below). Now, where to find a good armourer?

Mon 22 Jan 2007
Jen becomes an Aunty (on her side of the family, at any rate)! Her name is Alexandra Li. So here are the obligatory baby shots, all the way from sunny Oz. Ohmigosh, Jen's sister is a mum!

Wed 24 Jan 2007
Above: Glad we don't need to drive anywhere today!

Steve woke Jen up at 4:30am to say "its snowing".
At 7am we awoke to see an amazing winter wonderland. Jen had left the camera at work so went in early, so as to take these photos, which were taken about 8:45 to 9am. (the snow was a lot better earlier)

Above: we enjoyed an inch of powder-soft snow.
Below: view from the main bedroom.

Above & Below: Stratford park was blanketed.

Thu 25 Jan 2007
The big Launch at the House of Lords! Jen created a brochure, banner, powerpoint slides, and calligraphy on the official invites, for the launch of a new charitable arm of her workplace. Here she is outside the one and only House of Lords:

Below: due to restrictions on photography inside the venue, here's a blurry photo of Jen helping to hand out name tags.

Fri 26 Jan 2007
Australia Day. We had a Tim-Tam each to mark the occasion! There were a few "maaaaaaate" 's drawled out, between Jen and the other Aussie in the office, and Jen wore her Australian Flag t-shirt under her sweater. We avoided the drunken yobo thing that seems to accompany Ozzie patriotism on 'foreign' soil. Call us spoil sports if you will, but it just aint our scene.

Sat 27 Jan 2007
Today Jen ran off to buy beads so as to finally finish the houppelande to match Steve's one (made lovingly by Laj). We picked up the car from the Honda centre with its new radiator, thermostat and universal joint sleeve, and drove on to visit the Cambridge SCA group. We sat in on their calendar meeting, and it was great to hear of the dozen-odd events they're planning this year! Drove back home to tidy the house for tomorrow.

Sun 28 Jan 2007
Scriptorium. Jen opens the house for SCA people to come and enjoy doing some scribal arts. One or two people made their apologies, and of the three pies Steve baked only one was eaten.

Mon 29 Jan 2007
Jen took the two remaining pies to work - with many compliments to the chef!
Steve applies for more jobs.....

18 January 2007

Jan 2007 a

Mon 01 Jan 2007
See our previous posting for New Years Day.

Tue 02 Jan 2007
Steve goes back to work. Jen scours the internet for a good used car.

Thu 04 Jan 2007
Jen buys a car (at the right price)! Hooray!!! We are once again proud Honda owners. This time however its a 7 seater auto (but handles like a regular car), with the seats able to fold right down and make it a 2 seater van.

Above: We discover the car is wider than our house! (well longer than it is wide).

Fri 05 Jan 2007
Jen had a stressful day not being able to pay the tax-disc (rego) until the insurance paperwork comes in the mail, and therefore also unable to get a residents' parking permit. Kept on putting the 6 hour visitor parking tickets on the dash with a hand-written note about the tax disc. Somehow avoided getting any parking tickets, or the car towed away!

Sat 06 Jan 2007
Jen & Steve anxiously await the mail delivery for insurance certificate - it arrived! Zipped down to the Post Office and got the Tax Disc, and a bit later also got the 1 year residents' parking permit.
Jen took the car to get the carpets and upholstery cleaned. Then we visited China, who is Dan and Elizabeth's cat.... she's china-white. Fed her while her owners were away at Coronation (SCA event) in Dublin. We decided not to go, as we were spending money on a car instead. Drove up to Cambridge to hang out with Deb and Clancy, and the four of us went out for dinner near Deb's work.

Sun 07 Jan 2007
Went shopping on the American bases with Deb and Clancy. Bought a pair of lovely candle holders, and Magic Cards (trading card game) for Steve. Got home at around 5pm, and immediately went out to see Mel Gibson's new movie, Apocalypto. Interesting enough, but felt it had heaps of untapped potential.

Mon 08 Jan 2007
Jen's holidays are over and we're now both at work.

Wed 10 Jan 2007
Jen does calligraphy for work, writing about 150 names on invitations to an event being held at the House of Lords - no less! Love the gold edging.

Thu 12 Jan 2007
Jen takes the morning off, waiting for the house inspection to happen. The dude finally shows up at midday, looks around, asks if we've had any problems with the place and is gone in under 5 minutes. Hopefully it was all OK.

Sat 13 Jan 2007
Moved the house around. That is, we dismantled the bed in the master bedroom and put it into the loft. The mattress however is up against the wall, and can be used for guests - not as nice as a proper bed but at least we get more value out of the rent now. Brought the computers upstairs. Swapped the wardrobe contents to make the smaller bedroom the one to sleep in - its much warmer due to its size. Steve's computer is now wireless, but we haven't figured the Mac out yet and are using a 10m network cable until then.
Went to newcomer Jenny and Nick's place (15 minute drive) for a yummy dinner and pleasant chat.

Sun 14 Jan 2007
Visited John and Marina at Southend-on-Sea (approx 1 hour drive) to see the Shire's cooking/events stuff, but ended up taking it all. Since we're closer to the centre of the Shire, it'll be easier to take the stuff to events. We're now storing it all in the loft.
The day was clear and bright, and it seemed like everyone was taking advantage of the sunshine while it lasted.

Above: Our hosts John and Marina, who cooked up an early dinner for us later on.
Below: Sunset, walking back from the sea-side pub.

Above: A wren warbled sweetly, and our hosts took this photo while we bird-watched.

Mon 15 Jan 2007
Steve loses job. It was a close thing, but his Microsoft knowledge wasn't quite good enough to keep him on. They did however offer him the chance to come back and have the job again, once those skills are up to scratch. Apparently this offer's never been given before.
SCA Shire meeting night - loads of planning and future direction talks taking place. Jen gets some new tasks, namely to design a recruitment pamphlet to be left in gaming stores.

Wed 17 Jan 2007
Steve's computer dies. Argghh!!! He somehow manages to get his new CV printed out and drops off some copies at the local recruitment agencies. Steve gets a job offer. However, it is nasty full-rotation shift work an hour's commute away, and Jen says NO WAY. Jen is enjoying having her house-hubby back cooking dinners for her again!

02 January 2007

Dec 2006 b

Mon 18 Dec 2006
Shire meeting in the Shakespeare's Head Pub. Amongst the meeting's business there was a popular call for the New Years Day party to go ahead. We had considered not running the party, as we feared most people would be out of town, but we were pleased this would not be the case.

Thu 21 Dec 2006
This morning we awoke to a thick fog shrouding most of London. Kinda cool.

Fri 22 Dec 2006
Last day of work for the year for Jen. First real frost of the season - neg 3 degrees at 10am. After work we each attended respective after-work parties.

Sat 23 Dec 2006
Wait for the postal re-delivery of several boxes. Christmas came a little early! The pressies inside the boxes hadn't been wrapped by the suppliers as our gifters had expected. Nor did the boxes say they were Xmas gifts. Thanks guys for the gifts!

Sun 24 Dec 2006
Last minute food shopping for the next couple of days. Otherwise, we stay in and have a nice relaxing holiday. A few phone calls from Aus came through this evening as Xmas has already begun there.

Mon 25 Dec 2006

Above: Steve got the racing set from secret Santa at his workplace.
Below: We decided to take a walk around Stratford and experience Christmas Day here. We have never seen the place so empty.

Above: the local shopping mall was 100% empty except for us. When the loud speaker announced that the Centre wanted to wish their customers a Merry Christmas, Jen said "they mean us!"
Later on this evening we enjoyed more wonderful phone calls from family and friends.

Tue 26 Dec 2006
Another holiday relaxing together.

Wed 27 Dec 2006
Steve goes back to work but Jen remains on holiday.
Jen looks to buy a car, discovering a few station-wagons available in the right price range in Southend-on-Sea. Luckily, we know some SCA friends who live in that area. Call them up, and were instead heartily recommended to purchase from the fellow who sold them their car and services it: a father & son business. So Jen phones the guy up. He says - I've just cleared my stock, but what are you after and for how much? The end result was "gimme a week". So we will see if he has a good vehicle to sell us next year!

Thu 28 Dec 2006
Steve goes to work and Jen potters about at home, working on some sewing projects.
We went to the movies and saw Eragon. Disappointed in Malkovich's performance, and overall it was quite a standard but watchable movie.

Fri 29 Dec 2006
Steve goes to work.
Sales! Jen goes bargain hunting and comes away with shoes, 2 pair of boots, a silk shirt, a red coat, a green leather jacket, leather gloves, two hats, some jewellery and other assorted things - and well under her budget too!

Sat 30 Dec 2006
Met up with Dan and Elizabeth and walked through parts of the British Museum. Also checked out a few gaming shops for Steve. Walked to an excellent bead shop as well, then on to Leicester Square for lunch.

Sun 31 Dec 2006
Steve does food shopping for tomorrow's party and Jen tidies and cleans.
By the time we are meant to depart for a New Year's Eve party, Jen is so tired she pikes out and rings with our apologies. As it turned out, Steve was overjoyed to receive an unexpected call from his Mum at about 9pm.

Mon 1 Jan 2007
Get up and start cooking!!!
Today we held our traditional Recovery Party (New Years Day) with breakfast served from 10am to 4pm.

Our guests arrived after 11am, and here's what breakfast looked like (above)...Morde, are you drooling? After some food there was the playing of a game called "Munchkin" plus some Dragon Banner painting.

Above: Afie says "Rraaahh" whilst painting the dragon.

Above: Jen eating curry (very mild of course)
For dinner we had take-away. Steve is very much enjoying the fact we have three curry places within an easy walk of home.