Feeds:
Posts
Comments

thoughts on departing…

I have left London.

My room is now occupied by a (lovely) Canadian, my stuff is in boxes on route by sea to Adelaide, I have one suitcase of stuff with me, just as when I arrived and I have said too many goodbyes to too many amazing people.

I am currently sitting in a warm living room in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, taking the long way home. Many people have joked I’m going ‘the wrong way’ and I explain that I am taking the opportunity to see some people I haven’t seen in a long time, visit some new cities and generally add a small amount to my extensive debt before I get home and start trying to pay it off. But more about the cold and wintery North American continent later.

Almost two years ago I packed up my apartment, sold a whole bunch of stuff, gave stuff away, put stuff in storage, said my goodbyes to a select group of dear friends in two cities and left a life that I liked but didn’t love for an unknown adventure. I had no idea what my life would look like, if i’d survive, if i’d find work, a place to live, friends, love, new hobbies… And I was excited about that, because I knew it was going to be the best adventure of my life and that no matter what the future beyond London brought, this would be a thing that I had DONE, that I had sought out, proof that I had LIVED my life. In short, it was what I needed in so many ways.

Now I find myself equally at a loss as to picturing my life in a few weeks time and it carries the added blow of leaving a life i have absolutely and completely loved. Certainly I know where I will live, and I now, thankfully, know where I will be working at least for the foreseeable future. I have a headstart on knowing what family occasions will look like and how the seasons will turn, but the thing I don’t know is how will i feel. It seems strange, one should know how one will feel when returning home. And I am returning home. I will be living in Adelaide for the first time permanently in almost 9 years. Certainly the first time as a (mostly) independent adult. It will be very different from when I used to live there. Many of my friends have moved to various little corners of the world, as has some of my family. One big part of my family won’t be there at all. Small people who were distinctly children when I left, will now be young ladies (or not) and there are whole new small people for me to get to know. I have learnt much about what makes me happy in London and I hope I have the strength of heart and purpose to seek that out in my home town rather than fall into old, unhealthy patterns. It is a definite fear I hold and I have various ideas of what the pitfalls and solutions for my new life will be. There are definitely things I am looking forward to, but there is also an apprehension that will not be immediately eased.

In returning home there are certainly things that I will miss about living in Melbourne, my dear friends, the richmond knitters, better yarn fare (and something I only discovered in London, but originated in Melbourne – Swing Patrol), and a wider variety of standard artistic fare, but Melbourne and I always had an uneasy relationship. There were some great times, and there were some truly awful times, there were little secrets of the city I loved and corners I made my own, but on the whole I never felt at ease there, not in the way I immediately did in London and, of course, Adelaide will always be home no matter where I live.

As for leaving London… where do I start… It has been said that there are two types of Londoners. Those who are born there and never have any desire to leave, and those who come to London for the first time and know they have come home. That’s how it was for me. The first time I visited (properly) in 2009, I stayed a month, went to classes, made friends with Londoners and visitors alike and knew that I wanted to return. I felt instantly at home and comfortable in this city of rudely polite people. I love it’s contradictions, it’s wonderful art and absolute crassness, its everyday beauty and distinctive odours, its drabness and its elegance, its englishness and its multicultural ways, its ability to offer you the best bargains of your life whilst bleeding you dry, its standoffishness and welcoming arms…

But mostly I loved its people. Now there are two things that happened that made my life in London so wonderful and if either of those hadn’t happened then I have no illusion that my life would not have been as awesome as it was. Firstly, I got a job. Whilst I enjoyed it in many respects and got to work in a fantastic location right in the heart of the city, what made this remarkable was the people. I suddenly had 500+ friends who understood me, welcomed me, drank with me, laughed with me and generally made London the best place ever. I know with out a doubt that I will never work anywhere else like it. And I got into swing dancing, which gave me Sunday nights of fun, friends and fabulous dances. Through these two things I made so many friends that it is genuinely painful to leave you all. Thank goodness for the internet! Of course I now have the dilemma that there are so many places in the world I still want to visit, but when I have the time and money, London will be first on the list because there are too many people I long to hug!

Still, as much as I loved London, I carry the understanding that my life there was unsustainable. I lived like I had two years there and were I able to stay longer, changes would have been made that may have meant my life wasn’t as awesome. So it is impossible to feel that I am being parted from something unfairly or unjustly. Instead I recognise that life is surprising and massive upheaval brings great opportunity. And my life is what I make it and should I need to go wandering from home again I know two very important things. Firstly, I will survive and secondly, that I will always have a home to go back to.

Too many goodbyes. I will miss you all!

Too many goodbyes. I will miss you all!

Advertisements

HRP pass Part I

In true George Lucas style, I have told the second part of the story without telling the first! Hopefully I won’t make as much of a mess of it though!

Earlier in the year, I took Christine down to Hampton Court, to christen my birthday present, an Historical Royal Palaces pass! We met at Waterloo and took the train there. It was warm, but not as warm as I thought it might be, so I ended up being a bit chilly, but it was still a great day for walking around and looking at this amazing building!

The approach! The main entrance was actually closed for an event, so we entered near the kitchens.

This fire was sooooo toasty, and the centuries of smoke stains are pretty impressive!

The roof in the main hall – I didn’t actually get any good photos of the whole hall. I was too busy reading all the facts about the King’s hall on the tables!

I did get a photo of the high table though!

The courtyard. We got a fantastic little piece of historical theatre here between King Henry VIII, Katherine Howard and Thomas Culpepper!

And behind the Tudor front, lies the second life of Hampton Court, inhabited by the Hanovers.

Quite a different look!

the privy garden

We had lunch, with scones and jam and cream, in a warm little kitchen under the Tudor wing, and wandered around, headed out to the Maze, which was fun, but also slightly disappointing. I’m beginning to think Mazes are never quite as fun as I imagined them to be when I was small. Then we wandered through the various gardens, saw the oldest Grape Vine in Britain, and went to the Members room for a cuppa, only to find it had closed. We browsed the shops, but were very restrained, before jumping, relatively exhausted, back on the train to Waterloo.

It was such a great day and I really want to get out there again before I leave. I imagine it would look AMAZING in the snow!

And I have to show these, because, well, don’t you think they look like the mushrooms in Mario Bros?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HRP pass Part II

I had a late shift at work on Monday. And I mean a late one – a sunset, starting at 5pm. So rather than sit around the house doing nothing all day, I thought i’d head over to Kensington Palace and finally check out the Fashion Rules exhibit on my HRP membership. I had been to the launch members talk earlier in the year, complete with cute little garden party afterwards. Which was kinda really awesome – champagne and nibbles at Queen Vicky’s home? How elegant!

I got off one tube stop earlier than i meant to, but it did mean that I was greeted by a view of Kensington Gardens (West of Hyde Park) that i hadn’t seen before.

The Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens

I then walked over to the palace… and before I could get there it bucketed down so hard that my shoes were soaked through! Luckily I had an umbrella to protect everything above my knees… *sigh*

This bust is a replica of the one in Kensington Gardens and was made for Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee… By her daughter Louise!

Queen Victoria’s wedding dress. She was SO TINY!

Her riding habit. The quote from her diary on the window lament’s her not being a man, and thus able to fight in battle.

Living in the later part of Queen Lizzy’s reign, I kind of forget that she got to dress like, well, a queen! These dresses are amazing. The green in the background is a dress she wore in Pakistan. Diplomatic dressing!

Some serious beading and embroidery going on on these frocks!

Princess Margaret had some smoking style! I LOVE this dress!

Sadly poor Di got to dress like a Princess in the 80s… For the fashion of the time these are amazing, but they mostly look like sacks or misplaced prom dresses…

I absolutely LOVE this stair case! We travelled up it at the Fashion Rules members night and I got to linger on it this time. It makes me feel like I’m in a movie!

Imagine hosting all your parties in a room like this!

And looking up into this? Not sure how much of this is the actual shape and how much is the paint job, but it’s bloody impressive either way!

I felt somewhat rushed, and very damp thanks to the downpour, but it was still fantastic. The saddest bit was that I really wanted to sit down with this guy and play Magic Jacks. I ended up helping both the girls he was playing with as neither of them seemed to really get the hang of it.

(Also, he was cute)

I like it though: Basic rundown (as much for myself as anything else) 3 facedown cards, three face-up and 3 in the hand each. Must have a minimum of 3 cards in your hand. You play through in turn, 2-A, 2 resets the pack, 7 means the next person plays a lower card, and a 10 burns the deck. Once you play a card, you pick up to have 3 in your hand (if you have 3 or more, you don’t pick up). If you can’t play, you get the played deck. Once all cards are burned or played, you play the 3 face up cards, then the 3 face-down blind. Simple, but I like it. I’m pretty sure I’ve come across it before with a different name.

I really like the actors who interact with the visitors at the Palaces. They had them at Hampton court, but I didn’t really expect them at Kensington. I didn’t get a chance to watch their interactions other than the card game. man, that’s a job I’d love.

I will try and get back here one more time before I leave, take some more time (same with Hampton Court!). But in the meantime, there’s still Kew Palace and the Banqueting House to get to. And of course, my favourite? The Tower!! (I’ve been twice, but once more can’t hurt!)

Farewell Edinburgh

So I got back from Edinburgh just over a week ago. And it’s taken me a while to recover.

This year was such a different experience to last year. A two hander play and a British crew meant a lot more people involved and a lot more fun to be had, and the production itself was so light and fun to do. I genuinely find the play hilarious, and brainstorming on it, improvising with it and getting that live response was joyful.

Not that it wasn’t without it’s problems, of course, there were some downsides to the trip, but on the whole it was fantastic. I met some amazing people from other shows, and got exceptionally drunk with them. Dinner at midnight anyone? Was also an interesting experience doing a 13 straight show run, no breaks. That was new. and I loved it.

Also? Our flat was lovely – so cosy and spacious at the same time thanks to a very … random… kind of decor. Cushions, and lamps and paintings and books and… well… a homey feel to it. And I had a princess bed… four poster, with a step to get up on it. I kinda loved it!

We got some reviews: A lovely little 3 star from Broadway Baby which is completely honest and fair (if they’d reviewed us later in the run it might have been 4) and two great geek-centric reviews from Blogtorwho.com (not written by Cam*, as that would be rather biased) and Cult Den.

Once I have fully recovered (almost there) I shall be looking into London venues to look at putting it on towards the end of October. Probably only about three or four shows, but if everyone from work comes then we can definitely fill a small theatre! There are so many people I know who would really enjoy the show! It’s so wonderfully geeky and full of references.

Though, that being said, it was hilarious working on the show in the end, as I think i turned out to be the least geeky person involved!

Here are some obligatory photos. None really of Edinburgh proper this year as I feel like a) my photography cannot capture the painting like glory of that city and b) I already have lots from my last two trips!

IMG_5634

IMG_5744

IMG_5794

IMG_5842

Beginning of Scene 4 – but anymore and, well, spoilers sweetie!

IMG_5723

Our Venue, top of the mile

IMG_5705

Creative advertising ploys!

*Cam, my co-star, runs the Blogtorwho website.

The countdown begins.

Last wednesday marked 18 month since moving to the UK.

*sigh* I really do love it here, but I wonder how much of that is because it’s summer right now and I do LOVE a British Summer.

I went to Hampstead Heath today, finally, with a friend from Aus (Hi Pete!) which was just lovely. We sat in a secluded bit of the Heath that made it feel like we were in a rural forest, and talked about life and love and all those things, then we wandered around the open paths, and around the pools… I kinda really want to go swimming there! There probably won’t be another day like today where i have the time to go though. Also, I don’t actually like swimming! But the water looked cool and inviting, and i think it would remind me of the river-swimming I did enjoy in the Murray as a child.

I didn’t take masses of photos, but here’s a few.

IMG_1920 2 IMG_1921 2   IMG_1926 2

Such a glorious day for aimless wandering, fresh air, peace and quiet (honestly, despite the people it’s so quiet!), some friendly pats with dogs and some cider and berries and a good ol’ chat.

Sadly, though, I now have just over 5 months before my visa is up. And so my thoughts must turn to planning how and when I get home. And where home will be.

At this stage I will probably move back to Adelaide, though I’m thinking of detouring via Canada and Seattle USA for a short spell on the way back to Aus (the advantage of being on the other side of the world is that absolutely everywhere is on the way home. Except Antarctica.) I want to visit my darling Miriam, since being in London constantly reminds me of her, then head over to the West Coast which I missed last time, then down to Seattle to see my family there.

I am a bit saddened by the realisation that I will probably have to leave the UK before my 33rd birthday. My visa expires on the 13th of Feb, and unless I try reentry on a tourist visa (which can be tricky, despite being legal) I need to leave by then. This is heartbreaking as I REALLY want to celebrate my birthday with all my London friends.

I have also discovered that my Great-Grandmother was indeed born in Scotland, but sadly that is one generation too far to get an ancestry visa. It really is frustrating as I don’t want to stay forever, just another summer, but it’s pretty impossible unless I get married or get another job, and loving my job and the people I work with is a big part of why I want to stay.

Like I said. *sigh*

But I have 5 more months to enjoy, a few more cities in Europe to visit (Bruge, Stockholm and Rome are all on the list, plus getting down to  France again to see friends and say goodbye to Paris), some British sights to see (I’m looking at you Harrogate), the most to make out of my Historical Palaces pass and a winter christmas and new year’s to experience.

Bring it London. I’m ready!

 

It’s about Time…

we leave on Sunday for Edinburgh to perform our Doctor Who related show, so i thought it was about time I showed you all the photos of Cardiff (see what i did there? no? that’s fine, i’m quite tired)

It was a little while ago now, so stick with me while i remember!

I went by bus, because it was cheap, and, in aussie terms, not that far. Also, Britain is SO green in the spring, a colour you just don’t see back home, so it was pretty too.

Cardiff is pretty small, so i just walked everywhere.

The view that greeted me as i meandered to my hostel

I didn’t do much my first night, just found a nice place (that might be generous, but the steak and cider were both good and cheap) to have dinner and relaxed in my very nice hostel.

The first full day I spent in Cardiff Bay – it was the spring bank holiday and the weather was absolutely perfect!

The Welsh Millenium Centre (complete with Torchwood entrance)

A perfect day for a perfect view

The old customs house and merry-go-round

This is the pier where the ‘public’ entrance to Torchwood was, complete with the wall of mourning for Ianto Jones. Such a strange thing!

Of course a trip to Cardiff Bay wouldn’t be complete without doing the Doctor Who Experience. It was totally cheesy, but i absolutely loved it. The ‘experience’ part of it was aimed at children, but i had such a moment of glee as we walked out of the engine room of the TARDIS and into a hall, I really felt like I was in the TARDIS and it was AWESOME. and there were daleks! they were huge and scary, even though they were clearly mechanical. Such fun!

The actual exhibit afterwards was absolutely worth it though. really enjoyed looking at the costumes and props!

There’s a TARDIS in the bay!

It’s Bessie!

Oh yeah! It’s a lego Dalek. you better believe i want one!

River Song was here…

aaaaaand another TARDIS. there was an older version and the most recent version in the exhibition

I took the opportunity to do some research…

I got to stand in the Fourth and Fifth Doctors’ TARDIS…

 

And totally felt like i was in the wreck of the Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS

 

I got up close and personal with some Daleks

And some babby Weeping Angels too

I ate an absolutely delicious dinner of mixed Tapas at a South American restaurant on the bay and was absolutely exhausted when i tumbled into bed!

The next day I spent wandering around the city. I wanted to do the walking tour, but just missed it, and had the clever notion of asking a local for a recommendation for breakfast.

And a proper breakfast it was! It was Garlands in Duke’s Arcade and the whole vibe reminded me so much of Melbourne i almost felt a little homesick. I had a MASSIVE brunch, with tiger bay pudding (which is a variation on black pudding and much yummier) and all sorts of deliciousness! I stayed for ages! (and totally went back the next day). If you are in Cardiff. GO!

A lovely atmosphere (if quiet) for a lovely meal

In the afternoon,  it was off to the Castle. I love Castles. Such an oddity to an Aussie!

The actual castle within the walls.

The palace, built much later…

You can walk through the passages in the walls, where locals took shelter during WWII. It’s kinda creepy…

But it is really cool when you finally get to a window! This is the park, next door.

It was a long way up…

And a long way down again too!

Totally worth it for the view though!

 

After exploring the castle itself, I checked out the palace. It’s an interesting story, basically it was redecorated in the 19th century by some guy with more money than sense to look like what he thought a medieval palace should look like. which of course is nothing like what a medieval palace looked like at all. But it is incredible and it’s a real fairytale house!

The interiors in the palace were amazing…

I REALLY want this library. I can imagine the library in the TARDIS is like this…

And next door to the castle is the park, complete with the Animal Wall which used to be in a different spot, but someone moved it, and added more animals… I stopped paying attention. I did take photos of every animal though, but I’ll only show you one…

 

The last day i didn’t really do anything particularly exciting. It was a dog of a day and I ended up going to the museum, which was a bit of a let down actually, though I did learn a little bit about the geological, geographical and evolutionary history of wales. I wish I had taken the day to go to St Fagin’s which is a historical museum, complete with wool mills and other ye-olde-things.

I guess that means I just have to go back!

I did really love Cardiff though – the people were lovely, the food was AMAZING (reminds me a bit of Tassie!) and the weather put on a good show until the last day!

 

 

 

As you all know, I am a terrible, terrible blogger. In the sense that I think about blogging, but rarely do.

However, we interrupt your usual procrastination schedule to bring you a very important announcement.

I am going to the Edinburgh Festival again this year. It may be the last time i do this with it only costing a few thousand pounds instead of a few tens of thousands of australian dollars, so I’m making the most of it!

Keith Gow and I had a wonderful catch up over christmas, discussing what a two hander written by him, for me, might look like. Keith and I first met when I did a crazy amazing thing, namely, I went to the preview screening of Serenity, sans ticket, in the hope of purchasing a ticket off somebody else with a no-show in their party. After all, people get sick, they get stuck at work, they have car accidents, they have early labour – there’s a whole host of reasons why someone might not be able to make up and thanks to modern technology we can let our friends know in a few simple clicks of a smart phone. So I went anyway, sign in hand and fingers crossed. I ended up being given a ticket by the marketing director of Universal pictures, so clearly, being a little bit insane can actually pay off, but I also met a whole host of really awesome people, including Keith. Skip ahead to a time when we have mutual admiration for each other’s talents, a strong online friendship (what with me being in England) and a desire to create our own work and you get this conversation that started this whole paragraph.

We discussed what a play by us might be about, and given the above story, geeky fandom seemed to be a natural starting point. We both also have an interest in exploring gender politics in our work, and Keith is fascinated by my outrageous personality, especially in comparison to the more introverted geeks around, and thus, WHO ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE? was born!

We will be performing in C Aquila, just off the royal mile, from August 14 – 26 at 3.30 in the afternoon. I hope you all can make it (but am realistic about the fact that most of you live very very far away)

I am, however, going to ask for your help (with the promise, that if all goes according to something resembling a plan, we will stage this show in Melbourne and Adelaide in 2014/15). We want this show to be awesome, because we honestly feel like it’s the kind of show that can make a mark at the Fringe. I have a wonderful director, in Emrys Matthews and we’ve got Doctor Who Superstar, Cameron K McEwan of Blogtor Who fame as my fellow actor. But it’s a pricey feat, what with venue costs, effective marketing and an accurate Fifth Doctor costume tailored to my non-canonical figure! So we’ve jumped on the internet bandwagon and we have an indiegogo campaign. Every penny (literally!) helps and if you yourself are unable to contribute, then I hope you will spread the word for us!

Thanks in Advance and see you in Edinburgh!