Posts Tagged ‘London’

My Twitter feed is chock full of tweets about the Virgin London Marathon that is happening today in.. duh.. London, and it reminded me that this time last year I was there. It wasn’t the weekend of the marathon but it was the weekend of the volcanic ash cloud craziness. The Icelandic volcano kicked off on the Thursday and it  grounded flights right, left and center. I’d been in London that week for a series of meetings with my (now ex-) company and our entire global team was stranded there. It was a very odd time. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. I made the decision to stay in London since I was due to fly back over at the end of April and given that I could stay with family so I wasn’t running up a hotel bill and I got a refund on my personal flight so it was a win-win for me. As it turned out everyone flew out within a week or so of the volcanoes initial explosion but it was an odd situation to be in. I think it was the uncertainty that flummoxed everyone.

April is always a fraught month for me, volcano or no volcano, as it signifies the lead up to my exams. The juggling of day job and studying comes to a head and leaves me with stress dreams, an uncontrollable blinking eye and a heart that feels like it is going to burst out of my chest at any moment. Things are a little different this April as I am minus the day job but with three final exams to prep for I feel like I have too much stuff going on in  my head. Thankfully there is some cross over between Greek Drama, Women in Antiquity, and Nero to Hadrian. Yesterday I managed to wade through The Aeneid (one of my many bete noirs) and I am actually feeling excited about re-tackling Lucan’s Civil War on Monday. Imperial epics are probably the toughest thing I’ve had to study as they purposefully set out to be disjointed and fucked-up texts. Going forward I’ve decided to think of them as Klingon epics as they might be easier to make sense of with a couple of glasses of blood wine.

I feel like I am one of only two people (the other being my mum) who thoroughly enjoyed the volcanic eruption.  It gave me breathing space, my meals were cooked for me, my tiny capsule wardrobe washed and ironed, and plenty of time to revise the affects of another volcanic eruption (Pompeii!). It was a real treat to be home for a whole month (I haven’t spent that much time in the UK since January 2005). To spend all those nights drinking tea and watching TV with my mum. To be able to bake for her (and the stranded people in our London office), to “let her” drive me to Starbucks to buy multiple flat whites to sustain me through my revision, and of course  drag her to the cinema and theatre. I am such a good daughter – I do hope I get the larger half of the house in my mum’s will.

Being out of my bubble helped me make some decisions about what I hope to get out of the rest of 2010. It is always nice to make decision, and it is nice to be back sleeping in my own bed after a month on an air matress.

Today was the Virgin London Marathon, and I had to head into town to collect some Pompeii photocopies that a friend had kindly got her husband to bring across as he was coming to run. When I decided to stay the first panic was what about my stack of Pompeii images that I had carefully printed and photocopied over the last few weeks as an intergral part of my revision. You see my Pompeii exam has a gobbet question and there are all these images of wall painting, building plans, statues and photos that I need to memorize.  Okay, my first panic was that I wasn’t going to see Alex till May 16th, and my second panic was my stack of photocopies. Today I was reunited with my papers, and now I just need to annotate and memorize. Oh the joy!

I ended up having a bit of time to kill so I had a stroll around Tower Bridge, and took a few snaps:

The weather was fairly overcast and I only have my iPhone but I think they came out well. (Obviously not as nice as a shiny new GTI.)

It’s been an odd week fueled by exam tension, second guessing, PMT and VAD (volcanic ash drama).   On Monday the situation looked particularly bleak so I decided to take myself out of the equation and not try to get back to NYC since I was meant to be flying to London on the 28th any way.  This of course led to a lot of second guessing and when almost everyone I knew who was stranded managed to fly back on Wednesday I had a real ‘doh’ moment. But you know what – I made the right call. Sure I’ve had to buy a load of replacement text books, and some clothes as I had only packed a very limited wardrobe for my 5 day sojourn. But, I won’t have to get over jet lag twice and it’s been fun working out of the London office.

Now I only have 3 days left to work before my exam leave starts, and I am feeling way less stressed than I normally do on these occasions.  Yes, I am daunted my the sheer amount of knowledge I need to cram in my head but at least I don’t have to schlep back and forwards across the Atlantic, and stress that the volcanic ash is going to drift to NYC and stop me from sitting my exams.

Greenwich Park

Posted: 04/17/2010 in travel
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Forgive the random photo at the end of my last post as I am still trying to get to grips with the WordPress app on my iPad. After being cooped up in meetings for what felt like days I really needed lots of fresh air and a good walk. So today mum and I headed to Greenwich Park for a wander around and a spot of lunch by the river. I’ve only got my old iPhone with me acting as life line to the outside world and camera but I downloaded this cool photo app called Hipstamic and it really jazzes up your photos.

My family moved to London when I was 8 or 9 and we lived 10 minutes from the best park in the whole of London – Greenwich Park. There are deer, flower gardens, old trees that Elizabeth the 1st played in, and plenty of spaces for having fun. There are also the most amazing views of London. From the hill at the top of the park you can see the Thames meander around the Docklands and beyond, the Maritime Museum and the Naval College (as was).


Posted: 04/17/2010 in Navel gazing, travel
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I am currently trapped in London along with a fair number of my colleagues (and everyone else trying to depart this fair isle). I guess when the powers that be decided to schedule vision days they didn’t see as far as Iceland. A volcano goes poof in Iceland and the aviation industry grinds to a halt. Is this chaos theory or simple cause and effect? Honestly I think this is all being staged by meteorologists as part of their plan towards world domination. The last year was dominated by economics and economics, and this year it is the turn of weather and meteorologists (note- not weather-persons from the telly).

It’s a pretty surreal situation to be in. I see no ash yet it is there. Dancing in the atmosphere and keeping me from going home. But at least I can stay with my mum so I don’t have to worry about hotels though I would like to get home so I can spend some time with Alex before I go on exam leave in… wait for it… London!

I birthed a 2,000 word essay on neighbourhoods in Pompeii yesterday. I know that is a regular sized essay but there was a lot of reading and throw in some traveling and a cold, and it turned into my Moby Dick. Whilst I’ve had it hanging over head I haven’t felt at liberty to really blog about anything other than quick updates so my mum knows that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Though given that we email through out the day, IM, Skype and she follows me on Twiter there is little chance of that.

So, I went to London a few weeks ago for some much needed respite and I saw three great plays. The first of which was a revival of Six Degrees of Separation at The Old Vic.  Now Six Degrees is a quintessential New York play based on the real life account of a con man who tricked people in NYC into believing that he was the son of Sidney Poitier. I was a bit worried about its reception – would it still be relevant? But, from the conning of wealthy New Yorkers (hello Maddoff) to references to Catcher in the Rye to the children of the conned rolling their eyes at the stupidity of their parents, and the issue of race it hit the button every time.

It is an excellent production (loved the Rothko inspired set) with an outstanding ensemble cast and I have a weakness for when the fourth wall is broken.  I just wish our audience had been a little livelier, and got a few more of the jokes (Dean and Deluca is a store full of condiments for the wealthy to gift to each other!). The male lead is Anthony Head (of Buffy fame), and I thought it funny that in the program blurb that runs through all the accomplishments of the cast for Head, Buffy is separated from the rest of his TV credits with this qualifier ‘Anthony appeared as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a critically acclaimed US series’.  I am guessing that either Head is super proud of Buffy, or he was worried that London theatre goers would not have clue what Buffy was and worry that he had fallen on hard times in the 90s (after his run as the Gold Blend man).

If you are in London it is definitely worth catching it during its run, and thanks to Kevin Spacey’s direction The Old Vic is one of the nicest theatres in London. Though I might be bias because our cheap seats in the gods were upgraded to the stalls. They must have known that I am huge Buffy fan!