Friday, October 13, 2006

Notting Hill (our place, not the movie)

(originally posted 26/09/06)

Hiya peoples

Today went to Mile End campus of my uni to enroll. There I expereinces again the british fondeness for queues of all descriptions (snaking, 2 abreast, so many new kinds to try!). Typically I lost the handbook the minute I was given it so hoping I can get a new pack tomorrow. Tomorrow to the Barbican campus (Charterhouse Square) for course overview etc which is much closer to new pad which is in Ladbroke Grove / or if you ask Grant, Notting Hill (and he thinks I'm pretentious) postcode say it with me now W11 1QX.
pretty well settled in the new flat / cupboard. It has lots and lots of storage space actually for being a cupboard itself which is pretty weird.

Ladbroke Grove / Notting Hill is very like Glebe only more so. Very multicultural and active and fun. Vegie markets in portobello rd open every day here also street baker's etc. moroccan 'quarter' 2 blocks up has lovely delis, cafes, restaurants etc. Still scoping out for a decent local pub. the notting hill end pubs are all a bit too swank and characterless but there are some down the road in ladbroke grove (road not suburb) which look promising!
One of my favourite places so far is a dedicated spice shop round the corner from us which we just blew some cash at. Even bought Australian sultanas there, £1 for a tiny little pack. Such is the price of homesickness, or would be if I bought it for that reason and not just because I was suspicious of using currants in couscous.
Everywhere hearabouts and opposite our flats are old 'Victorians' which are immense connected 4 storey terraces with pillars and whatnot. Very classy and beautiful - Grant is aspiring to rent one of them next (they are all divided up into flats pretty much) but not sure how we'll go given the 1 year work restriction and the fact that we're stuck in curernt place for 7 months under the lease.

Everything is so close to everything else here. Even Jen's place at Twickenham where we stayed the first week is only about 10 miles from the CBD - our place more like 4/5, and pretty much every thing you can think of is in the neighbourhood high street of PORTOBELLO ROAD TOP THAT! (no shopping centres here thank god and indeed there are very few in London generally) 2 blocks from the flat. Well, everything except a decent kitchen / manchester shop. Are makign do with linen and knives from woolworths for time being which despite name has nothing to do with ours and is more like a kmart. A really crap kmart - we bought towels there yesterday and they only had one bath towel left and a towel which is either a huge hand towel or a bath towel torn in half. As you can imagine Grant won the proper one by dint of size so I am having fun drying my person with the itty one.

Most of London is FLAT so:
(1) most places have crap water pressure and showers are only possible really with a pump thing called a power shower. Unsurprisingly, ours isn't currently working so we are having baths. it's actually rather nice and like being 3 again. also very water efficient for their 'drought', which is where it still actually rains. Don't listen to anyone from the UK when they tell you (a) something is a long way away (oh, yeah? not if it's still in the country, chum) or (b) it's a drought. That said it has been awfully lovely and sunny lately and has really only rained overnight until today. which is what I call considerate weather.

(2) people ride their bikes in a very crap manner suggesting they've never had to learn pedalling efficiency ever ever ever. It's tempting to run at these down-down pedallers and scream CADENCE but I am waiting until the Birdy arrives and I will demonstrate by example then instead.

The thorn in our side is the British telecommunincations bureaucracy ie BT in all its glory. Everything mostly is ADSL so you need a landline, but British Telecom is erally the only landline provider and like Telstra in the good old days they don't ever answer the phone, or do and then put you on hold for hours, which is rather expensive when you are relying on a mobile to call! so we are spending quite a bit of cash in internet cafes and so on. Other side of UK telco (mobiles) is pretty awesome - T Mobile does 12p/minute calls to every phone you can find on their fair island which is cool.

with all the organisation etc and running around its hard to remember I have to start my course soon. Good Lord!

When's everyone going to come and visit?


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