pin by Love from Hetty and Dave, Thames Festival, London
My London Adoration bracelet was re-spaced and now? from one end to the next I have:
A Double Decker Bus. The .925 is the back licence plate. Adorable.
The Houses of Parliament with an oversized Tower-which-houses-Big-Ben.
Policeman’s Helmet (Bobby’s Hat) which even has an ER on the Shield.
St Christopher. The Patron Saint of travellers. Can’t hurt.
St Paul’s Cathedral.
City of London Shield.
The centre, the focus of the bracelet.
(Focus as in central, focus as in hearth and home)
It is open as it’s supposed to be good luck.
(Keep Calm and Carry On)
Tower of London.
A (red) Telephone Booth.
A (black) Cab.
It’s hard to explain adequately how much I adore this bracelet.
In the soft silvery jingling I am reminded of the white noise traffic roar when our double glazed window was opened, Like magic. I am standing at the lights waiting to cross, watching for the lights to go yellow again before going green. I remember the smell of wet cobblestones near St Paul’s and the swirl of a priest in a cassock.
I am walking past the garden in Bedford Square on my way to work, looking our for squirrels and the red Royal Mail vans.
I am waiting with Craig for our Yeoman at the gates of the Tower of London, sitting with a magazine at the Statue in front of Buckingham Palace, sitting on the steps at St Paul’s waiting for Craig, Lying in sundappled shade in Hyde Park with my head on his hip. Walking hand in hand, glove in glove, along the Thames on a Saturday morning.
Roast chestnuts at the entrance to Tottenham Court Road tube, caramelised nuts near the Millennium bridge, churros and curry at the Thames festival, the wet organic scent of the back roads of Borough Market. The hush of a church or gallery, the silent roar of a cathedral, echoing, warbling sopranos, the muffled rustling of tourists, the err-err-err of wheelie bags on the ridges of the Millennium bridge. It is a sea of french, italian, of cockney, eton, greek, indian, of myriad accents.
My London was seen on foot and remembered in sounds and smells.
And all that from 13 little charms, on one little bracelet, on one little wrist.
P.s. My fav-fav-favourite charm? St Paul’s.
Because? Well, firstly because I adore St Paul’s. It is my moon, my London anchor.
But also! because it opens!
I think it might be Jesus. Or just a cross. Or Jesus. Or a cross. Or Jesus. Who knows?
I seem to have the worst luck with London. I'm choosing to not see this as a sign.
Firstly, I only found out about the HSMP (5 year visa) after I was no longer eligible on my pre-London New Zealand salary.
Secondly, just as I was settling into the idea that Craig would really be sponsored to stay in London, the company pulled out.
Thirdly, they changed the HSMP to Tier 1 (still a 5 year visa) which increased the amount of money-earned required to apply.
Fourthly, finally, and just THIS MORNING they announced changes to the Working HolidayMakers Visa/Tier 5 which makes it two years working instead of one year. The one year that Craig has worked and was why we had to come back to New Zealand. And it is changing on the 27th November. If it does happen to change our visas at all, it still means that we would get back to London in early December and have to leave again 6 scant months later as our visas completely, entirely, forever-and-ever expire on the 9th of June 2009. Oh and you can't apply for WH/Tier 5 more than once in a lifetime.
This news is killing me. It is the epitome of the straw that is breaking my back.
In actuality, it just means that we just have to keep calm and carry on. I work and work and work and work and next year we apply for Tier 1 visas.
The uncertainty is hardest. I wish I knew that we would get back to London. I wish I knew that we would get the visas. I wish I knew that all this work and stress and planning was going to result in something other than a stomach ulcer.
I wish I wish I wish.
Today Craig and I have been married for 1000 days.
ONE THOUSAND DAYS
Craig thinks it’s strange that I know this. He doesn’t believe me that I haven’t been keeping count and that I accidentally came across a counter on the internet. Admittedly, it’s a counter I set up on facebook, but I hadn’t ever really checked it.
It must have been fate that I checked it 4 days ago and noted the 996 days married box. Fate apparently wants my husband to think I’m even crazier and obsessive than he already does.
Thanks fate. Thanks a lot.
Pouting & frazzled at Heathrow.
Our excess baggage has been paid for (118kgs!!!) and we have boarding passes & everything.
This is really happening. We are really moving (temporarily) back to New Zealand. Disconsolate is a good word for me today.
P.s. Craig has just gone into an electronics store to buy my birthday present. I am a little worried.
Apologies for the lack of amazing underwater photos from Hawaii. They are sitting on the computer all sad and neglected while I whizz around London with my sister doing things like this:
My London-Friends were right when they moaned that London’s summer is over. So far the weather has been 80% grey with 40% showers or rain and only 20% sun &/or heat.
And still I wish I could stay here.
Dear The Internet,
I think New Zealand may secretly be a black hole.
I have been back for more than a month and yet? the fact that I’m leaving again in … 13 Days (Thirteen! Under Two Weeks!) seems impossible. Improbable. Didn’t I actually just arrive yesterday? possibly the day before?
Although, I really can’t deny that the world is turning, time is passing, and all that, as within the last two weeks it has gone from darkness to dawn to ever-so-slightly daylight when I leave for work in the mornings (So Early. Hate).
I almost don’t want to go to London again. It is a trip to say goodbye. To pack up our little room & leave a few bits and pieces in storage with friends so that hopefully, by osmosis, the home office works out that we belong in London and grants our visas super-quick.
We are kidding ourselves that it’s just a little vacation by planning a few days in Hawaii on the way over. To make up for the fact that we don’t really get a summer this year. This is mainly Craig’s idea. I am not so much a sun & sand person. Definitely not an anticipatory sun & sand person. Once I am there, with a book, Spf 500 sunscreen, and salt-dreadlocked hair, I love it. Until then … it seems like too too much trouble.
Craig is adorable in his excitement. He wants to learn to surf. We want to go snorkelling. I am thinking of getting a waterproof digital camera.
I think that really, what I want, is to get on with the 8-10 months of working constantly. To know that each hour working is an hour closer to the goal amount that will allow us to apply for the top Tier of the cake of London visas. At this stage there are so many months stretching ahead of me that they are a pinprick in the distance. Around a huge corner. And in general hard to keep in sight.
I’m hoping that New Zealand really is a black hole and these coming months will pass in an instant.
Now all we have to do is try and work out if we’re able to arrange a 10 month sub-letting situation for our Darling Flat in SE1. Do you know of anyone interested Internet?
Do you know what I hate? Not being in London. I really hate it.
That’s not to say that I hate being in New Zealand. Because I don’t.
A lot of my favourite people are here.
I’m just not living in a city that gives me butterflies.
Craig and I finally finally made a decision for our future.
Instead of going to Dublin or Canada or Vienna (all of which were seriously considered at one point or another (maybe not so much Vienna. I don’t speak any German (but it does look beautiful!))) we are going to spend some months (8? 9? who knows at this point? Not me!) in New Zealand before applying for brand sparkling new visas which will (fingers crossed!) allow us to spend longer than a year or two back in London.
If we had chosen one of the other countries on our list we would have ended up in the exactly same situation we’re in now, only twelve months down the line!
I don’t think I could do this again!
And I’m so so willing to spend a few months slightly irritated for a longer stretch of our lovely itinerant lifestyle.
I actually feel really positive about this decision (I know! me! positive! crrrrraazy).
So. August in New Zealand, September in London (love!), and from October? Nouvelle Zélande again.
On a completely different note!
I’ve been working as a temporary super-receptionist at a company in Wellington this week. And three out of the four days that I’ve been working there?
I have (accidentally!!) color co-ordinated with the other receptionist.
Yet again my life proves itself completely ridiculous!
The first day? it was cute. The second day? it was funny as other people in the office started to notice. The third day? RIDICULOUS.
Don’t panic! we discussed it today and chose completely different colours to wear tomorrow. Let’s see if it works!
They have taken apart the top of the Tate Modern Chimney!
Where there was once a large glass-&-metal square that lit up our bedroom window, there is now just a sad little frame. All left behind.
Craig hopes that they are replacing it with four powerful spotlights shooting up into the sky. Or perhaps an illuminated flame shape.
And while I find the giant-candle idea appealing, I hope for something more streamlined. Perhaps a large white balloon. Also illuminated. In my mind it looks something like a bubble-gun.
There is also a Street Art exhibition opening in the next week. As part of that they have turned the Tate Modern into a giant canvas:
My favourite parts?
Photos taken on the 18th May.