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#05 - Thursday 11th December 2003 to Friday 2nd January 2004

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Thursday 11th to Tuesday 16th December 2003
Just got a call back for my second interview at Capsticks - on Wednesday!
They are probably going to offer me a 12 month contract with an option to renew for the balance of my visa!
It is about fifteen mintues to work and not fifty mintues.
I passed the interview with 'honours',
so I just need to go and meet with the solicitor I will actually be working for.
I haven't got it yet but the Agency seems confident.
And it's a great salary.
Not too shabby at all!
......but the cost of living is higher over here.
See you.
......and another note on Tuesday
It's been a while and it is easier for me to do this from work than the internet cafe
I will give you a bit of a story about the weekend...
Had the day off sick on Thursday and went to my interview late in the afternoon.
Went shopping in the morning - boots, tracky dacks, and a couple long sleeve shirts for work and for play!
The interview was good and as you know I have a call back tomorrow.
After that I went to watch a band with Nathan (Australian) and Damian (Irish)
We caught the tube to Brixton and then the band was on at the Brixton Academy
Nathan had an extra ticket because he couldn't find any more takers so he sold it to scalpers in the street.
I was amazed at how many there were - I reckon about 20 at least buying and selling.
He was offered £5 for it but ended up getting £20 which was what he paid for it.
The band was good fun
Friday I still wasn't feeling 100% so I didn't go to work again.
Not really a problem but I don't get paid which does suck.
I slept a lot and watched movies.
Karen (Australian) got home from work about 9.00pm and we went down to Tescos and got two bottles of red and some blue cheese and camembert cheese and crackers.
We couldn't find plastic wine glasses and we didn't want polystyrene so we bought paper cups that said "Happy Birthday" and drank the wine out of them.
Got joined by people coming and going in the dining room and had quite a good night.
Watched a movie and went to bed.
Got up feeling surprising good after a whole bottle of red!
Had to be at the football in Twickenham by 1pm and so I left at about 11am.
Caught the tube to Waterloo and had to then catch an overland train to Tickenham and then walk to the field.
Had to walk past a field of little kids playing their Saturday morning sport - little kids playing rugby union in muddy fields - they were very very cute.
Got to The Stoop (the name of the field) and watched the Harlequins play a Spanish team
I met Duncan there who is a friend of my boss from MacDonnells.
Got a beer and lined up to have our photo taken with the World Cup!
Took about an hour.
Duncan is on the supporters committee of the Quins
so I got introduced to a lot of people who made lots of comments about me being Australian and that I wasn't to try and steal the Cup
I wouldn't have had much chance anyway...
the four security guards were huge!
Saw one of the England players - Will Greenwood - but only knew who he was because Duncan pointed him out!
Anyway hung around after the game and met some of the players from both teams.
Mum, wait till you see the photo of me and the Spanish No 15 - HOTTY! - and he talked pretty good English but with a great Spanish accent!
Went back to the train station and then to a pub at Parsons Green and met Karen and Jason and Sarah and Ali and Ritchie and Brett and Nathan for a few drinks
Went back to Earls Court because an off-licence (bottle shop) there is open late.
Got some drinks and food and met Damo and Danny there
We went back to the hostel and sat around in one of the rooms ate and drank til quite late

Was a quiet Sunday but I did have a good weekend.
Can't wait to see how the shots of the World Cup turned out.
We have to buy them because all proceeds are for charity.
Duncan is looking after it for me and I will send it as soon as I can.
Now for something I bet Mum doesn't see out her office window!
Just got a call from the office downstairs telling us to have a look out the window.
So we went out on the balcony (with no jackets) and watched a seal playing in the water.
It was so cute and had big brown eyes.
He was swimming around and going backflips and stuff like that.
We thought he might have been a bit lost because he was a long way from the ocean!
Anyway...that is it...see ya!
Wednesday 17th December 2003
Oh no!
I have had a relapse!
Sore throat still and now head is stuffed up again - BUGGER!
But I have a day off tomorrow though (Christmas party) and that should be helpful.
I can sleep in a bit.
Got an appointment at 10.15 to open my bank account (fingers crossed) but other than that the day is mine.
Once again don't get paid though.
Oh well.
I also spoke to Shani (boss) about my relapse and she said that she was sick on and off for months, never really getting rid of it.
Being on the tube and the weather etc there really isn't much you can do about it.
Phone call from Tanya on Friday 19th December 2003
She got a job at Capsticks!!! - more details to follow later
------and a 'Congratulations Card' sent to her
Sunday 21st December 2003
I had a quiet weekend.
I had a relapse of the cold on Friday,
and brought some books from Oxfam (secondhand) and read on the couch in the TV room and watched soccer and rugby union.
I had quite a nice time except I sneezed about seven thousand times on the weekend.
I was quite well looked after...Ben (Australian), Enda (Irish), Maurice (Saffa), Karen (Aussie) made me cups of tea!
Everyone went out Saturday for Xmas drinks but I was really good and stayed home.
Didn't see anyone on Sunday because they didn't get out of bed until after 2.00pm!
I went to the shop and brought tomato and bread,
and had a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, fried mushies and tomatos at about 10.30am
and then I had a big bowl of mashed veges for dinner last night and was in bed by 7.00pm.
I read for ages though and didn't get to sleep until quite late but it was very relaxing.
We have 'Secret Santa' tomorrow and I forgot to get something over the weekend so when I woke up I scanned my room for something to wrap and ended up wrapping a nice packet of tim-tams!
There are a few Aussies here so they won't know who it is from and I am buying for an English guy.
The tim-tams were for Christmas Day so now I will have to get some more.
I also have unopened camembert cheese and Brown Bros Tarrango to have so it will be a little bit like home!
It was zero degress this morning...how nice is that?
Maximum expected of 6...it is pretty funny because I sleep in shorts!
It is still beautiful and clear...it is the winter solstice today...shortest day of the year ... and apparently there is a pagan festival at Stonehenge where they all run around naked!
Definately not for me.
Monday 22nd December 2003 --- Christmas email to her friends
Hi everyone.
This is going to be a group email because I was very slack and did not send a single Christmas card!
What a bad friend I am!
I don't know when some of you will get this either because of holidays over Christmas, etc
but know that I have been thinking of you all over there in the a glorious summer and me over here in the freezing cold.
It was 0 degrees this morning - thank goodness for heaters.
Really, the only time I am cold is when I am outside...which isn't very often!
It is quite bizzare leaving work at 5.00pm and it being pitch dark outside.
I feel like I have done hours of overtime and that it is quite late at night.
It takes about 50 mintues on the Tube to get home from where I work at the moment so I am usually home by about 6.00pm,
then dinner and TV and talking with the 90-odd other people that live in the hotel.
It is not at all exciting - just like home - get up and go to work each day and come home each night have dinner and hit the sack.
I start a new job in the New Year.
Much closer to home and with a very big firm doing clinical law.
The firm acts for our equivalent of Medicare in malpractice cases and that sort of thing.
Will be very interesting and hopefully by the end of January I will have a twelve month contract with an option to extend to the end of my visa.
I am rooming with a really nice French girl called Linda - yes, boys - quite attractive and blond but I guess that doesn't matter with the accent!
It doesn't seem to with most of the boys we live with anyway!
We get on really well.
She is going home over Christmas so I get the place to myself for three nights.
It will be very nice.
She has been at the hotel for about four months and I have been there nearly two.
She has a full time job like me so doesn't come in at all hours during the week and it works well.
It is a room with two beds and an ensuite which isn't exactly what I thought hostel living would be like but I am not complaining - cheap accom, free breakfast and someone else cleans the toilet and bathroom - and a great place to meet people
I had envisaged rows of bunk beds and people snoring!
There is a pub less than a block from where I live called the Richmond.
It does £1 pints on Mondays and Thursday and on each of these nights you can wander in and find at least 10 of the Nevern residents there at any one time!
Often we all go out together - there are quite a few antipodean pubs which we frequent in big groups and always have a good time.
Met some nice Spanish guys on Thursday night...now girls there's a nice accent for you!
I have made some good friends here so far - a lot of them Australian - but a couple of Kiwis and Sth Africans, Linda of course and a few Irish dudes too.
The Irish dudes are seriously crazy!
I will have some photos after Christmas so you can check everyone out.
Christmas Day we are doing lunch at the house.
We are putting £15 in each and buying heaps of food and spending the rest on grog - there will be about 20 of us and I am looking forward to it.
For New Years a group of us are going to see Chemical Brothers. (Scotland is off due to lack of funds caused by orthodontist appointments and short weeks that temps don't get paid for so I will do that another time).
It should be a real blast.
I think of you all lots and definately miss you all a huge amount!
I am having a really good time over here and really can't imagine being anywhere else at the moment.
I am so glad I gave this a go!
I hope that you all have/had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and enjoy the holiday season.
I would love to hear from you all when you get a few seconds.
Lots of love and hugs and misses.
By The Way - I haven't even remotely got an accent yet...I am living with Aussies and working with Aussies and when I hear an English accent it does remind me exactly where I am!
Wednesday 24th December 2003
It is Chrismas Eve and I am in London!
I really can't believe it!
I hope you are having a nice night at home...pottering about watching 'Carols by Candlelight' on the TV.
There is a good feeling about this place today...its Christmas Eve.
It was a bit grey this morning but not too cold at all.
At the DLR station I ran into Charlotte and Jamie and Shani and Nikki from work and we all caught the train together and everyone is a good mood.
We will probably be having an unofficial half day so I don't know what time I will be here until.
We are supposed to work a full day but we will be told we can go early.
Have a nice night...miss you all!
Monday 29th December 2003
(about nine-thirty in the morning)
Its snowing!!!!!!!!!!
It just started....but it quite heavy-ish.
The ground is wet from raining so it can't actually settle.
- but I don't care...its snowing!
How funny is that...just read Dad's email about air conditioning and humidity etc - and it is snowing here!
It is quite cool to be looking out the window at snow!
Tuesday 30th December 2003 --- Her Christmas Day
Righto....here we go.
My Christmas was really good fun
Christmas Eve I knocked off at 1.00pm
and went straight home, grabbed Lesley (my Kiwi friend) and we went to Tescos to buy grog - a carton of beer, a litre bottle of Baileys and some vodka cruisers for about £30.00 - NICE!!
Anyway, I had paid my £15 for lunch and was keen to help get it organised so on Christmas Eve I chopped up bacon and cheese and we started getting things ready.
There were people cooking big pots of chilli and fried rice and making potato salad and pasta salad and the hams were in the oven.
We did all we could and left the green salads and stuff like that for the next day
Then we all headed to
The Prince of Tek we where we proceeded to get ourselves fairly sloshed!
I woke up on Christmas Day without a trace of a hangover (very nice and unexpected!)
and had a shower and got ready and then opened my presents from the folks.
Got a tin of Milo (yum - hot milo, cold milo, milo on ice-cream and milo sandwiches!), some Keen's Curry Powder (much wanted as I can't find anything remotely like it here and I need some tuna mornay!) and a great scarf that mum knitted that matched what I was wearing that day
I then attemped to ring home without much luck to say thanks etc and had to try it about 8 times before I got through.
Had a nice chat to mum - yes, I like the scarf - and then went downstairs for some breakfast.
No-one else had surfaced from the night before yet so I waited in the TV room for Lesley to come down
so we could go for the walk we planned to Hyde Park
We grabbed some hot chips with garlic mayo (that stuff rocks) from the curry shop on the corner and headed off.
It was lovely down there and everyone was really cheery and saying Merry Christmas.
We probably walked for about three hours all up going there and back but it was a nice morning.
We got back and started to get organised - putting tables up and food out and making salads and taking photos and having a few drinks.
It was really fun and everyone was in a great mood and I got heaps of photos.
Then we started eating....there was sooo much food that it was just unbelieveable (
here and here)
We were also able to get 10 bottles of wine and a carton of beer with the kitty so we were very well looked after.
I looked after cleaning the kitchen and made everyone who hadn't helped cook clean and I did a good job too!
The kitchen was spotless and every one did their bit without too much trouble - I guess we were all pretty grateful about the amazing spread put on primarily by Michelle, Karen, Glen and Adam - I will point them out in photos...there are heaps.
We then got comfy in the dining room and sat around having a few drinks.
Kim and Glen who used to live at the hostel came by and told us all to come to a party that they were going to so about 25 of us headed off down the road and round the corner and over a bridge and around a few more corners to the house where the party was.
That was pretty good fun too!
I left to go home at about 11.00pm with Gordo (Aussie) and Roy (mad mad Irishman!) and got home just in time for the cricket - the Boxing Day Test Match stated at midnight our time.
Dad gave me a call because I missed talking to him that morning and he was getting ready for the cricket too.
I watched the first session and then Lennon (the hostel nightwatchman) wanted to watch a movie and I figued as he was not Australian and hadn't complained through the whole time that I would go to bed.
I was pretty stuffed anyway.
Didn't do much Boxing Day either.
Sat up and watched the cricket again on Friday night and got to sleep at about 6.00am on Saturday morning - went to bed after Matty Hayden got his ton!
Slept til about midday and then sat around because it was pretty cold and miserable.
I went out with some girls at work to a pub and then went into Picadilly Circus to a club there.
I left about 1.30am and caught a night bus home (yes, a red double decker!).
Then I stayed up and watched the cricket again on Saturday night with Nathan (Australian guy) and we went to bed at about 9.00am on Sunday morning.
I got up at two and basically just sat around again cause I was so stuffed.
Went to bed about 8.30pm but didn't get to sleep until late and slept through my alarm.
Woke up at 8.00am which is when I am supposed to be on the train!
Rang work and said I would be late and got in 30 mintues late...my boss is really cool and doesn't mind and I just take a short lunch hour and it is all sorted - I finish tomorrow anyway.
It snowed yesterday.
I was so excited and so was everyone else at the office.
When I got home last night everyone was talking about it too.
Last night I was going to stay home but decided to go out with Karen (Aussie girl frojm hostel) and Jason (Aussie guy who used to live in hostel who I met through Karen) for pizza.
There is a great pub in Fullham that does 2-4-1 pizza on Monday nights.
So we got two large ones and scoffed the lot.
One was a chicken fajita with sour cream and guacamole and one was crispy duck with hoisin sauce - both were really really yummy.
We caught the Tube home and got icecream on the way and sat downstairs and talked to Ben who just got back from Christmas in Germany (a white Christmas - how nice!) and Ella and Nathan were down there too so it was a good chat so I didn't get to bed until after 1.00am.
I am still really tired and it all starts again tomorrow with New Years Eve!
Decided not to go to Chemical Bros as being inside for one venue isn't exactly what I want, so a group of us are probably going to have a few drinks at home and then head into London.
The Tubes are running free all night
There is fireworks on the River and stuff happening at Trafalgar Square and if we just then head into Picadilly Circus-Leicester Square-Covent Garden we will be sure to find something to do.
Anyway...that is it...best get back to work now...oh hang on...its lunch time....mmmm....food!
Talk later ... bye.
Friday 2nd January 2004
A friend and I are going ice-skating!
Not sure if I can do it, but "I'll soon find out"!
It is an open-air skating rink like in the movie "Serendipity", and I'll keep an eye out for John Cusack!!
Well, we went, but the ice skating was disappointing.....will explain later in more detail.
My New Years Eve was awesome and I also went to a parade the next day.....have tons of photos which I'll send over soon
Had a big day shopping (Friday)
Spent Brett's Christmas present...got a new jacket...will take a photo for you.
And I am going to look at booking a trip using Mum and Dad's present now.
I am probably going to Bath on the weekend with Amanda (Aussie girl from work) which would be quite cool.
They have weekend/day trips in the TNT Magazine for £14 which is pretty cheap.
They have them to Stonehenge, Windsor, Eton (where William and Harry go to school), Stratford Upon Avon, Leeds Castle
and Cambridge so I might try and do one every second weekend and so.
Also looks like my first overseas trip is going to be Paris - with Amanda too.
We are going to look at going in late January or early February.
Valentine's Day is on a weekend this year so I reckon Valentine's Day in Paris would be cool - would need a boy though - might have to find a nice Frenchman!!