Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Little Venice 19th July

Once again its the weekend and I'm keen to get out there and explore somewhere new. I head off to Maida Vale in west London to see 'Little Venice' with the London Walks company. Theres a group of at least 20 people gathered, and off we go our pack of sheep behind the tour guide. We stop at lots of spots along the 2hour walk where they explain the history of a house or a certain spot. We walked down the road where Kate Moss lives and where the guy out of Pink Floyd sold his house to Diana Spencers brother for 8mill and gave 4mill away to 'Shelter' the charity. We walked along the canal and got shown the spot where Richard Branson once lived in a long boat on the canal with a girlfriend and where he ran his Virgin Records business from. One night a drunken mate flooded his boat so that was the end of that! We walked up tow paths where people used to cover the horses hooves in sacking and try sneak past the toll-masters house without success. its really just a semi-rich leafy suburb with a canal running through the middle that has long boats on it with flower pots on them. Very cute though.

Saturday night, myself and my flatmates went round to a friends place for a 'quiet' BBQ, everyone was there and we ended up going home about 2am after a mixture of home-made snakebites and punch and a variety of other drinks were made and consumed..

Spent sunday on the couch with my roommate watching outrageous fortune... another NZ-tv show-omnibus.. eeeexcellennnnt. The show is so much cooler now I am not in new zealand - I think its the same patriotic instinct that make you miss pies as soon as you leave home. Crazy.

The thing I see every day and really dont get is people who run for a tube and then leap through the closing doors - sometimes getting jammed- getting on just before the train pulls away. omg, why do this!? In any one tube station there is always another train 1-3 minutes behind it - even if your late, 1min is not worth running for. I always wait and get a seat on the next train - which is usually much emptier, and full of the calm people who waited instead of crushing onto the first train full of busy people and no breathing space. *Thankyou, come hear my full rant at Speakers Corner on Sat morning!*

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Stonehenge & Bath 12th July

Yesterday was my first day out of London since I arrived! It's actually quite easy to spend all your time in the city having a ball doing so many different things all over the place and then you realise you havn't left town in months....

Anyway this day tour to Stonehenge and Bath was recommended to me by my flatmate. Its with Anderson Tours for less than £50. Jumped on a bus at 8am with spainish, russians, asians... think I was the minority. We head out of town and the tour guide tells us lots about the archeological finds and construction and history of stonehenge and the people that lived there - I eat every word but most people on the bus are sleeping cos they cant understand english. We go to stonehenge first and jon the crowds of colleges and schools and spend an hour having a good look at the rocks. It was what I was expecting, no bigger or smaller, and I did learn some interesting facts and history about it which I didnt know before.

We carry on out to Bath through the gorgeous english country side .. we catch glimpses of Bath through the trees before we drive down into the valley. The tour guide had lots of history and archeological info about the original roman town and how they were there for 300 odd years before the saxons came in - they didnt understand the roman way of life or what they're architecture meant and let their buildings crumble and built another town over top... Then how the king with leprosy came to the town to be healed in the waters and made Bath the capital. Then how queen anne was sick and came to the healing waters .. they say there were 3 people to follow her to the town - an events planner (PR guy who organised events and got all the rich people to come to bath and made it fashionable again) and 2 architects who built up the roman buildings again and kept the roman architecture of the town intact.

Its a gorgeous town, all the buildings are made from honey-coloured limestone out of a quarry not far away. The streets are cobbled with hanging flower baskets, there are cutest little antique shops and tea shops and beautiful little gift shops... I saw the royal circle (the architect John Adams snr. was fascinated by stonehenge and the entire design and placement of the roads and houses reflects the design and placement of everything at stonehenge!) The roman baths are the best preserved/most intact structure of its kind in northern europe and its the only hot springs in england. It was a sunny afternoon and town was buzzing with crowds of sightseers and locals alike and buskers performing to crowds in the town squares. Had 2-3 hours there, left at 3:30 and did a drive by some other points of interest on the way out and headed back to London. everyone slept on the way back and I was pretty tired at the end of the day!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Shihad and F.O.T.C - 5th & 6th July

On saturday my flatmate and I were intending to go on a 'London Walk' where guides take you to explore parts of the city you dont normally see. We took the bus, and that same day the Gay Parade was on and all the streets were closed so we were diverted and now half an hour late, we jump off and go shopping down oxford street. the streets are packed and everyone is wandering down the middle of the roads. I buy some more things I maybe didnt need and the Flight of the Concords DVD of season one which I've been hanging out to get for a while.

Sat night, Shihad is playing at the Temple in Shepards Bush (South West London where all the antipodeans flock) we all get ready and head out early evening, there's a group of 12 of us going. We have a 'meet at this place and time' drink while we wait for the bus. We catch the bus and have a mission ride (bout half hour) through suburbs just like Otara and Rewa and finally get there... we have a pre concert drink at the Walky next door to the Temple. I order a snakebite but didnt specify I only wanted 1 glass (isnt that assumed!?) so I got a whole jug of 6 pints!! It was only £5 mind so that was OK i shared it around and it was gone in no time.

Then we head next door to the concert and squash right up the front of the floor well near the front. Of course when shihad came on the mosh pit started, the head banging metal heads raged and we got pushed around like washing in a tumble dryer... It was fun for the first 1/2 hour while you really get into the excitement of it but it got old quick when my feet got stood on about 15 times, my flatmates got smaked in the face, ribs, arms, feet, well whatever body part you werent smacking somelse with at any given moment took a hit. So i stood just behind the mosh pit in the calm rows of people while everyone going mad at the front pushed and swayed and moved like wheat in the wind while crowd surfers had their moment of glory before being dropped unceremoniously onto the wooden floor.. Good Times :P Shihad was awsome though and we all had a good time.

Then we all migrated next door back into the walky for some more snakies and some 'real aussie pies' until they closed then we got taxi's to another bar closer to home called 3one7 which was 100% british paying pool and listening to garage. Stayed there for a drink or two then caught the bus home where our group and some more drunk people yelled and laughed all the way home much to the dismay of all the other bus passengers... then we took the party back to our house and drank some more till sometime between3-4am we all went to sleep.

Sunday I sleep in till bout 1pm with my snakebite hangover (i never get hangovers, and I'm not drinking snakies again!) and me and the flatties sit on the couch all day and do the 'Flight of the Concords omnibus' of the entire season one dvd. ahhh... fine end to an awsome weekend!!!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

This is London! 23-27 June

One farewell is enough for most people but not our Brooke :P
We have another farewell dinner for her on Monday night at the Shakespeare pub in the big beer garden... have great pub dinner but they serve my dessert and dinner at the same time - I humour the pub and eat both at once. (The dessert is hot chocolate self saucing so I gotta eat it before it goes cold) What do you know, chocolate sauce on chicken ceaser salad isnt bad at all!

we all head home through the dark hamstead heath forest and walk all the way home (20mins) then we stay up and chat to Brooke as she leaves tomorrow... :( we have a final night of having 5 chickies in our room and chatting late into the night despite having to work the next day...

tuesday evening Brooke is gone and we all stay at home and commiserate.

Wednesday I go out after work and catch up with some kiwi friends of mine at Leicester Square then go to dinner in china town at Wong Kei (wonky) restaurant as it was one of the guys birthday. The restaurant is apparantly known for its bad service however the funny old chinese waiter came over and sung happy birthday with us and brought us over a free plate of spring rolls! what a champ. by the time we'd eaten and talked and talked and eaten it was time to go home to bed :)

Thursday I met a friend and went shopping on oxford street and I bought a couple of things.. again...

Friday I went to Hyde Park after work with a couple of flatmates and friends to have a picnic and listen to the nelson mandela 90th birthday concert... we saw will smith - who sung the fresh prince of bell air theme with his 'hitch' song and the crowd all sang along, amy whine-about-the-house with a quieter low energy rendition of her songs (*cough emphysema*) and then mr mandela himself came out! The whole crowd sung happy birthday too him and he did a speech then he went again. we had a great picnic then left when about 9:30, it was cold and dark by then.

very exciting week and every day I felt totally buzzed to be here and excited by meeting so many new people and the amount of fun things to do all over the city... :)

Brookes Farewell 21/22nd June

after a week of working full time again and getting hot and squashed on the tube it was time to get ready for the party of the year!! :0 Brooke's Farewell Party...us girls spend Saturday cleaning up our flat and getting stuff ready. The boys are off swanning their stuff at Ascot and have left us to fend for ourselves which meant we had to try chop wood, sus out the BBQ and tie the tarpolin up in the trees... we got the tarp up - just- and left the rest to the boys to do when they got home. If you saw Brooke trying to chop the wood you'd understand why :P

Fantastic party was had by all - big turnout.. had 3 or 4 'official photographers' who got a bit snap happy and we ended up with just under 200 odd photos...most of them we don't remember taking or being in. You can see about 100 of the best ones which i uploaded to FaceBook.

The boys eventually did get home - too late, as aussies and a kiwi got hold of the bbq and wreaked braai blasphemy by piling on the coal and lavishly pouring on excellerant and seeing how high they could get the flames - they went as high as the tarp actually, and it looked great with the sparks rolling off it - (no it didnt burn but thanks for trying) as for actually cooking anything, well I'm glad mum told me charcoal is good for me cos I ate a lot of it that night. The boys did rescue the fire later and cooked a beauty steak on it :D

Apart from people catching tubes and some who went to bed early dreaming alcaholic dreams we partied to 2:30am.. we'd started about 5 so I call that a pretty decent effort!

The next day with hangover's quashed by a good dose of tea, us girls went out shopping in Covent Garden and did a big kathmandu shop - I got a fantastic 75ltr back pack that can be reduced down to a 50ltr and has all the bells and whistles and straps and zips that any self respecting back packer could dream of! only £120 pounds.

Home again go the weary shoppers - cant believe thats another weekend over ...