Thursday, 25 January 2007

Let it snow!

Nothing like waking up in London to a few inches of snow. Thankfully I have no shame in being foreign and am happy to take photos on my way to work!

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Monday, 22 January 2007

Ew winter has arrived

Today in NZ

Today in London

Thankfully, there are only something like 58 sleeps until warm India...

On a bright note, the coffee shop around the corner passed a second visit over the weekend. If it does three in a row it may go on to enter the London-Coffee-Hall-of-Fame.

Ew winter has arrived

Today in NZ

Today in London

Thankfully, there are only something like 58 sleeps until warm India...

On a bright note, the coffee shop around the corner passed a second visit over the weekend. If it does three in a row it may go on to enter the London-Coffee-Hall-of-Fame.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

A mixed up blog…

Back at work after Christmas this blog is going to be a little mixed up.

I’ve noticed again just how many kiwis there are in London. I was at a pub for a colleague’s leaving drinks and noticed someone with very familiar mannerisms - turns out it was an old friend from high school I’d not seen in about ten years. So, of my class of about 80, and aside from the friends I know are here, there was the guy I bumped into at the All Black game, and the girl I saw randomly in the west end one night - who knows how many other there are out there - maybe 20+… Then don’t even let me start on my profs class, one guy works two streets away, and another lives a couple of blocks away. Is there anyone left in NZ?

On the eternal quest for decent coffee, while Paul was at rugby yesterday (getting a try no less) I went to a café I spied close to the new Arsenal stadium with Fran and Graham. Quite surprisingly the coffee was quite good - perhaps even a 7/10 (Average London coffee is given high praise if it makes a 4/10 - because, by London standards, it is about as good as you are going to get). I can see some newspaper brunches coming up.

Finally, as Paul was really good last year Santa gave him the present of a day trip to Diggerland for Christmas. Today was a lovely (cold) sunny day to dig holes and drive JBCs about the place. The boys were as happy as, err, pigs in mud…

Paul testing one of the little diggers

And now in a big digger

Amy poking her tongue out to think

Haven't driven a car in years... but these things corner like the old Sunny Posted by Picasa

Monday, 1 January 2007

New Year - Rye

After the fantastic time we had last year it seemed like a good idea to again head off to a cottage with the usual suspects. The drive to the Highlands was less appealing so we found the Saltbarn in Rye, Sussex. It had an Aga, a dishwasher and a fireplace so we came up trumps I think!

It was a lazy couple of days where nobody moved too far from the stash of Christmas chocolates and where each person on cooking detail fed us as if we were never going to eat again. We did venture to the beach one day, and each of us was grateful for all the food we’d eaten as I’m sure without it we would’ve been blown away in the gale.

The theme for new year was Bogans, Chavs and Westies, lots of black was worn to celebrate, and the Countdown to the new year was done in kiwi style singing Loyal with Paul playing guitar.

It’s back to work tomorrow and time to do some real research for the next travelling adventure - someone find me a map and a dart…

Christmas Photos

View to the Charles Bridge

Amy keeping warm

Prague Ham

Paul having lunch

Astronomical Clock in the Old Town

Paul & Amy on the Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge at sunset

Christmas in Prague

Prague had always been on the list of places to go since we came over here. We looked at going last Christmas but at the time it made a lot of sense to stay in the UK. It was however something Paul wanted to do before he turned 30 so heading off for Christmas this year seemed like a very good idea.

There are two types of voyages in the world, holiday and travelling. Holidays to us are times where you stay more or less in the same place and take life very slowly, whereas travelling tends to have us in the types of accommodation where you will do anything to move on to the next spot.

Prague was definitely a holiday.

It’s a city that has well defined quarters (five of them…) and we decided that as we had the time we’d do one quarter each day.

The first day was the New Town. Here, but for a small memorial to a student protester, it was impossible to tell that in our lifetime this was a communist country as they had well and truly embraced western commerce. We got ourselves a bit lost in and out of all the side streets and we found several carp sellers. It would seem that once a year the streets fill with guys trying to wrestle the fish, and once caught they would receive a less than fatal dong to the head before being sold as a Christmas delicacy.

The second day consisted of the Little Quarter, a couple of churches and the Castle, oh and the first of many trips over the Charles Bridge, and about a million photos of it. This is a rather touristy bit of the town although that made it very easy to pause and have hot chocolate every time I got too cold to be outside.

We’d seen a lot of walking tours and decided to join a pub walk through the Old Town that night I thought that we’d get told a bit of history and pause between monuments for a local pils. Turned out it was meet at the meeting point and straight to the pub, then to the next for dinner and then to the next. It was still a good night; our guide was a 20 year old male student who, unsurprisingly, enjoyed his job and introduced us to a variety of drinks I would have never been brave enough to try (let alone had any idea how to pronounce).

As the previous night’s Old Town tour was not too detailed Paul and I headed back into the Old Town to look at the Christmas markets (including a lunch stop of BBQ pig, mmmm) before walking through the Jewish Quarter. We also did a little boat cruise. Christmas Eve dinner was in the hotel, and consisted of a lot of fish (which I found surprising for a landlocked country).

Santa managed to find us for Christmas so we were able to open some presents and enjoy lazy breakfast before heading out and about. There was a lot more open on Christmas day than eve, including the Communism Museum (which now classes as one of the stranger places I’ve been on Christmas day). We had Christmas dinner in the Little Quarter and I tried the Christmas carp - something that’s not going to become an annual fixture on my Christmas menu…

Having exhausted the five quarters we went to the park, and Paul made me climb up one of the viewing towers - the cold sweats were worth it though as the views were rather good.

Prague could defiantly be done in less time but it was good to be lazy, nap a bit and come home relaxed, rather than tired.

Pre - Christmas

Here are a couple of photos of Paul and I before we headed off for Christmas. Our little tree had grown quite nicely in a pot on the deck over the year and although it was sparsely decorated it did have the Christmas tiki up the top…