And finally…

Tonight is my last night here in sunny England. Paris was beautiful, yesterday I hugged Robbie Williams at Madame Tussaud’s and last night stayed at Becca!’s house. Today we’re taking it pretty easy and tonight is a final dinner with Becca! and Genna before heading back to Genna’s for packing, etc. Tomorrow I’m in London all day, hanging out with Becca!, Floey, Charlie, Harriet and hopefully Jo as well. A gathering that could be bigger than my arrival will take me to Heathrow tomorrow night.

My jetlag plan is to get a couple of hours’ sleep when we take off from Heathrow and then try to stay awake until we take off from Singapore and sleep Singapore-Sydney. Nothing ever goes to plan, but I feel better for at least having one in my head.

I haven’t got the brain capacity to type up the detail of my last week here and I’m not ready to deal with the reality of leaving here. But I’m very excited to be going home to Dan and the boys and to being back in Enmore and catching up with friends, family, even work! and meeting baby Angus.

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Just quickly

Am back at Genna’s for the night, but we’re up at 4.00am to catch the train to PARIS!

This week has been London, Newark, Newcastle, Edinburgh, York and Newark. But it’s late and I still need to dry my hair and pack before I go to bed and it’s almost 11.00pm.

But in the meantime:

quick update

today was more shopping and a disappointing visit to st paul’s cathedral. no way was i paying £10 to go through the gates and not be able to take photos! genna and i looked around the parts that we could see without paying and promptly left.

We caught a red bus tour thingo around london (open-topped and COLD) before jumping off in time to warm up and head off to see avenue q, which i absolutely adored. i also met genna’s potential boyfriend, george! who i also approve of.

tomorrow is the big internet girl meet up (11 of us in total now) which will go until lunchtime sunday. then i head home with harriet for our trip up to edinburgh on monday morning. internetting will be sporadic but my au mobile seems to be fully functional now (about bloody time you pulled your finger out, vodafone).

the end! today’s post was brought to you by the letter q and definitely not the shift key.

2 weeks to go

Tonight is 2 weeks until I go home, and almost 2 weeks since I got here. So bizarre, time’s going so quickly!

Yesterday Genna and I left the house at 6.00am to get to Avebury for sunrise and what a waste of effort that was. No sun to be seen the entire day and the Avebury rocks are just sititng on the side of the road, seemingly insignificant.

Stonehenge was far more interesting and more like a tourist attraction, even though the stone themselves were much smaller than I thought they would be. I experienced my first audio guide, which was interesting but sucked because I had to hold it to my ear with one hand, meaning I couldn’t keep that hand warm or take photos without putting it down.

That said, to look at those bloody rocks and try to work out how and why it was made, was definitely worth the entry fee.

After Stonehenge we drove over to Bath and wandered around the shops and checked out the Roman Baths (ohmygod amazing) and Bath Abbey (also amazing). Did you know that Phillip Macquarie moved to Bath after being first Governor of  Australia and eventually suicided because of the pain of an Aboriginal spear that couldn’t be removed but couldn’t be buried at Bath Abbey because suicide was a sin back then. He’s buried in some other part of Bath, near a pub, so probably a good place to be!

We stayed at 139 Bath on Wells Road and was a luxurious place to stay. Dinner was also devine at this steak place on the recommendation of the guy running the B&B. I slept like a baby and apparently didn’t even snore!

Today we drove home via Oxford and took a bus tour around the town before checking out the Natural History Museum and the local shops. Oxford really is a University town and it takes a tour of the town to actually realise this.

Drove home through my first snow shower! Needless to say, it was freezing cold.

Bunch of photos from the last couple of days are here.

Tomorrow is the start of 3 days in London, so I should catch up on all my sight seeing.

Happy New Year!

I’m still having some troubles with my AU mobile phone – Vodafone says it’s now to do with NYE congestion (yeah, right). So apologies if you’ve received a text from me about 20 times, as I suspect it may have happened to (especially you, Natty!). I’m anxiously waiting for news on Julie and Scotty’s newest arrival, which should happen any hour now.

It’s taken me about 2 days to write this, and not because I’ve been out socialising or sightseeing. I’ve been relaxing and taking it easy since I realised that it’ll be almost non-stop for the rest of my time here – hold on tight, rah!

I’ve uploaded another batch of photos to flickr – click here to see them. Since the last episode:

Saturday 29th
Genna and I trained it in to London to queue up at Leicester Square’s TKTS booth for cheap tix to RENT. I had a wander around and checked out the palm prints laid in the square – Arnie, Colin Firth and Omar Sheriff. It was cold and mostly pleasant, but the security/terrrism sirens decided to malfunction and let out this annoying wailing sound AND IT REALLY WAS ANNOYING. It was still going after we’d bought our tickets, so a good 45 minutes later.

Then we tubed it towards the Natural History Museum and geeked it up around all the stuffed animals. Through Genna’s awesome tight-arse skilling, we managed to get 2-for-1 entry to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, which was completely amazing.
This was our favourite pic
. the building itself is also pretty spectacular, complete with themed gargoyles (dinosaurs and whatnot).

We’d planned to go to the Science Museum, but we changed our minds because of the massive queues and we knew that Becca would hold it against us if we went without her.

We hiked it to Harrod’s and OH MY GOD how extravagant can one shop be?! I made a point of not going to see the Diana and Dodi memorial but we grabbed lunch from the food hall before gawking at the overpriced souveniers in the Harrod’s gift shop. The best part was the opera singing pizza chef, who decided to start serenading one of the workers while we were walking past.

We hopped on another tube and got off at Westminster so I could go back to the Westminster Abbey gift shop and buy one of the Westminster gargoyles that I’d eyed off when we were there last. Genna bought us a tickets for a ride down the Thames and the commentary was very typical British humour and well worth the price with yet another 2-for-1 offer. Bargain! We travelled up to Tower of London as sunset was starting so the long shadows made for a beautiful sight.

Tower of London is much bigger than I thought it would be and I found it hard to realise how old everything was. We checked out the crown jewels and I was v impressed with the moving walkway method to keep crowds moving. The views of Tower Bridge were beautiful and one of my fave photos of the day.

By the time we finished at Tower of London it was cold and dark and time for us to make our way to Covent Garden for dinner and to see RENT. Walking through Covent Garden at night was completely hectic, but very pretty. Lots of stalls selling things I couldn’t afford and buskers vying for our attention. We ate at Bella Italia, a nice chain restaurant with VERY nice garlic bread. It was so nice to finally sit down long enough to give our feet a rest.

My belief that all West End theatres are nice and retro was long forgotten as soon as I went to the bathroom at the Duke of York’s theatre. What a horrible, tiny place. Then I got to marvel at the bad sound set up in the theatre itself before being shocked beyond belief by the production itself. RENT being one of my all-time favourite musicals meant I was looking forward to seeing the show, even though I knew that this production was very different. Well, different didn’t begin to describe it adequately but it was interesting to see a new interpretation by the same guy who’s worked with Kylie on her styling for the last million years. Kylie’s voice even featured in parts of the show. I hate to admit it, but the whole experience made me want to watch the movie version again.

Sunday 30th
Sunday started with driving into London to go shopping on Oxford Street with Genna and Claudia. I managed to by a swag of souveniers and a new carry-on suitcase for my trip home while the girls went and spent up at Selfridges. We made our way to Covent Garden to have another look at the markets (and were treated to the sight of a guy wearing nothing but gold hotpants on a unicycle) and ate a late lunch at this restaurant were the waiters dressed like monks.

We finally got home through the London traffic and managed to convince Becca to come over a day early for our NYE fun. We played Singstar and discovered that we were all pretty amateur, really.

Monday 31st
A biiiiiiiiiiiig sleep in and bumming around the house until midday, Genna eventually got me and Genna out of the house and to Sainsbury’s for some grocery and clothes shopping at Next and Monsoon. Genna cooked us delicious pasta bake and we watched TV and movies and played some guitar hero until midnight and watched the London fireworks on TV. Not to slag of the fireworks here, but it made me appreciate the Sydney fireworks that much more. NYE TV here is freaking awesome, though, and we very much enjoyed spotting David Tennant (current Dr Who) and his sideburns on the Jools Holland special. Being the hardest of the hardcore, I was in bed just after 1.00am. Party animal central!

Tuesday 1st
A nice big sleep in and another round of Guitar Hero before Becca went home after lunchtime. Genna and I didn’t get dressed until we thought we were going out for dinner with her new love interest, until plans were made for Friday instead. We watched movies and TV in bed (I’m now in love with Top Gear) and are now getting ready for our overnight road trip that starts at 6am tomorrow.

Tomorrow we drive to Avebury, Stonehenge and then to Bath for our overnight stay, then on Thursday morning back home via Oxford.  Friday I’ve got a free day in London before going to see Avenue Q with Genna and love-interest George.

Saturday starts my big weekend with my girls – there will be 13 of us in total – 2 from Sweden and 1 from Wales and will no doubt be the highlight of the trip. We haven’t been organised enough to work out what we’ll actually do when we’re together, but sounds like alcohol will be a big part of it. London, you have been warned!!

Miss everyone back home, hope you’re doing well!!

Stupid Vodafone

So my Aussie mobile has been up the spout since Christmas Eve. I was blaming it on Newark since it seemed to go fruity once I’d arrived. 6 days later I decided to call Vodafone AU and encountered a woman with the personality of a wet rag (it WAS 6am, Sydney time) who told me that all of international roaming is stuffed and they don’t know what’s caused it and they don’t know when it’ll be fixed. WONDERFUL. So any texts you may have sent me since Christmas morning (Sydney time) might not reach me until next week at the rate Vodafone is going.

Today Genna and I are going back into London and will hopefully score cheap tickets to Rent. My first West End show!

More photos uploaded

Christmas photos here:

Lincoln photos here:

Newark photos here: