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Janet’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 11 Jul 2007

Location: London, England

MapHave been in London for a week now, and it feels like ages!
In between seeing agencies to try to flog a pound of flesh (legitimate work people!) and look for places to live, I have been checking out the old town. Not a huge amount has changed since I was last here for any length of time except for these cursory observations:

a) Oyster Cards are the go for transport (except I accidentally used mine wrong and had to talk my way out of an ominous-sounding 'penalty fare'. I may or may not have used tears to aid my case)
b) The O2 (Millenium) dome has re-opened. This is near Dillon & Liams place, and this week it has attracted an inordinate number of mini Justin Timberlakes milling around before his concerts. Who knew there were so many people into plaid trousers and knitted vests?
c) Tara flickin' Palmer-Thompson has been relieved of her 'it' girl status in favour of what seems like hundreds of even more random people. Clearly the criteria for fame has slipped even further...from 'wealth + royal connections = fame and a drug habit' to 'just get on tv, the rest will come later'. Or just get a soccer-playing boyfriend. I do like the odd gossip mag but I am afraid I am falling into the 'OK and Hello are utter rubbish' camp. Oh dear!
d) There is lots of lovely expensive shopping to be had (dont think that is any different to last time. Just thought I'd comment on it)
e) Oh yes, there is a new PM but I havent seen much of him lately. Compared to the hubris of Tony Blairs New Labour, Gordon Brown has barely made a splash. Appreciate that his job is rather different in this day and age, but I do think he needs to get out more.

So, in between interviews I visited the British Museum & checked out the Rosetta Stone, amongst other priceless artefacts from Egypt, Turkey etc. The Brits certainly have more than their share of booty from bygone eras, making for a wonderful museum. I am not complaining!

On Saturday I caught up with KD and her boyfriend and some of their mates for a picnic in Hyde Park to watch the time trials for the Tour de France. It was great to catch up with an old LNA friend, and it was a beautiful day. I think I saw the odd cyclist go by but I cant be sure...I had to jump up above all the the heads in front of me to catch a glimpse. This short window of opportunty was further hampered by the fact that the cyclists were so quick! It was a bit like being at the Grand Prix - good atmosphere but the only way to catch the action is to watch it on screen. And of course I was trying to take pics by hopping and waving my camera in the air, taking indiscriminate shots every time someone said 'here they come'. The result was one lousy pic I shall title 'Crowd Obscuring Peddle Pusher'. I think KD fared much better as she was able to balance on a fence post to take pics.

That night I went out with Liam and some of his mates from up north, who were in town for the Tour de France. We visited a few pubs around W1 (and I am afraid I showed immense immaturity by laughing at one innocently called 'The Cock'. Was rather disappointed it wasnt a hens party venue, but some hotelier's tribute to the humble chook). Had dinner at ASK Pizza near where I used to work behind Oxford St. I had my old favourite (florentine) and was a happy bunny.

On Sunday Liam and I went to the Imperial War Museum, which was brilliant (I refer to the quality of exhibition, and not the fact that this country has been so involved in conflict over the years). Walked around the Thames and unsuccessfully tried to go on the London Eye (queue went for miles). There is a fabulous art installation on city rooftops all around that area, which consists of sculptures of solitary figures perched randomly across the skyline. Really quite eery.
Walked around the South Bank for a while before having dinner. After 3 weeks of nothing but Turkish cuisine I swore that I would have a very long rest from it. But lo and behold, we ended up in an Anatolian restaurant. It was great, but it did remind me to say 'never say never'!

Monday I got aquainted with Dillon's lawn. I think that the standard British mower is best described as a hand-held hovercraft with blades. Which is plugged in at an electric socket! Provided hours of amusement once I worked out how to use it. Also had lots of fun with the electric hedge trimmer, which was not as benign as it sounds, if the pile of unlucky garden matter left over was anything to go by. Found it all quite cathartic really.

Yesterday I had lunch in Mayfair with Attila, an old friend from Sydney Uni days. He kindly took time out from his private equity investment wheeling and dealing to have a couple of hours of reminiscing and catching up, which was excellent. Looking forward to Benny coming over, when we will visit Attila in Budapest - should be loads of fun!

So now I am sitting here drinking copious amounts of tea and indulging myself writing this journal. I am clearly not cut out for being unemployed, I fear! Travel is one thing (well it has some similarities to employment in being industrious and purposeful in seeing/doing/learning as much as possible) but sitting on my ass is completely different. So, back to the job hunt. That it is summer here (and business largely goes quiet), coupled with the fact that I am looking for short term, well-paid-but-not-too-taxing work is not making it terribly easy. But I am on a rather large holiday and I refuse to be stressed about it. If I get work, then good. If not, then I will just keep travelling. Both are equally appealing, so I'll just go with the flow. After all, 'living in the moment' is the theme of this trip!

Hope you are all well, many thanks for your emails & keeping me up to date with all your news.
Jan xx