The September retrospective
October 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
This month was another big one in London, but no surprises there, as I continue to add to my bulging bag of life experience, which has received a steady flow of new content over the past nine months. Between coordinating morning bathroom visits between four working adults and meal planning on a Sunday, so we’re not eating Tesco Indian every night, there are still firsts to be had.
September heralded the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Let’s make things plain: London does not do summer well. The activities and the endless lists of things to do are amazing, but the weather leaves a lot to be desired. Until mid-September it was just days and days of rain, but autumn has brought nothing but sunshine. I’m not even going to try to make sense of it and I definitely won’t complain. Who knows what will throw the balance off?
As a domestic goddess, I continue to go from strength to strength. Ahead of starting full-time work on 7th September, I went into fully-fledged preparation mode, readying soup to freeze and doing piles of laundry.
I also found time for a treat or two, whisking myself down to the National Portrait Gallery to see the Audrey Hepburn exhibit before it closed.
In a lovely, unexpected turn of events, I was able to catch up with a friend from Melbourne who’d made last minute plans to return home to London for three weeks to visit her family. It was so nice getting together, hearing news of home and being able to compare notes about the city. After a quick look at the Charles Pétillon installation, Heartbeat in Covent Garden, we headed to the colourful Neal’s Yard, a colourful courtyard tucked away from the milling crowds, to catch up.
While it felt like I didn’t see a lot of London this month, I did spend a Sunday afternoon wandering around Hampstead Heath with a few fellow newcomers. While there, we visited Kenwood House, which I didn’t even know existed and I got a healthy dose of library envy.
Since starting work, I’ve become better aquainted with Bloomsbury, which is fast becoming my favourite part of London and have also spent a bit of time in Regent’s Park building my squirrel army.
Seeing the park and the rest of London beneath us was a surreal experience, when we checked out the BT Tower viewing deck as part of Open House London.
Work, once I did start, was packed full of back-to-back introductory meetings with different departments, and then rather unexpectedly, at the end of my first week, a trip to Barcelona with the team for a couple of days, which was all kinds of madness.
Media people. Need I say more?
As I didn’t really know anyone, it wasn’t quite the trip it could have been, but I was grateful for the chance to see another city so much sooner than I’d planned. Weirdly enough, it didn’t feel like I was in Spain as I had very few run-ins with the locals. I think I only heard Spanish once and that was from a Chinese woman, who I ended up speaking Mandarin with because my understanding of Spanish is nought. Thankfully, as I also completely failed to find Park Güell while I was there, I have two great reasons to return.
True to form, I did a walking tour of the city on my free day and then spent the afternoon meandering along the esplanade, checking out Barcelona’s manufactured beaches. The sun was out and it was nice to have a break from the onslaught of new information that had been coming at me since starting work that Monday.
To be honest, the onslaught has been pretty consistent since. I’m learning about all things digital advertising, motoring and the UK media landscape, which means I am on a very steep learning curve, but as time passes, I can feel the pennies start to drop. I’ve got this.
Our biggest challenge for the latter half of the month was finding ourselves a new flat before our lease runs out at the end of October. For a solid week, I filled in spreadsheets with prospective one-bedroom flats and sent off e-mails to arrange viewings. We ended up going to a total of three, all on the same Saturday (with time for a game of cricket in between). Two we made offers on and by Monday we received word that one of our offers had been accepted, so that was that. It all happened so quickly that it almost felt too easy; I was half-expecting to be called later in the week with news it was all a mistake. Apparently, we were the second choice for our flat and since putting down our deposit other potential renters have crawled out of the woodwork with attempts to outbid us, but who cares? Money talks.
October is moving month.