Hi everyone! Hope you're all well and the cold isn't starting to bite too much (no, scrap that. You can all be cold for a bit.)
I've had a couple of highlights since I last wrote. The biggest one involves the Sex and the City world premiere, but I'll talk about that later, so see if you can figure it out. The other one is the weather! The last two weeks have been glorious. It actually reached 28 degrees on Sunday and most of the other days have been heading that way. I even got a bit sunburnt sitting at a pub. I work on the street up from the Thames and there's a park on the river called Victoria Embankment gardens. I've enjoyed my hour lunch break down there a few times now and it's beautiful. A lot of other people have the same idea, but there's always a park bench or patch of grass that's perfect for a sit and a read. And no playground duty! Work is treating me very nicely. Still lots to learn, but quite straightforward and in a lovely environment. What do I actually do? Bloody good question. There is a job queue that greets me each morning. Between me, James and Jason we start at the top and tackle each one individually. Some days it will be flooded with 30 or 40 jobs; and other times the number struggles to get past three or four. And, yes, I like those averages. A job might be a consultant finding a duplicate record for a candidate that needs to be merged in the system. Or researching a bit about a company before adding it to the database. But there's always something to do and I like being given other little jobs to do, even if's just entering data for a spreadsheet, or buying a going away gift for another employee(my bosses couldn't thank me enough for offering to go shopping in Covent Garden on a Friday afternoon instead of working.)
I've also started walking to work which takes me a very brisk hour. It's a lovely walk, taking me through gorgeous Hyde Park for about half of it, then to Green Park, down Piccadilly, Regent Street, Pall Mall, through Trafalgar Square and onto the Strand (do not pass Go. Do not collect £200.) The walk is great; it's something to do before I sit at a desk all day and another weapon in the fight against the 'Heathrow injection.' I had my first grand stumble on a tube, which everyone must do. I got up too early for my station, nose in a book and staggered for a good two metres before collapsing into the arms of a tall, dark and handsome type. Awfully embarassing, but again, necessary. Simon has already managed to get a bit of a promotion at his work and he's been showing me some great websites he's creating. Our current - and hopefully not long term - bugbear is British Telecom. I will never again have a problem with Telstra or any Australian beauracracy ever again. We have been in our new flat for six weeks now and remain unable to connect our internet, solely because of BT.
The mind boggles at BT; British people have no respect at all for them, they fail to do even the most basic of oh, telecommunications work, and then they charge you for the privilege. We have felt a bit isolated in the communication department and really, really hope we're able to email, skype and just generally find stuff out very soon.
We've still been able to be very social though and have had a really fun couple of weeks, taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Simon and I spent a fantastic wine-sodden afternoon catching up with our very good friend Kelly (from my Earthborn days.) We've also taken in the Natural History Museum, which was very bony, and we plan on hitting a few more this weekend. The museums and galleries are everywhere, they are brilliant and they're free. On the Labour day long weekend, we borrowed Simon's aunty and uncle's car and took a road trip with uni friend Margaret and new friends Matt and Tamara. We left on the Saturday morning and drove to Stratford-upon-Avon, which is a gorgeous town. We'd booked tickets to the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Taming of the Shrew. I've seen RSC productions before and they are always highly creative shows. I really didn't know the play before seeing it (10 Things is the closest I've come.) We were late and missed the first fifteen minutes of the show, but it didn't really matter. It was a much more grim and violent play than I'd expected and I was really intrigued by it. The interpretation was so imaginative and the set was brilliant. After a lovely afternoon sitting in a cafe garden opposite the river, we headed west to Worcester (our flat's namesake.) We were pleasantly surprised by the place; Margaret had only booked it because it was the closest we could get to Stratford. We stayed at a lovely B and B and took a walk along the river (a protected swan sanctuary) to a brilliant bar for a few hours. In the morning we headed west again towards Wales (this is all in a matter of a couple of hours. It's incredible how much distance you can cover.) In the morning we headed to Hay-on-Wye, a gorgeous little town famous for its second-hand bookshops. There were lovely old buildings with nooks and crannies upstairs and downstairs, including a 1983 first edition Witches by Roald Dahl 1983 for fifty quid. There was even an open-air bookshop in a castle yard.
Our B and B in Abergavenny that night was tucked into a mountainside in the Brecon Beacons. After arriving, we heard live music and followed it about 700 metres down the road to a pub called the Drum and Monkey where there was a fantastic group of ageing men rocking out in the carpark. We had a beer alongside a heap of locals; it's fantastic when you find unexpected things like that. Having never been to Cardiff, we decided to head there the next morning. When we only have a few hours in a place, I think it's worth getting on a sightseeing bus to be taken around the city. We were all quite impressed with Cardiff; it was a beautiful day and there were lots of people enjoying Cardiff Bay. The tour guide explained how the city realised in the 80s that they would need to do something with all the dockland areas previously used for coal export. They have done a lovely job of rejuvinating the area with a stunning opera house and cultural area. We also saw where Scott's Antarctic expedition set out from.
Well, you've had enough time to figure out my clues from the start. Give yourself a sticker if you guessed that I went to the Sex and the City world premiere! And by "went", I mean stood outside for an hour and a half to catch sight of the back of Cynthia Nixon's head and Colin from Love Actually. A group of us over here had decided we would all go together, but it wasn't publicised at all. On Monday night when I got home from work, Simon was reading his trashy free tube newspaper and realised the premiere was happening at that very moment. I spent a good twenty minutes ranting about how I'd missed it, until my brilliant husband told me to get dressed, pushed me out the door and we ran to the tube, hoping it wasn't all over. Turns out the actors had done the rounds with photographs and autographs before the movie started. At about 10pm the movie ended and they came out. Simon stood with me the whole time, taking photos and lifting me up in a vain attempt for me to see SJP. The whole exercise was so much fun and totally worth it. Everyone in the crowd was in great spirits and it was seriously thrilling. Probably more thrilling to see the front of their faces, but I'm not complaining.
Another thing I'm not complaining about it the "team building" evening I was treated to last night at my new workplace. All thirty-five or so people in my office were divided into six teams and the evening started with a great scavenger hunt around the Strand, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square. We finished in first place and then waited outside a red telephone box for the phone to ring, with "Mr Pink" speaking in code. It was very cool. We boarded a boat on the Thames at 7pm for a cruise with a murder mystery game for entertainment. The cruise was wonderful and such a special way to see more of London's sights. Everyone dranks lots, had a great laugh and I was able to meet more people from my work. I topped off a very boozy evening with a dance and more drinks at Temple Walkabout, which is the best I've been to so far. I definitely felt team built.
I've been gentle on my seedy self today, enjoying a day at home (the lovely summer weather has already vanished in the space of nine paragraphs.) Thanks again for all the emails and texts these last few weeks. Take care. Love Laura and Simon.