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Janet’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 05 Aug 2007

Location: West Hampstead, UK

Well, a lot has happened in the last two weeks. I started work, which is good, however I feel a bit thrown in at the deep end... I guess its either sink or swim, and at this stage I am not sure how buoyant I am. But its a learning experience blah blah blah. Lets just see what happens.

So anyway, from a social perspective things have been great. I joined the work pub quiz & we came third. I won tix to see the Verve in concert, but I fear I wont be here when it rolls around. In any case it was a pretty cool prize for my contribution of 1 answer (dont ask me why I knew the name of P. Diddy's new fragrance... which is 'Unforgiveable Woman' by the way. Can you imagine?? It would be unforgiveable to admit you actually owned it!).

Caught up with Mel and Barry, Anto & co at London Bridge for a few drinks on the Friday night. The next day we went to Richmond, and Mel & Barry showed me around (including pointing out where they used to live). It is beautiful down there! We found the very quaint Petersham Nurseries, but we couldnt get into the restaurant, which was annoying as we'd so been looking forward to it! But we wandered around & checked out the orchids (Mel is very au fait with her flowers, very helpful at pointing out what things were & their relative costs vs what they are in Australia. Some things are actually cheaper here, which was quite a revelation).

Spent some time walking through fields, and to top off the 'at one with nature' lark we ate wild blackberries. Very adventurous! Then took a punt across the river to Twickenham and had lunch at the Barmy Arms. We checked out the marble statues in the council gardens (beautiful, but at what cost to the constituents of Twickenham? Surely they need money spent on infrastructure or education etc rather than the upkeep of a lovely but superfluous garden). Barry fed a squirrel my polo mints, which I hope didnt kill it because they'd been in my bag for at least 3 months.

It was a bit sad because I dont think I'll see the Whites for quite some time (they are moving to Singapore later this year). But perhaps that just provides an opportunity to go and visit them for a few Singapore Slings at Raffles!

Went to Greenwich and met Liam, his brother Eamon & wife Mags and their mum. We had dinner in a Spanish restaurant which had modelled itself on what appeared to be a nightclub. Thumping tunes with tapas and a stressed out waiter who kept addressing us in French, in spite of the Spanish theme & despite him not being French at all. In retrospect we should have responded in Chinese or something equally linguistically incongruous for the occasion. If I could actually speak another language... one of my regrets so far in life. But I'm going to change that... once I get to Guatemala I'm going to button down and learn Spanish. Ole!

The next day we went to Greenwich for lunch (at an excellent pub called the Gypsy Moth - loved the decor & atmosphere but the good impression slowly dissipated as we endured the hour long wait for our lunch). Bought a photograph for Dillon's house from Fergus Noone and also a very funky brown leather bomber jacket from Greenwich Market. I tried to rationalise the completely uneccessary purchase by saying 'I'll wear it in New York when it will be very cold'... but the truth is it is quite heavy and I dont know if it would even fit in my backpack! Oh I do love fashion folly!

That night I moved in to my new house in West Hampstead. My housemates are Laura and Adam, a kiwi couple, and Cat, a girl from Sydney. They are all graphic designers and have been here for a while. Its a great friendly house and its in a great suburb too. I have already got a daily habit of buying a coffee & toast from a little cafe near the tube, and I always have a chinwag with the Spanish man who works there. He thinks I am mad for eating Marmite. Actually so do I as its clearly inferior to Vegemite, but what can you do? When in Rome...

On Tuesday I met Sunita for a drink at the Salt House pub on Abbey Road, near her house in St Johns Wood. Its a really great pub with table service, and apparently Kate Moss was there the night before. Shattered I missed her! That pic would have definitely made this blog! Anyway, Sunita did a good job of convincing me that my football team needs to be Liverpool. I have no issue with it if I can get to see a game! That should be my next challenge... seems its impossible to get tickets for that team.

Friday night I went for a 'quiet' drink with Cat & her friend Jake, which turned into several bottles & ending up dancing to Michael Jackson in the imaginatively-titled ''Lower Ground Bar'. The next day Cat, Laura and Adam & I went to a really cool bar called The Proud Gallery in Camden. It is an art gallery which hosts bands and has a wicked beer garden on the roof. We drank Pimms and lemonade in the sun and enjoyed the 'entertainment' - a strange man wearing a purple jumpsuit and strumming a guitar. Lets just say he had the posturing of a rockstar but the talent of an Australian Idol reject. But I did enjoy his performance! Afterward we went to a BBQ in Clapham, which was the perfect way to spend the evening as it is positively balmy here at the moment.

Today I caught up with KD & co for a sunbake in Regents Park. A nice way to spend a lazy Sunday. Its only now marred by 'Sunday night-itus'... God I really should go back to being a bum.

No pics to upload as I cant find my camera cord at the moment, sorry.

Anyway, love to all, keep those emails coming as you know I do love hearing the gossip from home. And go Cats!! xx