Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We got it!

As of Saturday, we'll officially be Southsiders. We're moving into a brand new (!!) 1 bedroom flat (yes, our very own place!) in Deptford High Street. It's nice and light and clean and did I mention new, it has a gas stove and oven, a very large living area (by London standards), real wood floors, and a heated towel rail. It also has a fridge/freezer the size of a large book, a tiny bedroom and next to no storage.

We'd heard mixed reports about Deptford before we started house hunting - some people very positive, some less so. It's quite close to town and sits in between two very nice areas, Canada Water and Greenwich. Deptford itself is now touted as 'up and coming'. Picture Fortitude Valley ten years ago and you're not too far off: it's a bit dirty with lots of good features, not least of which is the proximity to town and the Docklands, where I'll be working as of Monday. Oh yes, it's been a week of change. The move will shave off around 40 minutes from Vaughn's commute on the days he's working Way The Hell East Side (also known as Barking), and I'm hoping the extra 20 minutes ride to work for me will make me super trim and fit (not just lazy and bus-catching).

In the meantime, my nestiness has stepped up a notch. I'm Ikea-ing, Argos-ing and eBay-ing fit to bust. There's furniture and saucepans and glasses and cushions and, well, almost everything to be bought. And once we move in I'll be able to start up a mini garden, with herbs and flowers in pots. And bonsai, of course. It'll be great.

Now to find that winning lotto ticket...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Trying my patience... and a lovely weekend

Today I've been going crazy. Crazy about houses. Crazy about jobs. Crazy about everything.

I've been trying to be patient, calm, nice to the rental agency, but enough is enough. How can it possibly take TWO AND A HALF WEEKS to decide whether or not to approve a tenancy application? Really, I want to know. It's been two weeks now since we put in the application, which we were told would take a few days at most to be decided on, and we're now told probably Thursday. Thursday! We're supposed to be moving on Saturday!

Further to the Brits Do Everything Slowly theme, on Friday I got a job offer for a position I applied for about 7 weeks ago. A few months ago I would have leapt for joy at this offer - the pay is good, the people are nice, it's in a good locality in spectacular offices, there would be international travel, I'd be working on something technically interesting. It all sounds pretty good. But it's not law.

They say that moving house and changing jobs are two of the most stressful things you will do in life. So why, oh why, am I doing them both at once YET AGAIN? You'd think I'd have learnt from get-married-quit-job-move-overseas-March. But no. Turns out I'm just not that clever.

On a more positive note, we had a really lovely weekend, with not one but two birthday parties! Friday night we shook (or at least wobbled precariously) our roller-thang at Canvas, where Madonna filmed her 'Sorry' clip, which left us with slightly bruised egos if not knees. It was tremendous fun - and some of the costumes were amazing! It's about the only time I can remember thinking that 80s get up looked cool. Somehow the crazy bright colours and shapes of the clothes really suited the roller-disco. If I remember, I'll post some photos laters.

Saturday and birthday number two took us to Greenwich, one of my favourite places in London, to celebrate with old and new friends and to sample some (lots) of S's wonderful cooking. It was a really nice day, and we met some lovely people. On Sunday when we were making up the invite list to our looming housewarming party, we were delighted to find lots of people on the list. It seems we've made some friends :)

All in all it was a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Back in the swing

Or at least the choir.

Last night I joined the Christmas choir at work. It's been a while since I've done any real singing: there were no groups I wanted to sing with in Canberra, and the very small attempt I made to get in contact with a choir here didn't work. And I wasn't really expecting this work choir to count as 'real' singing - you know, jingle bells and white Christmas and the like - but the music is lovely. We're singing a couple of French pieces (I love French songs), a couple of Latin pieces, an Old Spanish piece and a couple of English language pieces (one of them is the biggest piece of American schmulz you'll ever hear). And I'm singing soprano, which I was feeling both eager and trepidatious about. But it turns out I needn't have been worried, and it was all tremendous fun. The music was gorgeous, the people lovely and very friendly, and it was great to be singing again.

The other thing that struck me during the rehearsal it how much more sense these christmas carols make in this climate. The music is beautiful no matter where you are, but the songs just feel different here - they fit with the mood and the weather.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Waiting... waiting...

I freely admit that patience has never been one of my virtues. When the timing of something is beyond my control I usually try to fill in the time by planning whatever it is in minute detail. But after several days of this I've already chosen furniture and layout of the flat and have mentally moved in (which, of couse, means I've mentally moved out of our current place - much nicer since it should mean I don't have to clean when we actually do move - afterall, I don't live there anymore). If we don't get it I just don't know what I'll do!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


After a nerve-racking few hours, we have come to an agreement with the landlord and put down a deposit. They've agreed to our proposed move in date and to kittens, and we didn't even need to sweeten the deal with the extra deposit and longer lease we were prepared to offer. Tomorrow we put in the formal application and hopefully I can report back in the next couple of days. Assuming all goes well, we'll be moving in on the 25th of November.

Oh, the suspense!

Vaughn is in negotiations with a real estate agent / landlord over a unit we saw the other night and the suspense is killing me! The big hurdle (kittens) has been crossed: apparently they're fine with that. Now we're (they're) discussing furniture.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Changing of the seasons

It's suddenly quite a bit colder here in London. The leaves are well and truly falling, and with British Summer Time having ended over the weekend it feels much darker, much earlier. Winter is definitely on its way. As is Guy Fawkes Night.

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,'twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys,
God save the King! Hip hip hoorah!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah! Hip hip hoorah!

Not surprisingly, the final verse in this rhyme is usually left out. I'm not crazy about all of the Pope's beliefs, but I can't say I feel the need to burn him in a tub of tar.