the hoofindex - rewind to the previous trip (making UK home) - fast forward to the following trip (Geneva)

 

London Baby! We've gotten through our first weekend... and on the Monday we went to our first interviews with recruitment agents. But really we were still in Holiday mode so split our time betwenn checking out the sights and job related efforts. So the highlights of week 2.

 

One of our first stops was Trafalgar Square:

In Trafalgar Square... with the fountain, Nelson's Column and a few other people.

The view from Trafalgar down towards Big Ben.

 

Heading down towards Big Ben you walk down Whitehall past some major government buildings including the Ministry of Defense and Downing Street.

Hoofy wanted to go say hi to Mr Blair, but apparently he wasn't in.

 

We also headed over to the south bank towards the London Eye.

On the way to the Eye the Hoof'ess found out she could make music with her ass (p.s. you sit on the cube to play an instrument in the orchsetra)

The Hoof'ess was not 100% comfortable in the Eye, she prefers to have her hoofs on terra firma.

View of Big Ben and Parliament Buildings from the London Eye. Impressive buildings.

 

On the weekend we started out at the Camden markets, and then went to the opposite end of the shopping specturm at Harrods.

Some very interesting clothing is available in Camden- Hoof'ess wasn't keen to try any of this stuff on.

At least the Camden gears were more affordable than the stuff in here. Still its a big shop with lots of goodies, always puts a smile on her face.

 

In preperation for work and a few more interviews for the Hoof we headed to Brent Cross shopping centre. On the way there we got our first taste of terroism in London, a bomb scare meant an 8 square block of Cricklewood was evacuated. This meant our bus stopped and we had to walk around the bomb scare. Then we got pushed back as the police extended the area. Very exciting... kinda.

Just before we were moved back another block. The police cleared shops, houses, everybody from the area. Not something you see often in NZ.

 

Into our third week in London. The Hoof'ess found out on the Tuesday that she had a new job, so we went into panic stations to see a few more sights before she's back at the coal face. We managed to cover a truck load in one week but here are the highlights...

 

We went on the Buckingham Palace tour while the Queen was out on her summer holidays in Scotland and the plebs are allowed in... corse no photos allowed inside.

Hoof'ess wanted to move in - she liked the size of the wardrobes. Only down side was mowing the lawns... (for Hoof)

And the worlds most expensive icecream... the Queen is gonna get rich selling this stuff.

 

Went to the park for lunch - think this was Green Park... and the Pigeons came visiting...

Meet Bert and Ernie, they apparently like bread, not so keen on the Coke.

 

The Hoof'ess is ridiculously keen on Robbie, so we went to a little concert up in Milton Keynes...

The crowd started to build for some reason...

The Hoof'ess had her coathanger sized smile on... with her screaming lungs ready for the great ones appearance.

 

On the weekend we checked out Notting Hill market...

Down the main street where the Notting Hill market is. Some cheap stuff around, and a few tourist traps.

And with the Hoof'ess being a soppy movie freak she checked out the bookshop from "Notting Hill". Apparently the house with the "famous" blue door has been painted to keep those pesky tourists away.

 

Checked out Kensington Palace and Hyde Park... and the Hoof'ess bought some nuts to feed to the Squirrels. Its now her new favourite activity in London.

Sam the Squirril muching out on one of the nuts the Hoof'ess had handed to him. He said thanks.

Hoofy wanted to get in on the action, but for some reason Sam the Squirril was a little scared of a motionless black and white cow...

 

Time to catch up with some Kiwi mates - hey Stacey!

At dinner Stacey wanted to meet Hoofy face to face... although with Hoofy getting all the attention Logan started to get jealous.

Stacey and Hoofy even shared sushi.

 

With only one more week of accomodation left it was time for a house hunting mission (4th Weekend). We'd hired a car for the search with the targets being Luton, Harpenden and St Alban's - the towns close or between our jobs. We found about 6 houses which looked okay from the outside, but since we found most of them on Sunday it means you can't do anything - everything shuts down. Our rental car did get upgraded which meant we had GPS - the Hoof'ess life saver since she is easily flustered when trying to navigate, especially on the motorway intersections. Instead she sat bacvk while Gloria the GPS lady hit on the Hoof with quick and accurate directions. Not exactly a weekend to write a postcard about... so I'll wrap up this paragraph.

 

Finally after 4 weeks in London (5th Weekend) we moved into our own place - our little pad in Harpenden. Read about it on another page... hunt it out on making UK home.

 

Weekend number 6, Hoof's Birthday weekend. We won't dwell on what age the Hoof has become and move along quickly... the upside was the senior Hoof's visited... great to see them again - dinner out in Soho, as well as a few beers at the local.

At the local pub to celebrate the Hoof's birthday...

And the Hoof's at the pub... I don't look 30 do I?

 

Weekend 7, this was the infamous car hunt weekend, again you'll find it somewhere else.. perhaps on making UK home. Friday was also the innagural drinks of the Harpenden Club - Jules, Gregg, Hoof'ess and myself. Needless to say the couple of drinks turned into a good session on the Staro's (for the laymen's Staro's is short for Staropramen, a very tasty wee beer).

The Hoof'ess has her wine smile on.

 

The Harpenden Crew! With "Mr Right" on the left and Jules in the middle.

 

Exciting times on the Friday (8th Weekend) - we finally bought a car so we decided to have a few more beers at the Rose and Crown to celebrate with the Harpenden Crew. The next morning we waited in anxious anticipation for our new bed, both of us were getting royally sick of the fold out bed - especially the great cozy roll together. I had come up with a strategy of hanging my arm and leg off the side in order to not go rolling into the middle. The bed we had been awaiting was a kitset bed to go with our kitset shelves and kitset entertainment unit. It was a real test of puzzle skills from our friends at Argos. The pain in the ass was using our swiss army knife to tighten everything... every screw took 10 times as long as it should have... arrrrrr.

But that night, oh so comfortable... the Hoof'ess was so excited she was in bed purring by 7pm. "Living it up there Hoof'ess?"

Now that we felt relatively organised, a house, bed, furniture, and a car it was time to see more of the countryside. About 30 minutes drive north is Milton Keynes, so we decided to head there and check it out. Milton Keynes is an interesting town - there are some older buildings including a church, but the rest is relatively new and it feels like a planned 80's satellite city built to relieve pressure off London for lower cost commercial business. Not very picturesque at all.

 

We continued the tradition of Friday night drinks at the Rose and Crown with Jules and Gregg. However Scotsman Gregg only wanted a quiet night, one or two beers which sounded good to us. One turned into two, and then a few more. It ended up being a rather large night with a few hung over folks on Saturday - the Hoof'ess was very unwell, and talking with J and G they were also recovering. A nice big greasy breakfast helped bring some semblance of normality on our 9th weekend. To help the Hoof'ess' recovery we went on a walk around the Harpenden Common, and get our general bearings.

The top of our street - heavily populated Harpenden... always a struggle to find a parking space.

One of the outlooks across the Common. Looks more like a forest than a town... and there are squirrels everywhere and we've even seen a few foxes

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Wave Hoof'ess... on the other side of these trees is our place, tucked away by the quiet railway tracks.

Having fully recovered by Sunday, we went on the search for the ancient Roman town of Verulamium, it was one of the largest towns in Roman Britain after London and was sited close to where the town of St Albans now is. There is very little left of the town, a few walls is about it.

The Hoof was in camoflage gear - preparing to storm the Roman defenses. Where is Hoofy when you need backup?

 

Heading towards our 10th weekend in the land of the long grey cloud. The weather has suddenly changed from a nice, tepid early autumn temperature to a cool "welcome to winter in the UK" - with our first major frost with frozen car windows... and the requirement for a jacket.

However there was plenty on this week. Starting with a team event in London on the Wednesday night which the Hoof didn't get home from until after midnight, this was then followed by an All Black's event on the Thursday night. Organised by the folk at Lion Nathan international it was a chance to catch up with some of the ex-Lion crew here in London as well as a few over from New Zealand. The Hoof'ess was particularly excited to see the AB's, hoping that Dan "Jockey underwear" Carter was going to be there... shame he wasn't one of the six that arrived. Instead she was happy ogling Luke.

Couple of the AB's serving up a few Steiny's!

The Hoof'ess was a real groupie and if you look real closely its her with Luke McAlister... what a shame the flash didn't work!

 

Following the AB's night - it was off to MPH on Friday arvo with Jules and Gregg. MPH sells itself as "Live Motoring Theatre" - but essentially a motor show with a Top Gear style programme attached, Jeremy Clarkson leading the presenting. Didn't take any photo's during the show so unfortunately not much to look at, but just imagine stunt driving, a caravan which gets destroyed, car football, and Clarkson making plenty of digs at the nana driving skills of his co-presenter James May.

A local police car was on show at the MPH show. This is mainly use the Lambo to chase speeder on the M1 - in the city they live it up in Astras. We've even seen one on a Nifty 50 scooter.

After plenty of drooling over some pretty sensational cars we bailed off home to crash - after two late nights already this week the Hoof's were knackered. It didn't help that the Hoof'ess was feeling somewhat crook with a cold coming on. Luckily we did because just as we were getting home she went downhill fast, nose blocked, sneezing, headache. Needless to say the rest of the weekend was shot... with the Hoof'ess making the Hoof wait on her hand and foot. Drinks... food... aspirin... Lemsip... the list goes on! Last quiet weekend for a while because next week we head off to the Alps.

 

The Hoof's recommence international travel - Geneva Baby!