trixtah: (merriment)
yummy cocktails )
As you can see from the pic, I have been doing stuff:
  • Cocktails of pinkness (and other shades) with [ profile] buddleia and [ profile] i_kender at The Star at Night. Nom nom nom! As was the cheap and cheerful Japanese on Old Compton St afterwards

  • Caught up with my old friend Shazza and heard about her new g/f of hotness and her new job as a copper

  • Went to Tates Britain and Modern, drooled over Rothko and the pre-Raphaelites (and sundry others)

  • Went to the V & A, looked at 1000 year old black Chinese tea bowls that are exactly like the ones used now, and lots of other coolness

  • Went to Kew Gardens - pics to follow

  • Went to Penarth in Wales to catch up with old friends and their new pooch. Squeezed in an exhibition at the Cardiff Art Museum

  • Caught up with my old g/f Jo, who is just as groovy and fabulous as ever. And her dad, who invited me to come stay in Derby whenever I like, bless him. And her groovy aunty. Had cocktails with Jo after by ourselves, and hashed Life, the Universe and Everything
trixtah: (Default)
I'm trying to remember what I did yesterday. Oh, that's right, I went and hung out with my friend Jojo in Sarf London, and got cooked a very nice roast chicken with all the trimmings by another friend of hers, who I once fancied the heck out of, but who has a new g/f. Still, it was nice to catch up all round.

Today I:
  • Bought hairbrushes for the CDL, for about 30% less than what they'd cost back in Oz.

  • Did not succeed in finding any suitable pooch books or prints or anything of that sort in the environs of Charing Cross Road. I'll have to think of Plan B there.

  • Bought 8 other books, however.

  • Spent 75 quid on music, especially dubstep compilations. Eee!

  • Went to Coco de Mer and found something I want to buy, but will have to wait until I see if I have enough cash left next Monday.

  • Got slightly grumpy that Monmouth Coffee don't do soya milk for their coffees. However, a new chain, AMT, does pretty good fairtrade/organic coffee, AND they have soya milk.

  • Got my hair cut for a tenner, and had a better job done than when I pay nearly three times the amount back home.

  • Contacted my old place of work to get some administrative stuff done.

  • Got mostly over my jetlag, and developed sore feet. But got plenty of exercise. :-)

Fun fun

Jun. 1st, 2008 06:48 pm
trixtah: (Default)
Lunch yesterday from the Borough Market:

tastee nibbles )

More pics from the market here:

Yay partay last night with [ profile] buddleia and friends, creepy costume and all. :-)
trixtah: (potter)
...or something. I seem to be doing a flashback to those "Let's learn Franglais" columns in Punch.

The flight was smooth, the airport security appears to think that 100g of "liquid/gel/toothpaste" = 100ml (oh well), those compression stocking things are lifesavers, Bangkok airport is meh, although architecturally quite impressive, and it's really nice being back in London - almost as if I hadn't left.

I have:
  • met [ profile] buddleia Yay! That was fun, and it must be said that getting on well with people on the Intarwebs certainly helps one get over one's deeply-embedded shyness about meeting complete strangers

  • went to the museum of London

  • got told off for taking a picture of the immigration hall at Heathrow

  • spent 68 quid on whisky and rum. Ooops. Not sure how I'm going to get it back, either. Oh well.
trixtah: (Default)
I can get the train from London to Cardiff to visit friends and their new pooch. Trains leave from Paddington every 1/2 hour during weekdays, and it takes the grand total of 2 hours and 8 minutes to get there. For 31 quid return. ::sigh::

All I have to do now is sort out my accommodation, which they apparently screwed up getting the money for when they should have done (and I didn't check to see that it had been taken when I thought it was). Bah.

Also, my new Irish passport hasn't arrived, which means I might have to join the shitty long queue for immigration at Heathrow. Double bah. Thank god I'm not flying BA and using the notorious Terminal 5.
trixtah: (Default)
Well, I have just booked my tickets to London for early June. So if you're in England and you're planning to do anything else around then, you can't. Yes, this means you, [ profile] buddleia!

Yayyyy! I've been so hanging out for a nice big trip, and while it's less than 2 weeks, I should be able to get over to Wales and have a museum overdose in London.
trixtah: (Default)
One of the best things about living in London was being able to go to St Martin-in-the-Fields occasionally to listen to fantastic music. Since it's near Charing Cross station, it was easy enough to do a detour and squizz the board for upcoming concerts on my way home from work.

They did these nice concerts-by-candlelight thing, which were just exquisite. Since the pews were as hard as rocks, it definitely gave that feeling of going back in the past. Hm, I know pews weren't in churches until after the Reformation. I wonder if Catholic Churches held out longer to get them in? Anyways, there's nothing like sitting in a old church to listen to religious music. Other than the fantastic acoustics, you've got wonderful architecture to look at, but it's not distracting. Hah, perhaps it's the Christian version of rock gardens. Certainly, if you look at all the shapes and shadows and follow them in your mind, you can get that meditative effect. So too with any hangings, metalwork, stained glass and the like. Not exactly the Calvinist ideal, is it, all that sensual input? Of course, having a Catholic cultural background (if not ever the religion itself), I'm probably susceptible to all that.

The thing about St Martin is the fact that the concerts are accessible. I think the most expensive ticket I saw was 20 quid, and you can always get a seat for less than 10. Early in the week, there's generally stuff on which is donation-only. I went to a couple of excellent concerts on a Monday, featuring the church organist, and which were bloody excellent value for a fiver.

The only problem I had with the place is the fact that the organ is at the back of the church, which is a bit disconcerting when you're attending a concert with a full choir and other instruments (who are at the front of the church). It's a monster too, considering the church itself is not terribly large. I really couldn't give a toss about seeing the choir, since I find a bunch of people standing and singing boring to watch in the extreme. But I love watching people play their instruments, particularly keyboardists of all persuasions. It amazes me how people can do all those different things with each hand (and feet for the organists and pianists). So it's a shame how often they're hidden away. The organ in Bristol Cathedral is truely awesome, for example, but you can't see the organist because he/she is above the choir. But at least all the music is coming from the same direction. Unfortunately, I never got to hear a full concert there, just the organist practising one Wednesday afternoon. Must go back, one day.
trixtah: (Default)
It's no secret that I'm a fully-qualified homeopath. I got my Dip. Hom. about 10 years ago, which is amazing considering the fact I was going through a fairly messy relationship breakup (following on from the messy relationship) at the time. I have done precisely nothing with it, other than ram potions down various friends' throats, whether or not they actually ask for them (I'm trying).

So, I've been following with interest the current blow-up in the UK with the British Medical Association pronouncing that alternative therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture et al should not be funded via the National Health Service. Given the state of GPs' waiting rooms in the UK, I think they should be grateful for any therapies that take the load off conventional doctors. *ahem*

Anyway, the Guardian got around to interviewing the clinical director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (it's "Royal" because the Queen, Queen Mother, Prince Charles and Princess Anne have all been treated there) on the issue. The Guardian headline? Bottom line is that it works, says homeopathic chief.


Oh, it just cracks me up, because it's true. It does work, and there is no logical or proven scientific method as to why it does (and no, it's not just placebo, unless placebos work on 3-week-old babies with jaundice - ie. my nephew). But I like it that he just came out and admitted it.

Well, it'll be interesting to see what results.

It's ironic that I never saw a homeopath while I was in England, tho'. I certainly could have done with one!
trixtah: (Default)
It's Guy Fawkes Night and they don't celebrate it here in Australia. What's up with that? Wikipedia reckons the "anti-Catholic connotations" are what stopped it here. It's funny, I don't recall us burning the Pope in effigy or distributing condoms outside Catholic churches in either NZ or the UK.

The fireworks in London are fantastic. They have big events in various locations where you can check out the displays, but the best ones are on the Thames. They have barges floating down the middle and let off TONS of fantastic fireworks. My favourite spot was standing on London Bridge (on my way home from work when I was working in the City), looking back towards Westminster. Although the view over towards Tower Bridge is just as good.

In NZ, they still sell fireworks to individuals, and I wish they wouldn't. The ones you can buy are pretty crap, since they've been watering them down over the years. But you still get horrible little boys tying them to cats and their grown-up equivalents setting fire to area of bush and various buildings. Other than sparklers, what's the point when you can look at big spectacular ones in a nice setting?

The best place to watch fireworks in NZ (that I've found so far) is in Wellington Harbour. It's a circular-ish bowl surrounded by steep hills, so you can find a good spot and the backdrop is spectacular. See what I mean! (slideshow of shots uploaded of this evening's display in Wgtn, with the port in the foreground).
trixtah: (Default)
Got one email back so far, from my friend and ex-colleague Andy. It was just a bit too fucking close for comfort:
Yesterday was certainly traumatic - I was late leaving home and missing my usual Victoria bound train caught one to Kings Cross instead, arriving around 9:30am as they were evacuating the place - and soot covered coughing passengers.  At first I thought there'd been a fire at Kings Cross since there were half a dozen fire engines outside and the police were in the process of cordoning off the road - I asked one of the coppers what was happening and he told me that there'd been a power surge that had knocked out all the electrics and caused a couple of fires.  So I got on my bike and started cycling to work.  I had just turned off Euston Road and was heading towards Russell Square when there was the sound of an almighty explosion which almost knocked me off my bike.  Turning the corner into Tavistock Place a couple of minutes later I was yelled at by a police officer who told me to keep back - behind him I could see the wreckage of a bus and bodies on the ground - so I just got out of there as fast as I could, swerving to dodge all the emergency service vehicles racing to the scene.

Half the department didn't make in to work that day, and it was horrible waiting for the mobile networks to unclog so that they could be checked on. But he and his girlfriend are safe, her parents who were coming down to visit (and were arriving at Euston) got turned back and are safe, all my old colleagues are fine.

I just wish everyone else would fucking email me back, although I realise that fiddling around on the internet isn't necessarily a priority right now. None of them are on any casulty or missing lists, but I would also like to know if any of them are lying in any bloody hospitals.
trixtah: (Default)
Don't worry, this isn't anything miserable. Someone's done a nice hack of the Google Maps API, which enables you to map a route and show the distance. It's called the Gmaps Pedometer.

Here's my walk to work (my last job) in London, from Charing Cross Station. Wow, 1 3/4km! I almost feel virtuous! Of course, we won't talk about the number of times I couldn't be buggered walking up in the morning, and got the Northern Line up to Goodge St... (at least I always walked back to Charing X on my way home, being awake then).

A couple of times, I rode my bike into work, but really 11km through the mean streets of London at rush hour didn't really thrill me. Even if it was slightly faster than catching the train.

(It worketh not for Oz or NZ, alas)
trixtah: (Default)
The full text of Ken Livingstone's (Mayor of London) speech; it totally blows Blair's idiocies out of the water.
In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

I wouldn't want to live in London again for an extended period, but what he said about it being a (mainly) tolerant city is so true.

Che Tibby had some thoughts from the NZ perspective. I'm not too keen on the slight tinge of complacency in his post (ok, NZ is not likely to be bombed for our imperialist tendencies, hah, but I'm sure nutters could come up with any reason. You know, nutters like the French security services), but I agree with his main points:
And what can we then do? Oppose fundamentalism in ANY form. Oppose the National Front. Oppose haters like the Destiny Church. Oppose our most xenophobic leaders, who would bring such a war to our doorstep to satisfy their own Byzantine ambition. Oppose Right-Wing-Death-Beasts and their petty, mindless vitriol. Oppose anyone who would prevent such fools as these having their own stupid, blinkered voices. Oppose killing any person for any reason.
trixtah: (Default)
I hate being on the other side of the world and waking up to horrific news like this bombing of London. I hate being worried about my friends, none of whom have checked in yet. That's the trouble with intermittent communication via email, you don't know what their schedules are, or where they are likely to be.

Two of the bombs were near where I used to work. I often ate lunch in Russell Sq, where the tube train was blown up. We had work dos at the Tavistock hotel, near where the double-decker was bombed. My old workplace was used as a staging area for some of the wounded. I have ex-colleagues and a couple of friends who could have possibly been on one or the other of the tubes. Luckily most of them would have been in the office before 9, but I've emailed one ex-colleague who should be able to update me on how everyone there's getting on.

I'm just hoping my lovely ones who work centrally are ok.
trixtah: (Default)
I've just been reading a bit of Potterfic, which I do at long intervals, and noticed the problem there a few times, but it's not just in the Potterverse. Quite often, when a USian writes UK English, they get a few bits and bobs wrong (even when they get "arse" right, hee!) - although, not being English myself, I don't pretend to have a perfect grasp of English as she is spoke in the UK. But living there for 5 years counts for something.

The one thing that is guaranteed to drop me out of the world that the writer has otherwise successfully created for me is to use the exclamation "Oh, my!" when the character is supposedly English.

It's not an idiom that the English use. And it's horribly common in fanfic, including the good stuff. Some of the other gotchas I can ignore, but for some reason, that one irks me. I think of 60s sitcom ladies with a palm firmly pressed against one cheek, reacting to something horrendous the cute-but-bratty kids have just done. It kind of ruins the mood.

Helpful phrases to make things look more English?

Sad, as in pathetic. "Look at that sad git Goyle drooling over Cho. He hasn't got a hope." (Git is your extra bonus word).

Brilliant, meaning fantastic. "Last night, Cho, when we had sex? It was totally brilliant." Some people in England use "brill" for short, but I've only heard people 30 and up use it.

Blinding also means excellent. "Look at Fred go! He hit that quaffle a real blinder right at Crabbe!"

Trainspotter/anorak means nerd/geek. "That Neville is such an anorak about these bloody mushrooms; I'm going to snot him one if he tells me once more how much Fungus Fertilisatorer to spray on them." Anorak is slightly less derogatory, possibly. (Extra point for spotting the bonus idiom).

Twat, pronounced to rhyme with "hat", can be used as a verb or a noun. "Harry was supposed to meet up with Cho last night and stood her up. What a twat." "Yeah, I heard that if she sees him, she's promised to give him a good twatting". (Twat, in the latter sentence, is in the sense of "thump/beat". You can "twat him one" as well).

Bugger! - crap! damn! oops! "Uh oh, I don't think I should have added the newt extract to my potion right now. It's gone all green and bubbly, and it's supposed to be yellow. It's completely buggered."

Bog off, naff off, bugger off - fuck off (not quite so offensive). "Harry tried to apologise to Cho, but she told him to bog off."

Chav is pretty recent jargon. It means those of less privileged classes who like to wear lots of bling-bling, white trainers (NOT "sneakers") and Burberry-checked anything, especially baseball caps. They drink lots, get obnoxious and apparently generally live in council houses.
"Look at that Patsy. With that shiny super-tight gear on, she looks like a total kappa-slapper." "Yeah, all the bling-bling Goyle is wearing lately, I'm surprised he can still stand up. What a pair of chavs."

Do you know what I mean? commonly pronounced as all one word, with as few consonants shaped as possible - Londoners are masters of the glottal stop. Often used while gossiping or talking in depth about one's feelings. "I really fancy that Cho, dja know what I mean?" "Yeah, she's a bit of all right!"

Bollocks! - rubbish, crap, bullshit. The dog's bollocks (or just the bollocks) is something super-cool. Bollocking means to give a telling off. "It was great when McGonnagle saw what Patsy was wearing in the village. She gave her a huge bollocking and put her on detention for bringing the school into disrepute. Watching Patsy get it was just the dog's bollocks."

Nads - testicles. "Harry should have left well enough alone. He kept following around Cho trying to apologise, until she threatened to kick him in the nads." Not often used in the sexual sense, though.

All right? is even canon. Goodness. Used as a greeting, like "hi". "Alright, Harry?" "Yeah, alright."

Tosser - idiot, wanker. "Goyle tried to stick his hand up Cho's skirt until she threatened him with Fred's bludger. What a tosser." Tossing off means to wank.

Pissed, bladdered - drunk. In British English, you don't say "pissed" to mean "angry". You say pissed off. "Did you see what happened when Harry drank that potion that Malfoy put that Disgustingly Drunk Essence into? He got totally bladdered and told Snape where to get off!"

Take the piss out of someone. Make fun of them. "You know, there's no fun in taking the piss out of Crabbe and Goyle. It's just too easy, and they don't get what you're saying anyway." Taking the piss means exceeding limits or exploiting. "You want me to do your homework for you AGAIN? Talk about taking the piss! You owe me from last time!"

Knackered - busted, tired, unable to continue. "I stayed up too late studying with Hermione last night; I'm completely knackered." "My wand is knackered, can I borrow yours just ONCE for this assignment?" "Once Harry fell off his broom, the Griffendor team was completely knackered."

And that's enough for now. I'm finished with my lecture mode... :-)


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