Wednesday 22nd October 2003
I'm here and I am very tired.
Got in about 2.30pm and caught the bus to Cheltenham
Got there at about 6.00pm.
Caught a taxi from the bus to Enid's which cost £5.
Had a cup of tea with Enid and then settled in.
Enid then cooked dinner - Shepherd's Pie!
Very yummy and now I am about to take some of those sleeping helping tablets and crash
I am a bit stiff and sore for sitting up for so long - it will be nice to lie down.
Just wait until you see photos of this place.
It is a little English village...just like you see on television!
Planning to go for a walk tomorrow.
It takes about 15 minutes to get to town.
I need to buy some gloves.
It was 8 degrees when we landed which was fine inside the terminal but outside waiting for the bus it wasn't fine!
Heathrow is massive...I wasn't sure how I would go but it was fine.
Immigration took about 49 seconds - I thought it would take heaps heaps longer.
On the way to the airport this morning (or whatever morning) I met a nice girl from Cairns doing the same thing as me.
She was bit younger but I gave her my email address so I might hear from her.
The flight from Tokyo was long but bearable.
I sat next to two nice English chaps who liked a chat - mum would have loved it, dad and brett would have hated it.
But Richard works as a financial planner who deals with legal offices
He said to send him my resume on email and he will send it on!
How nice is that?
They had just been tripping around Australia.
They said that I will love it here, that I will probably get a cold when I arrive, not to let that bother me and to buy a scarf!
The other thing about the flight was the camera on the front of the plane.
The plane had individual video screens so you could watch what you want when you want - I watched four movies.
You could also tune to the video camera and watch the flight.
Not all that exciting when you are at 38000 feet in the air but takeoff and landing was quite interesting - a bit like a computer game.
Oh, and good work on the tears mum - worked a treat
Dad...did you really spend that much money on thongs?
Anyway, going to bed now.
Thursday 23rd October 2003
I went for a very very very long walk and my feet are sore!
To get to town I had to walk through Cox's Meadow - very English don't you think?
It was a lovely walk under clear blue sky
and the High Street was full of shops.
I was very cold and wore Brett's Marlins jacket.
I brought two new coats - one is called a fleece which is surprisingly warm for how thin it is and the other was a waterproof anorak.
Anyway - just wondered if there are any objections to the Marlins jacket and Dad's old leather jacket going to Lifeline or the like?
They are too big and not right for what I need and I have now got what I need.
I also brought a pair of gloves, a new scarf and two new hats!
I had a great time.
I loved getting dressed up for the cold and I can now do it much more stylishly.
Going to Oxford on Saturday I think and then heading to London on Monday!
Have just emailed my resume off to a few places and will hopefully have interviews with the agencies next week!
I will be sure to let you know how I go.
Getting ready for bed now as I am quite tired.
My legs are aching which is why I am not going to Oxford tomorrow!
Hope you are all well and warm!
Friday 24th October 2003
Another day and another diary note - they won't be this exciting when I start work...
I can't remember if I let you know that my football ticket arrived yesterday.
I was quite pleased to get mail on my first day!
Also yesterday while I was shopping a lady asked me if I was American (?) very strange
and another lady said "Oh your Australian. I love your neighbours"
I thought she meant New Zealand (for some reason) but then she added "I was so sad when Drew left" and I realised she was talking about the TV show!
Today Enid and I went grocery shopping to Safeway...all the usual stuff except there is an alcohol aisle too - just like the States.
We came home and unloaded and then went to a pub called the Clock Tower for lunch - they have a 'two-for-one' special.
I had cajun chicken (not very English I'm afraid) and Enid had sausage, liver, onions and mash (far too English for me!).
I also had a beer and I didn't know what any of them were but they had Fosters on tap so I had a half (pint).
Tomorrow if the weather is fine (or not pouring with rain) I am going to Oxford for the day.
That is after I get up and watch the Wallabies play Namibia in the World Cup - should be riveting!
I also booked my hostel in Earl's Court for next week starting Monday.
£133 a week including breakfast in a four bed dorm.
Enid said it was cheap but I am trying hard not to think about the exchange rate!
It was about £12 cheaper for the week to stay in the 10 bed dorm
but I think I need to ease myself into backpacking!
They are single sex dorms.
Congratulations to Brett too...Mr Boston Red Sox!
Thats it for another day.
Saturday 25th October 2003
Oxford is beautiful
I had a huge day.
Got up and there was no football on (The Rugby World Cup)
Never mind...wasn't a great game anyway.
Took a walk into town to catch the bus to Oxford.
It was cold and there was frost on the ground but it was a very clear morning and was just beautiful.
Stopped in at the Body Shop and bought heaps more lip balm.
My lips are getting really dry in the wind here.
On my walk to town I saw my first squirrel
I got all excited and tried to get a photo before it ran away but it was quite tame and came right up to me - good photos.
Booked my bus to London on Monday while waiting for the bus to Oxford.
The bus trip took about 90 minutes.
The scenery was just like the Tablelands except for the stone cottages and stone walls.
I got to Oxford and found that 2.45pm bus didn't run anymore and I would have to keep myself occupied until 6.00pm.
It didn't turn out to be hard!
Took an open top bus tour that was hop on and hop off as many times as you wanted at different stops
The guides they had were amazing and new so much about the town
I saw the college that Roger Bannister (the first four minute miler) went to
and saw where they filmed some of the Harry Potter movie...Hogwarts Castle is in fact Christ Church Hall
Got a shot of that too.
Went into The Museum of the History of Science and saw a globe "thing" called an Italian Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere that was made by Plato
and saw the blackboard with writing on it from Albert Einstein when he gave a lecture at the college on the Theory of Relativity - got shots of both and postcards too.
Also saw the buildings in which Lewis Carroll wrote the Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.
There is just so much history there.
Saw the college that Bill Clinton went to for a while and various other world leaders.
Took a walk through some and brought an Oxford Uni sweatshirt
Will get photos of that for you too.
The buildings I just can't describe...so old and intricate - not sure that my photos will do them justice.
Daylight saving ends tonight so I will need to count 10 hours forward to work out what time it is where you are - 8pm Saturday here now which would be 6am Sunday.
Going to be sorting my stuff tomorrow into what I am leaving here and what I am taking with me.
Can't imagine there will be much news but I will write.
Time for bed now...exhausted!
Sunday 26th October 2003
Today was definately not as big a day as yesterday.
I forgot to mention that I had steak and guiness pie with chips and peas for dinner last night in an Irish Pub in Oxford while I was waiting for the bus.
It was lovely and warm.
I also had my first non-Australian beer - I say that because it might not have been English.
It was a Carlings and very tasty.
Anyway - today I went into Cheltenham again and bought some long socks...all of mine are ankle sox.
I also brought a facewasher to take with me to London...Enid gave me a bath towel and a hand towel to take
and she is letting me leave a bag of things here which makes my suitcase a whole lot more managable!
I also got some food for the bus - chips and chocolate!
After lunch we went and visited her son and daughter-in-law at Foxcote which is a little village about 15 mintues away from here.
They have a lovely big house and it is so toasty and warm inside that I just had my t-shirt on and no jumper.
They have a beautiful big tree outside that was the colour of fire as it is changing with the seasons
I took a photo and it looks lovely...I figured I may as well fill up that web page with something and a tree is as good as anything!
Just getting ready to head to bed now.
The next time you hear from me I will be in London!
Monday 27th October 2003
I am certainly not in Cairns anymore...!
After an early start (I forgot to change my alarm clock back after summer time finished - I did change my watch!) I said goodbye to Enid and jumped in a taxi and headed to Royal Well Bus Station, Cheltenham.
I got on the bus and made a quick call to the folks - I knew Mum would have a cry!
It was nice to chat to my family though.
The bus ride was fine - the chips and choc and drink kept me occupied as did the scenery.
We stopped at Heathrow and then headed to London.
I didn't see any land marks on the way except the Thames!
The bus stopped in Earls Court but if you have luggage it doesn't let you out and you have to continue to Victoria Bus Station.
I certainly had luggage and before I go anywhere again I definatley will not have as much.
I had to carry those two damn suitcases up and down stairs all over the place - not much fun but I did manage - thank goodness for wheels.
Victoria Bus station was not at all scary and I figured that I would be able to get around no probs.
Asked directions from the Information Centre to the tube station and he gave them to me and (thank goodness) was able to sell me the tube ticket which was good because I would have had no idea in Victoria Station.
It is huge and there are people everywhere - I felt just like I did when I checked in before brekky at the Narita Hotel for my flight to Chicago...very thankful that I already had my ticket in hand and didn't have to read any signs except where to get on the plane.
It was about three flights down.
I can't wait to go back through those places without luggage except digital camera in hand and ready to see everything!
One of the books I brought - Live, Work and Play in London and the UK - has four day trip sightseeing ideas for when you first get to London so I will try one of those.
I got off at the right station and up more stairs - two flights - to Earls Court Road.
On the way through Earls Court on the bus I had seen the sign to the YHA so I knew where to go - about four blocks from the tube station
I checked in and the counter staff are very helpful.
No chatting though - I just wanted to get to my room and dump the bags.
Conveniently my room is on the ground floor
Have only seen one roomie and she is Japanese (a guess - but looks that way).
Had a look around and took the photos and then headed back to Earls Court to check all out.
Brought my London A-Z which is a street directory, picked up a copy of TNT Magazine which is for travellers - it was jobs and houses etc in it.
The web site is 'tntmagazine.com' but the actual mag is heaps better - I will send a copy home.
Went to a coffee shop and had a coffee and had a coffee and ham and cheese toastie for £2.95.
The coffee was terrible so I won't be going back.
It was a chain like Starbucks but so far Starbucks is the one for me.
Found a shop that downloads photos at £4.95 a time and found a great internet place.
It is huge - I reckon at least 200 computers - and it is £1 an hour an 50p for each part of the hour.
You can put disks and cd's in them so it is perfect for me.
I emailed my resume to two agencies that deal specifically with legal staff (found them in TNT) and I got one response so far and I have to call for an interview tomorrow.
Depending on where exactly that is will depend on the sightseeing that I do tomorrow.
I booked my hostel in Manchester for the league test today and will decide how to get there a bit later.
I have also seen that there are cheaper hostels around this area so I will see how I go this week and might move next week...as much as I would like it I think that having a job and a place to live by next Sunday night might be pushing it.
I have currently got a collection of things to send back for scanning or binning - whatever you want - will include all the photo disks and a copy of the TNT mag.
I brought a pre-packed salad (yes salad, Mum) for dinner and ate that in the communal dining kithcen.
It is a great kichen and very busy - was quite amused watching two french guys cook themselves pasta for dinner and not really looking like they knew what they were doing.
I am going to get some coffee and milk and sugar next and keep that in my room because I am not sure what we get for the free breakfast and I don't want to buy a coffee every time I have a craving- imagine $3 a time, hey Dad, your computer couldn't cope!
Anyway...I think that is it for today - off to get a coffee - from Starbucks!
PS - Dad, try and keep your inbox free too - although it will probably be once every week to 10 days that I send photos - I felt like I spent all day at the net shop!
Tuesday 28th October 2003
I wasn't feeling 100%.
A bit of a head cold so I didn't really do anything.
Laid low in the hostel and slept a lot.
Plus I could hardly walk or lift my arms - they were killing me after dragging those damn suitcases through the tube stations and streets.
Up today nice and early so I should have more to tell tonight.
Wednesday 29th October 2003
Today was registration day.
I didn't do very much except catch the tube from one end of town to the other to see agencies
I had to catch a train to Bond Street (see the Monopoly board)
and I had to switch at Notting Hill Gate (see the Julia Roberts/Hugh Grant movie).
I also spent a bit of time in Oxford Street (again see Monopoly board).
Anyway not much sight seeing.
Tonight I am going to see the Kangaroos at a place called Shepherds Bush
I have to catch the Tube there too.
Should have some pretty good photos of tonight - hopefully me and lots of football players.
Off to check the flat share website now - I should be able to get places cheaper than the hostel.
......and another note on Wednesday
I just got off the tube and it is 10.25pm - yes mum, out at night on my own,
but there are people everywhere - this internet cafe in Earls Court is packed.
Anyway - just wait until you get my photos of tonight.
I will do them as soon as I can.
The Kangaroos rock.
Met a few people going to the Test at Wigan who are staying at Manchester so I won't be on my own!
Thursday 30th October 2003
Last night was great fun.
Caught the Tube to Shepherds Bush and I went to the Walkabout Pub and walked in all by myself
I thought that the place would be packed but it wasn't when I got there and I felt a bit silly so I brought a beer and then hung
I heard an Aussie accent and walked up and said hello to two three guys.
All were there like me to see the Kangaroos...then we saw that the boys had arrived and were hiding up the back.
One by one they came down and all very very friendly.
Some more than others.
Shane Webke liked a chat as did Petro Civenoceva (go the Broncos boys!).
Ryan Girdler was quite chatty too.
I was one of the first to get the photo done with him and I said "You are gonna get this all night" his response was "I don't care this is great...at least you are all Aussies!"
It was pretty funny.
I talked to Phil Bailey for ages too.
He was really nice.
I also met some guys who are doing the sports tour with Arti Beatson and are going to be in Manchester when I am up there on the 8th.
When they found out I was going on my own they said to come by their hotel before the game and head up with them.
Wasn't that nice?
I didn't stay too long because I wanted to make sure that I got the Tube back to Earls Court before they stopped running.
Got up again pretty early this morning.
I forgot to tell you about the brekky we get at the hostel - a packet we collect from reception that has cornflakes, milk, oj, sugar, a bread roll, a croissant, butter and two types of jams.
The tea and coffee machine is free until 9.30am then it is only 50p anyway.
I can't ever eat it all!
I rang the agency who said that they didn't have any work for me today so I decided to go sightseeing...as mum knows!
I caught the tube to Westminster and walked up to the road.
The first thing I saw were the Houses of Parliament and then I looked up even higher and saw Big Ben...I can't even describe what it was like seeing it for the first time, completely amazing and I just stood there looking at it (I will say that I wasn't the only one).
Like I said to Mum on the phone I picked my targets carefully when asking someone to take a photo for me, couples with kids and couples looking very touristy just like me.
Anyway had shots taken in front of Big Ben and also in front of the London Eye which is the big ferris wheel thing.
Didn't go on it but might do later on.
Then I took a walk to Westminster Abbey which is amazing too.
Had my photo taken outside by a nice lady and then went and sat in Parliament Square until about 10.57am when I rang Mum - I picked that time specially - I knew that probably only she would be up and I told her where I was sitting and that Big Ben was in front of me and that Westminster Abbey was beside me and then the clock struck 11.00am and began to chime and Mum said that she could hear it!
I thought that was pretty cool.
Then I went inside Westiminster Abbey
It cost £6 pounds but was worth every cent
It is completely amazing...lots of people are buried inside the Abbey.
I saw the tombs of Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth the First and quite a number of Kings
I saw the sword of King George VI, and The High Altar, and the Coronation Chair which has been used for all coronations since 1302 - that is quite hard to comprehend considering Australia is only just over 200 years old!
The Quire was also amazing - so old and so much work went into carving and building it - it is where the choir sits.
Very hard to describe so I brought postcards of things I wanted to remember and show you.
The stained glass windows far surpassed anything I have seen before as was the intricate work on the ceilings.
You will hopefully get more of a feel for it when you get the postcards.
I also saw where David Livingstone was buried
I think by that sounds of it he was the "Dr Livingstone I presume?" character.
The engraving on the floor said that he was a missionary and explorer type - I could be completely wrong but I think it sounds reasonable!
Also lit a candle in the Nave where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is
The Nave is a place in the Abbey where they ask you to be silent while wandering around and on the hour they ask you to be still while they read a prayer over the speaker system.
It was a very moving moment.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was worth paying the £6 pounds for alone
It was quite special to stand there and read the inscription.
I also saw the US Congressional Medal that was laid on the tomb.
They have it hanging on a pillar just beside it.
Then I walked outside and I thought of Mum, because that is where they had the funeral for Diana and I remember seeing the gates on the telly and the male family in a line behind the coffin.
Anyway...that is all about her, hey dad?
Then I took a walk down Whitehall past Downing Street
Got a photo of the street name sign and the big black gates that stop you from seeing anything worthwhile but I figured the armed guards means there is a house at number 10 and that Mr Blair really does live there!
Walked up to Trafalgar Square (see Monolpoly Board) but didn't go in.
Camera battery was going flat and I had very sore feet.
Will save that for another day.
Walked back down to Westiminster Tube station and came back to Earls Court and got on the net to write this bloody essay for you - I can't believe how long it is.
There was an email from one of the agencies so I have to go and give her a call now.
It was for an ongoing assignment - yay!
Will let you know how it goes.
It was good to talk to Mum today and I hope she was able to get a bit of a "feel" for what I was doing.
......and another note on Thursday
Monday I start my new JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is with a personal injuries firm with an Australian lawyer and is an ongoing position
They see how I go after the first week and if it is okay then I stay on for about 3 months minimum.
Definately start house hunting now!
8.15pm now and I am heading to the pub.