Mo In London

Travel Blog - COMING SOON!

Friday, September 28, 2007

147 weeks - WOW

Today is my last day at work.

After 147 working weeks at this job, it's time to move on. I knew from the day they hired me three years ago that 28 September 2007 would be my finish date. But wow - it's here - it's really here - so strange. This is the longest I have ever been at one job so it feels strange to leave now!

I'm getting all teary about leaving London. I'll miss the great people at work, but I won't miss the commute. I brought in a box of Krispy Kremes for my friends at work today, and they all LOVED them (me too)!

I'll do my final 'leaving London' post on this blog on Tuesday - my last official day in the UK.

As a wise friend said to me today

'It is always better to miss the place when leaving rather than looking forward to closing that chapter of your life, isn't it?'

SO so so true!

By the way :

We had an amazing Sri Lankan dinner last night! We went to the restaurant owned by the woman who is replacing Murray at work. She picked out everything (thank goodness since I didn't even recognise most of the words on the menu) and really was SO SO good! Lots of interesting & yummy food.

Tonight - we'll crack open the nice bottle of champagne that we have been saving for ages to celebrate / toast our last day of work in the UK being over. *sob*

Thursday, September 27, 2007

2 days 2 days 2 days

2 more days of work to go.

I turned in my final document draft to my boss last night - and I'm now anxiously awaiting his arrival this morning. I HOPE it's OK and there aren't too many changes that I need to make. It is 47 pages so far with TONS of attachments. It's actually too big to email now - oops! I will have to burn a few copies to disks.

I had a terrible commute today. Missed my early bus (had to run back home cause I forgot my tube pass) and then I stood on Putney Bridge waiting for another bus for AGES! It felt like hours, as my hands and face went numb, but was really about 15 minutes. It is COLD HERE! Definitely Autumn now. Around 10c (50f) this morning and boy could I feel it - burrrrrrrrrr.

We had a lovely evening out with our friend and ex flat mate Debs last night. We saw an awful awful movie (I now pronounce you Chuck & Larry) - don't see it! It was just so terrible, I was really disappointed. But we had lots of lovely popcorn and candy and then went out for a fab burger at GBK (gourmet burger kitchen). We'll miss her!!! She's a lovely friend:)

Now, back to work. I have a bunch of little things to finish off today, and I need to read through my draft again and jazz it up a bit:)

And just cause this is SUCH a nice photo I am going to post it! (Thanks for sending it to me Heather!)

Me, Murray, Heather & Jason by the White Cliffs of Dover


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Busy Busy

I have a lot of work to complete today, so I'll make this quick.

I sold our bed last night - whooo hoooo! It was the last big thing left that we needed to sell, so I'm glad that's over & done with! The girl came with cash and I talked her into just taking the base!! So we have a mattress to sleep on until Sunday - and we fly out Wednesday - and our flat mate will move out over the weekend so we can have that bed in the mean time - perfect!

Now - back to work! MUST finish my final document draft TODAY!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cheers Joni!

February 19-March 20
Daily Overview: September 25, 2007

Even though some other folks in your life are just stumbling around, you find yourself on sure footing. It's the perfect day to try totally new projects or move out in new directions with your life.

MANY thanks to Joni for this uplifting horoscope - now THIS is what I need today! :)

Stress stress and my arm HURTS!

Last night we went for our 5th vaccination.

The doctor was in a HUGE rush (um I know it's the end of your day Mr. Doctor - but I'd appreciate if you didn't rip the needle out of the packet in a frantic manner).

So he quickly loaded up and gave Murray his shot, then I watched as he wrote it down in Murray's vaccination booklet - then I noticed he was writing in the Rabies section....

I said 'hold on - what shot did you give him?'


'You were supposed to give him HEB B!!!!!'

'Oh was I - oops - oh it'll be fine'


The rabies and Hep B shots are timed for each series of shots. So for rabies you get the first one on 'day 0' the second one on 'day 7' and the third one on 'day 28.'

I worked all the timings out with the nurse ages ago and booked us in on the correct dates for all of the shots. But she's on holiday now - so we had to see the doctor instead.

And he was in such a rush he didn't read his notes properly - and gave Murray the WRONG ONE!

I was NOT Happy.

He assured me it was fine. But I really don't think he knew for sure. After all HE had just asked ME when we were supposed to get a Heb B booster (which I did know cause the nurse told me). *sigh* So Murray got 2 shots last night - I got one (the correct one)!

I called NHS direct today - which is a free helpline you can call for information. A nurse took my details and my query and called me back later on with info. Thankfully it IS ok that he had that shot a week too soon. She said that it states in their system that you can have the third shot on day 21 OR day 28 - so it's fine. I just wanted to know for sure! Because what if cause of that mess up he wasn't then fully protected? ESPECIALLY since this was for rabies!! Because even WITH these 3 injections - it only means we have up to 24 hours to get to a hospital if we get bit by an animal with rabies - without it you could die!!! I am happy to hear he IS protected after all though, so now I don't have to worry. Although of course we will try and avoid all animals in countries where they still have rabies anyway.


Only a few shots to go now - 3 for me - 2 for Murray - fun fun fun.

I also spoke to the post office this morning, since I still have not heard anything back about the refund I applied for 6 weeks ago. They lost a package I sent to a friend in Minnesota 11 weeks ago:( The guy said 'oh that's funny, they have approved your refund, but they haven't cut you a check or sent you a letter.' Turns out they didn't approve the full amount either - simply because of laziness!! (they can only approve up to a certain amount themselves - anything higher they have to go to a manager). I said to the guy 'I am leaving the country a week from tomorrow, so can we please get this sorted out today?' Luckily he was nice, and said he'd speak to his manager and have a check for the full refund and compensation in the mail to me today. Let's just hope THAT piece of mail does make it to me - they are striking again next week I think.

Now, back to work, I have a ton to do.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's my LAST Monday at work!

I was woken up this morning by howling wind banging on our windows at 5:30am. I put a pillow on top of my head, but that didn't really help, so of course now I'm exhausted. It's raining cats & dogs today - totally miserable - but a good day to be inside and working.

My horoscope today said:
Are you actually sure what you're doing? You're running around like a headless poultry item, but are you directing your efforts in the right place? Hadn't you better check before you exhaust yourself?

Eeeeeeeek that freaked me out - it IS sort of what I was thinking today though on the way in. I think I'm going to focus on my big final project today and worry about the little details later. I think if I work hard today & tomorrow I can at least finish this part! only 5 days to go - wow time flies!!

We watched the final 2 episodes of the Sopranos last night. OH MY GOSH - now I can see why people in America were upset at the ending. Um ya - I didn't like it either. It was a great show - I'm gonna miss it:)

Saturday we caught up with Murray's half brother Graham, his wife Kerry and their children Justin & Lorraine. We went to a pub to watch England play rugby in the World Cup and then went out to a Spanish tapas dinner nearby.

from left: Kerry, Graham, Justin, Murray, Me & Lorraine

Kerry, Graham & Justin with the paella

It was a nice afternoon - lovely to see them and nice to be able to say goodbye to them in person before we leave the UK :)

Sunday Heather & Jason picked us up in their rental car !

Jason did very well considering it was only the second time he had driven in the UK!

We went to Canterbury!
The Canterbury Cathedral was GORGEOUS! And HUGE!
Stunning stained glass

It really was like 2 Cathedral's in one - massive!
And a lovely outdoor courtyard

We also stopped by Canterbury Castle - it reminded me of a pile of rocks around a sandbox. That's what it was really - oh well, worth a 5 minute visit.
Then some ice cream - yummmm (shame Murray's flake smelled like old socks - ewww)

(p.s. for my American readers - a flake is the chocolate stick coming out of the vanilla cone - they are usually nice - and don't normally smell like feet)

On the way back to the car we heard & saw this group of old ladies posing for pictures with a big burly biker - CUTE!
The gate leaving Cantebury Then we quickly drove over to Dover to check out the view of France - This pic is Jason, Heather & I checking out the view (yes we really COULD see France- pretty cool!)
The White Cliffs of Dover
Murray (with his lego hair) & I & the white Cliffs

Just in case you missed it - Beware of the Cliff Edge

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Friday, September 21, 2007

FRIDAY ! ! ! ! !

I had a good day at work yesterday, got a lot done, but I still have a LOT left to do.

Started packing our suitcases. I THINK we have a strategy now, but it would help if United could give me the SAME story every time I call to check on prices on overweight or excess baggage. (will call them again later today to see if they tell me the same story.......)

Apparently our stuff has arrived in Sydney and is with customs now, should make for perfect timing as we'll be in Australia in just over 4 weeks (and we get 4 weeks free storage - how perfect is THAT?)

And it's almost the weekend - we're seeing family and friend - and that makes me happy :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Almost Friday?

Oh gosh I had a terrible day yesterday.

The 2 hour commute

Then I had a HUGE list of things to get done, but got tied up working with a computer programme that would NOT cooperate! I spoke to my knowledgeable friend Sue, and her suggestions were great but still didn't help me sort out the problem. Someone here suggested a guy in our office in Birmingham, but I informed them that I actually trained that guy last year. IT had no idea, and I couldn't call the support desk in the UK for the programme cause our company's technical support contract has expired. *SIGH*

I did eventually find a temporary fix, but it took up most of my day which was VERY frustrating. I thought of something I could do to fix it this morning, but it's not ideal. Will see how it goes as I have a LOT of other things to get on with today.......

And also the office REEKED of some sort of industrial cleaning solution yesterday. We never did figure out where it came from, but it left us all light headed and not feeling great (we work in a basement - so opening a window was not an option).

Then I got home and realised I had forgotten my keys. Murray thankfully was only half an hour away, so I got out my book to read. Then I had to back up into our (thankfully) covered door way as it started to rain....

By the time he got back I was nearly in tears - what a BAD day!

I know - big picture - that we have over 400 days of no work coming up. But, that doesn't negate the fact that I do still have a TON of work to complete in the next 7 days. I don't want to turn in a half finished manual when I leave - I want it to be complete and quality.

Oh well - will work hard today and work late if necessary.

Last night we did the first practice pack of our trip backpack. I can't quite believe we'll be living out of the bag for SEVEN MONTHS! Wow. So just about everything fit - barely. The boots fill the entire bottom of the bag (we won't be wearing them all the time - so need to make sure we leave room for them) and thanks to our brilliant packing cubes we were able to fit in enough clothing for both of us. Nice. Tonight - we will start packing out suitcases with books, paperwork, misc. stuff, other clothing, etc. I KNOW we have 2 weeks to do that - but it's not just the packing that's worrying us - it's making sure that we can fit all of our stuff into 4 suitcases that worries me. I do NOT want to check another bag (it's darn expensive) so we need to plan and pack carefully.

Now - back to work - I have TONS to do.

Oh and p.s. I think today will be a good day - already started out on a great note when I paid for a small Chai latte at Starbucks and the lady gave me a large instead! I gave her a 'huh?' face and she said - oh yes this is small (they must be out of small cups or something). Ok - whatever you say - more yummy Chai for ME!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stooooooopid commute

Gosh darn it!

My commute this morning went from 1 hour to 2 hours, simply because the 7am bus never showed. I am SO annoyed and will SO not miss that!

Last night had some yummy Chinese takeaway with Heather & Jason, and managed to sell a few more random things (not to them, to some odd English guy who stopped by the pick the stuff up).

Today - work work work like mad again - AHHHH I have SO much to do:(

Tonight - first attempt at packing the backpack (here's hoping our boots won't fill half of the bag).

Oh and we fly out TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY! I'm excited and sad all at the same time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Feels Like Autumn

Nothing to report.

I'm madly trying to sell all the stuff we need to get rid of before we go (would be nice to get rid of everything this week)!

I'm busy busy busy at work trying to get as much as possible done this week so I'm don't stress next week.

And it's COLD today!!! This morning I was FREEZING waiting for the bus - time to bring out the Autumn jacket tomorrow! I had a wet head this morning (running late as usual....) and my hair got all crispy it was so cold! Burrrrr and my hands are nearly numb while typing this. Fun fun fun

And that's about it! Now - back to work:)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Monday - 2 weeks to go!

Wow I can't believe I only have 10 days left of work - ekkkk! I have SO much to do, so I'm busy busy from here til the end pretty much! Trying to get as much as possible completed this week so I'm not totally stressed next week.

Wales was great! Not that far (about 3 hours driving - would have been less if the London traffic wasn't so bad). We went hiking, saw a castle, and went to a food fest. LOVELY place - gorgeous rolling hills, nice people, and great fresh air! We had a really nice time (other than our the fact that the bed at our B&B felt like it was made of concrete which meant neither of us slept very well), but other than that it was a fabulous weekend (pics to follow soon).

* only 10 days left of work (YAY!)
* 16 days left in London - the thought of that makes us sad :(
* LOTS of packing to be done/planned
and LOTS of friends & family to catch up with on our 2 final weekends - WOW time has flown!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Welsh Friday

Random Thoughts.....

*I am sad that the weather was so bad this summer - I usually LOVE London summers:( This one has been a huge disappointment, but I suppose it makes me less sad about leaving

*I am really tired and REALLY looking forward to sleeping in this weekend. Tonight we are driving to Wales and will be back Sunday night YAY!

*I miss my dog Minnie (well family & friends too of COURSE) but I am also looking forward to seeing Minnie and giving her a cuddle (although Murray hates when I end up smelling like dog from petting her - ha ha).

*I don't usually post email forwards on my blog - but I thought this one was really touching & wanted to share......

The Purpose of a Dog - from a 4 yr. old's perspective
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him.

Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four- year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

*Isn't that SO sweet

* Also - last night I went back to look at some shoes I tried on two weeks ago. I try not to buy things on impulse anymore because I often have buyers regret once I get home. However, these shoes, they were made for me. I love them and they love me:)

(Also I do realise we need to fit everything we own into suitcases in 2 1/2 weeks time - so I haven't really bought anything in months - thus I am justfying this one purchase) I will consider it my last London purchase - to remember the city by:)

So last night I went back and asked to try them on in my size. The sales guy brought them out and I slipped them on and them modelled them in front of the mirror. First, with jeans - yup they looked great. Then I rolled up my jeans to my knees to see how they would look with a skirt or dress.
The sales guy came over and said 'What are you planning on wearing them with.'
Me 'A simple black dress'
Guy 'Oh that would look great, and with what hand bag'
Me 'I have not idea actually, I hadn't really thought of it'
Guy 'Oh well....'
Me - interrupting him 'Look, it's OK - you don't have to sell them to me. I came here 2 weeks ago and fell in love with them. I don't need them, but I love them, so I will buy them.'
Guy 'You have been dreaming about them haven't you?'
Me 'Ha ha - yes!'

I thought that was funny:) I would post a picture - but you will see pics of them when I wear them with my black dress exactly 2 weeks from tomorrow! But I will tell you - they are not practical but GORGEOUS!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More sad 'see ya laters'

I thought these photos deserved their own post!

Last weekend we went to Windsor and spent the afternoon with Eva & Abby. It may have been our last afternoon with them before we go.... (although we're still hopeful that we'll see them one more time at the end of the month....).

Looking at these photos is making me really teary. Eva has become a great friend, and I will miss her LOADS. She is a wonderful Mother, a really lovely person and a good friend. Abby means more to me than I can express - I love her like she was my own. Abby and Eva have become family to us - we don't have many family members over in the UK - and you know after all these years I feel like they will be part of our lives now forever.

Abby was already having trouble remembering our names (we haven't seen her in awhile now that they live further away) - she called us 'him and her' a few times, but then her eyes sparkled when we reminded her - no it's 'Moooreeey and Neek.' She is SO sweet, and funny, and well mannered and gorgeous. Ok - trying not to cry here - gosh I'm gonna miss them......

But i DO KNOW - for sure - that this isn't goodbye - it's see you later. I know we'll see them again - and hopefully it won't be too long from now:)

New & Old - Windsor Castle is right in the village

Me, Abby & Eva walking along the waterfront

There were TONS of swans around

Ohhhhhh look swans!
Cheeky smile
Can you tell she HATES smoked salmon? Ha ha - gosh that is a happy face:) She picked out all of the salmon to eat & kept the bread for the ducks & swans!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh sweet :) Murray & Abby
Showing us her 'sad face'
and her 'angry face' - ha ha I think this is adoreable!
My goodness she is gorgeous

Abby and I feeding the swans
Abby & Me :)
Ready, Steady, GO! (she was yelling this over & over) - you can tell by my face that wow she is heavy now! Windsor Castle courtyard
Part of the fortress walls - they were shaped this way so soldiers could shoot arrows out at intruders, but also arrows could not get back in.
Such a lovely castle - shame they didn't let us take photos inside - SO many interesting & gorgeous things! It's a great tour:)
Murray as a guard
Me in an entranceway

Check out the top of this lamp - it's a crown!

Still within the castle walls - gorgeous gardens (this is where the moat used to be).

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Adventure Film Fest

Last night we went to the Adventure Film Festival. Every year they do a week of adventure movies at the local theatre. Last night's theme was 'sports adventure.' There was a series of films with all sorts of amazing adventures.
Ocean Men – a movie about 2 of the world’s top freedivers’ world record attempts. (wow they are some amazing guys - they can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes - one guy used weights and got down hundreds of feet deep - really amazing!)
Quest – insane big wave surf action. (eh - that was ok - we saw a similar show on the discover channel - I do admire the guys who have the guts to get out and face those massive waves though).
Snow Kayaker – kayaks at 60mph??? On snow!!! (OH MY GOSH - that was the most insane thing I have ever seen - can you imagine barreling down a MASSIVE mountain in a kayak with just a paddle to try and 'slow down' - ummm ya that's not going to happen - made me feel sick to the stomach just to watch! the very last shot was of a guy coming off the edge of the edge of a high cliff - and ended up going straight down into a snow drift - you couldn't even see the end of the his kayak he was so deep !!!)
2nd B.A.S.E – Buildings, Antennae, Spans, Earth, they jump off the lot. (I just don't understand Base jumping - scares the heck out of me - those people are CRAZY!)
91 words for snow – latest and greatest snowboard action. (Cool movie - based around a professional snowboarder & showing lots of amazing snowboarding action).
Coast to Coast – trans-African microlighting journey. (THIS one was my favourite. It was the story of two friends who flew microlights around Africa. It was about their journey - the amazing views and taking the locals for their first every flight .... so so touching!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday I Guess (13 working days to go!)

I REALLY meant to go to the gym last night.
I packed my backpack up with gym clothes, socks, toiletries, water bottle, gym card, locker key, etc and brought it with me to work. Then on the way home I remembered - I forgot my trainers (tennis shoes)!! Oops! I only had flip flops on - so couldn't really go in those! By the time I got home I was too lazy to get back on a bus to the gym.

So instead I took a nice bubble bath, did some crocheting and watched a very moving TV programme called 9/11: Ground Zero Underworld. It was the story of the people who searched for months and months to recover victims of the twin tower attacks 6 years ago. It was very moving. Many of the people who were searching had friends and family who were missing after the attacks, and amazingly 60% of the victims were identified and matched using DNA techniques - which is a testament to those who spent every day searching for over 6 months. Sad - very sad - I can't believe it has been 6 years - wow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Aussie Aussie Aussie - Oy Oy Oy

The Australian embassy returned my UK passport with my Australian permanent residency visa - whooooo hoooooo! Now I just have it stamped when we enter the country at the end of October - and that's it!!! SO exciting to be done with this LONG process:) Thanks again to the family and friends who helped with my application!!!
WOW I cannot believe we only have 22 days until we leave London - that actually makes me kinda panicky!!
We're on top of everything - kinda - but we still have a ton left to do.....

Last night we had the second set of 2 shots - one in each arm - ouch ouch ouch
It really hurt this time! I think maybe it's cause I knew what was coming & tensed a bit:(
Only 4 shots to go!

My lovely American friends who live in London - from left

Jeanne, Libby, Jackie, Teresa & Me

(just missing out Melissa who took the photo & Seyi who had to leave early - bummer!)

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday Monday

Oh you gotta love Mondays. I woke up an early late (for some reason my alarm didn't go off!!!) then rushed for the bus and got here over an hour late *sigh.*

BUT it was a fabulous weekend:)

Friday night I went out in Kensington to cool piano bar called - Piano. It is a TINY place tucked in above a building just across the street from Kensington High Street tube station. We found our table (it's so small ALL of them were reserved) and had some very fancy drinks & a lovely meal. The evening was 'leaving drinks' for me and our friend Teresa (who is also moving to Sydney soon). It was a VERY loud bar - as there is a live pianist who plays very popular songs - so of course people love to sing along! But it was a good place for 7 loud Americans to meet up:) They surprised us with GORGEOUS gifts - oh wow! They are such lovely girls, and the gifts were just TOO MUCH - so so lovely:) Gosh I'm going to miss them! It has been SO nice to have fellow American friends in London. Not only do we have the USA in common, but they are also such lovely ladies, and good friends. I do hope I can catch up with them all some time in the future somewhere in the world - you never know!

Oh and .... I am SO SO SO SO SO jealous ........

As if seeing the beastie Boys Wed and Thursday night in concert wasn't enough. Murray and his friend Cameron were walking through Soho along Old Compton Street towards the bus stop home on Friday night - and he ran into MCA and Ad Rock!!! Tells them that there shows were awesome and then parted ways......!!! " They were keeping a low profile and didn't want anyone to recognise them.... (was that because they were with 20 year old girls??? ha ha - man I wish I HAD SEEN THEM TOO - bummer)

Over the weekend we also had a great catch up with Abby & Eva (lots of great pictures to follow soon!)

And we had a lovely afternoon with Murray's cousin Pat.

We decided to go to the Tower Bridge Exhibition, as none of us had done that tour before!

View from the top of the tower - how amazing is that!

Looking up one of the towers .... with fake men 'working' - odd!
Old old picture of Tower Bridge
You could clearly see the HMS Belfast
Pat, Murray & I in front of one of the old steam engines they used to power the opening of the bridge
Murray sticking his head in the oven!
Some sort of engine gadget.... I can't seem to remember the technical details now
but I do remember it was quite advanced engineering for when they put it in!

More engine stuff...

Oh oh I remember what these are - the accelerators - they stored up compressed water and were used as backup energy as needed
Murray and I with our two blank faced children !
It's such a pretty bridge!
Pat, Murray & I
Tower Bridge (you can see the building they call 'the gherkin' in the background too!)
Then Pat treated us to a GORGEOUS lunch at a The Butlers Wharf Chop House - which has stunning views of Tower Bridge
Yummy yummy dessert
The Butlers Wharf area is SO cute!
This was our view from the restaurant - nice huh?
There was some sort of boat race going on - we couldn't figure out what it was for! There was boats of all sizes - with 2 to 20+ men in each! Lots of people were in costume as well - it was quite fun to watch:)
It was such a lovely afternoon - GREAT to see Pat, and fun to tour a tourist site I have been meaning to see for YEARS! I highly recommend it!

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