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.......

31 August 2008

Aug 2008 b

Mon 18 Aug 2008
Kev, Jen and Jenni attended to the local SCA Shire meeting.

Tue 19 Aug 2008
This morning Steve arrived in Brisbane, after 24 hours of travel! He sifted through the boxes of books in Jen's parents' attic to find 4 books to bring back to home to London, and went on to his Mother's place after brekky with Jen's folks. They were nice enough to lend him the Camry (!) for the week. Next he had lunch with his Mum who was very very pleased to see him! After which, he had afternoon tea with his old boss Hilary and his wife. In the eveing he dropped in to have dinner with Alex and Rachel. (aaahhhh Aussie rib-eye fillet *drool*)

Meanwhile, Jen spent the next couple of days helping Kev flat-hunt in London.

Above: Kev crosses his fingers at the hope of living in this lovely Westminster street. He was later horribly disappointed at the size of the accomm, which was about 6 to 8 sq metres.
After looking at a few places, Jen drove to Kev's place to help him gather up his stuff and move out. He's now camped out in our loungeroom - a traditional place for an Aussie in London.

Wed 20 Aug 2008
Some more flat hunting. Today we visited 8 properties.
Here is one of the flats....

After which, Jen took Kev to the local fighter practise to try on some loaner-armour for the upcoming Rhaglan castle event.

Above: "Sweet!"

Meanwhile, in Brisvegas, Steve went shopping and lunched with Giles and then attended a fighter practise/chat evening at Nemain-Scott-Adrian's place. Acacia comes a long way to visit him, what a lovely lady!

Thu 21 Aug 2008
Steve awakes for Mum's birthday! 80 today! Goes to card-playing with her and two of his sisters. Afternoon, went to Lee's Pizza Capers store in Cannon Hill - fabulous food had by all YUM!
Meanwhile in London, a little more flat hunting today.

Above: the basement apartment of paradise, Kev finally finds what he's looking for! It has a lovely view out on to a communal backyard and it's own separate kitchen - so it even feels big enough to hold a small party. It's a 5 minute stroll from the tube in leafy Tufnell Park. But, we've got one more property to see before he makes a final decision.

Above: The final flat was also really nice, but less spacious and more expensive than the "paradise" flat. So, Kev rings and makes an offer on the more spacious flat. Fingers crossed.
Jen goes to the farewell party of a work colleague, Dan. Stayed out longer than expected - it was a rockin' party!

Fri 22 Aug 2008
Today in Brissie, Steve went to his Dad's gravesite with the family and then on to Yatala for a traditional pie.

Above: the family (Mum, siblings and their kids) at the gravesite.
Next, Steve visited Arianwen (Sharon) who is expecting her 2nd child. And then off to see Morde pole-dance WOOT! as she competes for the title of Miss pole-dance Queensland. She came 5th - well done Morde.
He also saw Jordin there, saw her for the 1st time in years. Such a "small town" Steve also ran into one of Jen's ex-work-colleagues Martin.
Meanwhile in London....
Kev phoned up about the flat he wanted, but is told it's already let to someone else. What a disappointment for him.
Today Jen joined "Facebook" online. Spent much of her day "collecting friends" from both hemispheres.

Sat 23 Aug 2008
Kev's band 'Lord Byron' played in a pub in Stockwell (south London).

Above: 'Lord Byron' performing. Edith and Jen really loved the band's version of Ulysses (from the 80's animated cartoon).

Above: fun in the pub - hanging out with band members after the gig.
Below: Edith the dominoes queen having a blast (or rather, a beer).

Jenni, Jen and Soph decided to leave the after-party 9:30ish. Later that evening Kev's girlfriend texted him to say "it's over". Edith and friends gathered him up and made sure he got home OK.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Steve cooked breakfast, then undercoated a wall in his Mum's home, shopped for the makings of lunch, then cooked it for the extended family gathering, then visited Finnian in a cafe in Springfield, then on to his sister's place in Ipswich to fix her computer, then on to Mum's big shindig at brother Shane's place at Wolloon. He had a great time catching up with all 7 of his siblings, plus assorted uncles, aunts etc - Mum's side of the family. Yes a busy day!

Sun 24 Aug 2008
Kev, Jenni, Jen, Soph all hung out at home; tired after soothing Kev at 1am until he was calm enough to sleep.
Today was the official hand-over of the Olympic games to the UK. Should've mentioned this last year, but now's as good a time as any....
The 2012 Olympic branding, which will cost UK taxpayers £400,000 (as it "evolves" over the next 4 years), was revealed in June 2007 - designed by Wolff Ollins.

Above: No it's not a badly drawn map - it says "2012".
This logo, when "launched" to the public last year, caused epileptic attacks with its shaking and pulsating colour changes. You'd think they'd have spent some of the money to check that, wouldn't you?
To say it was universally condemned would be a very slight overstatement, but only slightly!

Above left: the latest version unveiled; and right: what most britons think of the logo
Below: here's a popular alternate logo done by a pair of designers in half an hour. (Chris and Richard Voysey's 2012 logo) It says London and also 2012 all at once.

Meanwhile, in Australia here's Steve catching up with Jen's family for lunch.

Steve then enjoyed an evening of cards with family at Mum's, followed by a nice quiet dinner just with his Mum.

Mon 25 Aug 2008
It's a public holiday in the UK.

Above: Kev revvs himself up with some good music to prepare for his next gig this morning, on a 3 storey boat on the Thames River.
Jen re-scheduled Choir to be this afternoon (usually run on a Tuesday) so Steve can sleep Tues night, after arriving home from Australia - in case he's jetlagged.

Meanwhile, Steve had a final brekky with Mum, said "au revoir" then off to Jen's parents' who took him to the airport to be reunited with jetlag! Jen's brother in law Stuart, turned up with niece Alex, to say bye-bye at the airport.

Tue 26 Aug 2008
Steve comes home - yay!
Bearing many gifts - even more yay!!!!

Wed 27 Aug 2008
Steve is back at work - boo hiss.
Jetlag says hello.

Fri 29 Aug 2008
We went to Nick and Edith's place for a quiet champagne celebration. They've finished paying off a 5 year debt, and will now be enjoying a vast chunk of their money staying in their bank account each month. Huge hurrahs and well done to them!

Sat 30 Aug 2008
This morning, we took a stroll around the local park and stopped to smell the roses in the nearby Daisy Parsons memorial rose garden. The garden has Steve's fave rose - the Blue Moon. In the afternoon the two of us saw "Hellboy II" the movie, finishing our day with a couple of back-to-back episodes of QI.

Sun 31 Aug 2008
Next weekend the local SCA group will host the Known Worlde Heraldic and Scribal Symposium (KWHSS). Today we visited to British Library to gather info, so as to play local tour guides for next Sunday's visitors.

21 August 2008

Aug 2008 a

Note: It's Jen here... I should say first off, the following is pretty Jen-centric, since Steve isn't here to help fill in his side of what happened this fortnight.

Sun 03 Aug 2008
This afternoon Steve, Jen, Soph and Kev all headed over to Edith and Nick's place. The boys did a trip to the rubbish tip and once they returned, we sat about chatting amiably, and later on enjoyed a tasty dinner thanks to Edith. The trip to the tip was the main reason for coming over, as Edith and Nick had been told the landlord was trying to sell their flat. Subsequently, a few days after this, they've been informed the flat will be on the market for 2 months, after which, if it hasn't sold, they'll have the option to sign on for a further year's lease. Fingers crossed for them.

Mon 04 Aug 2008
It's our 7th Wedding Anniversary! So we stayed home in the evening and enjoyed each other's company.

Wed 06 Aug 2008
Jen visited the chiropractor for her monthly 'adjustment', mainly to crack her neck back into place again. Steve (if we recall correctly) went to the local SCA fighter practice. (an easy 15 min drive from home)

Fri 08 Aug 2008
So today is 08/08/08! The Chinese kicked off the Olympics today in grand style. This evening Jen watched the Olympic opening ceremony (which Edith had recorded) with Edith and Genevieve(Elizabeth), while all the male counterparts enjoyed a "beer and beer" outing. They went to the Beer Festival at Earl's Court, run by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ales). The men-folk had a very fine time indeed!

Sat 09 Aug 2008
We spent the weekend together all four of us (with Soph, and Kev). Trips into and exploring town.

Mon 11 Aug 2008
Tonight Jen phoned her Dad to wish him a very happy birthday.

Tue 12 Aug 2008
Today Jen carried out a 'team building' afternoon for her workmates, visiting three inner city gardens. It was a little bit of orienteering, getting to each surprise 'hidden' garden location, and also fun doing team bonding activities in each garden. The first garden visited was Barnsbury Wood Nature reserve, Islington. It's less than half a hectare, but a lovely slice of wilderness in the city. It's open 2-4pm Tues and Sat. It's surrounded on all sides by the back of terraced houses. In Spring apparently it has a stunning carpet of native Blue Bells, so we'll be heading back there next year.

Above: Jen's workmates in Barnsbury wood.
The second garden is a very short walk from St Pancras Eurostar train station. It is Camley Street Nature Park, 2 acres in size, and is on the banks of Regent's Canal.

Above: The team trying to figure out a string trick.
The final garden we visited was St Dunstans-in-the-East, a short walk from Monument tube. Edith showed Jen this one ages ago, and what a beauty it is! This Christopher Wren church was ruined in WWII and later turned into a public garden.

Tonight we had Choir practice. Jenni (from Jen's work) turned up for the 1st time (hopefully not the last) and sung really well with us.

Thu 14 Aug 2008
The first gift Jen got for her 33rd birthday (today) actually was given two days ago by workmate Jenni. Knowing full well that Jen isn't fond of framed embroidery art, Jenni gave her this fridge magnet she made herself. So, while the thought was there, it also wasn't!!! :-)

Soph gave Jen a card, some vouchers to a great fashion shop, and also Coldplay's latest CD!!! Steve gave Jen a fun bubble making gun (below)

....and Steve also ordered a DVD set she's been wanting for ages and ages (Alain de Boton's 'A guide to Happiness'). She got a bouquet+card from her workmates, and finished the workday with an eye exam, and thankfully doesn't need glasses yet.

Sat 16 Aug 2008
To celebrate Soph's birthday we took her out to Les Miserables! She was well pleased.

Sun 17 Aug 2008
Soph's 25th birthday! She had a selection of friends come around for a full-on breakfast feast.

Above: Nick and Edith, Jenni (from Jen's work), Soph, Kev.
In the afternoon Soph, Kev and Nick headed into town to check out the National Portrait Gallery.
Jen helped Steve pack for his 6 days in Australia. He's off to spend time with his Mum and enjoy her 80th birthday party with the family!
The 3 wanderers were back later in the afternoon in time to farewell Steve, and Jen drove him to the nearest station to see him off.

02 August 2008

Jul 2008 b

Wed 16 Jul 2008
Tonight we enjoyed a small dinner party. We were: Steve + Jen, Soph, Kev and Bonnie. Kev is a friend we've known for 15 years, and has very recently moved to London with his band 'Lord Byron' hoping to build a fan base over here. Bonnie is an ex-work mate (of Jen's) from Brisbane who has been living in London for about a year.

Above: Steve, Kev and Soph enjoy some mild weather in the garden.
Below: Bonnie and Jen

Thu 17 Jul 2008
Tonight Mistress Rowan and Jeremy arrived; they stayed with us for the next week.

Fri 18 Jul 2008
Jen does last minute prep for a basic costuming class she is to run tomorrow at the local Revel.

Sat 19 Jul 2008
This morning we all set off to the Museum of London for a specially arranged behind-the-scenes white glove tour, hosted by Fashion curator Hillary (an Aussie, from Rowany). How amazing! Here we all are, before the frenzy of "ooohs and ahhs".

Then, one after another, ancient items of treasured clothing and accessories were revealed.

Above: look at the glee on Elaine's face (far left) - costuming laurel heaven! Elaine, Edith, Constanza and Geneveive are looking at tudor flat caps. Because several of the items we saw today have never been published, everyone with cameras had to sign to say our photos of the items will be only for private research and will not be passed on to anyone else. So you will all just have to use your imaginations. Suffice to say, it was a very exciting trip.

This evening Soph went and saw 'Lord Byron' perform on stage. Steve, Jen and Rowan went to the local Revel. Rowan did a fab job of inspiring the Thamesreach crowd in how to go about making medieval clothes, and very cleverly filled in the gaps in Jen's rushed handout notes. Jeremy caught up with Kiriel who was also in town.

Sun 20 Jul 2008
This morning Steve took Soph to IKEA to get a proper bed and bedding of her choice. Here she is saying "yes I'm excited about the bed" and get the camera out of my face already :-)

Mon 21 Jul 2008
Today Soph started working at Steve's workplace (school). She will have 1 month of work to do, helping the preparation work for the new 6th form build.
Tonight Steve and Jen went to shire meeting, as usual in 'Ye Olde Watling' pub in town.

Thu 24 Jul 2008
Today Steve booked his flight to Australia. His mother will be turning 80 in August, and Steve will be visiting for 6 days. Unfortunately we can't stretch the budget to both go.

Fri 25 Jul 2008
Kev came around and took Soph out for a night on the town.

Here they are pulling a silly pose for the camera (Kev putting on his best 'rocker' face).

Sat 26 Jul 2008
Today Jen worked as a photographer on a "show home cruise" showing potential customers up to 9 show homes / apartments. After work, Steve and Jen went to Dan and Elizabeth's place to catch up for a couple of hours with their guests from Lochac, Sebastian and Jo. Great fun to catch up with them again! Afterwards, we swung past home and picked up Kev and Soph to go see the latest Batman film.

Sun 27 Jul 2008
Kev stayed over for the weekend, in part to escape his band members who he's been sharing house with, and also to hang and chill out with us.
Breakfast was good but morning tea's summer fruits plus ice cream was to die for....

Below: Cooks playing around in the kitchen

Above: YUM! Summer fruits pasties.

Wed 30 Jul 2008
At last, the cheque arrived in the mail. Our ex-landlord has finally returned our bond rental deposit money plus the court fees we paid to make him return our money. Excellent.

Fri 01 Aug 2008
Tonight, after a hard and long week of work, Soph and Jen took to an east London "pub, turned into live music venue" where we caught up with Hannah, one of Jen's work mates.

Below: there was a pair of professional dancers dancing constantly up on either end of the bar.

The evening had the theme "dress to express" ie to express yourself. There were some pretty interesting revellers! For example, a guy with a spiky punk hair-do in a cow suit! The host for the evening had little mirror bits glued to his head so his head looked just like a mirror ball. All good fun, and a very friendly atmosphere, where you felt like you were at a party but just didn't know anyone.
Steve came and picked us up once we'd had enough dancing. What a sweetie.