Friday, March 31, 2006


.... is they key.

I don't feel like I have a whole lot of news as we are very much waiting at the moment for news on house purchase. I'm not very good at concentrating on other things (eg work) when i just want other things to be moving along. I can't handle not getting any updates...even if there is no progress. I need constant reassurance that there are things happening on the other side. HOW can the lawyer have a day off at this point in the proceedings?! ack.

Basically I just want to know if we are going to have somewhere to move into in LESS than 14 days or not!! Because if not I feel that alternatives should be considered. I know we're not going to be in a cardboard box under Waterloo bridge but still....maybe the people we're going to be dossing with would like some forwarning. heh heh.

On other news i was excited to get a call from K last night. Herbie seems to like the cardie and booties and they fit. yay. (I just wrote that so I can say Herbie again. Herbie.)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Un-real Estate

I remember thinking when we put an offer in on a house here last November that it might be a bit early and I would have to break my lease which expires in a couple of weeks. What a babe in the woods I was. Na├»ve. Optimistic. Innocent to the inner workings of the UK property market. Of course I’d heard about the problems of “chains”, the expense of surveys, the difficulties of getting mortgages. But I still somehow thought if you had one party wanting to sell a house and another party wanting to buy it that six months seemed like a long time to complete such a process.

WRONG. Sooooo wrong.

However it seems like we might be getting close. Although we still have nothing in writing and it could collapse with no recourse on either side…..the agent has got a sniff of her commission and I have a feeling will be working very hard to make sure she gets it. Well you would think so anyway.

The latest comment from her was that “the vendor was signing contracts and was going to his solicitor today. We know you are keen to complete (settle) before Easter and he is very keen for that too. I’ll give him a call about dates” So that was yesterday morning and we haven’t heard anything back. Now by my calculations there are now 14 working days before Easter. Surely it can’t be that hard to pick one of them?!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Weather Report

We are having the weirdest weather here today. Morning – lovely blue skies, a bit windy but not too cold. The daffodils in St James Park have dared to make an appearance at last but no leaves on the trees. But on the way back from a visit to a client this afternoon, a sudden rainstorm tipped it down and we ran past the tourists (who had thoughtfully packed umbrellas in their backpacks along with their Lonely Planets) to the tube.

Blue skies again 10 minutes and 4 tube stops away. But now we have just had a hail storm and the sky is back to interminable grey. But it’s a darker, more menacing grey than the usual soft light grey.

I’m especially conscious of the weather since we turned the clocks forward to summer time on the weekend and arriving home last night in daylight was sheer joy. But I don’t think it will make much difference today.

The weather is not the only unpredictable thing around here at the moment. We are having a bit of a restructuring at work. I have heard a rumour our team will be moved to the hot desks on the internal wall. I like my window seat with a view of a small patch of sky above the building next door. How will I be able to give you weather reports if that happens?!! I know….. gutting isn’t it?!!! Not happy Jan.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I finished these for Herbie finally and sent them off with the cardy yesterday. I hope he likes them.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Back to the Games

Hearing the news from Mum that Jana Pittman has won the 400m hurdles so everyone can relax now is very amusing. I’ve been away during both the Olympics and now for the Cth Games so have missed most of the media hype and commentary. Although its impossible to miss all of it. But over here. ….not a mention. I’m worried it will be too hard to go back and live in Aus eventally as I will have missed so many references. Whole sporting events and seasons of Big Brother, Idol etc…. and all my knowledge about Jade Goody, Jordan and the OK! regulars will be wasted.

Here are a couple of hilarious photos from Commonwealth Games history. Talk about Gold!

The official 1970 Australian swimming uniform

And memories from Brissie 1988 - I think I still have my own stuffed Matilda somewhere in storage.

Pics from the Bulletin. More gems there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

LOVE sport?

I’ve been watching quite a bit of the games here – mostly highlights from the day before but if I stay up really late (after 10!) I can watch a bit of the morning stuff.

It is both very frustrating and quite funny getting the UK commentary – any of the races where we have placed one,two,three are not shown at all and they only show results of the top 3 and UK athletes for any event. I have managed to get some glimpses of the aussies. Of course the men’s swimming came in for quite a bit of gloating over here (yeah get over it – we still had more than double the medals in the pool ...sheesh). The funniest thing though is the commentators going on about how we’re so good because “Aussies LOVE their sport” “they just LOVE it” “EVERYONE LOVES it here!!!”. Apparently its because of the sunshine.

In my opinion it’s the excess sunshine that makes me not want to leave the house for most of the summer. I have to admit – sport did play quite a part of the primary school routine… Netball was a constant activity up until about age 11 but then moving schools from teensy Flying Fish Point SS in Innisfail (spare a thought for the cyclone victims and banana farmers) to the big smoke of Brissie was a bit of a shock. Those city girls played dirty! The sledging of would put Warnie to shame. I started to volunteer for reserve position. By high school it was pretty much down hill - I stated to wag Wednesday afternoon sport on a regular basis (unless I could sign up for something they put on for the geeks and nerds like bowling or school magazine).

I realised at some stage during uni that I definitely defaulted to sloth when all remotely sporty activities ceased altogether. Apart from a bit of dancing at Fridays (on Fridays) and City Rowers (on Saturdays). Sometimes the Underground (the new one) if we wanted to branch out.

It wasn’t until I had been in the UK first time round and the Heathrow injection started to bite that I cast around for a solution and started jogging around Tooting Bec common. Five minutes jog, Ten minutes walk. Back home for East Enders. It gradually got better was still a bit of a struggle to be honest.

That’s where the greatest invention of all time for sloths comes into it. Star Rewards was created by the lovely AND talented Robert for Robbo and has been adopted internationally. The equipment is minimal – a calendar and your choice of star stickers and smiley faces for the advanced version. Any exercise over 20mins earns you a star and three stars in a week means a smiley face. That’s it. The beauty is in the simplicity. I didn’t believe it at first but the motivation for getting those smiley faces is a powerful force for the good of exercise. I wonder if the women’s swimming team use it? The men obviously don’t.

OK I admit it – we really do LOVE our sport.

star rewards
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Did you notice I posted every day last week?! I know ....there's nothing on Friday....I did post but it just got lost by some server upgrade thingy at blogger. But it wasn't very interesting so don't worry.

I can't upload any photos at the moment so here are some fascinating facts about me ;)

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Waitress
2. Trainee lawyer
3. Ski bum (waitress, nanny)
4. Consultant

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over
1. La vita e bella (A beautiful life)
2. Braveheart …”they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!!”
3. When Harry Met Sally …”Repeat after me. Pepper. …Pepper…..Pepper”
4. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels… “Its been emotional”

Four Books I recently enjoyed
1. The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
3. The Shaddow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
4. Paris Lonely Planet …this shows how little I have been reading lately …I can’t even make it to four novels.

Four Places I've Lived
1. Brisbane, Australia
2. Whistler, Canada
3. Singapore
4. London, UK (a few times)

Four TV Shows I Like
1. ER
2. Grand Designs
3. SuperNanny ("thats not a-septable")
4. Location Location (obsessed with UK real estate market)

Four Places I've travelled to
1. Siam Reap, Cambodia
2. Beijing, China
3. New York, New York
4. Bled, Slovenia

Four of My Favorite Dishes
1. Bread and Butter Pudding
2. Curry (any)
3. Lasagne
4. Sashimi & sushi

Four Sites I Visit Daily
1. Bloglines
3. hotmail
4. google (not really a site but ….see #1)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
1. At the Resort (with the folks at the beach)
2. Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia
3. Koh Samui
4. ANYWHERE sunny

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging
1. acechick
2. Sister Sets Sail
3. Mamie Makes
4. Kimbofo

oh I see Friday's entry is back...see not very interesting....

Friday, March 17, 2006

quilter st

quilter st
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

A couple of weeks ago i went to Columbia Road flower market in East London. I couldn't choose from the vast selection of tulips, orchids, pussy willows (so cute) and loads more. "3 for a fiver, three for a fiver" was cried out from every stall. Mid morning and the vendors were keen to get their flowers to new homes.

Walking back to Bethnal Green tube i came across this street. how apt.

BTW I'm not sure if my blog is actually working at the moment...I can't access it at work. maybe they're on to my excess web surfing? or the site is just down. hmmmm.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Herbie's cardie

This is the finished cardie for Herbie. Its made in Rowan Summer Tweed which is mostly silk (pretty glam for a baby eh) and the pattern is from Erica Knight’s book Baby Bloom. Kindly modelled by Charlie the Monkey.

Charlie modelling the cardie
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I am finally knitting something for myself (other than a scarf). It’s a cardigan – in a blue wool tweed. Probably for next winter, but considering its back down to zero and sleeting today I may still get some use out of it this season.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gay Paree

In the afternoon after our wander around the Louvre we decided to check out the Marias district which is a jewish/gay/generally really cool area a couple of metro stops on the number 1 line from the Louvre.

We were in desperate need of coffee and eventually found AND agreed on Tresor (Rue du Tresor) which was perfect - cosy lounge chairs (it was rainy and v. chilly) friendly staff who pretended my stumbling French with a smattering of German made sense, excellent cafe and a very tasty apple tarte.

I had lured Steve to Marais on the basis that it was a groovy area of Paris where we would be sure to find good coffee (is there any part that you wouldn't?) but I had a hidden agenda - the "ribbon shop". Pauline had tipped me off but had failed to emphasise what an Aladin's cave Entre des Fournisseurs is. Not just ribbons but the biggest range of buttons I've ever seen, wool, felt, and a few bolts of Kaffe Fasset fabric. I may be the only person to go shopping in Paris and come back not with fashionable clothing or French cosmetics but a bag full of buttons (I don't want to disclose how much they cost me to protect the guilty) and some felt (what for - not sure yet but the colours have great possibilities).

Have a peek through the window.....

Entre des Fournisseurs
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

My fourth visit to Paris and I finally made it to the Louvre. This is an achievement as I have previously completely by passed the wealth of art on offer in the city of light. Although there was the one time where I decided I really should see a gallery and arrived at the Musee d’Orsay at closing time, convinced them to let me in and passed by the amazing Rodin sculptures at breakneck speed. But I don’t think it really counts as art appreciation.

Of course once I got over the overwhelmingness of such a massive gallery and got through the doors I was wondering why I hadn’t been before. We started with the Sully wing which wasn’t very crowded or intimidating. Mostly concerned with the Egyptian collection – I found it possibly one of the best “non-painting” collections I’ve seen. Every piece was stunning and the creativity of those ancients just so cool.

majestic lions
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I was impressed by the scale of the room of Big Art (ok so I can’t remember who the painter is…details details).

big art
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

We weren’t planning on seeing the Mona Lisa due to Smithy’s impatience with crowds and my sheer laziness but reflecting that it had taken four visits to get to the Louvre at all, I thought we should seize the moment. It is small, it is surrounded by heaving hoards of tourists but it is well worth a peek. There’s definitely something compelling about it.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Paris on the Eurostar

I booked myself onto an earlier Eurostar than planned on Friday and skived off from the office with a little bubble of excitement fizzing inside. Over the fence….under the walll….freeeee!!

The Eurostar is a great way to go. A short tube from the office, no queues (not at that time of the afternoon anyway) and sitting on the train with my magazines and knitting in no time. The 16:10 from Waterloo is definitely the family service – lots of kids and what I figured were expat families with Dad in his suit intentlylooking at his blackberry and Mum juggling stroller, drinks and kids.

Walking down the carriage to buy my mini vin rouge and brie baguette I was struck by the amount of technology being used. I counted 7 people in one carriage watching DVDs on their laptops, every second person texting and all the kids glued to little games thingies. The majority of people only taking their ipod earplugs out just long enough to answer their phones.

And yes, I was the only person knitting. And sans iPod. No street cred whatsoever.

Smithy met me at Gare du Nord and we swung by the hotel before going to Boeuf Sur Le Toit for dinner. Art Deco, delicious, definitely touristy but in an enjoyable way. The table of English rugby fans nearby obviously had a few Welsh among them judging by the quality of the singing that struck up around midnight. I think they got away with quite a few numbers only because they were actually quite good but the suave maitre’d stepped in when the volume became roof raising.

Friday, March 03, 2006


The last three days I have looked out the window beside my desk and watched little flurries of snow float down. Its bloody cold but we’ve also finally had some patches of blue sky to lift the spirits.

Last night I had a dream that I had a big cardboard box full of pets delivered to my flat. One of the pets was a lovely black Labrador. No surprises there – I’ve been wanting one for a long time. One of the other animals was a really cute baby elephant.

I told one of the girls about my dream and by the end of the day half the office were sending me pictures of cute animals. That’s the kind of place I work. Random.