When there’s not much else to do…

Posted in London, Rants And Rambles on March 1st, 2011 by Coffee

You may as well do a puzzle!

Kept us busy for a bit, and brought back a few memories.

Now what?!

Playing tourists

Posted in London, Travel on November 23rd, 2010 by Coffee

We took some time out of our busy schedule the other day to do a bit of sightseeing. St Paul’s Cathedral, to be exact.

Yes, we did live here for over 10 years, and yes, we have sat outside during that time while we’ve waited for guests of ours to make their way back out, but this was our first visit. The difference this time? Free tickets! Always a good reason to go!

And we were suitably impressed. As you can’t help but be. Although for the next 2 days my calves were feeling the effects of clambering up all the stairs to the very top. I’m glad it was in 3 stages. All in one go might have been just a bit much.

Would I pay? Hmmm. Maybe. I think its probably worth it, you know… to erm, pay to walk up all those stairs and to take in the lovely architecture! It really is quite impressive and quite tall. And the whispering gallery actually works. I even had a smile when Bec made me participate in the whispering just so she could say we had done it. And the views from midway and the top were good too… So all in all pretty good, I guess!

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more the tourist here, though!

Bye, Bye London

Posted in London, Rants And Rambles on August 8th, 2010 by Bec

Mike went for one year and I went for two, and over 11 and 10 years respectively later we finally made the break and set sail for NZ. It was odd to be leaving and for months up to the leaving day, I kept saying to Mike, “are we sure we want to go? Are we doing the right thing?” I guess once all our flat and stuff was packed and taken away it really sunk in. So then all that was left was to enjoy our last month in the UK and go about saying bye to the city, and all our friends and workmates. Now that was the hard part.

And leaving London when summer is starting made it hard too (but I blame Mike for the timing of that). London is great in the summer. And we made the most of our final month at work by walking through Green Park to and from Victoria on lovely summer mornings and evenings. As a bonus to keep things interesting there were a number elephants displayed in the park too. There were 250 of them around the city, which were to be auctioned for charity to raise money for the elephants in Malaysia. Luckily we had already packed all our stuff otherwise I may have been tempted to go to the auction myself. They really were quite cool!

And our final weekend before we left we managed a trip to Great Dixter with Rach and Ru. It’s always a nice place to visit and this time we saw it with a number of flowers out (last time we went was in the middle of winter). Although that did mean the tourist riff-raff was allowed to share the space with us too!

So we could finally stop saying “I wonder if this is the last time we’ll….” as it finally definitely was, at least for now!

Bye bye London! We’re going to miss you!

Who are ya! Who are ya! Who are ya!

Posted in London on March 7th, 2010 by Bec

Yesterday Mike managed to get us two tickets to a football game, Arsenal vs. Burnley.  It is only the 2nd football (soccer) game I have been to while living here for 10 years, and this one wasn’t a pre season friendly game, but a deadly serious Premiership match.  We had great seats. Although in the top tier we were in the very first row, so we had a fantastic view of the game. Things were a lot more comfortable after I got over the feeling I should be getting vertigo!

A football match is quite different to a rugby match and it was a bit strange to see the away crowd completely segregated by seating, entrance, rest rooms, food etc.  I understand this is quite normal in football matches due to the tribal nature of the games supporters.  But I still find it very odd.  However, when Mike asked me to go to the bathroom just before half time I was like no way I am watching the away crowd rile the home crowd and then the home crowd retaliate. The away crowd seemed way more vocal than the home crowd and there must’ve only been about 1,500 of them, and the total crowd attendance was 60,043 (to put it in perspective that’s more than the entire population of Nelson or Napier).

It was an exciting match with lots of action, there were so many shots at goal. Arsenal won, but they did make very hard work of it… I am not kidding. They missed so many opportunities! I think they must’ve missed at least 10 easy shots and at least 6 of those were ones that should’ve gone in. Apparently they are currently missing a view strikers due to injury… Or something!

Would I go again?  Yes and next time I would take some more socks and a blankey as it was very cold.


I’m a little bit let down…

Posted in London on January 6th, 2010 by Coffee

Well, we did get a bit of snow last night. But I’m talking just a bit. Dammit!


I did have to go for a walk in to try to find a decent photo (didn’t manage that) and to hear the lovely crunch, crunch, crunch you get walking on fresh snow. I can tell you that it’s definitely cold enough for snow! It was freezing! I had my first taste for a while of the annoyance that is wearing glasses while wanting to cover your mouth and nose with some scarf… Foggy vision, or frostbitten nose? Which is worse?

It is still snowing a little on and off now though. But when I say little I mean 2 flakes every 10 minutes.

I want more!!

Update: 4:30pm

We have indeed had a bit more!


It dumped down from about 3 to 4pm, so I just had to go for another walk. and it was great. Fresh snow to crunch through, and no one around (I like working at home days…). Magic!  Guess we’ll see what tomorrow morning brings…

My Unicycle

Posted in London, Uncategorized on November 7th, 2009 by Bec


Need I say more!

Some F****R stole me bike!

Posted in London, Uncategorized on November 7th, 2009 by Bec

Oh the joys of living in London (I am sure it happens everywhere).

Worst bit is it was in a locked room attached to the apartment, and the bike was locked to the bike stand.  They managed to cut one lock but could not manage to get through the D lock, so I still have a front ‘quick release’ wheel with disc brakes – anyone want to buy a wheel?

When I was completing the online crime report (not that I am expecting anything back but you just do it to make yourself feel better), they ask general questions like, ‘what does the suspect look like’….  I thought of completing it by saying…. a person walking down the street with a silver bike and the front wheel missing!

Now I know how our friend Pete felt when he had a few bikes stolen, but still not sure I know how he felt when someone stole his car!!!

I have a little red teapot

Posted in Food and Drink, London, Rants And Rambles, Uncategorized on October 11th, 2009 by Coffee

And here it is.


I must admit to being slightly surprised that I own a red teapot. It’s not the “red” bit of that statement that is surprising me, it’s the the “teapot” bit.

To be honest, it’s not the first teapot I’ve owned.  I did once have a conical stainless steel one (for all I know I still do have it packed in a box somewhere), but it has been over 10 years since I’ve used one.

Why have I got one? Well oddly enough it’s all to do with coffee really. In this flat we have an espresso/latte coffee maker built into the kitchen. Why? I have no idea. I guess the building company thought it would be a great USP (unique selling point) or something when showing the latte set around the showflat and might get them an extra sale or two. It’s actually more of a pain in the butt more than a good idea. We would much rather have had the space that it takes up as cupboard space to store more goodies, but as it’s there I have been making quite a bit of use of it.

It makes a pretty good espresso type coffee, which is about all I’ve ever used it for. But sometimes it seems like I’m at it’s beck and call, rather than the other way around. It should be so simple. Hit the button that says (helpfully) ‘cafe’ and get a cup of coffee. But no. More often than not it says ‘add beans’, ‘add water’, ’empty trays’, or the dreaded ‘calc’ (which means it needs a deep clean that demands more than half an hour attention and needs some relatively expensive tablets stuffed down it). And sometimes, even when I’ve just emptied all the trays it still says ’empty trays’ until I smack it a bit, then it seems to think about it and grudgingly decides that yes, I can have a coffee after all and belatedly changes its display to ‘cafe’.

Even with all of that grief, and because it does make a reasonable cup of coffee, in the early evening or when working at home I find I tend to wander up to it quite often whenever I’m thirsty (or have some difficult or boring work to do) and hit the ‘cafe’ button, and more often than not drink the coffee (I do, however, often not drink the coffee, as I’ll go back the ‘puter’ and get engrossed fixing the problem that I originally walked away from to get the coffee, and by the time I remember I’ve made a coffee, it’s stone cold…)

Drinking all that strong coffee seems to lead to the usual effects of too much caffeine which in not that relaxing or enjoyable, but is only evidenced a reasonable time after the last cup.

Right, so back to my teapot (as this was about my little red teapot after all)… In order to find an alternative to drinking too much coffee, for some random reason that I could not explain to myself even if you asked me to I seem to have taken up interspersing the coffees with a few cups of Chinese jasmine tea.
Close family will understand my slight concern that I might be turning into my grandfather!

Anyway, originally I was making said tea in a pyrex measuring jug and tipping it through a huge sieve (like you drain your pasta in), which possibly really wasn’t the best approach to tea making ever invented. Then I managed to buy myself a small sieve which was a huge improvement on proceedings, but still apparently left far too much of a mess on the bench for Bec, so she insisted we got a teapot.

So. Here we are. I now have a little red teapot!

(but no lemon balm handy so far, so don’t tell Pop!)

A bit of a round up…

Posted in London, Rants And Rambles on September 28th, 2009 by Coffee

I think it might be stretching things just a little bit too far to call this a “news round-up”, but as we’ve been a bit quiet lately I thought I may as well chuck up a few little bits and pieces of stuff, just so you don’t think we’ve fallen off the planet.

First up. Some rude people came and parked their boats in our back yard the other week.


We didn’t complain too much, however. The big guns on the front and the attack helicopters on the back made us think complaining might not be a good idea!  They only show up for a week every 2 years, so we can probably put up with that. Putting up with all the other fences that go up around the place for no apparent reason, and all the self important people in flouro jackets was a bit harder, but we managed again.

Next up, a BBQ in honour of some friends long departed these shores who came back for a flying visit.  They had a wedding over this side of the world, and managed to fit in a couple of days in London to catch up with everyone. Sounds like our normal itinerary when we trip back to NZ (except for having to fit in the nap times for the sprog)! It was made even better by the fantastic weather that we’ve been having lately. Very much an extended summer. Calm days, sunny skies, warm without being to hot… perfect!


It also gave me the chance to try out a coleslaw recipe I’d been wanting to give a go (that’s it at the front in the slightly purple bowl). Now in my experience a big bowl of coleslaw at a BBQ tends to stay a big bowl of coleslaw at the end of the event, but this one seemed to go down pretty well.  From memory it was celariac, savoy cabbage, walnuts and a secret sauce (only secret because I can’t remember it right now).

Friends, food, great weather, the wine cellar… All in all a fantastic day. (Only slightly marred by the nightmare that is weekend tube travel. But we’re almost used to that by now.)

Which leads me on nicely to item number three. Another day out with stunning weather the week before. A local premiership rugby game at the new Wembley stadium. If you have a particularly good memory you might recall that the last time we went to a local rugby game we just about caught frostbite on all extremities. A huge contrast this time! Wearing just a T-shirt to a rugby game just doesn’t seem right!


And the game itself was a much more interesting game, even for a non partisan viewer. And a great chance for us to visit the new Wembley stadium. Though the stadium management really need to start to understand that a rugby crowd just really doesn’t need a steward sitting on a small stool every 1.5 metres around the entire ground. All that does is piss people off. When was the last time there was ever any trouble at a rugby game?! Annoying and stupid of them.

So that almost brings you up to date with any goings on. As the weather has continued to be so fantastic we spent another few hours on the bikes and wandering around. We took the camera with us wherever we  went too. We just didn’t take any pictures.  That’s not unusual, but we figure that the camera likes going for walks. So you can have this last image.


That’s us spending some time on Sunday restocking the freezer with some freshly made Asian chicken stock, and a red pepper, chilli and tomato sauce made with our own balcony grown red peppers and chillies.

Oh, and one last titbit of news. Much to Bec’s relief I finally got a haircut.

With real live chariot racing!

Posted in London on September 21st, 2009 by Coffee

On Thursday night last week we took in a bit of culture for a change. As you might be able to guess from the poster above, it was Ben Hur, the live show, on opening night.

I’m not quite sure how you define what type of entertainment it was. A bit of a mix of theatre, circus, musical… All in a big arena in the middle circus like with various props and sets and animals coming and going. Entertaining enough stuff, always something going on somewhere.

And of course there was the live chariot racing! Four teams of four horses all charging around. Great fun.