Location: Burberry, Piccadilly Circus, England
Thanks for all the messages we've received!! Its great to hear from home and we can't wait to catch up with everyone when we get back to Oz at the end of August.
Things have been very quiet over here for the last month or so, as we are trying to save our pounds for our trip around Europe. We will be finishing work and leaving London mid July, then hanging out in Europe for 6 weeks, including a 7 night yacht cruise through the islands of Croatia....ahh its a hard life!!
The weather over here has been great over the last few weeks, with very little rain and temperatures in the high teens. It is also light until about 8.30-9.00 at night. The spirit of the place has really improved with the weather and everyone seems to be that bit happier now that Summer has arrived....but it is England and I'm sure it won't be long before the pohms (Prisoners of Her Majesty, apparently that's how its spelt and that is why we call them pohms. Nana, is this true??) are winging about the heat!!
This blog entry may be waffling on a bit, but thats because I'm doing my 68th hour at work this week. Its 10pm on Friday night and I'm winding the clock down to knock off at 11!
Anyway, please keep the messages coming. It's great to hear from home. We hope you are all staying safe and well.
Location: London (mostly), England
On St Patricks Day, we managed to get into O'Neills Irish pub in the city with about 35000 other people!! The Guinness was flowing freely and the mood of the crowd was enhanced by a big win by the Ireland rugby team in the 6 nations rugby and an upset win in the World Cup cricket. The atmosphere was fantastic and everyone had a great time (see photos).
I spent the next weekend visiting my mate Kerr-E in Canterbury (usually about an hour and a half east of London, but on this occasion 3 and a half hours east of London due to a flat tyre on the bus!!). Managed to see a bit of Canterbury and the surrounding area, but am keen to take Steph back as there is a lot to explore including the Isle of Thanet (famous for cabbage I think!!??) and the White Cliffs of Dover (may not sound exciting, but quite spectacular)
Last weekend, a mate from home, Katie Hallinan spent her last weekend in London before returning to Oz and led both of us astray, starting with Steph, Min, Channy and Al on the Friday night when a couple of drinks turned into an all night drinking bender that resulted in huge branches of pussy willow being pulled from the trees, and me on Saturday night where somehow I ended up at The Ministry of Sound nightclub in East London.....
Armed with our 99p road atlas and 99p English Pub Guide, KerrE, Steph and I left London on Good Friday for a road trip. First stop, once we got clear of the city, was Stonehenge. It was an absolutely beautiful day and this added to the peaceful and intriguing aura surrounding this historic site. Despite not being able to get that close to the stones, the audio tour was very interesting and its strange having something you've seen so many times in pictures right in front of you. Luckily, after a few warnings from Nick and others, there were no Clark Griswald moments resulting in the destruction of one of the greatest historical sites in the world (Just get in the car Russ!!). After Stonehenge, we made our way to a lovely little pub tucked away in a picturesque ye olde English village. After a big lunch and quiet ale, we dragged ourselves away from the chatty locals and headed for the ancient Roman Baths in the aptly named city of Bath. Another amazing piece of English heritage, with the natural springs and original drainage systems still operating as they did when the Romans occupied the area some 2000 years ago. We spent the night at an old English pub in the Cotswolds and headed off the next morning (KerrE even successfully tackled the magic roundabout) back to London via Oxford, where we stopped for lunch and a wander around.
We returned to London on Saturday afternoon and for those of you who haven't heard, Steph and I got engaged!! Its exciting times and we can't wait to get home and celebrate with everyone later in the year. We're both really happy and a big thanks for all the messages and well wishing comments we've received from home. There are a couple of photos of the ring (or 'the precious', as it has become known) in the photo page for all those who requested a picture.
Easter Sunday was spent in Green Park on deck chairs enjoying the wonderful English Spring weather. A few champagnes, throwing of the frisby followed by a meal in China Town completed a fantastic weekend.
This weekend Min cooked Tom and I a special engagement dinner. We meet Min at Angel for a quick cider after work on friday, and then headed to her pad in Hackney where Tom and I were spoilt with a beautiful meal and lovely wine. With all the wedding talk and travel plans, the night got away from us and before we knew it the sun was up and we decided to call it a night - Thanks Minny.
Thanks again for all the messages. Can't wait to catchup with everyone.
Location: and Paris, UK
Well...after many complaints we have finally realised how slack we have been with the BLOG. I could give you loads of excuses but.....
Anyway, we will give a quick update from December to today and then promise we will try and be a little more frequent with the entires!
ps...we have added a few photos too!
05/12/06 - called in to see Adrian Russell and his girlfriend Kristen at the pub they manage in Hammersmith. Pete Murray happened to be touring and he and his manager and entourage had had a few lock ins at the pub with AR and Kristen. They happened to be given a few free tickets to the concert that night and offered them to Tom and I. So, the 4 of us headed out to watch Pete Murray support Richard Ashcroft (lead from the Verve) and had our first snakebites in their pub following.
16/12/06 - We went with Chan and Min to see the musical Wicked which was fantastic! I hope it comes to Oz as it is a must see for musical lovers.
18/12/06 Tom and I experience our first Premier League game Fulham vs Middlesborough. It was pretty cold that night and we wore extra layers of clothes 36 items of clothing between us + 2 umbrellas and a handbag to be exact!
20/12/06 Tom and I were surprised to have an early trip to Paris for Christmas thanks to Burberry. Tom was sent to work in their showroom in Paris for 2 days all expenses paid for both of us!... Oh the perks dating a high flyer in the fashion industry!
Christmas We met Mum, Dad, Sarah and my Uncle Mat and his girlfriend Isabella in Paris on the Friday before Christmas and spent the weekend wandering around freezing Paris and making preparations for Christmas Day. Mum and Dad were staying in a lovely little old stone-walled apartment in the middle of Paris and this is where we all got together for a Christmas Day consisting of presents, a viewing of 'We Can Be Heroes' ("Physics is Phun" - Ricky Wong) and plenty of beautiful French food and wine.
Mum, Dad and Sarah then came back to London for a couple of days where we showed them around Ealing, Mum took Sarah to see Wicked (while we took Dad to see the pub), and we wandered around Central London checking out Hyde Park and Buckinghuge Palace. It was great to see the family and experience a Parisian style Christmas together.
NYE 2006 Back in sunny England, Tom and I went to see Min for the weekend and to plan New Years Eve. Well
.while planning the three of us got a little carried away and thought it would be nice to try and see in the Aussie New Year. Needless to say the following day (NYE) none of use felt like celebrating so we had a dry NYE and spent 5 hours out in London to watch 10 minutes of fireworks exploding from the London Eye.
Early Jan 07 We decided (well I did) that it was time for us to see some of the cultural sights. I dragged Tom kicking and screaming to the British Museum for a Sunday afternoon. It was pretty amazing seeing the Rosetta stone, Cleopatras mummy, half of the Parthenon that a Pommy Lord pillaged from the Greeks (the Greek Government are still fighting to reclaim them) and the original Astro Boy drawing!
For our second cultural outing, we were meeting Min and Channy in Trafalgar Square at 2pm to spend the afternoon wandering around the National Gallery. Min, Tom and I (Chan was running late) walked into the Gallery, picked up the map, looked at each other, turned around and went to the local pub for some winter afternoon cultural beers - at least we tried!!
24/01/07 Tom and I got a lovely surprise when we walked outside for work and stepped onto several inches of beautiful white snow! Everything was glistening and looked like we were in a fairytale.
06/02/07 - Tom, Keato and I went and watched the Socceroos vs Denmark @ Loftus Road Stadium. It was freezing and we got flogged. The highlight of the night was definitely Jimmy Barnes walking on the field singing the National Anthem.
10/02/07 We spent a weekend in Brighton England's summer holiday capital on the coast. Rocky beaches and a Tacky Pier
but a nice weekend (will let the photos do the talking when they are down loaded)
2-4/03/07 Weekend in Edinburgh - this is such a great city and we would love to leave London and spend several months there if we could find a job there
10/03/07 The weekend that brought us Chans Birthday and the arrival of Katie Hal! Unfortunately Tom and I did not make it to the airport to greet Kate on her arrival into London at 6.30am. It took us a little over three hours and 3 night buses to get home from Chans! Next time we will sleep on the floor!
sorry about the onslaught of information. Now we are updated though and will be more regular with the updating. Its always great to hear from home. Take care,
Steph and Tom
Location: Various, England
We visited Nick Newton in Oxford for a weekend. We were due to meet him around midday Saturday, but we didn't actually find our bus and leave London until then due partly to a few quiet Friday night beers!! We finally met Nick and set out on a guided tour of down town Oxford. It's a beautiful place, especially around Autumn with lots of big trees and leaves dropping. The highlight of the day was the visit to 'The Turf'. We followed Nick down a few backstreets, through a narrow little lane way, past some rubbish bins and found ourselves in the beergarden of a pearler of a little pub called 'The Turf'. The only signage indicating the presence of a pub along the way is where someone has scratched 'turf' into a small brick at the top of the alleyway. Obviously a popular hangout for students, it is also the place where Bob Hawke set a new world record for skulling the fastest pint during his studying days in Oxford. What a legend!! Only advice while at the turf, don't drink the old rosies cider, or horse piss, as it was quickly renamed. We struggled through the old rosies, had a lovely meal at an italian restaurant, another visit to the turf for a couple more and then back to Nick's for an early night.
Sunday was spent doing a spot of shopping around Oxford for the morning, then heading a few k's out of town to visit another pub for lunch on the banks of the Thames. At first we had no idea where the hell we were, but after driving for about 15 minutes along single lane country roads, we arrived at 'the perch', a beautiful old style English pub sitting a stones throw from the Thames. As inviting as the open fireplace and pints of Guinness were, Nick advised us that there was better to come, so we set off on a walk along the banks of the river. It was a great setting with fishermen dotted along the edge of the water with much more equipment than seemed necessary and the longest fishing rods that I'd ever seen. Getting all the gear there and back must have been some feat, but these guys looked like they lived to fish, although there wasn't much catching being done, so maybe they just lived to sit on the edge of the Thames and relax in a lovely country setting, can't blame them really!!
The walking track led us to 'the Trout', another pub nestled in against a loch along the Thames. Again, open fireplaces and an inviting warmth welcomed us and this time we settled in for a couple of quiet ones and a nice hot hearty lunch. With full bellies and a nice Guinness glow, the walk back was much slower and very cold, but it was a great experience to get out of London and see the English countryside. After heading back into town, we found one last Oxford pub, an O'Neills Irish bar showing the Wallabies v Ireland rugby test. We got flogged, so made a quiet and quick exit just prior to fulltime. It was great to catch up with Nick and have him show us around this beautiful and relaxing part of the world.
Due to the sudden and unexpected arrival of Chantell's landlord, we needed to find some short term accomodation quite quickly and the next week was spent between a hostel in Hammersmith in West London and a friends flat in Clapham in South London. A massive thanks has to go out to Keato and Emma for taking us in on short notice and letting us stay in their flat while they were away for the weekend.
Steph started her new job on the 20th November at Cabe, which is a government department responsible for architecture and building. Her role is Assistant to the General Manager's PA - ie... PAA!!!
We moved back into Peckham for a couple of days prior to moving out and the lease starting on our own place at the beginning of December. To celebrate the occasion, we did something different and stocked up with booze at the off licence and pissed off the neighbours one last time. Nursing hangovers, the next day was spent packing up, then catching a cab across town with all our gear and starting the next phase of out London time at Ealing Common.
Location: Peckham Ghetto, South London, England
A friend of ours, Anthony Kerr, gave me a call last week to say he had a spare ticket to see the Wallabies play Wales in Cardiff at the Millenium Stadium. Needless to say, I was a little excited at this opportunity, said yes without giving it a second thought and it turned out to be an amazing weekend.
We arrived in Merthyr Tydfil at a friends place about lunchtime Saturday, after a 4 hour drive from London, memorable for the passport joke, which involves a seasoned UK resident (Claire, Anthonys girlfriend) asking the naïve, slightly excited, yet gullible Aussie traveler (Tom) if he brought his passport for entry into Wales. Needless to say I didnt have my passport with me and that we were too far into the trip to have time to go back. I shit myself and instantly had visions of being left at the border to catch a bus back to London. For everyone else though, this proved to be a great laugh, and obviously a joke the Welsh play on all international visitors, as I lost count of the times I heard so you fell for the old passport trick hey?? during the weekend.
We caught the train into Cardiff, where the atmosphere was incredible. The whole city comes to a standstill for rugby internationals. They close off the streets and it a sea of red. The stadium is right in the heart of the city, and if the locals dont have tickets they all still come into town and watch the game at a pub. The game was fantastic, with a 29-29 draw a good result for everyone and meaning that we got out alive. Highlights of the weekend were definitely Joey, the blowup kangaroo, having intimate relationships with more fully grown Welsh men than I care to remember! Anthony and I being invited up to sing (murder) Land Down Under on stage in a packed Welsh pub after the whole pub had just sung Waltzing Matilda to their Australian visitors. The scenery and views surrounding the little village where we were staying, Merthyr Tydfil, about 40 minutes west of Cardiff were amazing . In was a great weekend and the hospitality shown by the Welsh people is something Ill never forget. Everywhere we went, we were welcomed. The Welsh seem very proud of their country and keen for visitors to experience it. As we were told many times, they just love the craic!