In all the excitement of the last few weeks we have been very poor at keeping you all updated on our trials and tribulations. So I hope to address this failing of ours right now. In the last month we have visited Colchester, http://www.thelondonplan.com/?page_id=211 , I resigned, and was offered and accepted a new job,jane has ben singing her litte heart out and shopping for christmas.
Our trip to colchester started better than most of our days away, we actually got up reasonably early for a Sunday and made it to the train station (liverpool street) with little drama. All was well until I managed to purchase 1 way tickets for 10 pence more than return tickets from the automated ticket machine, go figure, but this turned out to be lucky. I went to plead my case to the actual real living and brearthing almost english speaking human teller behind the glass, I guess she felt sorry for me as I ended up with a new set of return tickets and a re-credditing of the credit card. However as we turned toleave she casually mentioned the trains werent running from Liverpool street station that day… A panicked last minute desperate lunge onto the central line heading to Zone 3 and Stratford station where we could catch up with our Train was made, then a panicked last minute desperate dart to platform 10, which we could only work out was the right thing to do by asking a stranger as the signage and timetabling was quite British (read poor) (( Ok the stranger was an on duty station director dude))((( but I didnt know him to start with))). So calmly sitting on the train, and after the customary sunday morning phone calls to family and or friends we sat back and enjoyed the short trip north east. Except the train stopped 3/4 of the way there and wouldnt go any further!!! so off we hopped and boarded the replacement train bus heading past Braintree, the place not object, and into Colchester, well close to Colchester anyway. A brisk walk for 30 minutes saw us crest the Colchester hill to peruse all that lay at our feet, namely a closed main street, a victorian water tower and grey skies. Ok not quite at our feet unless we layed on our back qand stared past our feet at the grey!.
Lunch time was declared, now nearly 1:00 pm some 2.5 hours after we intended on arriving. So theFrench cafe was our chosen eatery on this day.. shoukld have chosen McDonalds, even with janes Penchant for turning the establishment to ash! The service was so slow the oldies that showed up after us were carted away by the coroner before our meals, 1 ceser salad with chips (of course)and 1 roast vegetable Baguett arrived, cold having sat on the counter for a good 15 minutes. After a hurried gobblage of our average and heavily overpriced meals we wasted no more time and confused the staff by asking to pay at the waiting counter. It might have been quicker to leave without paying, be arrested and incarcerated for the crime and let free, than try to explain to the local dill, masquerading as staff, why I was standing there with money in my hand and the express intent of paying for our lunch so that we may salvage some of the remaining day with at the intended destination and reason for visiting Colchester. Transaction completed to my satisfaction but I hope the poor girl lays awake at night going over the event trying to work out what, how and why it happened, i really do, we set off down the hill to Colchester castle.
The largest Norman keep in England, built on the ruins of an ancient Roman Temple to the crippled, gibbled and young ceasar whatshisface. being new to England we obviously havent learnt the ways of the locals and as we were almost the only tourist in town and certainly at the castle that day we had free rain of the castle and its tour. In fact they put two staff members on the tour with us to boost numbers from 2 to four so the guide did not feel uncomfortable with Jane and I staring at her as she warrbled on about blowing the castle up, filling it with sand and Roman proportions as they relate to temple construction. The tour was fine, just a little Colchesterry as I now reffer to things! You know, not quite what youd expect, or hope for , it’s all ther but just a little dissapointing.
The castle itself, despite beinghard to destinguish from the very complete and informative displays and collections was very good. massively deep thick walls, towering above us from the main floor and huge timbers holding other parts above out heads. The stone main stairs to the upper levels where only the kings would dare to tread and the toilets were all well preserved, It was worth the trip for this.
After the casstle a gentle wander through the dutch quarter, adjacent the loverly grounds of the Keep, So named because of the number of dutch who settled here and saved Colchester from bankruptcy during the many depressions, see Dutch people are usefull, invite one home today!
Then we made our way to the victorian water tower that stood atop the City hill. A simple water tower turned into a complex, intricate, structure for collecting bird droppings. The pigeons loved it so much they pay it hommage by building bird poo replica of it right on its own site. a monument on a monument to the Victorians ingenuity and passion for an austhete!
Adjacent this, just past the carbuncle that is th epheonox theatre was the old Roman wall that encircled the old city. Its now the retaining wall to the city bypass and footings for the hole inthe wall pub which bridges the old and new near one of the ancient gates.
Our return to London was as eventfull as our departure, busses, crazy Scottish lads who drink too much speaking too loudly to his mother about his girlfriend who did not stop ringing him for the entire two dayts he spent with his mum, worried that he may stay there rather than go home to her despite the fact she was a good girl and obviously loved him even thoug they only just met. I learnt this by rote as for some inexplicable reason the two of them, seated just behind u, making it impossible to laugh out loud at the innanity of it all, repeated themselves about 15 times, oh shes a good girl, dont drink too much lad, she just keeps rining, blah blah blah where the hell is the train. Then the girl on the train who would not move her bag from the neighbouring seat despite the train being overcrowded, rabbiting on about some school, sorry Jane,University assignment, she hadnt started, to some poor person on the end of her phone line, god, wher is the station, Im a Justin get me out of here!!!!!!! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Anyhoo, After 4 hours of interviews and discussions etc with Grimshaw Architects and large counter offers from Another office I have finally decided That Grimshaws is my new home, professionally speaking. PAy increase and I get to start at 9:30, it’s only half the distance from home Of where I am now and the quality of work is impressive. They also have an office in Melbourne so If all goes well a transfer return to Home may be on the cards. I am employed as a senior Architect and will be in charge of a team working on StPetersburgh Airpoty for which the office just won a competion. Interestingly the interviews were enjoyable, It waqs alomst a meeting of similar minds by people who really doe have a passion for Architecture and design. Of course… it’s going to be hard, I have to re-learn Microstation, and forget Autocad, but more scarily I think I might need to make a step up in my career. It’s eactly what I have been looking for in terms of position and challenge, I just need to prove myself and get the smaller, quicker jobs to design and run and build. I was hoping for a position where I could design and build two to three buildings a year, best way to learn is through experience, and the best way to gain that experience is to design and build buildings. I do go on don’t I.
Anyhoo. I finish the PKS trial on Tuesday, then on Thursday Jane and I are off to Prague for the rest of the week. looking forward to it.