Two nil to the Arsenal! Two nil!!

Posted in London on September 26th, 2006 by Coffee

What better way to celebrate an official welcome to the UK than to attend a football game between a London and “European” side. Arsenal vs Porto (they’re from Portugal, in case you’re confused!) at the new Emirates’ stadium.

Another sporadic visit to an Arsenal game (the common denomenator in any football game I’ve been to. They’d have to be my team now, if they weren’t before!) I managed to get a ticket due to a season ticket holder who’s friends with another season ticket holder I work with being away on busines for the week (thank you, whoever you are!), and it was a superb night out. The first half I was watching from up on the bottom level of the top tier from about the corner flag position, so I could get a really good view of everything that was happening. The second half I wathced from about 12 rows back from the pitch, just past the halfway line. It was fantastic to get to see both types of view in one night. Both as good, but very differnt.

Amazing stadium. Absolutely amazing! Almost brand new, and so incredible! Amazing to be in when a game is on, and even more amazing getting out of once it’s all over. Even walking up to the ground before the game and seeing it on the horizon, it just looks something special.

And a good win for Arsenal. I haven’t been to a game yet that they’ve lost.

I’m just gutted I forgot the camera that night, so you’ll have to take my word for it all!!

And now it’s official!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26th, 2006 by Coffee

Yup, the final stage in the citizenship process is now over!

A ceremory at the local council chambers, sitting around in the councillors chairs, being welcomed to the borough, and having to give a pledge etc. Then getting presented with our citizenship certificates by an ex-mayor of the borough. More nervewracking than I thought it would be, but now it’s done.

There would have been about 80 people all getting their citizenship that day, from all over the world. A couple of other Kiwis, and about 6 or 8 Aussies too.

Just need the passport now….

What a run…..?!

Posted in London on September 25th, 2006 by Coffee

Well, it was hard, up and down and a very long way…… 13.1 miles to be precise. The 2006 Windsor half marathon that is! On a very nice sunny Sunday afternoon and in the heat of the day I took part in the half marathon, with about 5000 other participants.

The winner completed it in 1hr 6mins – not a bad effort. And let’s just say that, well my time was not even close to that! But I must say that it was an achievement and I am proud to say that I completed it!

My body is feeling it today though. I can’t help but wonder how far I have got to go in order to even attempt the London Marathon – something I want to accomplish before leaving here. Let the training begin!!

(note: those of you that know me will guess that it was Bec that posted that. All us boys sat in the pub and watched the golf while the girls ran in circles… But we were all very impressed!)

Some people are amazing!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23rd, 2006 by Coffee

There are some people that amaze me. I’ve been reading the blog of a friend of my sister from Japan who’s been going on a small cycle trip. Just a small one from Japan to England, staying close to 14 degrees latitude on a recumbant bike. Alone. The link is on the right on the “blogroll”.

I can’t help thinking that he’s absolutely nuts! But at the same time it seems a completely sane and amazing thing to do at the same time. It must be such an absolutely amazing experience. So far away from my normal 9 to 5 life! I just don’t know if I’d have the guts and determination to do something like that. I’d like to think I would, but I suspect I’d just enjoy the planning and dreaming, and not get around to the doing and experiencing.

It’s a fantasitic read though. I recommend starting at the start of the trip and following it right through.

When he gets to London I definitely want to buy him a beer! I’m sure he’ll be needing one by then!

He does remind me a lot of a friend of ours who managed to travel the length of the Dabube river in much the same way. Nuts. But good on them!

A Fond Farewell

Posted in Plants and Gardens on September 23rd, 2006 by Coffee

Well, it had to happen sometime.  One of the habenero chilli plants wasn’t looking too well.  It’s leaves were all dropping off slowly, and it just wasn’t looking happy.  So I harvested all the chillis off it and said a tearful goodbye to it.  And dumped it in the bin.

No great loss though.  I’ve got a huge stack of them in the freezer, waiting for me to think of something to use them all up in.  And the other habenero is still going strong too!

I’m starting to think about next years planting already.  Next year’s plan is for more varieties.  Yum!

Mike’s Mango Mouth Melt

Posted in Food and Drink on September 17th, 2006 by Coffee

Yesterday I finally got around to making up another batch of mango habanero sauce/chutney. And I’ve decided that mangos are a pain in the butt to work with. Slippery little suckers, and I can never tell just where the flesh ends and the seed thing really starts.

It’s got me wondering just how they deal with them in large quanities for juice though. Hmmmm.

Sauce is good though! And I now have quite a lot to use up in a short time. It is amazing how much heat just 3 little habaneros can add to about 4 cups of sauce. Yum!

Fish Fiesta!

Posted in Food and Drink, London on September 10th, 2006 by Coffee

An early Saturday afternoon stroll along the Thames ended up at the seafood fair at London Bridge to indulge in some seafood – yummy. Just a little festival but it attracted a lot of people in quite a small space.

We tucked into some Paella, Thai fish cakes, prawns etc and we saved the best till last – some oysters. We tasted Scottish oysters and Rock oysters, the Scottish oysters were suppose to be the pick of the bunch, but somehow we preferred the plain ordinary rock ones, but they all went down like a wee treat.


And what better than to be eating seafood accompanied by some good ole NZ Nobilo vino blanco. The food and wine was also really well priced, good value for money. It was a great afternoon out.

Gilgamesh Bar & Restaurant

Posted in Food and Drink, London on September 10th, 2006 by Coffee

A pretentious Friday night dining experience for a complete change of pace, Gilgamesh Bar & Restaurant (but don’t visit their site unless you like big, slow loading, Flash sites). We made our way up to Camden to a flashy Asian restaurant, and I must say after visiting the restaurant we feel that its location leaves something to be desired. For the type of restaurant it is and the market it is trying to capture I am not convinced that its location is quite right, and that’s not helped by the fact that when dining you are sitting beside a freight rail line.

The restaurant and bar itself are big spaces and I would say it is posey Asian – the décor is all carved wood panels with dim colour changing lighting. A little bottle of coke costs £2.50 and get this, they pour it into a glass and don’t give you what’s left in the bottle. Now I don’t know about you but when I have paid extortionate money for a drink I want the whole lot! The menu was pretty thin on mains, which seem really pricey, but there were quite a few nice dim-sums that we pigged out on, and the food was good.

We’re not sure how long they’ll be able to sustain the way they run the place either. There seemed to be more staff than patrons and the majority of them seemed to have nothing to do other than stand around at the kitchen waiting for food to be cooked.

I can’t say we’ll be going back in a hurry. But we’d have to say that all in all if you like pretentious places then I’d give this one a go.

A new feature!

Posted in Books and Films, Geeky Tech Stuff on September 4th, 2006 by Coffee

Well, instead of doing all the things I should have been doing, like writing overdue emails and hanging out the washing, I’ve added a new feature to this blog thing.

If you look down the bottom of the right hand side bar you’ll see a summary of the books I’m reading or have stacked up on the shelf waiting to read.

I haven’t got all the related pages looking quite as I’d like them to yet, but it’s good enough for now. Changing other people’s code is always fun. It’s all done with a nifty plug-in to the blog software I found on the net called now-reading, which means I can stop work on doing the same thing!

The plug-in even runs off to get images and information from Amazon based on the ISBN code, so I don’t have to do any digging around. All good.

They let me in!!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2nd, 2006 by Coffee

A nice surprise in the post today. My citizenship application has been approved! So I’m almost a real native then! That was pretty quick and painless! A lot faster and easier than all the work permit dealings with the Home Office, anyway.

Still a final hoop remaining though. I now need to go to a ceremony and give an Affirmation of Allegiance to the Queen and whatnot. Should be fun.

Then I can sort out a passport and be able to travel again… Though that doesn’t sound like it’s a long involved process, thankfully.