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Archive for the ‘London’ Category

[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…)

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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!

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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!

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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.

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On my way in to work in the mornings (depending on how far I walk… have had a few lazy mornings on the bus) I’ve recently changed my route to cover quite a distance on ‘Highwalks’ – meaning I’ve been experiencing less traffic, less noise and a new perspective on the the buzzing morning scene in EC2. It’s meant that I’m having some blog-worthy revelations, so I hope this will improve my blogging rate!

I thought it was worth noting some reflection from this morning – three ways I think I’m becoming Anglicised (perhaps a bit dramatic – at least a bit different):

  1. My Accent – despite the best efforts of the girls while in Switzerland, my vocab and accent are running away. I’ve stopped saying really Australian things (partly because no one understands them) and started to adopt some Pommy ones. I’m trying really hard to fight this and am listening to Aussie accents at every opportunity, but hopefully the Australian accent is deeply ingrained and readily recovered upon return. [Funnily enough, my technical vocab is lagging behind my slang. People still can’t understand me on site sometimes, but all my Aussie mates think I’m a posh git.]
  2. Commuting Professional – I remember my sense of wonder when I first read FridayCities’ Ten Commandments of Tube travel, but I notice how quickly all the English sulking, pouting and pointed looks has modified my behaviour.  I always have my Oyster card ready, and am so irked by people who break the rules (big bags! standing on the left!) that I usually avoid the tube altogether if I can. I hate people with suitcases so much I’m not sure how I’ll go away (or home) for any period of time. Of course, I love it despite not really enjoying my time there, and think all the Poms who complain about it have no idea.
  3. London Pride – I recently waited a few days to take site photos for posting here… because I wanted a blue day. Already I’m exaggerating the weather (which has been really good) as the grey days aren’t so bad (compared to say Jan/Feb) but have no idea why. London weather is crap, but for some reason I feel loyal enough to try to counter all the negative press – could just be a Melbourne thing?

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Big Stories

London is a city that is gripped by stories, unlike anything I ever experienced in Australia. I suppose this is in part because there is just so much media – free papers, WiFi everywhere, TV screens in stations, a population density that supports gossip – and generally part of living in the birthplace of sensationalism. When a story hits, it is everywhere and everyone talks about it, often for days.

I got a real sense of just how different it is while talking last night with my English flatmates about Richard Hammond (a TV personality on Top Gear, a show about cars) who spent time in a coma in 2006 following a serious accident – it seems the media coverage here was so all consuming, it seemed hard for them to understand that it hadn’t been a BBQ stopper in Australia. The scale of the coverage was so great that it seemed International in it’s significance to them. (Generally, this is where people talk about the Princess Di effect.)

So currently London is consumed by two stories – the disappearance of Maddie McCann and the Cutty Sark fire. Let me know if they’re further proof I am firmly ensconced in the London bubble.

Update (23 May 2007): Maddie McCann has made the news on the European homepage of my company’s intranet, with a request that everyone circulate her image and a close-up of her unusual right eye.

Maddy 2

Maddy 1

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Site with a view

To finish off my binge of blogging, here are some photos of my site, showing our proximity to the Guildhall itself, the number of cranes nearby due to all the work in EC, and the view over the rooftops to nearby St Paul’s Cathedral, one of my favourite buildings in London.

Site 1

 

 Site 2

 

Site 3

The actual job itself has very little to show – we’re just a shell at the moment. But rest assured you’ll be seeing some structural glazing before too long.

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