Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Big London Bank Holiday

The last weekend in May is traditionally the start of the summer season in London and it is kicked off with a bank holiday - the second one in the month. Now starts the long haul thru the next few months until August when the next bank holiday occurs on the 28th of August.

Friday began as a lazy day in Portorose Slovenia. The hotel overlooked the Adriatic and only the occasional rumble of passing ferries caused one to stir from restful mid morning slumber.

Breakfast was taken on the terrace in a balmy 22 deg C with the sun shining thru a light haze layer making it even more difficult to do anything other tan sit around and enjoy the dose of solar radiation.

A ride to Ljubljana to catch the light in the afternoon and a few hours were freed up to spend wandering about the city. An interesting blend of old and new and everywhere cyclicists and roller bladers moved about the place. As I will be back again in a week I did not explore too much rather just wanted to get a layout and idea of prices in the pub for the return!

From here delivery back to the UK from Slovenia courtesy of Lufthansa. Efficient as always with only a 30 min layover in Hamburg that required a change of terminal and plane. Slight apprehension that the bags would not make it an then into LHR. Should not have worried as Germanic efficiency ensured that my bags arrived before I was able to clear customs.

I recovered my car from the long term park and headed into Fulham High St to meet some friends who were hosting at the Pitcher and Piano, a couple of pre China departure drinks. Looking forward to hearing about their travels in the new mega economy. Although word on the street is that the Chinese economy is going to soon implode - perhaps cheaper oil and steel prices will once again come our way for a short period of time until the Barons find another valid excuse to put up the price.

Saturday was spent organising my far flung belongings in preparation for packing and shipping back to Godzone. A quiet night in with a good English Indian Curry.

Sunday however was a different story. It was time to relive my early days of being in London and join the faithful at The Church. It is a significant improvement on the old Kings Cross venue and you can even wear normal clothes without worrying about throwing them out as soon as you get home.

The congregation paid homage to the God of Decadence and Alcohol for 3hrs straight and then the service and sermons were over. Time to head out into the daylight blinking like young vampires who have arisen too early and are caught out by the sunlight.

Needless to say the train ride home was a blur as was the walk to the flat, getting onto the bed (not in it) and sleeping till 6am Monday. Monday arrived with a thud - poorly drawn curtains allowed the sun to peek in and penetrate the eyelids in the in escapable way that causes you to get up no matter how bad you feel. 1.5l of water and several panadol later and my head was beginning to feel connected again.

More packing and final boxing ahead of the movers arriving Tuesday morning. A slow day but thankfully 12hrs of sleep was definitely required.

More soon as the week progresses towards departure day on Tursday


Friday, May 26, 2006

A Few Days in Europe

So after the big party weekend I headed to Belgrade, Serbia to meet up with my best friends and see their wee fella who is growing like a proverbial weed, especially in the 34 deg sunshine that Belgrade was experiencing.

How is it possible to leave London at 12 deg C, land in Zurich at 12 Deg C and then land 1 hr later in Belgrade at 34 Deg C. Travel courtesy of Swiss Air - and for an Economy seat / flight it was pretty good. Purchased using some of those millions of airmiles that I seem to have accumulated.

Beware of British Airways - you must book award travel with them at least 7 days in advance not so with United, booked and paid the evening before. Ahh the benefits of a good CRM solution!

Belgrade - this being my third visit I was most happy that it was during summer, unlike the previous two which were in the depths of winter. What a difference sunshine and greenery makes to the place.

Being good entrepreneurs, my friends had managed to get a free dinner from a very nice restaurant in return for writing a review for the local ex-pat magazine. If you ever get to Belgrade then make sure you goto Rustiko - more food than you cold shake a stick at!

The next days were spent in the company of my old employers and in return for the bit of work I did for them I was rewarded with yet more food and a trip to Slovenia to stay by the coast for a day.

On the way to Slovenia we stopped at a fabulous castle and had an amazing lunch. If you are driving through Slovenia on the way to Belgrade then stop at Hotel Otocec - it is very good and apparently the rooms etc are very conducive for a get away.

Back to London today and whatever adventures that brings.

Keep smiling


Monday, May 22, 2006

The Weekend welcome to the UK

The weekend was very welcoming to returning travelers albeit it viewed perhaps a little skewed by the amount of alcohol that was consumed at different parties.

Friday saw the adventure of using public transport again - Thameslink has changed to First Capital Connect but the trains still look the same just with new logo on them. The underground had a number of tube lines down due to engineering works etc etc - those of you who have experienced this phenomena will know what I'm talking about.

Friday nights party was a 40th Birthday held in the city at City Limits bar right by Liverpool street station. The only order of the day was to drink champagne. As famously quoted in Cocktail - "Champagne is perfume going in, sewerage coming out"

The new hours for bar opening make a huge difference in the UK. We were able to stay safe and sound in our new found local until 1am and then the staff kindly called taxis for all the hard core people left over. Emerging into the night there were no large crowds, no hassles and no taxi!

The black cabs have obviously not caught onto the new state of the nation.

Saturday morning was greeted with copious amounts of tea and nurofen. Gingerly moving around for a period of time before heading to the local market to buy some Chav gear for a Chav party on Saturday.

Whats a Chav - well here is the offical word from wikipedia

Chav (pronunciation: /tʃæv/) (also Chavette (female chav), Charv or Charva) is a slang term in wide use throughout the United Kingdom since 2004. It refers to a subcultural stereotype of a person with fashions such as flashy "bling" jewellery, Burberry clothing items and counterfeit designer clothing; an uneducated and uncultured background; a tendency to congregate around places such as fast-food outlets, bus stops, or other shopping areas; and a culture of antisocial behaviour and violence. Chavs often listen to dance/trance, RnB, rap, and hip hop music. Response to the term has ranged from amusement to criticism that it is a new manifestation of classism.

Generally you will know them as Soccer louts and burberry cap wearing shell suiters usually from Essex

The most amazing thing about being a chav - its possible to buy a complete outfit for £20.00

The Chav party was a complete hit - the prodigious amounts of bottles and glass in the morning testamont to a excellent night.

Sunday was a day of puffy eyes and de toxing with Tea and Orange juice and a large dinner of the freshest veges possible - beware as they may contain some GM after all we are in he land of GM and irradiated foods.

So onto the working week. Monday will be a day of inventoring household effects and then Tuesay to Friday will be spent in Serbia helping out a friend with some project work.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Arrival Back into the UK 18 May 2006

So I've returned to he UK ahead of packing up all the household belongings and getting them into the container and on their way across the high seas back to Godzone.

A stroke of luck - my good friends who own a shipping company have agreed to repack everything so now i have some spare time to myself before heading off on the 1st of June to begin the travel adventure around Slovenia and Croatia.

A long ride on ANZ to Ol'Blighty landing at 11am. Returning to the land of sometimes summer, water shortages and no deputy prime minister!

Somehow I missed the fact that the A380 was also in LHR so a missed opportunity I feel. Never mind with the return to good UK news casting I had a minute by minute walk around the aircraft with the crew following the esteemed chancellor

The weather was fine to start with some sunshine and then deteriorated into blustery winds and rain overnight.

The weekend holds promise of some parties but more likely lots of dust and packing tape as the flat is slowly reduced to a series of boxes.

More news as it comes

A challenge for the brain -