Working, Drinking, Eating, Entertaining and Sleeping - and Not Necessarily in that Order!
07.04.2008 10 °C
Hello again, before I begin, I just have to say that it is actually snowing in London here today! Yes, snowing, with big flakes settling on to the ground - 2 days ago we had the warmest day ever for this time of year - 18oC - we thought summer was here - not to be after today!
Due to public demand, we are renewing the blog! We were wondering if the entries were really of interest, however we have learned during the absence of reviews, that you are wanting to know how the Houghtons are getting on in the Land of Hope and Glory.
Our last blog entered in November described how Noel lost his passport, and our amazing trip to Dubai. That whole chapter in our lives seems so distant as we have been kept busy here in Fulham ever since ....
We relished the Yuletide Season here, the English certainly celebrate Christmas very well indeed. We spent many a cold dark afternoon wandering the streets, markets, department stores and parks of London which exhibited their Christmas wares and wonders to all and sundry. We spent an enjoyable evening watching the ice skaters on London's largest open air ice rink in Hyde Park, one of many rinks set up over London especially for the Christmas season, and in awe of the spectacular "Winter Wonderland" which featured an authentic German Christmas market (and it really was, it had all sorts of German food, ornaments, candles, furs, ornate Xmas decorations), a tobaggan slide, bungy dome, helter skelter, carol singers, and we were greeted everywhere we walked by Santa bearing glasses of warm Mulled Wine (a spicy warm red wine with cinammon). I am attaching photos of Regent and Oxford Street Christmas lights, a truly spectacular vision, I haven't quite seen anything like the enormity and splendour of the Christmas lights, decorations, trees, etc etc
Our Christmas was spent in the Fool em Flat huddled in front of the tv as Noel got very sick with an aggressive flu. No alcholol passed his lips for two weeks (even past New Years) so a very sobering and pretty dismal time really. Fulham really quietened out over this time however, the streets were deserted and very little activity around, even public transport was restricted most days - the poms certainly enjoy their public holidays - everyone escapes to the country for Xmas!
As to work - well we are both quite exhausted really! I am employed as a Lettings Negotiator in Parsons Green, I walk to work, and our office is situated right next to the underground station, so I am enjoying "people watching" from my desk. It's a busy footpath indeed, and the flow of pedestrians continues all day and night. Never quiet. I am involved with advertising properties to rent, screening applicants, taking viewings, processing offers and paperwork, and setting up on the computer. I have learned to download, upload, scan, attach, diarise, minimise, use the pdq, and pdf and jpeg and all sorts of wonderful IT stuff, but the monetary rewards are minimal, I seem to do a hell of a lot of work for very little money!
Noel is commuting from Clapham Junction to Waterloo then on the tube to Goodge Street to his office just off Oxford Street, near Tottenham Court Road - takes him 45 minutes. He has had another trip to Dubai since November (his passport was safe and secure this time!), he seems to be working with a good lot of people and is used to the open plan environment where he is surrounded by 70 desks and no windows.
We have had fantastic trips out of London, we have spent many an enjoyable evening with our friend Maria in Burnt Oak where we frequent the best Indian restaurant (and modestly priced too) in Mill Hill Broadway, a fantastic trip to Queen Vic's holiday home Osborne House on the Isle of Wight with our friend Margaret in Bishops Waltham near Wincester, a home made roast dinner with our friends Wanda and Glyn in Godalming, and we have had numerous kiwi visitors at the Fool em Flat, the classic being when Noel's ex workmate Alan arrived for Saturday night, and the Fool em Flat already had Bruce from Auckland using the sofa bed, so where to put our mate Alan ....no spare bed and no spare blankets ....we took the squabs off the couch, bedded him down on the floor of the dining room next to the radiator, and just like Maria in the Sound of Music, we took down the heavy drape in the dining room and used that as a blanket!!! Alan swears he had a comfortable night's sleep and assures us he was warm and cosy on our floor wrapped in a curtain!! Our hotel rating may have lost a ** or two however!!
We have a full itinarary ahead ....our Danish friends Jorgen and Kirsten are arriving for a couple of days at the end of this month, Lois and Nancy from Maine, New York, whom we met on our travels through Italy are here for a week in June, to Ian and Helen's wedding in Preston in May (ex Newmarket neighbours), to Prague for 3 days in May, and we have Def Leppard and Journey concerts to see in London. We saw the Eagles at the magnificent O2 arena (formerly the Dome) what an amazing arena, and a feat of engineering (this is for Emma, Grandad Tom and for other engineers we know!) - its base is 10 times that of St Paul's Cathedral and Nelson's Column could stand beneath its roof. Its canopy is made from 100,000 sq m of teflon coated spun glass fibre and is held by over 70 kms of steel cable rigged to 12 100m masts. It's not just an arena but it includes residential, hotel, offices, retails and a huge entertainment restaurant facility - so many restaurants, so much choice!
We have been to numerous Westend shows including Noel Cowerd's Brief Encounter (set in a rail station just like in the movie) but great special effects, we thought a real train was actually coming through the theatre! The hilarious Alfred Hitchcock The 39 Steps - 4 actors who played over 120 parts - we were in stiches - and we went to the Royal Albert Hall built in 1871 and modelled like a Roman amphitheatre - it is famous for hosting "the Proms" but we were there to see a Classical Symphonic Spectacular - the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing under Laser Lights, fireworks (yes and all set off indoors) with canons (which frightened the hell out of me) to music of the 1812 Overture, Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Brittania - to hoardes of poms waving their Union Jacks (very patriotic indeed), the best being the very moving and goose bump thrilling "Ravel Bolero" the music made more famous by the ice skating duo Torville & Dean (who incidentally are performing here at the moment). What a memorable night - just awesome.
Here are some random photos for you just to show that we are certainly alive and well in this wonderful city of London we are callingl "Home" for now! For those of you lucky enough to be coming over to this part of the world, make your bookings at the Fool em Flat .....the sofa bed is being well and truly used!