Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Wrap Up

souvenir from Hendrick's gin tasting event
Although we're still living down and out, we've had an amazing first month in London.  We've had plenty of free events to keep us entertained and we've even gone to a new friend's birthday bash.  Plus, we're in London.  'Nuff said.

Employment started for us relatively quickly and I'm enjoying my time as a temp, getting to work in different areas of the city and experience different types of offices.  After a week in Shoreditch, I spent a week in Soho and am now in Trafalgar Square.  Mike is also enjoying being back at the gallery in Mayfair.  Professionally, we've been very fortunate.

view from my office in Trafalgar Square,
to the south
If things continue to improve as they have, we hope to restart our monthly rambles shortly.  We'll be chasing cheap fares but hope to see Dover (as in, white cliffs of), Cambridge, and the Cotswolds before we leave.  Odds are very good we won't be returning to the UK once we leave in December, at least not for leisure, and we want to be sure to get the most out of our time here.  It's the same philosophy we had in Scotland and which we'll adapt for our time in New York.  Contentment and complacency caused us to lose several years in Seattle and we don't want that to happen ever again.

The Olympics began last week and, though neither of us are fans, we're being forced to endure Olympics fever.  The only positive thing I can say about the whole experience so far is that it's not as bad as I had expected.  So far.  I'm withholding final judgement until the whole affair is over though, including the Paralympics.  But, initial judgement is cautious indifference which is much better than the vehement irritation I had expected.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Down and Out in London

Mostly due to poor timing, we found ourselves making the move to London with only about £100 to our names.  Seriously.  Luckily the £35 train tickets had already been purchased some time ago (else they would have been over £100) but other moving costs, and living costs, would be deducted from this amount.  Unfortunately, with all our worldly belongings in eight bags (and a guitar), taxis would be unavoidable.  Happily, our new place in Bermondsey is much closer to King's Cross than our last London residence (in Cricklewood) and total taxi cost in both Dundee and London was only an additional £35.  Not too bad at all; moving from Dundee, Scotland to London, England for only £70.  Sadly, even this low amount still reduced our net worth to around £65.

With no additional income expected for at least another week, we are pinching every penny.  But, even with no money, no internet and no jobs, we're still enjoying the crap out of London.  On top of just exploring our new city, I am amazing at finding awesome free events (usually including free alcohol and food) and our first week in London has been no exception.  On Wednesday we found ourselves at the quirky and fantastic Ninetyeight in Hoxton for an event sponsored by Cointreau.  We received four free Cointreau drinks, a goodies bag (including a small bottle of Cointreau), a short tutorial in cocktail mixing, and I got a free manicure (Mike didn't want one).  We jammed to Paul Simon's greatest hits, lost track of our free cocktail glasses (dammit!) and got to see feather covered lampshades in context (they're lovely and I want them).  Cointreau, you had me at hello.

Next, on Thursday we headed into The City, to Broadgate Circle, for some swingball, including free Pimm's and hotdogs.  For free events, it rarely matters what exactly goes on because free is the magic word.  Proving that philosophy, neither of us knew prior to this event what the heck swingball was.  As we found out, it's kind of like tetherball but played with paddles and totally kicked our butts.  Three hours of intermittent play and my right forearm is destroyed, I can't make a fist with my right hand, my lower back is mad at me and Mike's right shoulder feels bruised.  GD we're getting old!  Still, we had a great time and are pretty sure our future includes our very own swingball set.

All fun aside, we're both looking forward to starting normal life in the big city and getting back on track after our Dundee detour.  Towards that goal, today I got a call from my temp agency with a job beginning Wednesday afternoon (YAY!) and Mike will be starting his job at the gallery on Friday.  In addition to these revenue streams, we should be receiving both the deposit from our previous residence as well as my last paycheck from my previous employer within the next week.  Hopefully, our days of poverty are nearly over.  Although these first weeks aren't exactly as we had hoped, living down and out in London is a vast improvement upon our recent existence in Dundee.
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