Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy new year.
It’s the 27th december over here now and for all intents and purposes we are fogged in. thats not entirely true or even factually possible but it is a pea soup-er.
This morning we introduced Edith to the Barbican. Our long time readers will remember our praise for the brutalist architecture mega-estate. Well now she’s a fan to. Of course I cannot confirm this but she did get to bang bongo drums in an art exhibit and go Boo via a microphone, run a running track and see a goat. The curve gallery is that sort of place.
Probably more to her liking was the big open spaces and the train rides there and back. Probably less to her and her fathers liking was the 0 degreees.(extra ‘e’ added for dramatic effect not cause I’m a poor spella) the coldest day she has ever endured…ever!
Christmas was a hoot, her first walking christmas, I use the description walking loosely as its running everywhere, with the odd attempted skip and jump. Anyway Fathersantaclausemon was generous and the day was shared with our friends who uder-ed their way across town to spend a delightful Jane prepared veggie christmas, share in gif giving and generally ingratiate themselves to she who must be obeyed.(not Jane in this context).
I did quite enjoy my Hamleys adventure shopping trip for E’s balance bike.
AS I mentioned previously its cold, despite there being zero temperature, no temperature its cold, which by definition is temperature, not no temperature, but is not nice, zero degrees or maybe real feel of -1. I have to admit however I am getting a fortnightly thaw as I head to Doha (capital of Qatar) every few weeks now for work. Im the lead architect on two Doha Metro stations, including the main central station. Ok to be fair the stations are largely planned and the structure largely complete but who cares its mine all mine! will look good on the CV bolstering the rail side of things and the main reason I came back.
Of course the fortnightly trip is met with trepidation. Previously I lamented never getting anything out of architecture than a pay-check and heartache, so being flown 1/3 the way across the world for work, put up in pretty good hotels and generally treated well for the effort would seem a major bonus, but it comes with guilt for leaving the girls behind, of course on both occasions so far Jane has been left with a sick bubs adding to the guilt. And to be honest I quite like travelling with Jane. But on the flipside I do get 4 reasonably new films to myself on each leg, downside is if I watch all 4 films I don’t get enough sleep and an wrecked by lunchtime. Other big problem is the time difference. Doha is 3 hours ahead of London, i’m not there long enough to acclimatise so a 7:00 am start is actually a 3 am London tim start on usually a 37 hour awake stretch. then add 14 hour days as there is no point going If I don’t get stiff done and Doha hasn’t really grabbed my imagination to spend it exploring..yet. Of course in a few months the winter 20’s will give way to summer 50’s so ill be inverse moaning then too about the weather. Im fitting in well to pommy land aren’t I.
We are getting out a bit more too, While we have both had a ridiculously busy 2016 we are trying to do some exploring, as mentioned today the barbican, Boxing day Oxford and regent street lights and shop windows (damn you selfridges and Liberty for plastering your christmas windows with sales promotion propaganda) last week Greenwich, Tate the previous week or was it the other way around? Ill distract now with a note that Edith does not like mud but is quite keen on ‘diggers’ (mudmoving construction vehicles) like her father likes knowing she owns a bike but not so keen on riding it…yet
Anyway, till next time


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Stonehenge 2016

So with Jane’s mum with us, thanks again Anne, we thought it opportune to visit Stonehenge. Last time Jane saw it there was only early site preparations having been completed. Since then it had been completed won heaps of awards and been in many publications and of course not been seen live by Jane.
Up early and started the pilgrimage to the stones, interestingly the henge is south west of London, always thought it was North west. And this explains the longer than estimated journey last time I went via car with Amanda over from OZ all those years ago, wrong and long way round on the M25.
By the way just ordered our Christmas tree and a load of decorations, paid online at 3,30 and its still going to be delivered today, Sunday that is, Sunday delivery of Christmas stuff.
Anyway on the way Edie experienced her first ‘non commuter’ train…Ok technically they are all ‘commuter trains’ but this one wasn’t suburban and took us far away to magic land.

Along for the journey were Edies favourite bird companions, circling topick up any crumbs she may have dropped, and there are many as you would expect.


And Jane standing proud in front of her teams creation. It is a beautifully crafted, well detailed and though out building. I and Im not Jane, was well impressed at it, a perfect response and it all works so well together as a design. Well deserved of it’s credits and knowing one of the prime drivers behind it is quality is exciting


We even bothered to go and see the stones too, it would be rude not to and gave Jane the chance to see the security hub part of the project and ride the landtrain which looked deceptively like a bus!


However Edie was slightly more impressed with her yoghurt spooning skills than either the building or the ancient monument. I have to say the monumental grandeur of the stones was somewhat secondary to her spoon dexterity, which on this day was also secondary to the work Jane had produced.


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catching up

So whats been happening. Hmmmm
we searched around our old haunts for a place to live, you know, relove the dream and all that stuff only to find the olympics ruined everything in the east. being only a few miles from the olympic regeneration sites rents had skyrocketed, coincidentally our old flat was on th emarket again, no doubts a dissapointed ex tennant as well, and there ws no way we could afford it even with both of us earning, and it was exactly the same with the same old furniture and most likely poorly painted painted parts. And I ws keen to move back so I could set fire to it when we left to extract out 1000 pound bond the landlord never returned…but I digress.
with every passing dissapointment we moved further and further =from E1, E2, E6, E12, beyond zone 1, 2 qand into Zone 4. My nose beleeds at the thought but we found a great flat in SE18, which is a westerly suburb of France. But it is a nice flat in a great old location with historic importance if thats what floats your boat.
google Royal woolwich arsenal for all your boat floating…and yes we are in one of the old converted buildings. Jane likes it, only problem is the hour + commute and no lift to the second though technically 4th floor height wise.
But we do have extensive river views, thats right, were on the river, the river Thames, which as it turns out is in westerly france?
Id get photos up if I could get into the bedroom to get the download cable from under the sleeping babies nose, shhhh, stop reading soloud, you’ll wake her up.
The town of Woolwich, you know, where poor lee Rigby was attacked and killed is actually very nice, feels safe, cleran and very self contained, we have reasonable transport links despite being in France and probable the highest quote of poundstores per capita than anywher int he known universe. there is literally 3 inth emain street and I dont mean stores that sell things for a pound but actually 3 stores called poundland which sell things for a pound.

Ok thanks guys, one of your loud reading woke her up…


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So 2 weeks down we emerge from under the load of rubble we pulled down on ourselves enough to write this post. Im guessing only Gaz is still out there so to him and everyone else howdy!
we are alive and beginning to come to grips with our new, new existence.
In late September we moved back to London. Jane secured a place in a prestigious course at Westminster University and I was offered a pretty good job several months before we arrived.
So we packed up our stuff, locked a lot of it away in a container…well mostly my stuff and it’s a 40 footer plus a car at a friends.
We madly rushed to finish the renovations with help from family…thanks again guys, until Jane slipped on a drop sheet and Fractured her arm…Plus a storm came through and caused a leak in the roof which destroyed the recently renovated bedroom ceiling so we were never going to finish with three days before our flight.
So we have paid to have it finished, but still await the insurance claim against the ceiling to be completed.
I quick series of short goodbyes to all and 4 of us jumped on the plane to Qatar (look no ‘U’, crazy language) Yes since our london departure we have multiplied. 1 of our own and Narnie came with us to help out with the trip and Jane’s broken arm.
And she has been a champion, thanks Narnie
So our little girl survived the flight over well, except for the last half hour stuck in traffic along embankment in an expensive taxi van drive with a slipping clutch where she began to melt down a bit…not to the amusement of the driver but hey he was paid handsomely for his 2 hour trip…who drives along embankment at any time, even I know that was never going to work, and it was a pre arranged fare so no benefit sitting in traffic
We arrived at our friends house who we were borrowing while they were away, house trashing I think its called, and the bonus here was they dropped the keys to us before we left Australia. the only way to fly I say, free house and an international concierge key service.
so the look for a place to live was on, I started work the following day and Jane uni the day after so house hunting with a jet lagged toddler was going to be a slow affair.

Hang on Dinner time…


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Our greatest Achievement


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A real emergency


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Reeces Lane!

worth every penny

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Oh dear

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Oh the horror

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our return is not as planned


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