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Farewell Sydney, hello UK!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Farewelling London

It's been a year and 9 months since I left Sydney for London, and now I'm packing to go home. It's been unfortunate that I haven't been able to keep this blog up to date, but anyone who knows me hopefully will say that I do reply to emails and endeavour to keep in touch with most people!

There are so many things I will miss about this city. Notably:
  • Not having to wait more than a few minutes for the next tube
  • It hardly rains here. It's true! Since I've been here, there have only been drizzles, and a couple of beautiful snowfalls
  • Heating everywhere during Winter
  • Having 2 or 3 different ways to get to your destination in London via public transport
  • Free and unlimited ATM withdrawals
  • Walking around London - discovering something interesting around every corner. I have been on a tonne of London Walks and it never ceases to amaze me how much there is to learn and see about Londinium
  • Using my credit card for the smallest of purchases. And restaurants allowing you to split the bill amongst a whole table of guests, each person paying with their cards.
  • Borough Markets - gastronomical heaven
  • English parks and gardens. Some of my favourites:

    • Richmond Park - packs of deers and antelopes roam freely

    • Victoria Park - jogging along the canal next to the park on a crisp cool morning with an eery fog over the water.. then entering the lovely green space of the park after surviving the streets of Hackney to get there

    • Hyde Park - rambling, leafy, serene, beautiful, huge park. Hyde Park was my introduction to English parks when I first stayed in Bayswater

  • The awesome friends I've made here and people I've met. They have all been my family away from home.
  • Spending hours in the museums.. I have never been interested in museums until I came to London. My fave is the V&A, with the magnificent Morris & Gambler dining rooms. 2nd on my list is of course the ol' Brit Museum.
  • Just walking.. anytime.. anywhere
  • The Bagel Shop on Brick Lane - open 24hrs, it's better than the Beigel Bakery IMHO!
  • GAP, Uniqlo, Muji

    • Ok.. this list is getting too long...

      I am having farewell drinks, however, not looking forward to being the centre of attention, I'm pleased to be also sharing the event farewelling Gareth who is leaving for Afghanistan with the Brit army. Another friend, Jules is also turning 30, so we'll be celebrating with her too! It's going to be a big one! Luckily I have chosen the venue to be within stumbling distance of home :)

    Monday, December 10, 2007


    Lucky no one had a video camera.. and lucky it was my very last visit to the Tiller Leisure Centre gym. This happened about 3 weeks ago, just before my Egypt trip. I left half my skin on the treadmill when I dazed out during 15min of intense running and accidentally stepped on the side of the machine whilst pounding at 11.6km/hr. What happened next can only be described as hilarious by anyone watching, and grimacing to anyone watching who knew me and felt the pain I was going through. For some reason there was no emergency stop cord on the machine, but I basically fell and spent the longest 10 seconds of my life trying to regain composure whilst the machine was rubbing the skin off my left knee, shin, and forearm.. and then ungraciously dumped me at the foot of the track. The worse thing was the pain afterwards (grazes hurt like hell!), and the time it took for the huge things to heal! (Big bandages are expensive in the UK!)

    Well.. the scabs have finally fallen off.. and I went back to the gym for the first time today. I went on the treadmill for about 8 min, then gave up from post-traumatic stress, and dizziness from not allowing my eyes to leave my feet. It's going to be a long process of healing before I trust myself on this machine again.. but I think if I take it one step at a time I'll get there. *sigh*

    Monday, July 30, 2007

    Relic from WWII

    Something unusual happened on Sat when I was leaving the house. The whole area was cordoned off just outside our apartments and I had to do a detour around the docks to get to the station, they'd also stopped the Docklands Light Rail. Apparently an old torpedo, a relic from WWII was found whilst excavating one of the industrial blocks opposite us (to build more new apartments), and they had to block off the area while they examined it!

    I haven't been able to find any more news about this, but this goes to show you never know what you can find when you go digging about in London...

    Sunday, July 29, 2007

    Ok OK!

    Thanks chilli chocolate-eater and other fans.. you will be surprised that it's late on a Sunday evening and I've remembered to log in and update the blog! (BTW why anyone would eat anything like chocolate with chilli just baffles me.. :P )

    So, surprise surprise I've been busy paddling. You didn't even have to guess, it's Summer, what else would I be doing?? Travelling? Getting into some new sport? Meeting people? Finding someone to have babies with? No! Paddling!

    (don't worry Mum, I am still doing all of the doing the above .. (just whilst paddling))...

    On Wednesday I fly to St Petersburg for the European Club Crew Dragonboat Championships! I get a Great Britain race top, and will get to wear my GB shorts and the GB spray jacket that I swapped with this little unsuspecting junior paddler back in Berlin '05. I even organised the girls' party tops. Whaddya think? (£5 special from Camden Markets!)

    I've also been doing outrigging with OCUK a couple of times, but it's a little difficult with the mega-long paddles they have. The Thames at Chiswick is totally flat, but there are some very strong currents!

    There are quite a few big races coming up. Notably my coach at Thames is organising a paddle across the English Channel.. (aherm yes.. in a dragonboat.. I'm going to invest in a lifejacket methinks!!) We will be racing against the Sisterhood team who apparently Kate Middleton will be paddling with.. That will happen on the August long weekend (25-27th). I'll also be doing the Great River Race again with Thames at the end of September.

    Monday, July 02, 2007

    Dear Frustrated...

    To my dear frustrated blog reader, I am very flattered that you are still visiting this website.. I would probably have given up if I were you. I'm still trying to get used to posting my personal life on a public blog but hopefully will write something interesting up soon. Thanks again!! (PS. I have new photos up at - not much but it's something!)

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Pics from Morocco

    Have been very lazy in putting pics up on my photo website, however have put some favourites from Morocco up on Flickr to share with tour mates.

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    Oi oi oi!

    It's Australia Day on Friday, and all the Aussies at work are already planning on how to deck the office out with a huge Aussie flag and the wearing of THONGS in the office. Now the reason you can't say the word thong here in the UK is that people think you're referring to a G.. so you must say "flip flops". Similarly when you are frustrated you can't say you've "got the sh!ts with _whatever_ or _whoever_" because people will think you have the runs and look at your rather strangely. On the other hand, if someone here greets you with "Hi, you right??".. you must put your fists away because they are somehow actually greeting you with a meaning similar to our customary "Hi how's it goin' Mate?"... and they're not actually trying to start a fight. (Took me a while to get used to that one.. in fact am not sure I still am yet..)

    White Winter..

    After I took the photo below and left my building I was confronted with streets, trees, houses, cars, all covered in inches of snow!! I'd never seen this before in a big city and it was so pretty and brightened up a normally dull Winter day!

    It's now 2pm at work and the sun has come out to warm us up in our frigid air-conditioned office.. I can handle this weather :)


    The view from my apartment this morning!