Trip Start May 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, October 25, 2010

It was confirmed during the week that I really do have the best seat in the house.  There's a ship called the HMS Belfast that is permanently moored on the Thames, and from my desk at work, all I need to do is tilt my head to the left and look past my computer screen and I can see it.  I was watching Daybreak one morning getting ready for work.  As a side note, Daybreak has nothing on Today with Carl, Lisa, and the best roving weatherman, Stevie J.  Anyway, one of the presenters on Daybreak announced that Prince Charles would be visiting the Belfast for an on-board event later that morning.  So I adjusted my chair so that I could get an easy view of the Belfast.  To be fair, I did have to stand up and use binoculars to get a glimpse of the Prince, but I saw him.  I thought he was much shorter in real life and balder than I'd realised.  I was assured by my co-workers that he is indeed balder and shorter than he appears.  (I'm dying to make a joke about someone here, but for my own good, I will refrain - you know who you are!)  The problem with this royal sighting became evident when I was reading the paper on the train home that night though.  The report in the paper about the Belfast event told of the presence of Prince Phillip, but zero mention of Prince Charles.  "Hmmmm," I thought, "no wonder he was balder than I thought".  It was a little upsetting because I had to retract my proclamation that I'd seen Prince Charles.  But I'd seen a prince nonetheless, so it still counts.  

Number of famous people I've seen since I've been here:  3

Stupidity ruined my day on Tuesday.  I was wandering around my bedroom putting clothes away and just generally dithering, and in the process stepped over the power cord attached to my laptop numerous times, all the while saying to myself "if you don't move that cord you will trip over it and break your computer".  I didn't move the cord.  I did trip over the cord.  The laptop fell to the ground as I was still looking at the cord.  I shook my head and scolded myself with an "I told you so", and picked up the computer with its smashed screen and spent the rest of the night reading my insurance policies and feeling sorry for myself.  Why do we do it?  Why do we not listen to ourselves and stop things like this happening when we know better.  It's like the time I scraped my new car along the fence because I was too lazy to wipe the ice from the rear-view mirrors and stubbornly reversed out the dicky driveway blindly.  I warned myself, "you know if you can't see the mirrors you will hit the fence".  No worries.  Clutch in, reverse gear, out we go... crunch, f*ck!  It's frustrating because then you spend the rest of the day kicking yourself for something that could've been so easily avoided.  Well, in the case of the car crunch that may not have been avoided - I'm hopeless at reversing and there's a fair chance I would've hit the fence anyway.  But taking risks with items that are expensive to repair and/or replace is just insane - 160 later and I'll have a new screen.  Awesome.  From now on I undertake to heed my own warnings and avoid accidents like these.  Stupidity will not ruin my day again.  

I was baffled when my job saw me wrapping pass-the-parcel parcels for a work team event during the week.  While I believe I may have been a gift wrapper in a previous life (because I'm so good at it, amongst other things), I pondered for a little while over some of the strange things I've been asked to do at work over the years.  Guessing how your boss takes their coffee has become an artform.  I've been asked to go to the shop and buy dinner for my boss, something they can take home and heat up when they get home.  My choice.  And, incidentally, it was the wrong choice.  I've been asked to take taxis all over the city to deliver briefs and take things to clients' cars.  Not too crazy.  But wrapping pass-the-parcel parcels is definitely something that I didn't expect to be paid to do.  But at least when people ask "what does a legal secretary do?", I can say "I wrap pass-the-parcel parcels, in between trawling the pages of Facebook and scrolling my mouse up and down so as to look busy".  It's a tough gig.  

Lamingtons were again the flavour of the week - I was specifically asked by a colleague to make some more and bring them in to work, because it had "been a while" since I made the last lot.  Not wanting to disappoint, I made my way home and made the lamingtons and let them set overnight to take to work for everyone to devour.  I ran out of coconut at one stage, so I thought what better way to Aussie it up than dip the rest in Milo!  They actually turned out alright, to my surprise, although they were a little sticky by the morning!  Everyone at work (and at home) inhaled the lamingtons and asked me to set a reminder so I could make some more in the near future.  Sorry Mum, I think I may have inadvertently taken over your niche!

Philo (his self-adopted Aussie nickname - apparently Australians put an "o" on the end of everything) was down for the weekend.  On Thursday night we had dinner and a few drinks at the Eagle in Shepherd's Bush, a pub I've passed many times on the bus but never had occasion to visit.  Five drinks, half a chicken and a smashed glass later (it was the 2000th glass in the batch - they're always the dodgy ones apparently) we headed home and opened a bottle of wine.  All night I insisted that I had to work the next day and didn't want to drink too much.  Apparently I did drink too much, and we realised in the morning that we'd left a credit card behind the bar!  Phil had to go and collect it later that day.  

I struggled through work on Friday and was excited when the fire alarm sounded, entertaining the possibility of an early finish, but unfortunately the fire I started in the toilets was quickly extinguished, meaning a finish at about 5pm.  I met Phil after work for a couple of heavy beers and then went home to make some spaghetti and drink wine in front of my tiny tv and tried to stay awake to watch Saw III.  It was so scary that I had to close my eyes.  I wasn't tired.  No.  

On Saturday night we had drinks at home with Nat, Mike, Gemma, Louise and Hamish, followed by a session at the Redback.  Now, I know I've said before that I would be trying in vain to avoid that place, but I think a visit was inevitable given that it's within about a mile of my house.  And Nat and I wanted to demonstrate to Mike and Phil that we are actually not as bogan as they think we are, by letting them be surrounded by Australians and Kiwis and see that while we are crazy, we are not as mad as some of the cut snakes in that joint.  So after a few civilised drinks at my place a group of us made our way down the street to the home of drunken debauchery and reminded ourselves of all the things we loathe bogans for: Jesse's Girl, my most hated song of all time.  Bundy-drinking lads with bad haircuts.  The overuse and abuse of the "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oy Oy Oy" mantra.  The list goes on.  Mike very quickly found out that I am not one to be messed with, and he spent half the night walking around with half a glass of cider soaking through his shirt, a result of some provocation.  Louise was the target of a random guy's affections, and when I realised she was in trouble, motioned to Nat to get in there to help her out.  It was only a matter of 52 seconds and he was on his way, with his tail between his legs and pride wounded.  Nat had done her job and used some finely crafted language to be rid of his unwanted advances.  

I found myself holding someone's coat at one stage, and when no one claimed it, I dumped it on the floor.  I was later informed that it actually belonged to Gemma, so I dutifully picked it up from the ground and continued taking very good care of it.  Until a few minutes later when I noticed it missing from my clutches.  In my brazen state, I decided that I would go on a little walkabout to see whether I could find the elusive coat.  It didn't take long, and it was the gold zipper that gave it away, shining in the arms of a thief.  I approached said thief, and simply stated "that's not your coat is it?", to which the thief cowered "no...".  I gave her one of my death stares when I said "come on then, hand it over", and returned the coat to it's owner, happy to have solved the mystery of the travelling coat.  I'm still not sure how the girl managed to get it out of my possession in the first place.  

Sunday called for rest.  I crawled out of bed at about 12.30 and dropped my boyfriend off at the train station and sent him home to Birmingham.  He later told me that he was held up at customs for people smuggling - unbeknown to him, a little black baby had made her way into his bag sometime between my house and the train station.  She claimed that her name was Leticia, and said that she had a hankering for KFC, having travelled all the way from Germany.  She said that she had lost her friend, Pebbles, on a train near Munich airport.  I suggested he apply for temporary custody of Leticia until he was next in London when we could contact the relevant authorities to re-home her.  I'm told, however, that she is still in Phil's bag, all alone, in the dark, hungry and scared. 

5.16pm - refresh
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