Wow, time appears to be flying. It's been a mucho busy week !

Firstly, we have hot water again. That was Saturday's breakthrough. After almost a week of having a procession of fairly useless non-plumbers file through and explain that “they can't possibly fix it today, because it's the valve/tank/pump/flux capacitor/whatever” we decided to call a proper plumber. 15 minutes after he'd arrived, he'd fixed it – turned out to be an air lock in the pipes. He showed us how to fix it if it happened again, slugged us £56, and then left.

Next bit of news – from Thursday last week through to Monday I had Tim staying with me, fresh back from his European odyssey and doing the windup before heading back to Australia.

As a pre-event birthday present, I took him to the Barbican on Saturday night to see Roy Ayers and the African Jazz Allstars. Man, ya just don't see enough xylophone players these days, do ya ? OK so it wasn't a xylophone, but it was a big musical hitty thing (as opposed to a drum kit… ho ho ho, etc.). The show was pretty wild, although I guess I found certain aspects of it a little too distracting to enjoy it as much as I thought I would. For starters, Roy couldn't seem to stop playing with the little knobs that made his funky xylophone thing work. He was ALWAYS twiddling the damn things ! And the two female backup singers he had were a little distracting too. Musically, they were great. But it wouldn't have hurted for Roy to take them aside and say “Hey, ease up on the dancing, OK ?”. The one on the left was thrashing about like a Rockin' Flower on a record turntable set at 78RPM.

Anyway, Sunday Tim & I went on a bit of a trek out to Camden Town to get some jeans for him to take home, only upon arriving it turned out he only had travellers' cheques, whcih he couldn't cash there, so we went back into Covent Garden and he grabbed some other ones there. Meanwhile, waiting out the front of the shop I ran into my friend Zac – pretty weird considering that I only know a handful of people in London at the moment, and technically he's not one of them beacuse he lives in Wales… So ANYWAY we ended up going for a beer with Zac at this wild pub called The Porterhouse. What a top idea – naming a bar after a steak.

After sitting there and shooting the breeze a while, I caught up with Patrick, Jules, Chris and Barbara (sorry, no photos), which was really really cool. Chris has been over having meetings and speaking at a conference in Oxford (some important medical thing I guess), and Jules & Pat have been over doing the great European tour and everything… and it seems that along the way they got ENGAGED, and told everyone to keep it a secret from yours truly ! Well that's just bloody marvellous.

Nevertheless, it was excellent news, and we decided to have an ale to celebrate.

Monday I was home sick all day with the worst part of this cold I've picked up, although I seem to be almost over it now.

So I'll skip a bit and move on to Wednesday, because that was the coolest day in AGES ! I had half a day off work, so the plan was to catch up with Pat & Jules again and spend the day with them.

First thing was that we had to vote, because Australia's having an election this weekend and aside from the fact they fine you if you don't vote, it also seems a bit hypocritical to discuss/whinge about Australian politics if you're not prepared to cast your opinion into the official fracas. Mmm, voting. What else can I say about it ?

Nothing. I'm going to move on to the next bit, which was High Tea at The Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner. And what can I say ? WOW. It was WAY COOL. I always get a kick out of being waited on, but this was another level again – certainly one of the ritziest establishments I've ever patronised !

We selected our teas from the tea menu – Pat had Lapsang Souchong, Jules had the Lanesborough Afternoon Blend, and I went for Darjeeling (the temptation to get Earl Grey was there, but I think leaping around doing Captain Picard impressions would have disrupted the mood somewhat). They brought out this neat 3-level plate-stand thing with sandwiches, teacakes, and pastries, and to finish there were scones.

It was such a cool place, and we even saw a famous person ! Well, we THINK we did – OK, Jules and Pat were convinced, and I don't know much about these things so I just went along with them… but yeah, Bjork was sitting over in the corner with a few of her entourage. Pat surreptitiously took a photo, because she's been known to go spare at photographers from time to time.

So anyway, after drinking possibly more tea than I have in a lifetime – and LOVING every minute of it – we set off ot the theatre to meet Richie and catch Sweeney Todd. Despite the few things I've read online whilst trying to find a photograph to ripoff.. ahem, I mean, erm, to ILLUSTRATE this paragraph with… yeah, despite that I found it to be a great production, and quite innovative! Not in the same league of technical wow factor as lots of shows, but overall I thought it had great atmosphere, and the cast were strong enough to carry it off well. The set was fantastic – the back wall and the floor were comprised of spaced boards, giving a fairly rustic feel, but use of the cyclorama behind and light and smoke from the deck created some awesome mood and effect. I quite enjoyed the way also that the cast were ALSO the orchestra – it provoked some discussion about how certain members were better at one function than the other, but again I think it was quite clever.

Anyhow, best end this epic and go home. I'm *supposed* to be getting my laptop back early next week, and we're looking at getting broadband set up at our place, so with any luck I'll be able to get back to writing this stuff from home rather than at the office.

So yeah – a busy week ! It's been great to hang out with Tim before he disappeared, it was neat to run into Zac unexpectedly, and it's been absolutely awesome spending time with Patrick & Jules… so in spite of the cold water, the flu, not having a pc, and not getting my paycheque yet, I've gotta say I've had a really cool week.

2004-10-08 : Wrong glass, sir !
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