Friday 31st October 2003
Today I took the tube to Charing Cross Station to go to Trafalgar Square
I wandered around there for a little while but there wasn't much to see other than the buildings and the pigeons - however I was standing around in Trafalgar Square!
Then I took walk down through Admiralty Arch which is really quite amazing - very very big.
You could see Buckingham Palace in the background so at least I knew I was going in the right direction.
On the left hand side of that road is St James Park which is where I took the shot of the Queen Victoria War Memorial
I walked through the park which was just lovely as I am sure the photos show
The big gates into the park were quite spectacular
As I was heading down towards the Palace the Horse Guards came past with police escort so naturally I got out the camera.
I could hear the band playing so I knew the Changing of the Guards was not far away.
A little further down the road was Clarence House
I thought of Mum when I saw cause I know she loved the Queen Mother and Prince William lives there now.
As I was leaving the area of Clarence House the guards came by in the opposite direction from the horse guards again with police escort so I got the camera out again!
I could not believe how many people were watching the Changing of the Guards
I think it is school holiday time here so that might have something to do with it.
Anyway got some shots of the crowd and the Palace and the guards.
I wasn't exactly sure what was going on because the band was playing and marching and all of that.
It was quite spectacular I guess but I think that it is a show for the tourists.
After the crowds dispersed I got a shot of the guard through the fence - standing at his post and then taking a little walk
I am not quite sure how he knows when he is supposed to go but he seems to get it right - maybe there is a little alarm in his booth!
I sat down on the steps of the statue in front of the Palace and stayed a while - it was quite funny to think that I was sitting down in front of Buckingham Palace!
I guess that is what this trip is all about and it was pretty cool!
I then walked down to Wellington Arch - apparently this Wellington guy was the only serving Prime Minister to fight a duel and both of them missed the target!
I climbed up to the top of the Arch and had a look at the view - I had photos of everything already though but it was quite good.
Then I walked across the road to Hyde Park Corner and bought a hot dog from a street vendor and ate it in Hyde Park.
I was pretty bloody exhaused after all of that.
Sat there for a while and then took the tube back to Earls Court and here I am.
It is 4.30pm and I am ready for bed.
My legs are killing me after yesterday and today.
I am going probably going to go to Kensingston Palace or St Pauls Cathedral tomorrow - or I might just take the credit card and go to Harrods!
I will let you know what I do - be sure of that.
Saturday 1st November 2003
I went to the pub nice and early to watch the game. (Wallabys v Ireland in the Rugby World Cup)
The pub is called The Prince of Tek and it was full of both Irish and Aussies.
I had the Wallabies Jersey on!
Anyway I can't believe they nearly lost but it was quite exciting.
Then I caught the Tube to Notting Hill and went to the Makets on Portobello Road...heaps and heaps to see and lots and lots of walking
I didn't need any of it though - lots of antique stuff and some lovely coats.
I did buy a backpack and a new handbag because that brown thing was giving me a sore back from carrying it across my body.
I brought a backpack for the weekends and a the handbag for work.
It does not have a shoulder strap so I have to carry it in my hand so hopefully I won't get a sore back from now on.
I also brought some thermal underwear that was really cheap and a t-shirt.
Nothing flash and no photos because it was just markets and nothing too exciting.
Then I caught the Tube to Harrods
That place was packed!
It was a full of tourists and full of people I think that were trying pretty hard.
There was a line up for the restuarant in the place!
Just go to McDonalds!
I did however quite enjoy the Chocolate Shop there, it was huge - didn't buy anything because I didn't think I would be able to stop.
I have started to put together a bit of a 'present parcel' to send back hopefully in time for Christmas so I did buy something there.
Last night I went and looked at a room in a house.
It was awful - I walked out of the tube station thinking what a nice area but then had to keep walking and I definately don't want to live around there.
The place was just as bad...you could barely turn around in the kitchen and it smelt funny!
The people were really nice though but that still wouldn't work for me.
I think it is going to take me ages to find a good place.
David Barron suggested south of the river so I have been looking around there.
I went and saw another place today and it was fantastic - they have had about 7 people to look at the room so who knows how I will go.
The room isn't very big but the rest of the house is great - huge kitchen, dining, lounge, bathroom...I would really like that place.
It is in Clapham which is quite close to where I will be working and a lovely area.
Fingers crossed I guess...
Anyway, I am about to check the net for a few more places and see what I come up with.
I was talking to a Japanese lady in the hostel today and when she heard of my dilemma she said to got to the Japanese Centre and check their notice board because Japanese people like to be clean and tidy.
Not a bad idea...that is near Picadilly Circus so I might check that out.
The place I have been looking for rooms is www.gumtree.com - check it out if you want.
Sunday 2nd November 2003
House hunting is awful.
I think that I am going to move to another hostel and stay there.
It is just 84pounds for each week including breakfast,
and I am going to get a call today if a two bed room is available starting tomorrow.
It has an ensuite and no bunk beds.
Some of the places I have looked at are awful for the same price plus bills.
Here everything is done - no electricity costs and that sort of thing and I will meet a lot of people in a hostel...
Bout to go and have some lunch now.
Monday 3rd November 2003
How are you all?
I hope you are good.
Work todray was really good
I was five minutes late due to getting off the train at the sort of wrong stop - was further to go to connect to the next train than a stop earlier!
Oh well will know for tomorrow.
Everyone was really nice and I am working with two Australian girls and and Welsh guy - I have worked those accents out so far.
I will be doing typing for about seven people.
Holy Crap but - someone else does all the filing and mail folding so it looks like I will just be typing but it is a friendly place.
The office is in the docks area and looks over the Thames...quite nice!
I do find it quite strange that when I left the office at 5.00pm it was dark
Moved into a new hostel today
It is called the Nefern Hotel and is £84 a week including breakfast
Probably stay there for a while now.
I am in a two bed room and it has an ensuite and no bunk beds.
Better than the YHA which was four beds with bunks and no bathroom in the room.
The girl in my room has been there for four months and I think she is French.
I haven't actually met her yet.
But it feels good to be kind of settled.
I like being in Earls Court
There is the tube close by and pubs and supermarkets and it is quite busy most of the time
I am also sitting in that really cheap internet cafe at the moment which is handy too.
Miss you all heaps!
Anyway - things probably won't be quite so exciting now I am working and the holidaying has finished for a while but I will keep you up to date on what is going on.
Remember Manchester next weekend for the First Rugby League Test!
I decided to use some of my birthday money (that is still in the plastic) to stay in a hotel in Manchester instead of a hostel...why not treat myself - it will be my birthday!
......and another note on Monday
The name of the firm the agency sent me to is Blake Turner & Co.
But...I am working for a company called Technical Claims Management - not quite sure how it all fits together.
Tuesday 4th November 2003
Things just feel normal now, not strange at all..
I brought some stuff to take to lunch every day (but forgot it today).
They have cafes near the office so it was okay.
There is room for groceries but I will have to buy most perishable stuff each day because the fridges are pretty chockers.
I would buy meat every day and probably veges too.
They have cupboards for non-perishables but they are pretty packed too so I will probably keep pasta and tins of tuna and stuff in my room.
If I buy a few veges and some meat on my way home each night it won't be a problem.
The shops have heaps of packaged salads and stir frys like they do at home.
I am in the same area and even closer to the Tube station.
I haven't caught a bus yet cause I quite like the Tube and it is easy and there is no traffic.
A weekly travel pass costs 19 pounds and 70 pence and I can travel anywhere in Zone 1 and 2 all day for seven days - you will see these areas on the Tube map that I sent you
I have no idea how far it is from home to work but it takes about an hour.
The thing with typing for all of those people is that I just type...I don't have to photocopy any enclosures and I don't even get the letters back to fold.
It is quite good and my typing speed will go way up!
Remember I am not sleeping outside and there is a central heating in the hostel and most times I am in a t-shirt and jeans.
I sleep in shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt.
I was waking up sweating in my pjs - not at all what I expected!
The beanie idea is right though...it is the extremities of your body that loose heat so socks and gloves are also good!
......and another note on Tuesday
Not a lot to say today.
Went down the 73 stairs to the kitchen for breakfast.
Climbed back up the 73 stairs to the room.
Put the face on.
Went down the 61 stairs to the front door and went to the Tube station.
Got off at the right station and changed to the Docklands Light Rail system and caught another train to Crossharbour and London Arena station - you will see these on the tube map
Walked about 79.5 seconds to work.
Left work at about 5.15pm in the dark!
Caught the trains in reverse back to Earls Court.
Walked the 3 minutes to the hostel and climbed the 61 stairs to my room.
Had a chat with Linda - room mate.
Went back down 61 stairs to go out to the internet cafe.
Read and repsonded to emails.
Now going to the supermarket to buy some veges and back to the hostel for dinner and might even watch some telly in the lounge.
Can't imagine much will change now that I am working.
The weekends might be a bit more interesting though cause I still have a few sights to see around London.
Anyway I am going...I have been here for an hour.
Wednesday 5th November 2003
Another not very exciting day!
Just work...and home...
Took some photos of the room in the hostel last night
and some shots from around the office too.
Will send those probably after the weekend with the footy photos as it is expensive to get them downloaded more often than that.
Dad will probably end up with a full mail box but I will just keep a track of what comes back as ususal!
It is Guy Fawkes night tonight and all I can hear is firecrackers popping off all over the place.
They are having a few big displays but fireworks aren't exactly my thing.
I saw a few as I left work.
The scary thing is they sell fireworks in Pound Stores (like our Overflow and Crazy Clarkes) and newsagents.
I am a bit scared about the quality of those sorts of crackers.
Can't imagine they have the most stringent safety policies for £1.
Also you can buy them if you are a kid - they were talking at work today about how they shoot them at passing cyclists and animals!
Terrible...I might just stay home.
Mum - I had a vege chow mein stirfry for dinner last night and there are leftovers for tomorrow night.
In the shop they had the packet on special for 89p.
Veges, noodles and sauce so I brought some mushrooms and turkey breast and made a big stirfry - HAPPY?
Anyway...off to make some dinner now...
Talk to you all later.
Thursday 6th November 2003
Wasn't much different to yesterday.
Last night seriously sounded like we were in a war zone...the crackers just kept firing.
At one point we were in the TV lounge which is by the front door and the went off right on top of us.
We all ran outside to get a look but by the time we got out there all that was left was smoke!
And none of us had coats on so it was pretty damm cold!
I got told today that my job is for a two month minimum which will take me to Christmas at least.
I was thinking (and spoke with some girls from work today about this) of going to Scotland for New Years or Hogmanay as it is called.
It is an idea...most of them are staying around here for Christmas and heading up with tour groups.
She is going to let me know the name of her tour and I will call to see how booked up it is.
I could be too late!
Anyway...off to get some dinner and plop in front of the telly!
Friday 7th November 2003
Finished my last day of my first week and jumped on the train home and changed and came straight to the internet cafe - as usual!
When I was leaving work today I was told that they were very impressed with me so far.
I mentioned Scotland for Hogmanay which would mean I would need two days off work and Shani said that it shouldn't be a problem.
I will confirm on Monday and then book it.
The company hires a train so the only people on it are backpacker travellers
They have a Marquee party that celebrates NZ, AUS and SA New Years when it is the right time.
I would be away for three nights.
How exciting...I will be in Scotland for New Years!
Seriously, who would've thought!
Not going to do much tonight except dinner and pack because my bus leaves at 8.00am in the morning to go to Manchester.
I get in at about midday and will hopefully have some time for shopping.
I am going to need a really warm coat for Scotland in December!
How exciting...I will be watching my first Rugby League International at Wigan tomorow!
Seriously, who would've thought!
Anyway...that is about it.
If I am not too stuffed on Sunday night I will write other it will be Monday after work!
Hope you are all well...have a good weekend.
Saturday 8th to Monday 10th November 2003
Well I have told you the story of the weekend but I better type it all out for Dad to upload!
I left home at about 6.45am Saturday morning after a quick (and early) breakfast.
Caught the bus up to Manchester.
The bus left at 8.00am and after we arrived and I walked to the hotel it was about 1.15pm.
I wore my Wallabies jersey because the game was on that day.
After being told that I couldn't check in until two I was standing there and a guy came up and said "Are you going to the game tonight?".
I said that I was but I was having a drama because I didn't know how I was getting there yet and I couldn't check in and I was a bit rushed.
He said that I should come up to the game with them.
I said "Who are you?"
He said "The Australian Legends League Team"
I said that I needed a shower before we left because I had just got off the bus and I couldn't cause I didn't have a room yet.
He took me to his room and left his key and told me to come down to the restaurant when I was ready - he gave me thirty minutes.
After I was ready I went down stairs and went up to the group and there was Trevor Gillmeister, Jason Heatherington and Andrew Farrar plus a few I recognised but didn't know their names.
I couldn't believe it!
Anyway they gave me a bourbon and asked me what was going on.
Why was I in Manchester by myself etc.
Had quite a good chat - Gilly was very pleased I was a Queenslander!
Got on the bus and headed to Wigan which is where the stadium is at about 2.00pm.
We got there and the boys tickets were collected and then we went over to a pub near the stadim for a few hours because the game didn't start until 6.15pm.
We had a couple of beers and Steve, the guy who I spoke to in reception asked me for my ticket and he went and swapped it so I was able to sit with them all for the game and not by myself!
I told them that I was going to be a big groupie and yell and scream because I have never been to game before.
I had my Aussie t-shirt on, my scarf and my flag - didn't need the hat because it wasn't too cold.
The stadium was amazing!
The grass was so green and there were so many people...but you could actually see heaps!
Anyway they played the anthems and I sung loudly but not as loudly as the Poms!
During the game they sung "Come on Britain, come on Britain, come on Britain" and they were so loud.
There wasn't much that I could do to counter it but things got loud on our side after the first tackle when Morely was sent off and then again after the stink because that was on our side of the field.
It was a great finish and I am very glad that we won!
After the game we walked to a pub -the Walkabout.
The same one I went to when I met the Kangaroos...they have them all over the place.
We got in line waiting to get in and I was standing next to Gilly.
The windows were glass and all the Aussies the inside were banging on the windows calling out to him and then when we were inside people were just walking up shaking their hands and telling them how great they are - it was pretty funny.
They didn't seem to mind.
Anyway when it was midnight Andrew Farrar and Gilly came up behind me and picked me up and threw me in the air about four times!
That was a bit scary...then they all gave me a kiss and bought me drinks!
I seriously had a really good time!
I can't believe after going up there by myself what I ended up doing.
After waiting about an hour for a taxi in the cold we got back to Manchester and brought Chinese.
My room had a lounge in it with about three couches so we all piiled in there and ate and watched wrestling until I kicked them all out so that I could go to sleep.
The next monring and I went and thanked Steve for the previous day and they got my number so I might hear from them when they get to London tomorrow.
They all had to play yesterday and the ones I ran into in the morning looked pretty seedy!
The bus trip home was really really long and I pretty much just went to bed after I unpacked.
Thanx for the birthday card!
That was nice too!
It was nice talking on Sunday - Mum do you cry every time you talk to Brett when he is away?
Anyway, time to go to home now I'm hungry and still a bit tired.