Friday, July 30, 2010

Just a quick update

Hey everyone. This will be fast, this net cafe is twice the price of London ones!!! Totally outrageous.

-Taken the job in Birmingham which is working with vulnerable families to bring their parenting up to a standard where they are able to continue having care of their children. In a nutshell thats what the company do. I'm a live-in worker, so I'll mostly be doing sleeping night shifts and some split shifts in the day- I might start at 10.30pm and stay till 10.30am. Seems to be average for my first week of shifts.

-Time off in this gorgeous little English village, it's everything that a old English village should be, I love it! Stone houses everywhere (you should see the place I'm staying! :O), everyone goes to the pub in the evening, they all know everyone, oh I just love it!

-Can stay in Birmingham in empty company houses for time off if I want to, but I think I would rather stay out in the countryside, it's too nice there!

-I think I will like the job, I can tell it will be really rewarding. Maybe tedious at times, but mostly *really* interesting!

-So long and short of it all, not a nanny!!! Haha best laid plans huh? I had a lovely sounding woman on the phone yesterday doing her best to persuade me to come and work for her and her little girl, lots of travel etc. But I'm too far in to this now, I love it! I don't think I've been this keen to start a job before! Strangely not nervous, even though it's important and all our records have to be perfect for court evidence etc.

Thats all for now I think. I may not get to post much for a while, I don't want my blog showing up on the work computers, I do try to keep it fairly anonymous, so there won't be vast amounts of content till I get my own laptap (given the salary I'll be getting that shouldn't be long!).

Love you all!

Monday, July 26, 2010


Well here is Trafalgar Square in all its glory (ie pidgeons and hoards of tourists).

The view from whatever that monument in the middle of the square is called back to the National Gallery. Seeing as I couldn't take a picture inside.

A squirrel in Hyde Park (they're totally adorable, I want one!).
And finally my new dress. I do love it. Sorry quality isn't the best, places to put camera vs lighting in the room made it difficult indeed. But you get the idea!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

An interesting weekend

Well, the Science Museum was, overall, a bit of a let down. So many fantastic resources, so poorly presented. They had cabinets with 20 or thirty items in them, and no really useful descriptions about them individually, so you just kinda went 'well that looks cool, I wonder what the hell it is'

History of medical science was kinda neat, and better presented. The floor on 'materials' was exceptionally dull, and the 'time' area had potential to be amazing, but it wasn't.

Oh and the mice running about the picnic area weren't so great either.

National gallery was cool, no pictures though (not that they had any signs, the guards just got angry if you pulled out a camera). Much smaller than I realised though, only two hours or so and I was done. Loved the french section. Or the impressionist area anyway (which was entirely French if I'm not mistaken). Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, and someone I hadn't encountered before, Camille Pissaro, who I liked a lot. Some of the 18 Century British artists were neat too. Realised I don't like anything Pre-renaissance at all, and actually don't really like most of the Italian renaissance art either. I mean old masters and all, they're great works, but not really my taste, they're quite dark. And I may start ranting if I see another picture of the Virgin with baby Chist and St John. Only so many poses of the scene before they all look the same...

So I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Soho and Chinatown. Well I'm not entirely sure if I actually did make it to Chinatown, I suspect I skirted around it. But whatever, Soho was awesome. I don't think I'll ever be able to go shopping in New Zealand again... shops here actually sell clothes I would want to wear. Quite a novel experience, as anyone who has been shopping with me will know!!! Oh and an exceptionally awesome shop called..... Beyond Retro I think. Unlike other 'Retro' shops who mark up their vintage clothes by about 1000% these were all about the price you would pay for an average dress in an average sort of shop (didn't see any for more than £30) and really WOW some cool stuff. It shall be my first port of call if I find myself needing a ball dress, no competition!!! Oh and the shoe shops.... I'm not generally a fan of shoe shopping, having feet that are often a size smaller than shops order, or just too fussy, but ohhhhhh I could've died and gone to shoe heavan for all I could tell!!! An entire shop full of shoes I would want to wear! Well thats exagerating a bit, I don't like chucks, BUT they had Doc's, Hush Puppies heels (if ever buy heels they're gonna be hush puppies... so comfy!) and a brand called... Irregular Choice apparently. Some of their shoes were totally ridiculous, but some of them were just too cute for words.

So. I would definitely like to be working in London. I'm not generally one for shopping, but I've never before had the choice of so many shops with things I like. Hats, shoes, even bags... It's like I'm turning in to a girly girl or something.

As it is I bought myself a dress, which was on sale, and will fullfil the role of summer dress in my wardrobe while being adorable AND somehow also fitting me properly and looking good. That never happens. I am muchly pleased with it, and I shall be posting a picture when I have time, as I do love it. And I actually did need it, so I don't feel too badly about spending money on clothing when I need to live on it too.

Oh yeah, a (temporary) solution to the work situation has occured to me finally- if this job in Birmingham doesn't work out then I could always be a WWOOFer. I can't believe that has only just occured to me!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Today, tomorrow... not Timaru

Well today I'm off to the science museum. I've got on my stompiest shoes for shoving through the crowds. I would like to believe that it won't be too crowded because everyone has gone on holiday, but that would just be too convenient. I suspect it will be like the Natural History museum was yesterday... I went back and had a bit of a look around yesterday at some of the bits I missed, but I think there is a whole section that will have to wait till another time.

Tomorrow I shall go to the National Gallery. I got about an hour there the other day after wondering around a new part of town for a couple of hours I found trafalgar Square and thus the Galllery, but it was already 4.30 or so. Still I did get to see Da Vinci's Madonna on the rocks... every bit as dark in real life as it looks in the books. And a whole lot of Rembrandt works, which were actually not very intertesting as they were almost exclusively portraits. I mean I know you've got to make a living and all, but seriously, something other than an ugly old duke of nowhere and his wife would have been nice. Having said that, they were very good portraits, detail was amazing. Anyway, I only saw a smidge of the paintings they have as they were closing up, so will go back tomorrow.

I'm off to Birmingham on Tuesday morning for a job trial for afore mentioned CYFS met Plunket job. Managed to get a £5 train ticket which I'm pretty pleased with, you could pay more than that to get across London! Does mean I have to get to a different tube line station by 7 in the morning though. Anyway, it's two days work which I will be paid for whether or not I end up getting/taking the job, and they supply accomodation while I'm there.

So in the interim I am doing some of the things I haven't yet done in London, which are numerous indeed, but the museums and National Gallery are definitely top of the list for me.

Oh and I'm sharing my room with a heard of elephants at the moment. Seriously, these guys are amazingly loud. They got in last night while I was in the bathroom cleaning my teeth-that close to getting in to bed and switching off the light- and they arrive with midnight feast of McDonalds or whatever and make a hell of a fucking racket. Drunk as could be, they decided that because I was a kiwi and so were they mostly then I was part of 'the team'...... one of them stood around in his underwear for about five minutes talking while his mates tried to get him to get dressed. It was kinda entertaining to watch a slightly overweight guy in his underwear getting stuck half way up the ladder to the top bunk, I'll give them that much! Hilarious actually. But on the whole I would've gone for quiet sleeping time. They were even worse this morning, which I didn't think was possible. I was proven wrong when I thought one of them had fallen out of one of the upper bunks... I think he just jumped due to the lack screams of pain and fright that should follow falling out of bed. But wow. Peace had reigned in our room until now, they previous (and current Aussie) boys had been quite and tidy, and mostly outnumbered by girls, but alas, no longer. Herd of elephants in my bedroom. They're very nice, and obviously excited to be here, but just too loud for reason. Ah well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quick way to get me out of your shop:

Start playing someone rapping to an Elton John song.

My mind actually broke for a few second when I realised he was rapping "Hold me closer tiny dancer"

Why?! Just why did they think that was a good idea. Seriously fail.

It never rains but it pours!

I *still* haven't heard back about the Dubai job, I'm giving up on it. If I suddenly get an offer from them I'll certainly think about it, but I'm going to consign it to the realms of history now.

Didn't get the France job, but thats okay. I got a call from another woman today who is going to France on Sunday and needs someone to start asap (Friday if I could) to go with them... basically paid holiday in the south of France, which has something to be said for it. Interview tomorrow evening.


I've just come from an interview with a company based in Birmingham. They're kinda like CYFS meets Plunket and create a private company. They're employed by the district courts to work with families who are in danger of having their children taken off them. That phrase "There isn't a handbook for children"? Yeah that's basically the job. You literally show parents how to make bottles, feed babies, basically how to look after them. I thought that was the whole point of organisations like Plunket and having Ante-Natel classes, but whatever. Apparently that many people really aren't able to do that, so thats what this company do. So yeah. Would mean moving to Birmingham, which wasn't *really* on the list of places to go, but it sounds like a really interesting job, this company have developed a whole new approach to assessing parenting abilities of these families than is traditionally done here (and it sounds a hell of a lot more sensible to me). Pay is really good, accomodation provided.

Oh I'm also expecting a call about another nanny job in London some time today I think. Agency said she was interested in me, so she is going to call me.

Sooooooo options options. Obviously I'll have to decide about the France one soon. It is good though in the respect that I will be able to come back here in September and do supply work until I find a suitable nanny job. But I wouldn't be able to go to Birmingham to even do the trial for this other job (paid work and accom, but not travel). She certainly implied that if I went and did the trial and thought that I liked the job then as far as she was concerned I was well qualified for it, it was more a matter of if I liked it and thought I could handle it. It's a pretty dedicated job, that was easy to see.

Adventure in France for crap money for a month and come back and resume my nanny hunt, or hard job in Birmingham which is still only at the trial stage, which I may well not enjoy for great pay. Obviously they also suss out if I have the right skill set while on the trial.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The city of London

So I finally ventured over in to central London. Looked at the memorial for all the men in the Merchant Navy who died during WWII which was interesting. Not sure if the huge statue thing across the park and road was a part of it, I would say yes based on it being of Neptune (at least I'm pretty sure it was), but can't really be certain.

After that I walked around and found my way to the Tower of London. I wasn't really planning on going in because I don't like paying the best part of £20 to be cramped in with hundreds of tourists, but the guy on the gate offered me a cut price ticket... so off I went, after all I've had a few people tell me it is the best tourist attraction in London etc.

I loved the old buildings, it's really interesting how you can see all the different bits were built at different times, so plain to see! People get so worked up about preserving historic buildings, but you can see four or five totally different styles in this picture! It was actually a functional building which was adapted to requirements for most of it's life... now it's just full of tourists all day.

Guarding the Crown Jewels!!!
Mostly a ceremonial role these days (believe it or not), they have an awful lot more security inside- the walls you pass through to get in to the Jewels room are about a meter thick! I would have posted pictures, but they were pretty strict about the no photos policy in there. I do wonder if these guys get sick of being on display all day. I mean seriously, they just stand there wearing all that in the hot sun, and occasionally maching pompously back and forth for a few minutes before going back to standing there getting their photo taken and looking overly serious. I wonder if they assign it to guys as punishment... it's probably a prestigious role guarding the Crown Jewels and all, but still.
Very impressive, by the way, the jewels. I don't think I ever want to wear a crown, they look damned heavy (and are by the accounts of several monarchs!) I'm trying to remember which queen made a new crown because the other ones were too heavy... Victoria comes to mind, but there were so many that I really wouldn't trust my memory.

I didn't make it to the torture exhibit, where they show you all the things they used on people imprisoned in the bloody tower, as it was packed. But I'm cool with that. I went to I think it was the Mediaeval palace which was really cool, but again no photos allowed. I took heaps of pictures of the knight armour though..... actually lots of it was kings armour I think. They had this screen that kept changing colour behind the displays, made for some interesting pictures!

And here is one of me outside the walls of the whole compound, before I had really considered going in.

So I didn't manage to get any really stunning pictures of London bridge, or of the Tower bridge, but seriously London Bridge... what a let down! The nursery rhyme should definitely be about Tower bridge, much more interesting!

Sorry about the formatting by the way, I just can't be bothered battling with blogger any more, it takes ages, and you end up deleting all your work with an accidental badly placed backspace.

Okay I think that is my load of photos for now. I might head for a park this afternoon, I was chatting to one of my room mates last night about the parks, apparently I've managed quite a feat by not seeing any squirrels yet! Maybe I'll go and have fish and chips in a park. I need to do some shopping, and I just can't be bothered today, it's got really hot again. Not impossibly hot, but warmer than the last couple of days, which have been fairly chilly (note my jacket!). Mmm fish and chips and a book in the park. This sounds very promising

Saturday, July 17, 2010

London does have good coffee!

I just had to go to Notting Hill to find it.
Damn cool part of town though, markets were pretty sweet. Oh and they had 'flat white' on their menu :D The milk was steamed nicely too......... honestly the foam on some of the coffees I've had here you could stand a spoon in. Coffee guy looked very happy when I rejected his offer of sugar. Maybe he doesn't get many people ordering flat whites :) Sadly not a part of town I have any real reason to head to beyond staring at markets and drinking coffee. But it gives me hope that I may find other places... they do exist!

Something I've noticed here is where people take their dogs-practically everywhere. I'll grant that I haven't seen any on the tube, but in shops (one designer store I walked past I think the shop assistant had brought her dog to work), bars, cafes. I watched a husky having a good gnaw on one of those dried out something disgusting toys they have while I drank my coffee yesterday. Some places have signs saying no dogs except guide dogs or assisstance dogs, but not very many. I kinda like it actually. They're not muzzled either, just on leads.

No news on the job front. Weekend now, so I guess it'll be Monday before I hear anything. Annoyingly school holidays are starting, so no supply work for me. There goes my back-up plan. Damn!

I watched the All Blacks playing SA today (8.30am kickoff, yay!), that was fun. Interesting to note that all the Kiwis in the place (except one, who may be very hung over this morning!) got up to watch it, and even the occasionally Aussie. But none of the SA's. I appreciate that not everyone wants to watch rugby, especially when it involves mornings, but even so, I got up to watch, and I'm not exactly a die-hard fan. Was worth it though for sure! I almost cracked open my Marmite for the occasion, but decided to save it for my next destination. I can imagine boarder control not letting me take it somewhere just because it has been opened.
Anyway. Watching NZ games overseas- good excuse for breakfast beer! Not that I had any, but I know a couple of guys who were heading to the Walkabout for the game. I think everyone left at the badger was too hung over!

Ohhhh another thing thats bugging me here is the water, it's gross! Even the bottled spring water from somewhere in the UK that I should obviously know about for it's pure water, although that isn't so bad. But seriously, the London tap water is gross enough to taint my tea :(

On another water-related note, our dorm are being asked to use the other showers... apparently our one is leaking in to downstairs!

Okay I think I'm off to go and hang out in a park or museum or something.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I am SO hot right now

My phone has been ringing practically non-stop today!

-Agency saying I'm the favourite so far for one job (Dubai), only candidate left to interview, find out this afternoon.
-Agency from Ireland saying they have several jobs that I could take easily, were pretty keen for me to go up there. Thought about it, but the pay is a bit low all things considered unfortunately.
-Another agency wanting to forward my CV for this mega-bucks temp job in Spain (Hells yes!)
-Woman from Germany looking for an EMT nanny for her little daughter. Sounds pretty sweet actually, girl is at kindy most of the day, and they have a second nanny, but they'll pay full time, and didn't seem to think the London rate I quoted them was too high (in fact she implied they would go higher!)

Busy busy morning given I only got up four hours ago! Lunch will be well deserved, but not a break I don't think. No rest for the wicked huh?!
Glad I bought a week pass for this net cafe!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Natural History Museum

I thought this really deserved a post of it's own. It got almost a whole day of my time, and I doubt I saw half of it.

The dinosaur exibition was pretty impressive, obviously the famous Diplodicus in the entrance hall, but there were many more besides- lots of them were hung above your head which was neat, but you couldn't see them very well, or any signs to tell you what they were. There seemed to be a messanine level where you could have seen them well, but no way to get there, the only stairs I saw were closed due to the T-rex exhibit needing work. The other annoying thing is that it was mostly quite child oriented, so wasn't really intellectually stimulating, it just had coolness value. But still, dinosaurs are pretty cool. They can just be more interesting than they were there.

The Darwin Centre was really cool, it shows some of the research that they do- they've got huge laboratories, and the storage area for samples.
They managed to infuse a lot of the excitement from the breaking-edge science they do in to the museum exhibits. Being able to see in to the labs was nice too, and the miles of corridors of samples... wow. But they're involved in a lot of genetic research, which was interesting. I spent a good few minutes trying to remember what PCR stands for- I did eventually remember! It explained about gels and gene sequencing, it was really quite cool. I even read about how species are classified, which sounds pretty dull. Awesome example specimins did make it more exciting.

Mammels exhibit. Wasn't really that exciting, have to say. I should probably also mention that it was horrifically crowded. The Darwin Centre had been beautifully empty, and a delicious temperature. Again this place was mostly aimed at children.

So I found this awesome monkey sculpture in a hallway, it seems to be made of old bullet cases. There wasn't any sort of sign next to it, so I don't know anything about it, but it I liked it.

This is starting to get long (and a bit expensive- this net cafe is a bit steep) but I have to share one of my more favourite bits of the museum.

I had no idea the Natural History Museum had a jewel collection to rival.... I don't even know what, I'm pretty sure some of those jems are priceless.

Well that's just some of the rather fabuolous jems in the Museums geology area. Being such a magpie I took hundreds of photos, I'll have to go through and delete a lot of them at some point!

So I loved the Natural History Museum, and I will have to go back and check it out again later.

One of the high points of being a visitor here...

is that I don't feel too ridiculous taking hundreds of photos!

I took this one looking over Camden Lock towards (yet more of) the markets.

The markets really were everything they were promised to be, I did indeed feel like you could buy almost anything there. Millions of dresses. I don't think I'll ever buy clothes in a shop here. Or maybe work clothes, but otherwise, wow. So many pretty dresses. Once I have a job....

One of the things I'm loving is the pubs. They're everywhere, on every corner, with cute names.

And this is a picture from Earls Court road, which is (basically) where I'm staying.

I should really find out why it's called Earl's Court, there is probably some interesting reason. Or at least a little park or courtyard or something, which I haven't stumbled upon yet.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wow, those crazy jobs are real!

Yep. Agencies are actually putting me forward for those obscene jobs I was looking at online. They really are real and available, and they think I'll be ideal for them.

Just a quick stop at a web cafe so I can print out a map of the next agency I need to go to, I really need some lunch, I'm really hungry. But hey, eating out here (contrary to everything I was told to expect) really isn't that expensive, I honestly don't think you would save a hell of a lot cooking for yourself. Especially when you're just one person, and things go off all the time. And cellphones are incredibly cheap, I was looking at one which was £5, not kidding! It was a nokia too, so I thought about it. I may still be a bit attached to my NZ phone, it served me well!

I'm sharing my dorm with a couple of French girls, they seem nice, but I'm sorry to say I was so shattered last night that I barely got past exchanging names... which I've forgotten already. I was so tired last night I walked up the wrong set of stairs to the building. Seriously. It was only chatting to the guy sitting outside my backpackers, and him asking what the building I was about to enter was which made it apparent that I was in the wrong place! Hahaha jet lag is amazing. Feeling okay today though. The change of seasons has been great, it's just the right temperature here for me, although a touch too humid for my comfort. But the daylight hours are what got me- it didn't get dark till about ten last night (I had been thinking about bed around 8) and then it was light when I accidentally woke up at 5ish this morning! I guess Dunedin summers were like that too, I had forgotten!

Okay time for some lunch and off to my next interview.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Made it!

Flights were okay, although I think I've had enough chicken to last me for the next month. Had a girl from Orcland next me, and an Aussie boy, so good company.

Drama trying to get some money in £s! Travelex atm won't accept Travelex cash passport card! WTF!
Amex does :) Okay gtg, about to run out of time. Off to use the tube and find my backpackers:D