Farewell London, eating in the dark, what I am reading…

July 31, 2009

Last weekend Paul and I had our farewell party at a local pub. Heaps of people came and we were there from 3pm until 10pm! I drank a LOT of juice. Unfortunately most of Paul’s photos are dark and blurry.
North star
Above, heaps of the peops at our farewell do. Below, with some friends (Cheryl, Charlotte, Kara) at the nightclub Cargo last Friday night. We saw a very cool band, Yacht, but as the music was blaring and the base was vibrating our bodies, I wondered: ‘Is my baby being totally vibrated right now?’
Last night Paul and Cheryl and I went to the restaurant Dans Le Noir? and ate food in pitch blackness. It was quite a strange experience. I did enjoy it but was not very impressed with the food (and the two courses cost £32).

Our boxes of stuff were picked up yesterday to be shipped back to Australia. Now we have lots of cleaning to do and lots of stuff to get rid of. I can’t believe we are leaving in three days. It doesn’t seem real. I would like to go to the White Cube galleries on the weekend to see the current Gilbert and George exhibition and maybe the Hayward to see the Walking in My Mind exhibition.

I also think I’d like to do some wandering around central London to say goodbye. I have really loved London. I am however very excited about seeing my friend Sam and spending three days with her looking around Hong Kong (she informed me yesterday that rain is forecast for next week!) and I am starting to get very excited about being back in Brisbane and seeing family and friends. I am really excited about discovering Brisbane again. People often bag it out for being small (and very spread out) but I always felt there was a lot of stuff going on when I lived there and I really like it. I’m planning on going to the Gallery of Modern Art on my second day back (there is an exhibition of photography by young people from Palm Island that ends that day).

It’s been a while since I did a rundown of the books I’ve been reading, but that might be because I haven’t read many books this year.

Bad Science by Dr Ben Goldacre
I have wanted to read this book for a while. It is really very good! I have seen/heard Ben Goldacre talk a few times and he is really intelligent, informative and funny. You’ll learn a lot about the scientific method and how science works, and how science is abused and also about bad journalism when it comes to science. A very informative book. He is an NHS (National Health Service) doctor and a regular columnist in the Guardian. You can read his columns and other stuff at his website.

59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman
A popular psychology book by a professor of psychology, this is an interesting book and the difference between it and other self-help books is that it is actually based on psychological research. It does have a tendency to simplify things and be contradictory sometimes but I am enjoying it. Richard Wiseman has a blog too.

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
This book of three novels is the first of three books in Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle. I have finished the first novel, Quicksilver and I enjoyed it a lot although I had to do a lot of looking up European history. The book is set around the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century in England and focuses on lots of historical figures (philosophers, scientists, politicians and other people). I plan to finish the other two novels in book one one day.

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I’m a third of the way in and so far, am not impressed. Some of my friends really love this book but I really don’t understand how. It’s quite annoying and has such a tone of ‘isn’t religion so amazing and wonderful and mysterious’ so I’ve spent most of my time reading it thinking, ‘actually no, I don’t think so.’ I wonder if I’ll finish it.

T minus 11 days and counting

July 23, 2009

I cannot believe I only have 11 days left in London! I feel like I should be out doing last-minute site-seeing before I leave but instead I’m home most days packing and organising.

Still on the to-do list:
– get mail forwarded
– organise boxes for the TV and monitor
– give books back to people
– get my books back from people
– give away all our excess stuff
– go to Dans Le Noir and eat in the dark
– go to Ministry of Sound (probably not going to happen now – if I couldn’t get around to it in the last three years, I’m probably not going to in the next 11 days)

Moon trailer

July 20, 2009

This is a great sci-fi film that I saw on the weekend. Sam Rockwell was really good but I couldn’t quite work out how I knew him (he was the main guy in Choke and Zaphod Beeblebrox in the newish Hitchhikers Guide). Check it out.


Serpentine Gallery, books and films

July 19, 2009

Yesterday Paul and I went to the Serpentine Gallery to check out their temporary summer pavillion and to look at their latest art exhibition. The current pavilion is by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of Japanese architecture practice SANAA. I liked it. If I wasn’t pregnant I probably would have had a coffee at the cafe there!
Serpentine Gallery and 2009 Summer Pavillion
Above, the Serpentine Gallery is on the right and the reflective Summer pavillion is on the left (The pavillion photos are by Paul).
The Serpentine Gallery's 2009 Summer Pavillion
The Serpentine Gallery's 2009 Summer Pavillion
Serpentine Gallery's Summer Pavillion 2009
The current exhibition inside the Serpentine is Jeff Koons: Popeye Series. I enjoyed the exhibition but am still undecided on what I think of Jeff Koons. I do like some of his stuff and this exhibition had a lot of objects that looked like inflatable plastic swimming toys (like rings and dolphins, etc) but they were hanging from the ceiling with heavy things hanging off them – they were actually made of aluminium and painted bright colours.
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
Jeff Koons: Popeye Series, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2009
After our sojourn in Hyde Park we headed up to Borders in Oxford Street where all the books are 50% off as they’re closing down. Even though I think most of the good stuff was gone (I couldn’t find any sci-fi or fantasy books!) we still bought ten books between us – and I know, I know, we just have to pack them now to send back to Australia but books are so much cheaper here than in Australia we couldn’t resist.

So lugging our books through Soho we headed to Leicester Square to watch the new (and sixth) Harry Potter but of course it was sold out (well, we could have bought tickets for the front row, which we weren’t so keen on) so we saw the sci-fi film Moon which was very good -I would recommend it highly. We also bought tickets to see Harry Potter today – two movies in one weekend, how decadent! I’m quite excited about seeing HP6 but Paul is less so at it goes for two and a half hours. We’re having lunch with some friends and then going to the film. I’m wondering if we should try to fit in some other London activity before lunch.

Yesterday we finally bought our flights home, so our families can stop asking us ‘When do you arrive back? Have you bought your tickets yet?’ We’re spending three days in Hong Kong with my friend Sam on the way home which is exciting. I still can’t believe I only have two weeks left in London. I feel like I need to be out going places, saying goodbye. I will miss it a lot.

Nice bookshop and new haircut

July 13, 2009

Here are some pictures from the gorgeous bookshop on Marylebone High Street, Daunt Books (photos by Paul’s mum).
Awesome bookshop, Daunt Books, London
Daunt Books, London
Daunt Books, London
And today I got a haircut – in preparation for being a yummy mummy (only six months to go – until I’m a mummy)!
Haircut, July 2009

Family in town and exciting news…

July 13, 2009

We had Paul’s mum and sister stay with us last week for one and two nights, respectively, which was very nice. Here’s a picture Paul took of me and his sister while we wandered around London.
Carmen and Emma wandering in London
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Some more pics from Amsterdam

July 9, 2009

Amsterdam, June 2009.
Outside of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, June 2009.
Outside the Rijksmuseum.
Nemo Science Centre, Amsterdam, June 2009.
The Nemo Science Centre.
A boat next to the Nemo Science Centre, Amsterdam, June 2009.
A big boat next to the Nemo Science Centre.
Old-style windmill, Amsterdam, June 2009.
De Waag, Amsterdam, June 2009.
De Waag
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One more from Mitchell and Webb – on (not) finding god in your fruit

July 4, 2009

Family in town, party plans

July 4, 2009

I am finally getting around to uploading my Amsterdam photos to Flickr, and then putting them on here. Hopefully I’ll finish that off today. Paul and I only have a month left in London – I can hardly believe it. After three years here we are ready to move back to Australia (but we will miss it). I have so much to organise!

We are planning on having a combined farewell party and engagement party on Sunday, July 26 in a local pub. Then we’ll be leaving a week later! We’re planning a stop-over with my friend Sam in Hong Kong on the way home which should be really nice (and it will be great to break up the long journey home). Paul and I are planning to get married in October (if we can organise it in time).

Paul’s mum and sister stayed with us last weekend – it was really nice to see them. They’ve gone up to Yorkshire now to visit relatives and we’ll see them in another week on their way home. We went to Blenheim Palace with them last Sunday. Hopefully we’ll get the photos off their camera when they come back and I’ll be able to put some here. Blenheim Palace is the home of the Duke of Marlborough (Winston Churchill‘s family). I must say I had less regard for Winston Churchill when I found out how incredibly privileged his background was. I think that doing great things is not exactly that hard when everything you could ever want (money, education, connections) is handed to you on a platter.

Some photos from Amsterdam – Anne Frank and the Homomonument

July 4, 2009

A few weeks ago Paul and I spent a week in Amsterdam. Below are some photos from Anne Frank House and the Homomonument.
The front of Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Above, the front of Anne Frank House. This housed a business with Anne Frank and her family hiding out in the annex at the back. Below, a nearby statue of Anne Frank.
A statue of Anne Frank, Amsterdam
Homomonument, Amsterdam
The sign above says: “Homomonument Commemorates all women and men ever oppressed and persecuted because of their homosexuality.
Supports the International Lesbian and Gay Movement in their struggle against contempt, discrimination and oppression.
Demonstrates that we are not alone.
Calls for permanent vigilance.

Past, present and future are represented by the 3 triangles on this square. Designed by Karin Daan, 1987.”
Homomonument, Amsterdam
Homomonument, Amsterdam
Homomonument, Amsterdam
You can read more about why they have this monument here.