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[To everyone who's been complaining about my lack of postings - at least the no news was good news! To everyone who is reading about this for the first time and freaking out, sorry.] 

I’ve learnt a few things this week:

  • Emergency medical care in London under the NHS is awesome as well as free;
  • despite being very worried about it at the time, I didn’t need to worry about my passport, Medicare card, health insurance, etc;
  • I should have taken more reading material, teeth cleaning stuff and slippers;
  • calling your Mum from a clean, safe, excellent hospital after a minor accident does NOT make her any more confident you’re OK; and
  • even in hospital you can get your five cups of tea a day here.

So what happened? (Kate, skip this paragraph) In short, I fell over at home and cracked open the bridge of my nose, loosing blood and flesh (sorry Damo, I know you’d just done the mopping) in the wee hours. I rode in an ambulance to University College Hospital London, and then was seen by an awesome Maxillofacial surgeon and then spent the night up on wards while they decided that I was OK in the head injury department. 4 stitches inside and 6 on the outside.

I refused to pay for TV in hospital, but got through two days of the Guardian cover to cover. I caught up on sleep, was treated so kindly and professionally and all without payment or any questions about my status in the UK as an immigrant/visitor. They sent me home, four meals heavier, with a bevvy of medication, toiletries and some treatment materials. Winner.

After stressing my Mum out (despite playing it mostly tough/cool, I was wishing she was closer) a bit, I am just now laying low, vowing to blog more often and missing work a lot. Very bored at home and frustrated that all this sleep is hidden by grotesque bruising on my face – will post photos when I look more normal (and less like a Star Trek extra…)

Has it really been that long since I blogged? Yikes.  A first batch of photos from my trip to Turkey with Alexandra – some highlights from Istanbul, with more to follow. Apologies to those who’ve never sat through all my photos before for the excessive number of structures, building materials, etc – people to go in Facebook albums very soon.

Isti1

Isti3

Isti4

Isti6

 

Isti2

London 5-day Istanbul 5-day

No prizes for working out which 5-day BBC Weather Forecast is for Istanbul and which is for London, hosting a range of outdoor events while I’m away! Very pumped about needing sunscreen, being warm and being on holidays for the next 10 days.

Apologies for not elaborating on any of my own headings from my previous post – I am not sure if I will have time to post to this blog much between the eating, sunshine, relaxing, etc to catch up in Turkey. Lots happening here in all departments, with a raft of new arrivals, festivals, travel, etc on the horizon!

Quite excited about needing sunscreen – Happy Birthday Mum for today, and Rose for tomorrow!

Regular readers of my blog (now numbering onto a second hand!) will have noticed that I haven’t been posting of late – a combination of work, travel, work, homesickness, and well work (with a whack of exhaustion and apathy, mostly caused by work) have conspired against me.

On Sunday morning I am off to Turkey with Alex for a much-needed 10-day break, so in the meantime I am going to ambitiously attempt to jump down off the no-blogging wagon by updating the following areas:

  • Travel (or Cat Empire in Paris and the Durham Open)
  • Work (or the box truss and other pressures)
  • Homesickness (or the £2.50 Twisties and the worst mango ever)
  • Interesting Ideas (or Facebook is for snobs and The Grand Tour)
  • Politics (or voting in the UK and depressing news from home)
  • Visitors (or Alex and Lauryn, and soon Christina, Nic and Alex)
  • Random Stuff (Pommy engineer’s happiness and clothes sent from home)

Clearly the above  gives away most of it – but promise to try and embellish when I post tomorrow and Saturday, while completing mammoth lists of work, packing and socialising!

SNOTBOY 1

SNOTBOY 2

The NSW RTA (Roads and Traffic Authority)’s newest ad campaign to tackle speeding, “Speeding. No-one Thinks Big of You“, has been reported by both the BBC (here) and Jezebel (here), my newest favourite source of trashy news. [As an aside, Jezebel’s ‘Snap Judgment’ posts are gold.] I was surprised to learn that the little finger wagging it features was not an international sign of male inadequacy, with both outlets feeling the need to explain it. I guess it is a rather Australian way to tackle issues of speeding, something we’ve been doing for a long time. (If anyone can get proud about being the world leader in traffic ads, it’d be us…)

(American) Jezebel was pretty openly surprised:

“apparently, insulting an Aussie’s manhood is a more effective way to shame him into slowing down than images of death and dismemberment.”

Getting people to slow down is about as hard as getting them to drive less – though perhaps cheaper and easier . The RTA has said elsewhere that shock tactics aren’t working, so hopefully a fresh approach will have some impact.

The London 2012 brand has been unveiled:

2012 Pink

4 colours 2012

Confused? Impressed? LOCOG explain that: (you can see the sappy promo video here)

London 2012 will be everyone’s Games, everyone’s 2012. This is the vision at the very heart of the new London 2012 brand. It will define the venues that are built and the Games that London and the UK will host. The new 2012 emblem will use the Olympic spirit to inspire everyone and reach out to young people. It is an invitation to take part and be involved.

These will be a Games where everyone is invited to join in. A Games where people are inspired to either take part in the many sports, cultural, educational and community events leading up to 2012 or inspired to achieve personal goals.

London 2012 will encourage active participation involving people nationwide in a whole range of Games initiatives from community activities and volunteering to sporting and cultural events. It will inspire young people and connect them to sport by putting the inspirational values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the school curriculum.

[...] The new emblem is dynamic, modern and flexible. It will work with new technology and across traditional and new media networks.

It will become London 2012’s visual icon, instantly recognisable amongst all age groups, all around the world. It will establish the character and identity of the London 2012 Games and what the Games will symbolise nationally and internationally. For the first time for a Host City, the new emblems for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are based on the same core shape, reflecting London’s commitment to hosting a truly integrated Paralympic Games.

For what it’s worth, I actually quite like it – I thought that the idea and the energy was all a bit inspiring. Sadly, not many others did – am concerned the fact that I like it is conclusive proof I have no taste, but there is a good case to suggest it is more that I have no baggage in being positive about things, without the British insistance on understatement in all things.

True to form, the British press has been vocal in attacking the concept – generating lots of negativity. Some of this is rather entertaining, to be fair:

David Brent 2012

 

2012 Ripp Off

Exit 2012

 

(I do like the tangram-ness of the whole thing, plus my old friend non-extremity man!)

Sad that none of the criticism is about how logos are becoming brands, but pleasing that people are concerned about how much has been spent on things.

Paris IV

Regular readers of this blog will remember that Beck and I went to the LSE Open earlier in the year, with something of a mixed bag of results. We did well at the tournament, and made some good friends, but the whole experience fell a little short of our Australian-made expectations of the tournament. To be fair, we were perhaps a little ill-prepared for the less than welcoming approach taken by lots of people on the British circuit. (I know, why wouldn’t they love two Aussies with lots of Pom-bashing material? Odd.)

So I’m pleased to report that the Paris IV was a magical weekend – am now looking forward to both the Durham Open later this month (faith in debating tournaments restored) and my next trip to Paris this weekend (for a Cat Empire gig, and just because I am seriously getting the hang of the three day weekend.)

The weekend started with another very late Air France flight on Friday, and a late night taxi to find Anna’s place where Beck & I stayed. Fellow corporate travellers will be pleased to learn that I explained (in bad French) why the 2 plus hour delay was an inconvenience, as was the mooted change of arrival airport, so we managed to wangle a taxi reimbursement, some frequent flyer miles and two whopping £3.50 vouchers to spend at London City Airport. Sure, £3.50 only really buys a Czech beer, but still.

Our arrival at Anna’s led to excited gossiping and the first of several rounds of the house brioche (dubbed “chocolaty boozy bread” by me because it was choc-chipped and tasted a little alcoholic) with Nutella until the wee hours. We dragged ourselves out of bed and onto a local bus with every intention of making the 9am briefing, only to find an odd protest/march blocking our arrondissements from the rest of Paris. We were a little late (not a drama, the organisation was superb) but I felt the blend of Catholic priests, youth involved in the Scouting movement, crucifixes, Sea Scout types in pom-pommed berets, large banner bearers, etc was something to behold. With cries of “Onward Christian Bushwalkers”, the bus broke through the hundreds, if not thousands, of people to deliver us safely. Hoorah.

The tournament itself was great – as a judge, all the teams I saw were enthusiastic, keen to learn, competed in the spirit of the competition and all had a good day. So many of the speakers improved, all the debates I saw were entertaining, etc – basically a lot of love in the room. A very functional, beneficial day all around, and in Paris too!

The motions were:
1. TH would nationalise prostitution
2. TH believes that states where abortion is illegal Have the Right to Prevent their Citizens from Travelling Abroad to Have One
3. TH would pay legal immigrants to return to their country of origin
4. TH would provide extra welfare payments to impoverished men and women if they agree to be sterilised
GF. TH believes that terrorist organisations are legitimate democratic partners

After the rather swish GF, we kicked on to Mandala Ray, (aka Man Ray, or so I’m informed) a club owned by Johnny ‘Dreamboat’ Depp, Sean Penn & John Malkovich, which was very Parisienne (so I’m told) and rather cool. There, on the dance floor, I was able to get a dose of bad tournament dancing, gossip etc, to complement the functional day. Swoon.

Beck and I spent much of the rest of the weekend catching up on sleep, like true corporate cats, but am looking forward to returning to Paris again rather soon – and plan to do the Paris IV in 2008 too.

(I’ve been travelling lots lately, been a little homesick and rather busy at work. Throw in some (minor) personal dramas and computer problems (at work) and you get complete inactivity. My apologies. On the upside, I have now got a back catalogue of material ready to report.)

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