Last Day

So it’s the last day at work for Keryn and I before we head off on our travelling. Very strange.

Nearly time to say goodbye London.

Leaving drinks

Last night we had drinks to mark the leaving of our jobs. We had been recommended a bar in Farringdon called The Fence and it was a very good night, thankfully the weather was nice so we spent a lot of time outside. Lots of photos in the gallery, here are a couple.

With Roger and his gifts for Keryn and I
With Roger and his gifts for Keryn and I

Keryn and Lance
Keryn and Lance

Here are the rest:


The Landsecurities social committee had an Olympics event last week at a bar near the Strand offices. Other than free drink and food there was also a number of sporting events played out on the Wii, naturally using the Olympics game. Great fun was had with most people trying their hardest, as you can see.

Playing for victory; Anne and Sabri
Playing for victory; Anne and Sabri

For each event people had turns over a half hour or so to try and get the best time/result and at the end a medal was awarded to the victor. I won a medal in the swimming, obviously not real life then.

Gold Medallist in the swimming
Gold Medallist in the swimming

We all had a good time and I took loads of photos. Here’s one last one of friends from work, from the left Kiran, Melesha and Craig.

IT Olympians; Kiran, Melesha and Craig
Playing for victory

Step 1001 move out

On Saturday morning around 9:30am three men turned up in a Pickfords truck. Over the next six and a bit hours they proceeded to pack all of our things into boxes, wrapping everything up and stacking it in the back of the truck. At 3:00pm a couple of cleaners arrived as well and shortly after 5:00pm we were outside paying the cleaners and then heading out. We have moved out and are now staying for a few days with Stephen and Wendy in South Woodford.

Sunday evening we had dinner with Emma and Jim in Brentwood, it was good to catch up and we’ll have to do it again when they’re in New Zealand next March. A few more days at work, leaving drinks this coming Thursday at The Fence in Farringdon and then off up to Manchester to visit Patty and Sam. It’s all happening.

BBQ and Battersea

The Railway Bell
The Railway Bell

Yesterday we went out to Hampton for a farewell BBQ at the Old Railway Bell pub. Trish, Nigel and Ryan are moving out west to Andover and this was their time to say goodbye. We had a good afternoon in the sun (punctuated with a short period of heavy rain) chatting over drinks and a lovely BBQ. It was nice to catch up with some people we hadn’t seen in a while and also to be at a pub with friendly staff.


Kevin, Sissel and Brian
Kevin, Sissel and Brian

A Pint
A Pint

The return journey took us through Clapham Junction and I grabbed a couple of photos of Battersea Power Station as we zoomed by in the train.

Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station

Today has been a day of shopping, selling and packing. We went into London to pick up a few final clothing items for our trip. I’ve been selling various things on ebay recently and today sold one of my camera bags for £80, which wasn’t too bad I thought. We’ve got a camera, an underwater housing and two wardrobes up for sale at the moment.

This was taken while we walked from Carnaby Street towards Covent Garden. I’m not sure if it’s artwork or a display but it was sufficiently different to warrant a photo.

Plugged In
Plugged In

New Years and day one, 2008

Bridget, Keryn and I had a quiet New Years at home watching the terrible coverage of the London New Years fireworks. Patricia and Sam braved the crowds and weather to be in London for the show, and even managed to escape London in reasonable time. Earlier in the day we had all gone in to London to potter around and visit a few stores. Bridget, Keryn and I went to Covent Garden for lunch and had good falafels and cookies.

Keryn and Bridget at Covent Garden.
Keryn and Bridget at Covent Garden

Today we had a lazy morning and then a drive into London to visit the markets at Camden. Thankfully the markets were open, though they were about as devoid of people as I’ve ever seen. We wandered around and looked at a number of stalls, Patricia and Bridget getting a very late lunch along the way.

Bridget at Camden Lock Market.
Bridget at Camden Lock Market

A late lunch.
A late lunch

It got dark and started to rain as we left. Unfortunately the sat-nav doesn’t take into account the ending of football matches, the departure of fans from the Arsenal v West Ham match slowing our homeward journey by 45 minutes or so. Patricia and Bridget were asleep for most of the trip.

The last market photo.
The last market photo

Because Catherine says so

It’s been quiet here on the Blogging front, possibly a combination of being busy, the onset of winter and the family visits recently. Lets go back through the last few weeks then shall we?

This week I was at Leeds on Sunday night so I could be at the LS City Walk Office first thing to do a days work. With me being in Leeds and Keryn having her usual long commute the arriving-from-Sweden Bridget and Dean had to amuse themselves for a few hours while someone got home on Monday night, a task made easier in surrounds of the old Spitalfields Market. Tuesday saw Bridget and Dean taking the train to Maureen’s place in Salisbury and us Brentwood types going to work and then finding our way to the Royal Albert Hall for the last concert in the 2007 series for Crowded House. As you might expect I took my camera and a few usable photos were the result. It was a great night with a lot of crowd involvement and a party atmosphere, not to forget the fantastic music as well!

Crowded House showing some festive spirit at the Royal Albert Hall.
Crowded House showing some festive spirit at the Royal Albert Hall

Wednesday night was the LS IS Dept. Christmas party and I had a good night. Here’s one of many photos taken, funnily enough this is mostly people that Keryn used to work with.

Jocasta, Susan, Steve, Leanne, May, Craig, Moi and Liz at the LS IS Christmas Party.
Jocasta, Susan, Steve, Leanne, May, Craig, Moi and Liz at the LS IS Christmas Party

Thursday night was spent not doing a lot and it felt great. Tonight Keryn is out with May (in the photo above) for a catch-up and I’m typing for now and hopefully playing games soon, we’ll see.

Going back a few days to last weekend we had a Cousins get-together on Saturday night which started with a few drinks at the Speight’s Ale House with Patricia, Sam, Kathryn and a friend of Patty and Sam’s whose name I have forgotten (Zinzan Brooke was there but as he wasn’t related he wasn’t allowed to come to the next part). With Patty and Sam we then headed up to West Hampstead and spent the next few hours at Rosie’s place chatting, eating and drinking in the company of those already mentioned and also Jenny and Darren. I have a few photos but this is the only one where everyone was smiling (there is another on facebook if you need to see me as well).

Family in London.
Family in London

As you’d expect it is now getting colder and darker in this cooling Northern Hemisphere and while we haven’t had snow or anything really cold yet there have been a few days of heavy frost. With Christmas approaching there are also decorations all over the City and lots of trees springing up, normally festooned with lights and dangley things. This is a shot looking along London Wall with a slightly different take on the Christmas Tree.

London Wall and a wrapping of lights.
London Wall and a wrapping of lights

Further back we’ve been to Salisbury to pick up Bridget and Dean and bring them back to Brentwood. While in Salisbury we visited the local Cathedral, so you can see a photo from there…or you could if those photos weren’t all at work. The same goes for other photos taken as we walked from Spitalfields to Oxford Street with Bridget and Dean, I must remember to bring them home next week.

Then there is Manchester, way back on the weekend of the 17th November. I was in Manchester for work from the Thursday night until Monday afternoon and Keryn was able to come for the weekend so we could spend time with the Manchester Whanau. With Patty and Sam we took a drive out to Liverpool and saw some of the Scouse sights like The Cavern Club and the Liver Building (in passing).

Bright lights of a nightclub with special history in Liverpool.
Bright lights of a nightclub with special history in Liverpool

We also went out to Crosby Beach to see the Antony Gormley installation – dozens of statues spread over the beach and being slowly claimed by the incoming tide each day. It was a cold and windy day but we still stayed out for over an hour walking between statues and taking photos.
Antony Gormley statues on Crosby Beach.
Antony Gormley statues on Crosby Beach

Back in Manchester we had a relax at the flat before heading out to visit the Christmas Market with it’s stay-puff Santa overseeing proceedings. A wander around was followed by dinner at the fast becoming ubiquitous Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

At home performance.
At home performance

Merry Christmas in Manchester.
Merry Christmas in Manchester

I’m sure there’s more, I recall having a late lunch one weekend with Kathy, Sharon, Corey and Bindi – a mini Africa in Focus reunion for the newly London resident Australians. There has been shopping and tidying and cooking and cleaning and lots of other more mundane things as the time goes on…not long now till we’ll be thinking more about our February NZ visit.

The Lord Mayor’s Show

Thursday night after work I went down to the Speight’s Ale House after work for a pint or two and Danny, a King Country lad who also works on the Helpdesk came along. We were later joined by Keryn and chatted our way through a few pints of Speight’s followed by a bottle of Oyster Bay, it was a good evening.

Danny and Keryn at the Speight's Ale House.
Danny and Keryn at the Speight’s Ale House

Today (being Saturday) was the Lord Mayor’s Show and we headed into town to do a little bit of shopping, post off our passport applications (at last) and then find a spot by the Thames to watch the fireworks. After grabbing a bite to eat and sitting down to eat it we walked down to Embankment to look for a viewing spot but we had left it a bit late and all the really good spots were taken. We had to settle for a spot behind a crowd of people and once set up we waited for 5pm and the fireworks to start.

Crowds by the Thames waiting for Fireworks.
Crowds by the Thames waiting for Fireworks

Shortly after 5pm a flare was sent Thames-ward by the Lord Mayor and the fireworks began. It was quite spectacular with huge booms and bangs accompanying the rockets, sparks and explosions of light. A person next to me commented that it was good but “where were the oohs and aahs from the crowd” mid way through the show, shortly followed by a collective “Ooh!” from the crowd as the intensity was ramped up. The fireworks can’t have lasted for more than 10 minutes but it seemed much longer and the show ended to applause from the massed crowds on the banks and nearby bridges.

Fireworks go Boom!.
Fireworks go Boom!

The crowd quickly moved away onto Embankment which was thankfully closed to traffic. Rather than board the tube with the collected masses we walked to Liverpool Street, stopping briefly at the Guildhall to take a couple of photos. Keryn was quite surprised at the amount of building work that had taken place on Cheapside since her last visit, Landsecurities has one building site in front of St Paul’s Cathedral that currently resembles a big hole in the ground but it has revealed a view of St Paul’s that hasn’t been visible for decades. It wasn’t long before we were at the station and finding our train for the journey home.

The deserted Guildhall.
The deserted Guildhall

The roundup

It’s been a busy week just gone. On Tuesday night I went to the Roundhouse in Camden and watched KT Tunstall in Concert. I bought my ticket months ago and Keryn had decided at the time she didn’t want to go so it was just me, my camera and all the other people. It was a good evening, the opening act were a surprise and really good at getting the crowd buzzing and KT herself was funny as well as providing a good sonic performance with her band.

Kitty from the opening act Kitty, Daisy and Lewis.
Kitty from the opening act Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

KT Tunstall in concert at the Roundhouse.
KT Tunstall in concert at the Roundhouse

Wednesday night saw us both heading to the Dome for a concert at Indigo2, the smaller music venue in the Dome. I had been rung on Monday with the news I had won two tickets to see The Eagles perform and after thinking about it for a few days we decided we would attend. It turned out to be a great concert, a bit quiet to start with which I put down to a combination of new songs and a corporate audience (it wasn’t possible to buy tickets, they were all either sold off as corporate packages or given out as prizes). Once the band started playing the older tracks, kicked off with Hotel California, the crowd started singing and there was even dancing in the aisles before the venue ushers laid down the rules.

Thursday we attended drinks after work and a couple of people made redundant all those months ago came out so Keryn came along as well. Another good night was had and Keryn found out that she is still thought about at work, possibly even for positions coming up. We’ll see, it’s all just hearsay at this point.

Yesterday we spent some time in London doing a bit of shopping (remember I said I needed to get some Icebreaker tops?) and we sat down for lunch in Covent Garden. I took a few shots of a woman made up as a clown who was obviously taking a break, texting away on the other side of the square.

A glum clown at Covent Garden.
A glum clown at Covent Garden

Jim had texted earlier in the day asking if we wanted to go see a fireworks display and we had agreed so we got home and drove off to pick Jim and Emma up before heading out north east to Mersea Island. Maybe it wasn’t the best fireworks display we’d ever seen but it was good to get out, and the bonfire was quite impressive even from behind a crowd of people and a steel fence barrier.

Watching the Mersea Island bonfire.
Watching the Mersea Island bonfire

Guy Fawkes night Fireworks.
Guy Fawkes night Fireworks

Today I had work for a few hours and then, given it was a nice day, I decided to walk from work down to Temple tube which is the new home for the Speight’s Ale House. The Ale House now resides on the terrace above the Walkabout pub and early on a Sunday afternoon it was quite quiet. Talking to one of the bar staff I found out that this isn’t the final location, they’re only aloud to run the bar in it’s current position until March, so the search goes on for a permanent home. One pint of Speight’s Old Dark and it was off home for the evening.

Inside the Ale House.
Inside the Ale House

The Ale House at it's temporary home on dry land.
The Ale House at it’s temporary home on dry land

Photos updates

A lot of photos have been added to the Gallery recently, click on the photos below for more. In other news somewhere between taking photos in Richmond and getting home that evening I lost my new tripod – left it on the train no less. I’m definitely getting value out of our insurance at the moment. Oh, while I remember, we’re thinking of moving so Keryn doesn’t have quite such a commute to work. At this stage we’re investigating Richmond – it’s expensive but we like the area and it’ll be a lot easier and quicker for Keryn to get to Stonebridge Park.

What else? I know, Jim and Emma are engaged! Congratulations to them. Corey and Bindy, the Melbournites we met on the second half of our Africa journey, have moved to London so hopefully we’ll be catching up with them soon (and we have a good excuse now for another Africa in Focus reunion which will be good). That’s about it for now, it’s getting colder and darker so winter must not be far away. I must buy some more icebreaker clothing I think.

Stephen Walsh in concert @ Gate 403
Stephen Walsh in concert @ Gate 403 on his last night of Freedom.

Wendy & Stephen get Married in Toronto
Wendy & Stephen get Married in Toronto

A few days in Toronto
A few days in Toronto

The Bruce Peninsula, Ontario
The Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

New York City
New York City.

Richmond Park
A visit to Richmond Park, on the lookout for deer.

With Steve and Wendy
A Beatles tour of London, a cruise down the Thames and a walk around Greenwich.

An Autumn Walk
An Autumn walk in London.

The good and the bad

Today I spent a lot of time following the Ship Lida which has carried a Speight’s Ale House across the oceans from New Zealand to London. In the morning I watched as the ship passed through Tower Bridge and then passed back again half an hour later. There were a few photographers around and a helicopter flying overhead and obviously covering the event.

Waiting to go back through Tower Bridge with the City of London as a backdrop.
Waiting to go back through Tower Bridge with the City of London as a backdrop

Passing downstream through Tower Bridge.
Passing downstream through Tower Bridge

Later in the afternoon I met Keryn for lunch in Islington and we then went to the Intrepid office to book our trip to Cambodia next year (on our way back to England from New Zealand). This done I went off to Docklands to catch up with the Lida as she docked at Thames Wharf. I arrived to watch the Lida being manoeuvred slowly into position. While this was going on I was walking around getting different viewpoints and another photographer started talking to me. Turns out he is a part time photographer and he was covering the event for Lion Nathan. We talked about photography jobs and he asked if I ever wanted to help out with jobs he may have, to which I replied sure! I gave him one of my photography cards and hopefully that’ll lead to some work in the future.

A few minutes after he headed off I had swapped to my big lens and was about to take a photo when the lens dropped off the camera – I have to assume I didn’t screw it in correctly. It fell onto the concrete below and started rolling towards the water…this all took a second or so and I had to quickly kneel and grab at the lens before I lost it to the deep. Thankfully I grabbed it just as it went over the side and didn’t lose anything. Unfortunately lenses don’t like being dropped onto concrete and while the lens is intact it now doesn’t focus and has a large crack evident in the front lens element…that’s what insurance is for I suppose.

After this misadventure my heart went out of taking photos. I walked down to where the ship was docking and stayed around for the arrival ceremony and the crew to make it ashore. I had been given a voucher for a free Speight’s but felt more like going home and that’s what I did.

Moving around before docking at Thames Wharf.
Moving around before docking at Thames Wharf

The lads have a last beer on-board.
The lads have a last beer on-board