2004-08-16 : It’s the little differences.

OK, I thought I'd start this off with a list of a couple of key differences between life here and back at home, primarily cos that means I can walk around the flat photographing stuff.

1. Washing Machine – it's in the kitchen. I mean, what the hell's up with that !? This is ENGLAND ! The country that probably invented the drawing room, the conservatory, the sitting room, and soforth. You'd imagine if they can have a separate room for drawing, conserving and sitting, then they could have one for doing the laundry. I know, we'll call it a LAUNDRY ! Then again, I guess it's not on the Cluedo board.

2. The Shower – in the main they seem to go for the hand-held shower head over here. Some cases are more extreme than others, like Tim's old place in Islington, where the bath/shower was installed effectively under the stairs, meaning that there wasn't enough room to stand up in the shower – yes, showering sitting down in the tub. Whoooo ! The shower arrangement here at the Maida Vale Palace is particularly cool because it looks like some kind of weird 18th century chrome-plated telephone.

3. The money – I'd say that tenners are the most common note around the place, and they've all got the Queen on them grinning out at you happily. I know we're a bit cynical about her in Australia, but the normal place we see her is on the back of the coins looking pretty dour. On the ten pound note she looks much more friendly. Also, the 50p coin – that's the larger one in the picture. It's got the weird shape still, but it's not as heavy as the Aust. one, and the corners aren't as sharp. It just seems less likely to wear a hole through one's wallet or pocket (because as English people may be surprised to know, almost 12% of workplace accidents in Australia are caused by people slipping over on or diving for 50 cent coins that have worn through someone's pocket and shot down their shorts or trouser leg.

So, totally unconnectedly, this weekend I caught up with my former workmate Carl – he left Australia about 2 1/2 years ago to go live in Latvia and he's now project managing for a company that does some software work over here. He was here on a business trip and so we organised a bit of a reunion. It was really cool to see him after such an interval. A lot has changed in both of our lives, but it was as if nothing had really changed much ?

We spent the day wandering around chatting and pretty much alternating between pubs and coffee shops – we were going to hop on a boat and cruise up and down the Thames, but we decided there were too many bloody tourists in the way and we couldn't be bothered.

The night was finished up with a fairly epic booze session in Islington with the ever fabulous Annie, and then a trip for the obligatory late-night curry. I knew I'd had too much to drink when I caught myself ordering a chicken jalfreezi. Whoa boy.

I'm adding some more photos to my photo gallery in the next couple of hours, so if anyone's interested in seeing some shots of the area around where I'm working or a couple of shots I took of the area I'm staying on a misty night, then I guess click yourself on over that direction (i.e. Photos).