Mo In London

Travel Blog - COMING SOON!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Minnie Moose

Ahhhhh I miss my dog (and my family of course)
But I was thinking about Minnie today - I can't wait to see her a week from Friday!

This is a picture of (from left to right)

My baby Minnie Moose, me, Ethel, my Dad, Kiddy

(Ethel & Kiddy are 2 of Minnie's puppie's)

The wheels on the bus go round and round

That song popped in my head this morning.

I still haven't figured out the best way to get to work from this new flat. Yesterday & today I walked to the bus stop (about an 8 minute walk), which is kind of annoying because the bus stop is ON the bridge and the wind messes up my hair! I ride the bus to the tube station, hop on the train for half an hour ride then get on another bus that takes me straight to work.
The work bus is fine, but I really am starting to dislike riding the city bus. It's so crowded, and the traffic makes it take longer than it should. Also, because I am used to a fairly empty train in the morning, the bus gives you SO much less personal space.

Tomorrow I'd like to try the way that Murray went yesterday, although that means I'll have to leave the house 10 minutes earlier (eeekkkkk I am SO not a morning person)!
Walking from our place along the lovely river path to the tube station (same one I get the bus to - Hammersmith) takes about half an hour - only about 10 minutes more than public transport. I couldn't bear to do that today though because I am a little dressed up & I have heels on because tonight I am going the ballet tonight!!!!!!!!!!!! Not only that, this is also the first time I have will have been to the Royal Opera House - I can't wait!

Anyhow, I digress, must say over & over to myself today
'Walking is good for you, the river walk will be good exercise and a better way to get to work'
Hopefully I can convince myself by tomorrow.
It would help if the weather would improve so it's not so chilly in the morning!!!!

However, I did take a new side street to get to the bridge today - I just love exploring a new area - there are so many cute shops & restaurants I can't wait to try out!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

7 Ferarris and a Crab

For our first wedding anniversary on Sunday (after a good sleep in!) we decided to go to 'The Big Easy - BBQ & Crabshack' in Chelsea.
When Murray and I were overseas dating (i.e. he flew over for a weekend visit once a month for 2 years!) we went many many times for dinner at Joe's crabshack. I shared my love of crab legs with him, and it became our little tradition.
So, we thought it was fitting to visit a similar venue, but in London.
Chelsea is a very posh part of South West London, proven by the fact that while we were waiting for our food Murray saw 7 Ferarris go past.

We had a fantastic meal! For starters we tryed the calamari rings and jalapeno poppers. I had crab legs (of course) Alaskan King Crab - the meat was super thick & juicy - really really nice! Murray had the surf & turf (prawns and a ridiculously large sized steak).

Afterwards we rolled ourselves to the movies and saw XMen 3 - The Last Stand. I love that the last line of the movie was 'Way to go fluff head.'

Although we really would have liked to go away on holiday somewhere for our anniversary, it still a lovely day. It was nice to just spend time together and toast our anniversary with maragaritas and crab!

Home Home on the flight path

Wow, it feels like ages since I last blogged (although it was actually just Friday)!
Our internet was cut off at home on Friday, so I wasn't able to do a catch up until today.
However, I honestly think I may have been to tired to type anyway.

Friday night (after watching American Idol of course - what a great finale!) we continued packing til the wee hours of the night. While we were watching AI a guy showed up to take the desk from the spare room. It was an old heavy duty desk that I tried to sell, but got no interest. So on Friday I put it on a 'free stuff' message board. I had TONS of calls. This guy came at about 9pm, and hammered away at it trying to break the wood glue seals. What a mess! He really banged it up, but he must have really wanted it! Eventually he got it apart and we helped him carry the bits down to his car - good to get rid of that old piece of junk! One less thing to have to worry about on Saturday!

Saturday morning it was chaos. We continued packing between helping our land lord haul boxes of his stuff up into the third room. Eventually the guy who bought our old sofas showed up. We helped him bring them out to his van, and just as he was leaving out land lord arrived with another load. He was quite happily surprised that we were able to sell them - especially when I gave him the £120 the guy paid (he even gave me £20 back as my commission)! While the boys continued on I went to the new place to meet a lady to do the official check-in. She was 45 minutes late! But thankfully the rain held out until after she arrived. Overall the place looked good, recently professionally cleaned, light bulbs mostly replaced, etc. She talked a million miles an hour going through the things that were wrong with me, water spots from leaks, cracks in walls, etc. Then, the real work could begin.

I don't think our land lord realised that when he offered to help us move our stuff that it would take SEVEN loads! Not only that, but the new place is on the third floor, so we had to manoeuvre TONS of boxes, our giant bed and many suitcases filled with stuff up 3 flights of very steep stairs. Wow, that was fun! We piled almost everything in the living room, to the point where we had to climb over boxes to get to the sofas to collapse! We didn't finish until about 6:30ish at night, then briefly we collapsed for a few moments in the living room. In our exhausted silence we then all turned towards the fireplace where a cooing sound was coming from. Ahhhh seems we have a pigeon who lives in the chimney - lovely! That was the only time we heard him or her all weekend though (thankfully!). Then before we could eat or go out or anything we had to take one of the beds out, partially disassemble it and move it up to the spare room to make room for the bed we brought as well.

We finished at about 8, and showers were a necessity before meeting up with our land lord for a 'Thank God we're done, I never want to move again' drink. He's a funny guy, but WOW is that strong Scottish accent hard to understand! After a few he headed home and Murray and I went out for some much needed refuelling. We sat enjoying our lovely pizza and pasta when we received a phone call from a very hard to understand on the phone Scotsman. Apparently he couldn't get the key to work to get into the flat. So, Murray had to run up there, and I hurrily got our meal wrapped up. Turns out there was a key mix-up earlier in the day.

By the time Murray got back we both just lied down complaining about our sore bodies, and looking around thinking how much it felt like we were in a hotel room, granted - surrounded by boxes & boxes of stuff! Just didn't feel like home though.

I must say - I think we like this flat more than the last one, except for proximity to the tube. Our room isn't as big, but there is so much attic storage space that all the stuff that we used to store in our room is now packed away out of sight which is Fantastic! Also, we have what Richard called a 'bling bling' bathroom. It's so great to have our own full bathroom (we used to just have an ensuite shower room). Our mirror is totally bling bling - it's about 5 foot by 5 foot - MASSIVE! Also, it's nice to have the kitchen right on the living room. Our old flat had those rooms on opposite ends of the floor and you felt so isolated while cooking.

One thing I realised on our first morning though was that we are definitely under the flight path to Heathrow airport. I could hear planes going by overhead all morning. But, they aren't that noisy - and this flat is still eerily quiet compared to our last one. Oakhill was located on a major road to South West London, with the fire and ambulance station just down the road so there was always sirens going past. Also, it was such a busy road that the traffic noise meant we couldn't open our living room windows if we were watching tv as it was too loud. The new place is on a quiet side street, pretty much just local traffic, and very little at that. And best of all - straight down the street - just 2 minutes walk away is a small local grocery store. **SIGH** I love Putney:)

This is what our new living room looked like Saturday night - clean, isn't it?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wow - has it really been 1 year already?

I can't believe that Sunday is our first wedding anniversary! WOW time flies.
It's been a great year, and wow did we have a great wedding!

I could go on for pages & pages about how great the wedding was - from the parties to the day itself it was just fantastic. A great way to start off our marriage! Now if the weather would just improve in the UK HOPEFULLY we can have a nice sunny day on Sunday to relax and reflect on what a great year it has been!

American Idol Spoiler :(

I am so disappointed in the free paper I read every morning (the metro). Last night Murray said - don't read the metro, they might give away who won American Idol. I had faith in my daily news blurb - I said 'NO, they won't do that to us, they know the final isn't on here until tonight.'
Lo and behold, there was a full page article - I didn't read it, but I saw the picture of who won. Boooo hoooo:( I won't talk about it here though so not to ruin it for my UK friends.
Oh well, I'm still looking forward to watching the show tonight!

I was a bit melancholy this morning when I got onto the tube for the last time at East Putney. I am one of those sad people who know exactly where to stand on the platform so I can get onto the carriage that will drop me off right by the stairs at Earl's Court when I change trains. I shouldn't be too sad, because we'll still be in Putney (and closer to our god child & friends YAY!). But I'm still sad we'll be leaving this ridiculously big for London flat. We were talking last night about how it will be weird sleeping in our new room tomorrow night - will feel like a little box compared the massive room we're in now. Oh well, change is for the better - right? This place is closer to the high street, but still on a quiet street (HOORAY!). The place we're in now is on a major road to South West London and the fire station and ambulance is just down the road so we here sirens ALL the time. Also, with all the rain lately the traffic has been quiet noisy. I'm just trying to convince myself that this move will be a good thing!

On a happy note. Our land lord told us that he was going to take the sofa bed and 2 seater sofa from our flat and bring it to the dump on Saturday. So, we offered to try and sell it before then (even though he thought they weren't worth anything). ANNNNNNNND last night we sold them - for £120!!!! Our land lord will be thrilled! And really it's a good Thank You from us to him for letting us use his van tomorrow to move.

As for now - bring on the end of the day! We packed most of our books, computer stuff, etc last night. Pretty much all that's left to do is our clothing and shoes. We're HOPING that it will all fit in our many suitcases (especially since we are now completely out of boxes)!

And now - an experiment - I wonder if I can remember the names of all the flat mates who have passed through the third bedroom at oakhill court???

1. Suz & Craig (the aussies) we still keep in touch with Suz - she's great!
2. James & Amanda (new zealanders)
3. Mark & Claire (south african & new zealander - we miss them! great friends)
4. Mel & Justin (perth people)
5. Mike & Jen (more aussies) - fantastic friends - we miss them so much!
6. Debs (new zealander - great friend & fab flat mate!)

and of course Eva, Ben & Kat who all shared Richard's massive room at one point or another!

AH HA! I managed to find photos of everyone!!!!

Mo & Suz on a fun night out!

Mo, Amanda and our friend Steve who was visiting from Australia

Steve, Mo & James

Mo, Murray, Mark & Claire on their leaving night out!

The Oakhill Gang (from left) Mo, Murray, Mel, Eva, Justin & Ben

Mo & Mike at our friend Jocelyn's old flat

Jen & Murray waiting for a tube at Earl's Court

Monique & Kat

Murray and Debs

And of COURSE Richard - who will still be our flat mate at the new place! :)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Oh Oakhill Court - we will miss you!!!!

Well, it's finally starting to feel real now - we're moving out!
We have been living in this flat for 4 years 7 months now - feels like forever.
We have had many many different flatmates - some that we still consider good friends. Lots of good memories!!!
It's starting to feel real now that we HAVE to finish packing tonight! Our cable is being shut off today - so we won't be able to watch the American Idol finale tomorrow night at home AHHHHHHH! Thank goodness we have great friends who are letting us watch it at their place!

Other than my parent's house, this is the longest I have ever lived somewhere. I'm sad to be leaving, but also excited to discover a new part of Putney. Now if I can just get all these boxes home on the tube tonight then we should have enough to get all our junk packed away!

This was the first time I saw snow in London on the pathway to our building - it rarely is cold enough for it to stick!

note: I just remembered that we have a freeview box - so we CAN watch American Idol tomorrow night - Thank God - I was about to start freaking out if we had to miss it:) Although it's sort of like voting for president - who do you not like the least? Taylor is just a bit too out there to be a big commercial success (well, maybe IN America he'd do ok, but not in the rest of the world if you ask me). And I just have the feeling that Katherine is really full of herself. Let's be honest - she usually only has 1 good performance IF THAT per show. Somewhere over the rainbow was good - but she's no Kelly Clarkson! But I'm still excited to see what they perform and how they do, shame Chris isn't still in the running though:(

The unwritten rules of the Tube

Last night on my journey home, I was relaxing with my nose in a book (as usual).
A group of teenagers joined the carriage I was riding in talking loudly to each other. No big deal, people ARE allowed to talk (although it doesn't happen very often)! The train came to a stop for a few minutes during which the girl sitting next to me decided to 'liven this place up' by turning on a song on her mobile phone full blast. I like rap, but I don't want to have it blasting in my ear on my ride home, needless to say the people around me were not happy either. Although we all did what people normally do in these situations on the tube, we continued to stare at our books, silently cursing those darn teenagers for being so disruptive and rude. She finally turned it off after a few minutes, then her FRIEND proceeded to start blasting another song from HIS mobile! I just couldn't stand it anymore. So I put down my book, looked up at him and smiled and said 'Could you please turn that off? It's been a long day.' Then I continued to look at him and smile until he turned it off. He was so shocked that someone said something that he stared at me for a few seconds, then turned it off (THANK GOD!). And that was that, I went back to my book, they continued chatting, and life went on.

Funny how many unwritten rules though there are for the tube - here is my unofficial list.

1. If you see a pregnant lady or an elderly person - offer them your seat. And even if they say no that's ok, get up anyway. Don't wait for them to ask, I have never seen someone ask even though you could see in their face they were dying for a seat.

2. Please don't eat smelly food - it just grosses out everyone around you. Keep it for your desk at work!

3. Don't leave your litter on the train, some poor person will have to clean it up. Plus, no one likes to have to pick up someone else's discarded sandwich package to sit down - gross! And no, there are not any bins in the tube system - so stick your rubbish in your bag & throw it away later - it's really not that hard.

4. Don't put your baggage in the aisle. As a frequent traveller on the route from the airport it drives me crazy that people take their huge bags and try to squeeze them into the aisle between my knees and theirs - there is just not room!

5. When your stop is coming up - do not start pushing before the doors open saying 'excuse me.' Once the train has stopped and the doors have opened people will move out of your way, or in the case of Fulham Broadway - almost everyone gets off there anyway so there is no need to push!!!!

6. Last & most importantly - do not be that super annoying person who throws themselves back first (so he/she doesn't have to look the other passengers in the face) onto a train already packed like sardines. Us sardines do not appreciate getting shoved that much further into someone's armpit.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Blah la la la lovely

We saw Jason Mraz last night. Although I'm not a massive fan, I do really enjoy his concerts. Every time he sings once of his songs it is different. He does such a great job of mixing things up, and he really connects with the audience like no one else. He was on top form, and if it wasn't for the two - yes TWO opening acts, it would have been a perfect night. My back was killing me after a few hours in the queue and then what felt like a million hours watching bad supporting acts - but it was worth it!

In other news - it is still raining in London - where is the summer darn it!

And, thank goodness, I need not keep quiet anymore. WE AM GOING TO MINNESOTA TWO WEEKS FROM FRIDAY - YAAAAAY! Whew, that felt good. It was supposed to be a surprise for my Grandparents, but apparently the cat is out of the bag. That's ok though, I've almost slipped up so many times while talking to my Grandma that I'm glad we can just talk about it now.

Funny how quickly time flies. This time last year I was busy managing my wedding sweat shop. I had my sister-in-law Helen, my niece-in-law Lorraine, my sisters & my Mom all on full time duty. In one week accomplished SO much (along with my aunties, friends & Grandma too!). I just can't believe that was a year ago - wow! I don't miss getting up at 7am every morning to work on the guest list, but it really was great spending time with my family, my new family and our friends from Minnesota and abroad. We had SO many fun parties and the wedding itself was better then I could have ever imagined. I think on Sunday for our first anniversary we'll have to take some time out and sit down and watch the videos again. This first year has flown by - and it just gets better and better. I know I am so so lucky to have found this fantastic man:)

Now if we can just get all our junk moved into the new place on Saturday, then we can actually have all day Sunday to relax and celebrate one year of marriage!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just another boring Tuesday

I don't have much to say today other than I'm glad sometimes that I work on a building site. I don't think anyone even noticed that I wore jeans today. I'm leaving an hour early to go queue up for Jason Mraz so we can get a good spot for tonight's concert & I wanted to be comfortably dressed. One thing I have learnt by living in London for a few years - never go to an event where you know you'll be standing for many hour in anything other than trainers (also know as tennis shoes)!

Also, I got this in an email & thought it was quite funny:)

Zen Sarcasm

1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

2. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

3. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

4. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

5. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

6. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

7. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

8. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

9. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

10. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

11. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

12. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

13. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

14. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

15. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Hmmmmm some of those are words to live by I think.
Now, back to finishing off my work for the day so I can sneak out early for Mraz!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

I am now officially a POM!!!

This is what my husband said to me last night because my British passport has arrived!!!!!!
Pom is one of those words I have been using for few years now and I didn't really now what it exactly meant - I know that is what Australians call British people, but why?

I found this definition:
Pom is short for Port of Melbourne (where the ships docked), Prisoners Of her Majesty, as they were convict ships, or because the British prisoners looked like a cargo of pomegranates when they caught the sun.
These a few of the many explanations for the origin of this Australian term for British immigrants. Although the pomegranate explanation is my favourite.
“Pommy is supposed to be short for pomegranate. Pomegranate, pronounced invariably pommygranate, is a near enough rhyme to immigrant, in a naturally rhyming country. Furthermore, immigrants are known in their first months, before their blood ‘thins down’, by their round and ruddy cheeks. So we are told”.

So, it was a great weekend because now I know the home office has not misplaced my passports - hooray! I can't believe I am now a dual citizen - how bizarre!

It was a rainy cold weekend in London, well - cold by May standards! We had a lovely afternoon with Abigail on Saturday. I got her all dressed up in her coat & sweater to head out to the park, just as a torrential downpour began. So, we played in the house all morning. Murray got some really cute pictures of her sitting in our bed under the covers reading a magazine about Land Rovers (most likely just looking at the pictures)! But boy did she look cute.

Sunday we did a bit of shopping - we ran from store to store trying to avoid the rain!

Also, did a bit more packing. The count down is on - only 5 more nights in our place. It just feels so extremely weird to be moving. This is the only place I have lived in London (other than when I was a student here in 1999). We have been living in this flat for 4 1/2 years, feels like an end of an era. But, we are both excited. Although we'll still be in the same town, we'll be much closer to the river and on a MUCH quieter street - can't wait!

Friday, May 19, 2006


I read in the paper this morning that the home office has lost 1500 passports in the last 2 years, even though they have put 'security measures' in place to make sure it doesn't happen. This worries me as I'm still waiting for the return of my US passport and for my new maroon passport, fingers crossed I get BOTH of them soon!

Big Brother season 6 started last night. We missed half of it because we were travelling back from the gym. I think the paper described it perfectly - car crash tv. What a bunch of weirdos. We were so annoyed by some of the 'characters' that it makes me not want to watch it for 6 weeks or so until it gets down to a reasonable number of interesting people.

Looking forward to a weekend of begging local stores for their empty boxes. We need TONS more, hopefully Sommerfields (our local grocery store) will be a bit more giving with their boxes tomorrow - last week they'd only give me 4! I just don't get it - since they said they throw them away anyhow.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wow, now I feel like a real plane spotter

Just stood up on the fire escape of our building for 10 minutes in the ridiculously strong wind waiting for the superjumbo to land. Unfortunately they decided to fly in over London and land on the runway that is usually used for take-off (because it is longer I guess). So we didn't get to see it land. But we did get a good look at it as it taxied down the runway after landing. Not too exciting really, a big white plane that didn't look too much bigger than the others from a distance, but I guess it is. Cool to see a few helicopters hovering for footage and a fighter jet for security reasons (I assume). I don't know if that was worth getting ratty hair from the wind though.

Ahhhhhh I love London and the simple things in life

I was just thinking back to my lovely walk home last night.
Because of the chemical spill at the gym (I'm still not sure what that was all about?), I decided instead to get some after work exercise by walking past our soon to be home to see how long it would take. I took the tube to Hammersmith, then hopped off and started wandering towards the direction of the river. I wasn't sure exactly which way to go, but I knew the general direction of the Thames, and thankfully I chose the perfect street. After a few minutes of walking it popped me out on the edge of the Thames just a few feet from Hammersmith bridge. That bridge is really SO lovely, it was built in 1897 and is so intricate and decorative, I think it is just gorgeous. After crossing the bridge I walked down to the 'Thames path.' I think the distance between that bridge and Putney bridge is about 2.5 km. That was when I gave up on walking quickly, and just started strolling and enjoying the scenery. It is SO green and gorgeous! There were people out on the river in kayaks and other boats quietly rowing along. Many bike riders and runners (who thankfully did not splash me!) and some really cute dogs. I smiled and said hello to one old man who had the CUTEST dog, a little dog that was furry & white and had a super long body. It was a funny looking little thing, but adoreable. I also saw some cute little snails, I even stopped to look at one that had a really pretty shell. I was going to take a picture of it, but then I saw a runner coming way and I felt like a dork! The walk really was relaxing though and a great wind down from 8 hours at my desk. Walking past our new place was exciting - I can't believe we'll actually be living there in 8 days! I'm excited to live in a new place, and explore a new area of Putney. Although it's only a 15 minute walk from where we are now, I think it will still feel like a whole new world - I'm excited to check it out! But I'm NOT looking forward to lugging all of our stuff up 2 flights of stairs:(
Oh - and it took 35 minutes to walk that route - good to know!

The plane spotters are out!

I saw half a dozen plane spotters down near Heathrow airport today while waiting for my bus. On arriving at work I was reminded that today is a historic day for Heathrow - the Superjumbo A380 Airbus lands here for the first time today. I can NOT belive there are already plane spotter with their binoculars poised at 8am though, it doesn't land until 12:55 today! But I WILL be sneaking outside for a few minutes to watch it land - we are expected to have a great view! I work on the building site for Terminal 5 - which is situated at the end, between the 2 runways.
I read that this plane costs $300 million US each! And can seat 555 people, and has 3 stories - And 129 have been ordered already. WOW!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Chemical Spill? What?

I just got a text message from my gym saying 'Daivd Lloys closed for the day due to chemical spill, so classes cancelled. Thanks'
That is SOOOOOOOO strange. Shame too cause I was really looking forward to going to that class tonight.
I guess I'll walk home part of the way instead - past our new place! I want to time how long it will take. That is IF it doesn't rain!
The count down is on - only 10 days until we move!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally it is Wednesday! I **heart** Starbucks

Ahhh what a lovely day it is!
I had 2 seats on the tube to myself this morning (so my backpack could sit on it's own). Although it's chilly, it's clear and everything is green from the recent rain. The OC was great last night, although the storyline is still a bit annoying. We checked out a new Italian restaurant last night and the service was absolutely fantastic as well as the food. Ahhhhhh what a good day. I swear they put something in the drinks they make at Starbucks! My throat was feeling a bit yucky this morning so I stopped in at Starbucks to get a Chai Latte and suddenly I was in the best mood ever! AND I'm even looking forward to going to 'body pump' at the gym tonight - Wow - I really wish they sold that mix - I would stock up if they did!!!
And yes, I feel bad every time I go into Starbucks. I hate what they stand for - mass globalisation and all that. I hate that everywhere you go in London you see them, and there seem to be new ones popping up all the time. But it's the only coffee place that does Chai Latte's - so what can I do? Oh well:)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My husband ROCKS!

My husband just sent me this photo that I had the person in line behind me take. It's a picture of Dave Matthews signing my cd - back in Nov 2001 after his performance in the basement of the Virgin records megastore in central London! I totally forgot I was geeky enough to even have someone take a photo of that - wow. I'm glad now though that I have proof that I MET HIM! sweet

Pimp my snack, cure my allergies!

My friend Suz reminded me of this website today. I remember reading about it in the paper last week and mentally reminding myself to check it out when I got to work, then I got to my desk and forgot!
They pimped my favourite UK candy bar - the double decker! Yummy!

I'm thinking maybe one of these would help me come out of this clouded head, blurry eyed, stuffy nosed allergy induced haze I'm in right now, as the medicine I took doesn't seem to be working. I will report back on how well the double decker works as an allergy cure once I hit the canteen!

Oh - and someone at work told me this morning that the allergens in the air are so bad right now that they are advising people to not go outside after 6:05 pm. Ah ok, I'm not even home from work by then, plus with the evenings staying light later & later as summer approaches - I don't want to spend ALL of that time in front of the tv! Time to stock up on some allergy medicine that acutally works!

Dave Matthews comes to London

Ahhhhh Dave what a great performance last night!
We saw Dave Matthews perform at a small venue (compared to the places he plays in Ameirca!) that fits only a few thousand people last night. He did seem a bit upset that people kept yelling things to him though (those darn Americans!). Towards the beginning someone yelled out 'Hey Dave, I'm from (insert American state).' He replied 'I didn't come here to see Americans, I came here to see British people.' ha ha
Even though (I admit it!) I'm not a huge Dave Matthews fan, I was really impressed by him.
Only a really talented performer can entertain a crowd for 2 hours - just him & his guitar. And wow was his guitar playing fantastic - amazing how one person can make an instrument sound like a bunch of people playing at once. And his singing voice was like straight off a record - amazing. His speaking voice on the other hand was ummmm interesting?
He did sound a bit out of it.
But - overall - I give the performance an A+++
We were annoyed though that the people around us were 'talkers.' I just do NOT understand why you would pay to go see someone perform, then talk the whole time! How annoying!
I do still hold dear to my heart the time I met Dave though - back in 2001 literally days after I moved to London. My husband found out he was playing a little gig at the Virgin Megastore in Central London, and I got there JUST in time to squeeze in downstairs with a few hundred other people (mostly Americans of course). He played 5 or 6 acoustic songs, then I stood in line for 2 hours to get his autograph! It was worth it though as he said to me 'who know what could have been, too bad I have a wife' he he. The I asked him to please sign my album ' to Murray. '

Monday, May 15, 2006

From now on please call me Annata

Your Italian Name Is...

Annata Romano

He he he I find this really funny - must be the end of a long Monday!
Every time I try to say my new Italian name is comes out Ann a ta ta
He he

now - off to see Dave Matthews - WHOO HOOO!!!!!!!!

Train Delays = Summer is on the way

I left early enough this morning to usually get me into work half an hour early, instead - due to 'signal failures at Heathrow' I got in half an hour late - how does that work? And wouldn't you know, today was the first time in ages I forgot my book! So I read that darn paper cover to cover - I even glanced at the sports pages **shudder**

Weekend summary:

1. On the way out of the gym we found out that there actually was NOT a football game on yesterday, it was apparently a parade to celebrate Chelsea winning the premiership (something sorta like the super bowl would be to an American? i.e. a big deal!)
All I know is that it meant we had loads of drunk singing men on our tube ride home.

2. It is not warm yet - if it is warm again during the week and cold again next weekend I am going to be upset!

3. I think we finally taught Abigail to say Mo this weekend (my nickname), she has said Murray before but prefers to call him Freddy (after the character in her favourite movie An American Tail).

4. We finally caught up on Lost this weekend - we have seen up to episode 4 now - but we still have no idea what's going on - I guess that's the whole point. But I am glad Rose's husband is alive and that they found peanut butter!

5. I am upset Chris was kicked off American Idol - but those really were 2 terrible performances. Shame though - who's going to win now? I'm really not a big fan of any of the final 3 - will be interesting to see who America votes to win.

6. Big Brother starts here on Thursday - I'm going to try to keep away from it. But I know, like the rest of country I'll probably be sucked in when it gets down to an interesting group of people.

7. I am eating a double chocolate cookie right now thanks to my friend Pete at work - it was his b-day last week. YAY to cookies on a Monday morning. He brought in 100 cookies - so I'm hoping for seconds!

8. The kitchen is STILL not complete - they better finish it today darn it! And they better not make a mess again - we spent a good amount of time vacuuming, mopping and wiping down surfaces as there was dust everywhere!

9. Happy Mothers Day (again) to my Mom and my Mother-in-law :)

10. And finally - Murray's favourite picture of his eggplant creation last week!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Football mania - I just don't get it!

I'm just waiting in the restaurant at our gym for Murray to finish up. Outside I can hear horns blowing, LOTS of loud people, and when I look down I see a sea of blue. Yes, there's a Chelsea football (or as we call it in American, soccer) game on today. There are literally hundreds of people crowding the street, and I don't even know if they won or not? Hmmmm but on the way into the gym I did see a man walking down the street with only shorts and shoes on with his ENTIRE body painted blue - wow, and a blue clown wig I must add. Now that's what you call a fan!

Friday, May 12, 2006

First BBQ of the year - and it was FANTASTIC!

As our kitchen is still unfinished, our lovely friends invited us over for a BBQ last night. Murray impressed us with an eggplant appetiser, then they had tons of gorgeous beef, chicken & prawns and some yummy grilled veggies - SO good! It felt great to sit outside to eat, we are SO jealous they have outdoor space - one thing we have never had in London, oh well - the park will have to do!

I love BBQs - makes me feel like summer is really on the way!
This year if we buy one of those disposable bbqs though (that are really just an aluminium pan with coals & a grill top that you can use just once), we'll try and remember to remove the cardboard wrapping on the bottom BEFORE lighting it. Last summer we left a big black mark in our local park - opps! But I do remember the salmon steaks that Murray grilled were lovely - will have to do that again soon!
Another gorgeous day in London day, and it just figures - the weather is predicted to cool down again for the weekend :(

I checked on the kitchen this morning and it looks like they are just about done. Everything is in, now they just need to put up all the new tile. I REALLY hope they finish today. I'll bet you £50 though that they'll leave all their mess (dust & grime all over) for me to clean up - oh well!
BRING ON THE WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Where is my British passport?????

I got a letter in the mail last night from the home office rejecting my passport application for a number of reasons - all my fault - but why oh why did I pay £7 to the post office to 'check' my application - they obviously didn't do their job very well!
The main reason was that you can't have it countersigned by someone who lives at your address - I had mine signed by our flat mate - opps! But then I sat thinking who else do I know who is a British citizen, who has know me at least 2 years, and has a professional qualification? The I realised - WOW almost all my friends are Australians, South Africans, Americans, etc. or people that I haven't know for 2 years (I've only been at my present job for 1 year 8 months), or people I couldn't squeeze into the home office's definition of ‘qualified’.
Eventually I had to call them on their pay number (I shudder to think how much that is going to cost me) to ask if my friend who is a professional dance teach with qualifications would be ok, they said yes - THANK GOD! So I ran over there last night and had her fill out her section saying that I am who I say I am. The I ran back just in time to catch the start of Desperate Housewives – what a great episode! However, this morning just as I was about to stick it in the post, I realised the letter also said they are rejecting the photos I sent because there are 'grey shadows' on my face. Maybe I was just tired that day ok? Just kidding - it's actually because I had them taken in one of those crappy do it yourself booths at the tube station and the flash left me looking totally washed out with shadows on my face. I was mad at first because now I can't send off the application until probably Saturday, but on the other hand I hated that photo anyhow - so I guess this is a good excuse to do my hair and make-up Saturday morning and go down to a photo shop to have a better passport photo taken.
SOOOOOOOOOO annoying though! I hate that it's been 2 weeks since I sent them not only my application, but also my American passport. It scares me to be passportless, so I hope once I send this back I'll get my new maroon one ASAP!

In conclusion..... I now know summer is actually on the way - for the first time today the predicted temperature for the day in London exceeded that in Sydney - it is supposed to be 25C today in London (80F) WOW! Fantastic - now I just hope it stays that nice for the weekend!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More than half way to the weekend now!

Not that I'm counting!

Once again I am not able to post pictures today as they are on my phone, and my stupid work computer won't let me upload them. I will give them to my darling husband tonight to email to me tomorrow.
Last night we went out to dinner (again!) as the kitchen is still in a partially finished state with dust EVERYWHERE! Although they are progressing quite quickly - I think they might actually finish on time by end of day tomorrow.
But, for now, we eat out. Last night we hit Bodeans - an American BBQ restaurant near us. They specialize in meat - ribs, steak, and pulled pork and fantastic onion rings!!!!!!!!!! They also make their own bbq sauce which is so good I think I ate more of that than actual pulled pork. And to top off a great meal the manager gave us both coupons for 15% off our next visit - fantastic! I love when you actually get good service in London - Bodeans has fantastic staff!

Now - my gripes of the day
1. how many times can a stapler be stolen from my desk drawer? the count is now on 3!
2. my gym has too many members and it's starting to annoy me, I called this morning to book in for a class tonight and it's already full - I'm booking WAY ahead of time from now on!
3. no one probably cares - but I am really really annoyed with the story line on the OC (american teenage soap), I was so mad with the storyline last night that I actually threatened the tv that I may not watch that show again (ok, I will - but I still HATE the way they're going with the storylines!) But I can't say any exact details on here as I don't want to ruin the upcoming plot for my sister in law, as I know Australia is quite a few weeks behind the UK with their episodes!
4. I feel old. My auntie Joni sent me prom pictures of my 'little' (i.e. 17) year old cousin Johnny's first prom - ahhhhhh he looks so grown up! I remember changing his diapers! He was the first baby I ever babysat at the very mature age of 10. Wow time flies!

And one positive thing - it is a GORGEOUS day in London today - I wish I was out lying in the park reading my book right now!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The amazing ever blooming plant

Murray gave me this plant about 4? years ago as a welcome back present when I returned from a 6 week trip home. It seems to have constantly blossomed ever since. I love that plant! And will be holding it on my lap very carefully when we move over to the new place, don't want to damage those gorgeous petals!

Finally - some pictures from the weekend

Abigail chilling out in her push chair

Enjoying a 'baby chino' at starbucks

Our kitchen BEFORE shot - empty and waiting to be ripped out

Kitchen AFTER shot - WOW does the room look big with nothing it it!

There is dust everywhere though, and now we are living off of takeaways until they finish.

Fingers crossed that actually happens by Friday as promised.

And finally, a quote I read this morning on the train 'One of the most awful things about London is there's all those people and no-one to talk to just when you need to pass the time of day and make sure your powers of speech are still intact. You go down to the Kensington 7-Eleven for a Guardian and all they do is grunt and look as if they're about to call the police if you so much as comment on the weather.'

I just found that to be so strikingly true, as I sat on the tube carefully trying to stay within my own space, and getting upset that the lady next to me had a bit of her arm in my area. I ride on the tube nearly 3 hours a day and go to the gym and I am really surprised when someone speaks to me! Coming from a culture where we do chat to strangers, I find myself sometimes thinking 'Wow, I really have been in London too long' when I desperately want to shush the few tourists chatting on the train in the morning - cause I'm trying to read my paper darn it! But don't get me wrong, I love living in London. It's a fantastic city with tons of history, culture, itteresting people, gorgeous parks and great shopping!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Another I LOVE London weekend!

What a great weekend!

Friday night enjoyed yet another episode of American Idol.
I really don't think Paris should have gone (loved her take on that Prince song!). I didn't think she would win, but she certainly was not the worst performer of the evening. I'm still cheering for Chris to win though - he's such a great all around performer!

Saturday I had a great time babysitting. I took some wonderful photos, but I am not able to access them today - so will have to post them tomorrow.
I took Abby to starbucks for a chai latte for me and a baby chino for her (steamed milk).
She was just SO cute putting stickies (stickers) in her new magazine and sitting at her baby chino. Every time I see her it seems she has learned new words - so amazing!
We then spent 2 1/2 hours at the park and she really wore herself out! I was glad that when it was time to leave she didn't fight me & cry like last week. When I told her it was time to go she just stuck one more stickie on a tree then hopped up into her push chair - I was amazed!
Then we spent the rest of the afternoon with her spilling her lunch all over herself, and me scrubbing tomato stains out of her new white shirt. She somehow managed to not only drop her yogurt, but it got on her trousers, socks AND shoes on the way down!
Oh well, at least I gave her back to Mom with one clean thing - her newly laundered shirt!

The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning everything out of the kitchen. The new kitchen was delivered at 7:30 Saturday morning and filled the entire third bedroom! The guys arrive today to start installing, so last night we finished off packing everything up. What a pain! Shame that we'll only be able to enjoy the new flash kitchen for 2 weeks before we have to move!

And since I am not able to get any of my photos from this weekend right now, here's a picture my husband took from Henman Hill of the grounds at Wimbledon when we took a tour late last year. I'm really looking forward to the competition this year, it's the ONLY time of the year that I read the sports page of the paper daily! And since we live only 2 train stops away from the grounds, we really must make an effort to go and catch at least 1 day of the matches. We went once a few years ago, but I'd love to go again!

Oh - and of course the most exciting news of the weekend is that my American friend brought me a bottle of Kraft fat free ranch dressing back from the states - YAY! Thanks Heather:) I will be drowning my salad in it today - can't wait!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Extreme Home Makeover = tear jerker

Well it has been a wonderful weekend (although my husband was away golfing in France & I was missing him!)
But the weather in London was lovely & I had a nice weekend - will post about it tomorrow

But for now
why is Extreme Home Makeover such a tear jerker? I was just watching an episode and ended up crying my eyes out. They were rebuilding a home for a man who had recently lost his wife and was raising 3 little girls on his own. What a great show. Too bad all the middle bits are annoying - I just watch the beginning, then tune back in when the house is actually done - they always do such an amazing job! I want that job - how fun!

Friday, May 05, 2006

PEEPS, not just for Easter anymore

I feel a bit guilty
Last night while starting to pack up the stuff in our kitchen (we are moving soon) I came across 3 boxes of Peeps that my lovely aunt Jani sent. I noticed one of the containers had the plastic covering the box sliced open, and the poor bright pink peeps were exposed!
So I decided to take them into work today, I can't just throw away something that is SO rare in the UK!
The guys at work claim they don't like them, but after a few hours of them sitting in the coffee room, only one was left (with the lower half of his body eaten, I guess someone changed their mind after the first bite!)
I had one though, and they are stale - yuck!
And I decided once again that they definitely are SO much better frozen! Even my husband (a recent peep convert) confers with me that they are MUCH better frozen.
I discovered this one day long ago when I left a package of them in my car in the middle of another artic Minnesotan winter. The next morning they were frozen semi-hard, and lo and behold - much more tasty!
Only thing is you have to eat them straight away after removing them from the freezer as they start to thaw remarkably quickly!
I thought I was obcessed - then I did a google search and found this:

I think it's hilarious that someone has done 'peep reseach'

This is what happens to a peep frozen with liquid nitrogen for 60 seconds at -210C and then with 'gentle' pressure applied by a hammer, WOW you learn something new every day!


Thank goodness it's Friday!

I brought the software to hook my phone up via USB to my pc at work, but it will not work, so no photos today unfortunately. I took a few nice ones this morning of my fresh flowers and my blooming orchid, bummer:( Will have to get my lovely husband to help me sort it out next week.

Last night I made the decision that from now on I will treat myself weekly with something that makes me happy - fresh flowers. I bought 2 bunches of gorgeous tulips on the way home and they made me smile when I saw them this morning. So, I'm making this a new tradition!

The paper this morning said that yesterday was the hottest day in London yet this year - 26 c(82 f), and that the hottest temperature was recorded at Heathrow Airport - that's where I work! I believe it, it was SO hot and uncomfortable in the office, and even worse on the stifling tube! Today - I am forcing everyone to turn on their air conditioners! As usual though, this mid week summer is not predicted to last, by the time the long awaited weekend is upon us it's supposed to be cold again and rainy - where is summer? I want to go to the park with my new picnic backpack! I just discovered last night that it has an insulated section too - YAY! Bring on summer!!!!!!!!!!

But first - bring on American Idol - I can't wait to see the episode tonight - I hope Chris doesn't go this week - he is my FAVOURITE! I am going to try and be good and not look at any US news sites today so I don't accidentally find out who was voted out this week, before watching it tonight. I did that the last 2 weeks and it was not nearly as fun to watch when I already knew who was getting the boot!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Is it just a UK thing?

It is someone's birthday in my office, so apparently the tradition is that when it's your birthday YOU bring in a variety of cakes for the whole office. (today it's 2 boxes of assorted Krispy Kremes, a selection of muffins and flapjacks). I find it kind of strange that you have to buy cakes for other people on YOUR birthday. Buy hey - who am I to argue - I thoroughly enjoyed my ‘maple iced glazed’ doughnut this morning! And yes – I admit it – I come into work every day praying it is someone’s birthday!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Things I Love about London - part 2


I LOVE that there are SO many shows you can choose to go to on any given night for a very reasonable price!
We took our friend Eva to see 'The Producers' last night, what a fantastic show! I have seen it once before, and it HAS to be a really good show for me to see it twice.
Now the only problem is I can't stop singing 'Springtime for Hitler in Germany' in my head!

Now I just need to see the movie - I kept imagining how much the roles suit Mathew Broderick & Nathan Lane last night as we watched the show. Although the actors we saw were fantastic, I look forward to seeing the Hollywood version!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I LOVE Bank Holidays!

Ahhh who doesn't love having an extra day off of work.
I thought the reason we had May 1 off was to celebrate spring, apparently it is also traditionally the day that the 'May Day Rally Parade' takes place from Trafalgar Square down the Strand.
Murray and I went into the city for a bit of shopping yesterday and came across the May day parade, we stood and watched as people marched by with banners - the groups ranged from transport and teachers unions, to communists, socialists and of course anarchists.
I was pleased to see our local council was represented
(I apologise for the tiny photo - it is from my camera phone - and I JUST today figured out how to change the settings to take normal sized photos)

That's the 'Wandsworth Stop the War' banner

After a bit of shopping we enjoyed an early dinner at our Favourite little restaurant The Cafe Creperie near Selfridges. There's just nothing better than sitting under a heater in fairly good weather enjoying the crisp clear sky, fantastic people watching, and tex mex and chicken & asapargus crepes..... bring on summer!
We also thought it was extremely polite that the structure in the middle of the square was decorated with spring flowers and announced the opening hours for the 'public convenience' - such a polite way to say toilet - lovely

eXTReMe Tracker