We have had a moderately lazy week thus far, Grant's mountain biking adventures and rampant job applicationing (more below) notwithstanding. Perhaps I should say that *I* have had a moderately lazy week thus far! Anyway, our mandatory "English experience" consisted of riding out to Richmond and getting really damned cold on Sunday. We had intended to have lunch in one of the very nice pubs in Richmond on the banks of the Thames. Unfortunately:
(a) the Thames was having a really freaky king tide, which basically ate the entire riverside walk and severely ate into outdoor eating areas (seriously, there were ducks SWIMMING on the footpath - this was at Chiswick, and on the way back home it was obvious the entire road had been covered); and
(b) several hundred thousand rugby fans had had the same idea before heading off to the stadium at Twickenham for NZ vs England (GO ALL BLACKS!).
As a result, we had a somewhat less posh lunch in one of the pubs up the street, which had attained a sudden but short lived absolute waterfront status, hopefully not unruly impacting upon its rent. We did however meet a very nice dog there, Sophie the pink-collared staffy cross rottweiler with the punk owner, who like her owner was a giant sook. She made us miss Queeniedog!
The next part of the plan had been to do a couple of laps of Richmond Park so I could make a few kms on Rohan in the Great Odo Challenge of 2006, but we got really cold and the light was failing, it being 3 IN THE AFTERNOON, so we quit. We probably needn't have chickened out actually, given the rugby traffic had all dissipated by then so the trip home only took about 35 mins or so. At least we now know we can travel the 12km to and from Richmond rather more quickly by bike than by tube - takes about an hour on the tube! We might try to make the park again this weekend.
Over the weekend, yesterday and today Grant has been applicationing up a storm. His record is 16 applications in one day. There has been a pretty good response so far, and he has one or two interviews lined up for tomorrow. Today started with a recruiter calling at 7.30am (!) and another one called while we were having dinner at 8.30pm (!). Clearly they are working corporate lawyer hours. The job market is looking pretty promising so far.
Otherwise we have been living the low key London lifestyle of the unemployed, which involves a lot of veg shopping at markets / cooking at home rather than enjoying the culinary delights of the capital too much. The food is great but it is also reasonably expensive unless you are earning pounds sterling. We are very much looking forward to the gainful employment of a certain member of the household so we can leave the kitchen alone for a few days a la Sydney. This is particularly so as we suffer from a hyperactive smoke alarm which is wired into the mains, so we can't even yank the batteries out to shut it up. Basically, if you turn the oven on, you are up for a chorus of beeping. IT IS UPSETTING MY KITCHEN ART.
The fun thing about coming here has been returning to the kitchen equipment of student days, ie. hardly anything. Cf. Underwood Road, where our kitchen equipment aquisitiveness reached its glorious zenith (Esteele! le Crueset! Mundial! Dualit! and many more!). I have been driven to such extremes as making breadcrumbs by GRATING TOAST. It is just lovely to be cooking with both hands tied behind your back and exactly the implement you need in someone's shed in Oz!
We have not yet had to resort to mashing potatoes with a fork, much as the pilgrims must have done. However, we have addressed some of the horrors of gadget deprivation by buying a stick blender set on ebay which has a chopper attachment as well as the blender (Jan and Paul - a poorer cousin of the great one you have waiting for us back home - tragically cheaper to buy a new one here than have one sent from Oz). And yea, the new stick blender is awesome. Awesome to the extent that Grant made mayonnaise in it this evening. MAYONNAISE. I've never done this before, but seeing as it takes all of 5.3 seconds and is a very cool party trick to boot, I'm not quite sure why I've been buying the crap from the supermarket my whole life. I feel quite cheated actually. It is pretty good stuff fresh.
And I got to make breadcrumbs with the chopper, without grating toast, which for those who haven't had the pleasure is quite a hazardous exercise. And I also discovered why one would want a 400W motor as opposed to our wee old 150W back home, viz: RAW POWER. I fear the 600W monster waiting for us back home.
In other news, the Great Power Shower Incident of 2006 has come to a conclusion with the introduction of a new member of the pixieflat household. Isn't it beautiful? It doesn't have hot water geysering out of it all over the floor at unexpected times or anything. NB: landlord installed it with emergency taps. It's not like he doesn't trust us, but, well...
Back to Uni tomorrow. I don't know how I can be expected to show up for 8 whole hours a week. Oh wait, that's with my optional subject - they actually only expect me to show up for 6. Excellent!