Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Aussie girls in a quaint English college town

The other weekend Alli and I went to Cambridge, and discovered where England is hiding all of their good looking men – on the punting boats on the Cam River. I’m serious, I have never seen so many attractive guys in one spot in all my time in England. Needless to say, we spent quite a bit of time down by the river that weekend.

Cambridge is a gorgeous little town, nicer than Bath I might even say, because it isn’t quite so touristy.

Alli and I took the train from Kings Cross on Saturday morning and 45 minutes and a good gossip later, arrived in Cambridge. I’m not sure if they layed it on just for our arrival, but the stench of horse manure was the first thing that hit us when we arrived. It was rather awful.

After dropping our bags off at our cheap and compact (but cute) hotel we walked the mile and a half into the city to begin our sightseeing – at H&M, where I contemplated purchasing a jumper because of the overcast weather and my stingy packing. Instead I bought a sequin top, which turned out to be a better investment as the sun came out and the day turned in to a beautiful one.

We walked through the town, and around the amazing Kings College, and headed down for our highly anticipated boat ride. Cambridge is famous for its river Cam and the punting boats. According to Wikipedia…

A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed for use in small rivers or other shallow water. Punting refers to boating in a punt. The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole. A punt should not be confused with a gondola, which is propelled by an oar rather than a pole.

Alli and I sat up the front of the boat, enjoying the sun and the views, and playing the ubiquitous travelling game – Tap That. It is Sparky, Bec and mine’s favourite game, and if you have travelled with us before you will know how to play it…

Saturday night Alli and I had an uber romantic meal at an outdoor Italian restaurant, where we got the party started with some champagne. Then we met up with some friends of Alli’s at where else but the Slug and Lettuce. After a bottle of wine and a couple of cocktails between us, we decided to call it a night.

We were up at a reasonable time and were in reasonable health, which is a rare occurance when Alli and I travel together. We made our way back into town and set ourselves up in a park beside the river, watching all the self punters run into each other and fall into the water – hilarious!

Sunday afternoon we visited Alli’s friend’s mum for lunch, before making our way back to the train station and then spending most of the trip back sleeping and sweating it out in a cattle class train.

Another thing to cross off on my “to do before I leave England” list!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A collection of thoughts

A Maclaren pram does not a good mother make.

Some people look weird when eating ice-cream.

You should never run in an office. Ever. It is undignified.

Just because you can wear micro mini hotpants, doesn't mean you should.

If a book is that exciting that you must read it while walking down the street, then there is something wrong with you.

Don't wear Ugg(ly) boots with a flimsy summer dress, you are just contradicting yourself.

I really hate Regina Spektor's music.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Liar liar

Edit: okay, so Amber's not so much a liar as I am gullible. Perhaps the title of this blog should be Gullible gullible. But it just doesn't have the same ring to it. And to be honest, each of these three stories really made me laugh, and still make me chuckle when I think about them!

This is a warning to people not to get sucked in to the untruths that Amber tells.

Firstly, we have the incident where we were at Charlotte’s birthday with all of her French friends, and Amber told them in French to excuse my behaviour because I was raised by wolves, or “large dogs”.

Then we have the numerous stories of Amber’s sister’s extremely cheeky and talented dog Scampy. Amber told me stories of how she would go swimming and he would trot up and down the side of the pool with her, or how he would put his front paws up on a ball and push it along (something that Amber does a great re-enactment of). And then the truth came out – Scampy is not a he, Scampy is a SHE! When I asked Amber about it, she claimed that she sort of thought of Scampy as a boy, so she just used to refer to him as a “he”.

But the biggest disappointment that I have suffered with Amber is the Cheese of the Week. Since I moved to London in April 2008 Amber would come home from shopping displaying her Cheese of the Week from Marks & Spencer. One week it might be a regional blue cheese, the next a seasoned halloumi. When Angela arrived I was showing her all my favourite shops, including Marks and Spencer, and went to point out the selection of cheeses and show her the Cheese of the Week but alas, we could not find it. When I told Amber this she admitted that there wasn’t an actual Cheese of the Week, it was just that she bought a different cheese each week and called it her Cheese of the Week.

These things have absolutely addled me, but Amber just finds them funny.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Oh my gosh, major drama at work yesterday... there was a shooting right outside of our office!

As our building has floor to ceiling glass walls, we noticed all of the police cars outside and the streets cordoned off. Then an announcement came over the PA telling us that there was an issue out on the street and we were not allowed to leave the building. Of course, then everyone rushed to see what was happening, and another announcement told us to step away from the windows.

Adding to the drama, at the same time there was a massive (unrelated) protest in our reception, with drums and placards.

05.08.09: Policeman injured in Waterloo shooting
Justin Davenport, Crime Correspondent

Armed police were today hunting a lone gunman after a dramatic shooting outside a central London Tube station.

The man turned on police in front of hundreds of terrified commuters as he cycled past Southwark Tube Station.

One policeman is believed to have been injured as he dived for cover when the man refused to stop and pulled out a handgun.

It is believed he was targeted after police identified him as a wanted man.

Armed police units flooded the area and a helicopter was called in but the gunman abandoned his bike and fled down The Cut - a street filled with busy restaurants.

An onlooker said: “At least one shot was fired at the police, they were just trying to stop him in the street. As he spun round on his bike he produced a gun and opened fire and everyone dived for cover.”

The gunman was seen running towards and estate behind the Young Vic theatre heading in the direction of the South Bank.

Scotland Yard said police were called to reports of shots being fired at The Cut at 3.02pm.

A spokesman said it was not clear how the officer had been injured but it is believed that he suffered a gunshot wound.

The Cut is a busy shopping street which runs between Waterloo railway station and Southwark Tube station, a short distance from the River Thames.

But no need to stress mum, I'm safe!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An open letter #4

Dear BBC,

I have a love hate relationship with your website.

The online Magazine is fantastic, with feature stories, mini quizzes and my favourite, the aforementioned 10 things we didn’t know last week. This week’s 10 things was especially good. I had no idea that a third of England's coastline is inaccessible, or that police officers are not required to be able to swim, or that the dye used in blue M&Ms can help mend spinal injuries. Thanks for that.

And your iPlayer function is brilliant! I can sit in the relaxed comfort of my bed and watch the Underage and Pregnant documentaries on my laptop whenever I want.

However your weather forecast is absolutely rubbish. I will look out the window to grey skies with barely a break of blue in the clouds, and you will tell me that it is sunny and 24 degrees.

You really need to pull up your socks on that one Beebs.


Monday, August 3, 2009

It's over

Summer is gone people, it's left the building, snuck out quietly while I wasn't really paying attention.

On the way home from a decadent afternoon tea at Claridges I noticed piles of orange and brown leaves blowing down the road.

Goodbye summer, hello autumn.

Goodbye stinky hot days on the train, hello cool mornings and the return of transitional seasonal jackets.

Goodbye 9.30pm sunsets, hello increasingly shortening days.

Goodbye Pimms fruit cups, hello wine.

Goodbye big statement rings, hello gloves.

Only four and a half months until my next summer though!