Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 25 July 2005

I went to London to visit the Queen

Due to popular demand - here it is, or what I can remember of it anyway...

June saw me jet-setting around several portions of the globe, leaving me with much work and little time - hence the subsequent cybersilence.

After Bergen Norway; and then Newcastle KZN to be present at the birth of my newest nephew in short succession, travel was no longer seen as a highlight, but rather a chore. In 3 short month I have migrated from eager and excited tourist type to seasoned traveller. I have now perfected the flight sequence, and have learned how to ignore the person seated next to me, favouring movies and sleep over inane and insincere conversation attempts.

I was back at bustling Cape Town international airport, this time for my sojourn to London. This time however I was not travelling alone, and met up with Hilton and Jonathan of the infamous Shuttleworth Foundation. Hilton, who is such a seasoned traveller you can almost taste him, worked his charms on the check-in clerk, and although he fell short of getting us upgraded to Business class, did manage to get us seated in the upper deck of the plane (on one of the new 747-400). WOW.

Hilton had an emergency exit seat with more leg room than business class, and Jonathan and I had more leg room than normal and a ledge with storage space along the windows, which proved quite comfy to rest my legs on for a nice reclined sleep. The upper deck is FAR superior to regular economy class, and since there are less people the service is better too with more personal attention. I got the regular downstairs economy class on the way back and it sucked! It seemed more crammed than ever... doesn't really make sense, but there you go.

So after a relatively comfortable flight next to Jonathan or 'psycho boy' (the monicker the girl on the other side of him gave him) we arrived at the notorious *Heathrow* airport. What a let down. Heathrow is awful. Old run down, and totally unimpressive on every level. Every other airport I have been in has been way better. If I never have to see Heathrow again I will be quite happy.... so there!

The 3 of us fumbled around in the arrivals hall for a while, looking for Hilton's stash of pounds, and er trying to find the old bags that Jonathan had transported cigarettes for.. (enough said!). We finally headed for the tube, and managed to navigate our way around the ticketing machines and got onto the Picadilly Line and in the direction of Earl's Court.

We arrived at our Hotel (The K&K George) at about 7:30am. (This hotel is very weird, non of the staff really speak English, they are all Austrian!) Not being able to check-in at that time we had to make do with FREE wireless Internet access. So work horses that we are we logged on and started working immediately. After an hour or so, and consuming a suitable amount of coffee, I felt bold enough to brave London on my own, and set off to find the Canonical offices. This entailed a 2 stop tube journey - again trying to figure out the tube ticketing machine and then
find out which line to take and in which direction. Honestly this is easier in Thailand and Malaysia where the signs aren't even in English! It's easy to understand how Paddington Bear got lost down there...

Having found my way to South Kensington station I walked the several blocks to the office, which is modest and understated to say the least. The whole walk was very reminiscent of the scene in Notting Hill when they take a walk around a posh neighbourhood and see all the private gardens - that may actually have been filmed there...

On arriving at the office we immediately went to work, making arrangements for the summit the next day etc. Matt our CTO and who I technically report to was in town, so we made the most of actually being able to talk, and got all our status pages updated etc. Mark took us for a quick lunch at a sandwich shop and then back to work until 10pm. When it was finally declared dinner time. Although we already had a booking at the same place for the Saturday night dinner, Mark is a creature of habit and insisted that we go to the Goucho Grill around the corner for dinner. It's an Argentinian restaurant.

Next morning was the start of the summit. and I am out of steam - sorry that was a pathetic attempt, I'll try complete it sometime, but right now I need to beat my children and put them to bed ;)

Monday, 11 July 2005

Another week-end summary

I had a lovely week-end, for the first time in ages I didn't turn my laptop on once. We all went to my ex colleague Ryk's house for drinks on Friday. There were a few of my old work mate's there so it was great to see them again after 3 months. We all had cell hones stuck to our faces half the time though. The red wine and snack were great :)

One Saturday we all went to gym. I haven't been for about a month and it shows! (All I have done is eat, work, eat, socialise, eat, travel and eat! *LOL*). The kids had a quick swim, while I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 5 minutes on the stair-machine. Pretty pathetic, but at least it was a start... After that we went through to Vicki & Stuart's place to watch the rugby and have a braai. I haven't seen that crowd for ages, so it was nice to be there again. It's an excellent entertaining house, everyone seems to just relax and enjoy and the kids do what they want and nothing gets destroyed.

Vicki as usual produced an excellent meal, and we all ate and drank more than we should have :)

Yesterday we got a gardener in - finally. I have been battling to find someone suitable, as we had some awful ones at the old house. This guy works at the kid's school, and seems to do a great job there. We have been trying to deal with the garden ourselves, but will so little time, and not being very good at it either, the garden was looking a bit shabby. He did a great job of clearing things out and trimming and making things look nice, and I was inspired to do some planting. So I went to the nursery and got a few things and planted them.

We took the kids to see Madagascar afterwards, which was fine (not great but ok). When we got home they rode their bikes around a bit, and then we just lazed around watching TV etc.