Thursday, February 21, 2008

Progress report

Yes, it's an exciting random picture of a building!
This one's right by London Bridge.

No progress on the moving front at all, despite the price drop.

I'll have to see if I get any viewings at all on the weekend. As it stands the woman above me has decided to keep her flat at the same price that mine was just lowered from, so I can only see that that will make my flat look more attractive. Until she sees sense and changes her mind, that is!

On the wedding front, we've written off a letter to the church where we'd like to get married. It's in Mayfair (very posh, I know!) but it is a beautiful church with a hugh stained glass window behind the altar. The other half loves stained glass windows! It also excudes a certain spiritual calmness, so I very much like it. I got a call back from them to confirm receipt of our wedding request and apparently someone will be back in contact with me next week.

I am a bit worried that at this rate we'll be married but not living together!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Long(er) Road To Work

Westfield Shopping Centre - WHite City / Shepherds BushAs mentioned in a previous post, ever since we've moved offices from Baker Street to Marble Arch, my journey into work has become a lot quicker and a lot more pleasant. I worked out that I now saved myself a working week each year in time that I could spend longer in bed.

This is what my old (45-50 mins) main journey options were in the morning:
Acton Town -> Green Park (Piccadilly Line)
Green Park -> Baker Street (Jubilee Line)
Acton Town -> Hammersmith (Piccadilly Line)
Hammersmith -> Baker Street (Hammersmith & City Line)

Of course there were many other routes I could have taken but these would turn out to be the best for consistency and giving me an idea of what time I can leave the house in the morning to get in by a certain time.

Ever since the office move, my new route (35 mins) became a simpler one:
Acton High Street -> Shepherds Bush (Bus 207/607)
Shepherds Bush -> Marble Arch

But, alas, the good times are no more. Ever since Shepherds Bush station was closed with barely 4 weeks notice for the next 8 months, my journey in is more complicated and definitely a lot less comfortable.

My average journey time is now between 45-60 mins! And all because of one station closure! *sigh*

I now get a tiny no 70 bus with an unreliable timetable to East Acton station and then onto Marble Arch from there. However they have just decided to spend the next few months digging up the main road that the bus runs along so, thanks to the traffic, on some days, just the bus route portion of my journey takes almost as long as my entire journey used to be... Argh!

And it is a tiny bus. The few seats are cramped so close together that unless I sit at the back, I'd rather stand to be more comfortable. By the time the bus has gone two stops it's packed full with people standing and all the seats occupied.

The number 70 is supposed to run every 10 mins but that's just wishful thinking. I've a feeling that the rushed closure of Shepherds Bush has meant that they've not even considered the impact on travel links around the area.

On the way home, I now get off at Holland Park and do a very brisk 10 min walk to Shepherds Bush to catch a bus back from there. So far, so good as I've yet to hit a rainy day during that part of the journey home.

There are still other routes that I'm investigating but so far they all come in at around the same journey time.

I am rather annoyed by the way that the station closed. Apparently it's a first for such a busy station to close when escalators are being replaced and it's not even having a lift put in to make it more accessible or having anything to expand its capacity before the White City Shopping centre opens right next door to it! It certainly beggars belief that they may have to do this in a few years time anyway to meet the Mayor's targets for accessibility on public transport.

But I guess money speaks louder than any words of complaint (and with less than 4 weeks notice, how much can someone complain?) and the Australian property developer "Westfield" responsible for the new shopping centre has won the day. I feel sorry for all the small shops around the Green which will now close because of the lack of custom and that's before they get bulldozed away by the impact on their business of a major shopping centre with large corporate stores competing on their doorsteps.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


London Bridge - Switched On LondonSo, the merry-go-round that is the sale of my flat is still going on.

It's been 5 weeks and the viewings have pretty much dried up as the prices in my area have gone down, so it looks as if 10k will have to come off just to see if that improves things.

Granted we're not in such a rush to sell as we've yet to see anything that we fancy but when 2 bedroom flats and larger 1 bedroom flats in the same area come in at the same price as mine, I know I'm in trouble.

Still, every night before I go to bed, I tidy up the flat and every morning before I head off to work I make the bed so that it looks nice and tucked in like something in a nice hotel, just on the off chance that someone will do a viewing that day. It does get you down a bit though.

On a more positive note, we've started to push things forward a bit on the getting hitched front. We're sorting out a church and have found a nice one in Mayfair (not far from work) that we both agree that we really like. The thing is with her family East of London and my friends to the West, we thought it'd be a good compromise. Apparently we now have to write a letter to sort a formal meeting to discuss things further which I'm in the process of doing.

We've both met with my local parish priest, something that needs to be done in the Catholic Church to sort out a formal parish letter of freedom to prove I'm not already married. Solicitors get involved for a small fee too *sigh* And we're even going to attend a marriage course (another Catholic requirement, though one which probably isn't really that bad an idea.)

It all sounds so complicated, doesn't it?
And that's all before we've even got a confirmed venue or date!

The pic is yet another from the "Switched On London" series and is of London Bridge all lit up.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

HMS Belfast last night

HMS Belfast - Switched On LondonPart of something called "Switched On London". Worth checking out for some good night shots of London Bridge, Tower Bridge and bits 'tween all lit up.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

London Chinatown 2008Happy 4706!

Taken rather hurriedly with my compact camera as the battery was about to die on me...
London's Chinatown tonight. It's the year of the rat which according to the Chinese calendar, I am.

Thankfully it's not as bad as it sounds:
"Ambitious, clever and devoted to their family. Hard-working and imaginative. Not always sure of themselves and do not always plan for the future. Will always stand by their friends."

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

(which literally means, "congratulations, may you be prosperous" so winning the Euromillions rollover this week would be a good start.)