Posted by ed on 3rd April 2013
I finished working on Marsh 28. There was a nice going away dinner (leaving do) at a local Vietnamese restaurant. Most of us left the office a little early and walked, biked or drove to the restaurant. I think about 22 people stayed for dinner and a few others stopped by to say their goodbyes. It was a nice dinner. After the meal a number of us headed to a local pub for a pint. It was a little too local, so we moved on to another after the first round. We still had more than 10 people as we approached midnight, finally calling it as night.
I haven’t had much time to relax yet. The day after my last day of work, our friend Jeff arrived from the US. He stayed at our flat and we spent the Easter holiday weekend seeing the sights (with about half of Europe!). Over the 4 day weekend, we strolled along the Thames (right), wandered through Westminster (left), admired the Royal Parks and visited a number of museums (like the British Museum on the right).
This is Jeff’s first visit to London, so in addition to the sights, we tried to fit in a few other experiences. We did afternoon tea, had bangers and mash and went shopping at Harrod’s (where we saw the cool Hello Kitty KISS band on the left).
Jeff caught the Eurostar to Paris today, and will be gone for the next 10 days. Mary and I are renting (hiring) a car for a week to travel around the southwest. We’ll see how far we get depending on the weather. Jeff will be back in London for a few days when we plan to go to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour.
After Jeff leaves on Sunday the 14th, we have a couple days to finish sorting through what remains of our stuff before shipping most of it back to the States. After the movers are done, we need to get the flat clean before our checkout with the agency on April 17. Later that day, we’ll catch the Eurostar on our way to the Netherlands for the first leg of our European Adventure!
Posted on 3rd April 2013
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Posted by ed on 25th March 2013
After living in London for the past two and a half years, this chapter of my life is finally coming to a close. Mary and I have decided that we have experienced all that we could of The Big Smoke and now it’s time to move on.
After working for a small British company, Oregan Networks, for a number of years in the US, I was offered a position in their London headquarters. Having wanted to try our hand at living overseas, Mary and I sold our house (and most of our worldly possessions) and moved to London (more specifically, Chiswick - our building is pictured on the right).
It has been a great experience! We’ve explored more of London then the typical Londoner. We have also taken (some) advantage of the location to explore the England, the UK and the European continent. We’ve missed our friends and family back home, but we have made some new friends along the way (pictured left).
While we look forward to returning to California, we have decided not to jump straight to the next act, but rather have an intermission (ok, I changed metaphors, so sue me). I’ll be finishing up at work at the end of this week (March 28, 2013). We’ll spend a couple more weeks in London and southern England, then shoot off to the Continent for a few months.
Who knows where the next episode will take us? In the mean time, there are more photos in the Life in London gallery.
Posted on 25th March 2013
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Posted by ed on 10th March 2013
Last weekend we went to Warwick. Warwick is a town in Warwickshire to the north-west of London. We took the train from Marylebone Station. It’s about 1.5 hours on a direct train. Warwick played a sizable role in English history, though today its main claim to fame is Warwick Castle (pictured left). Another attraction is the Collegiate Church of St. Mary. It’s a very nice church, and if you brave the narrow winding stair up the tower, you are rewarded with a fantastic view of Warwick and the castle (see right).
I first visited Warwick with my friend (and boss at the time), Harold more than a decade ago. We had come to visit London to meet a potential customer as well as a software partner, a little company called Oregan Networks (my current employer). We extended the trip over the weekend so we could take in some of the sites. We ended up renting a car to drive through the countryside, visiting Oxford, the Cotswold, Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick. Pictures from Warwick on that trip can be found in the gallery.
The castle still looks the same, but it has changed. When I was there the first time, it was already owned by Madam Tussauds. It held a couple historical displays of armor (see left) and wax figures (which are still there). Now though, there are many more exhibits including a haunted dungeon and a Merlin attraction based on the BBC TV series. We decided not to go to either the dungeon or the Merlin exhibit having read less than compelling reviews. The castle is still one of the best I’ve been to. Two newer attractions which we did enjoy were the trebuchet demonstrations (especially the fireball in the evening) and the eagles and owls (see right).
The Warwick town center is not very large, nor was the Saturday market. We did stay at a nice bed and breakfast on the east side of town called the Agincourt Lodge. The rooms were nice, the breakfast delicious and the hosts are extremely helpful and friendly. I would definitely recommend the B&B. With all the new attractions, the price of the castle has gone up a lot (and not all worth it). However, we did stumble on to a good deal. We had decided to walk around the town on Saturday but still wanted to get in to the castle to see the evening fireball display. We knew a second day only costs a pound, but we didn’t know arriving an hour before closing would get us in for half price and still get the second day for a pound! We paid less 1 hour followed by 1 full day than we would have for 1 full day alone.
All in all, it was a nice weekend out. If you like castles, give Warwick a try. More photos from this trip in the gallery.
Posted on 10th March 2013
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Posted by ed on 17th February 2013
We had some decent weather in London this weekend. It’s still chilly, but at least we had a fair bit of sunshine. We hadn’t really made any plans, so we went to one of our default options, the WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes. Out other option is usually the Southbank in Central London, but since part of the District Line was closed for the weekend, we ended up at the Wetland Centre both days.
It’s half term in London which means all the kids are on break. The down side it the Wetland Centre is more crowded. The upside is, they put on special events. For this weekend they had falconer Ben Long bring in a number of his raptors and give talks on Birds of Prey every hour. Ben brought 6 birds with him: barn owl, gyrfalcon, kestrel, 2 peregrine falcons and a common buzzard (hawk). In addition to the raptors, we also explored the birds of the World Wetlands exhibit at the centre. We didn’t manage to find any water voles. Maybe when the weather warms up a bit more.
You can view the rest of the pictures in the Gallery.
Posted on 17th February 2013
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Posted by ed on 3rd January 2013
I’ve not been keeping up with the blog at all. I have been posting most of my pictures to Facebook and Google+. I’ve managed to upload most of our major trips. Here are the links to the albums:
Croatia - June 3-13, 2012
Spain (Alicante and Barcelona) - July 25-29, 2012
Prague, Czech Republic - December 19-22, 2012
Austria - December 22-28, 2012
Hungary - December 28, 2012 - January 1, 2013
Posted on 3rd January 2013
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