Thursday, July 21, 2005

Highs and lows

Not much info so far, but 3 tube lines are closed and one bus lost its windows. No-one hurt, so the whole thing is starting to sound kind of gratuitous and bizarre. Needless to say, we are ok. Bit sick of this though.

On my way to work this morning, I was carrying my new horn - the case is very obviously a horn case. I was walking along minding my own business when I heard whistling coming from the direction of an Energy Company cherry picker. I knew the tune but couldn't place it. In a split second I recognised it, and almost started laughing - I was smiling so hard my smile almost turned into a laugh! I looked up and there was a black electrician in the cherry picker and he was whistling one of Mozart's horn concertos. Then he went on to whistle other movements. I couldn't help laughing out loud.

I called Lucie and she got such a giggle out of it. Then I called Julian and he said that Lucie and I were such nerds that he didn't know if he could be associated with us any more.

Monday, July 18, 2005

So I'm not just being narky after all - this is bad

Reuters | ITN | Press Association | AFP | Sky News | The Scotsman | Photos
Monday July 18, 11:38 AM

Maternity wards 'in poor condition'
Politicians admitted standards in maternity wards must be improved as a "deeply worrying" report highlighted chronic staff and equipment shortages.

The Healthcare Commission said the lives of new mothers and babies were at risk from poor conditions which make giving birth more dangerous than necessary.

An investigation chaired by Sir Ian Kennedy found poor organisation on wards, doctors who did not explain what was happening to patients and dirty toilets as well as a shortage of midwives.

Health Minister Liam Byrne said: "We welcome his acknowledgement that giving birth is safer now than ever before and that very few babies or mothers die.

"However, services are not yet good enough to meet the needs of all women and babies, wherever they live and whoever they are, and that is why the Government continues in reforming, as well as investing in, maternity services in the UK."

He said an action plan for change will be drawn up at a meeting of experts in maternity care later this week.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "These findings from the Health Care Commission are deeply worrying.

"They show that despite increasing resources for the NHS, a lack of genuine reform means resources are wasted and services are not held accountable for the standards they meet and to the wishes of patients."

He added: "It will not be good enough for the Government to make promises about changes years hence if we have too few midwives and poor standards today."

The Commission's report to MPs said bad management, rather than a lack of money, is at the root of the problems.

Hmmmm. On a more positive note, we just had an amazing weekend. We test ran one of Julian's friends babies and ate barbecue, the likes of which I haven't tasted since we left Australia (of course Aussie cooked it).

We went to the worst fair ever. Exmouth have an Italian Community religious parade each year and it has turned into a nasty commercial piss up with lots of English men with their shirts off - am I the only one who has noticed that when the temperature gets above 25, English males start spontaneously stripping? One guy was covered in so much baby oil that I could smell him. They seem to take real pride in their body hair and love handles. Such an affectionate term for them, I'm not sure that it's quite right in this instance. We didn't realise there was a religious parade until we came to a street that looked like a really solemn Mardi Gras. There were men dressed up as Jesus, little boys dressed up as wise men, a float with a Last Supper re-enactment on it - and the 12 disciples were eating real food up there! That part of the day was actually great. I've never seen anything so Roman Catholic, and so Pagan at the same time. Now I know where the protestants get their attitudes towards Catholicism. It was so weird that at first I thought it was a piece of performance art.

We had lunch with Garreth and Elissa which was nice - they are moving to Sydney in 2 weeks to re-design all the Mambo stores. We gave them our Living-in-Sydney tips. You forget so quickly - it took me and Julian about 4 hours to remember the name of Cleveland Street - 3 blocks away from our house, and a street I travelled on the Vespa almost every day!

Last of all, we had going away drinks for Eloise. She's off to have another adventure - this time NY without a visa, crazy girl. It was fun. Strange for me without alcohol - I watched the evening degenerate from afar. It ended with Jason and Justin taking pictures of their legs to try and make them look like a bottom. This stuff seems normal when you're pissed, no?

Oh, how could I forget - I had my horn exam. I was surrounded by 8 year olds all day - there were about 100 little boys who played the drums, bonding with their dads, reading car magazines and all that stuff dads and sons do. I was last to be examined and I got the impression that my examiner was really starved for adult company. So he was really nice to me and it was quite a relaxed affair. It went well.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Religious fanatics

Can not and will not threaten our frivolous lifestyle.

Fred Flare

You HAVE to see the iGuy on this site. Too gorgeous.

Once in a lifetime

We just observed 2 minutes' silence on the streets of London. Every voice, every car silent. People came out of shops and offices and lined the streets, and it sounds cheesy - people were sad but not scared.

I was a bit cynical about it before I went downstairs, but hearing almost nothing in Soho really made me feel what it all meant. It's difficult to describe.

The guys at Randall and Aubin, the restuarant downstairs, obviously forgot that there was to be silence, so the only (very quiet) sound was "Lady in my Life" by Michael Jackson. Not really appropriate but a great song.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

How do we feel about London?

At least 33 people have been killed and 1,000 injured in a series of terror attacks on London.

The first blast hit a train leaving Liverpool Street Station between Moorgate and Aldgate East at 8.51am. Seven people are confirmed dead in that blast.

At 8.56am a blast occured on a train between King's Cross and Russell Square killing 21 people.

Five people were killed in a blast at Edgware Road Tube station. Three trains are believed to have been hit by this explosion at 9.17am.

At 9.47am a number 30 bus at Upper Woburn Place was hit by a fourth blast. Emergency services could not confirm the number of dead in this attack.

A previously unknown group calling itself "Secret Organisation al Qaeda in Europe" said it carried out the attacks as revenge for British "military massacres" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

London hospitals have reported a total of 300 wounded after a series of blasts hit locations across the city on buses and Tube stations.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said there was evidence of explosives at least two sites.

Scotland Yard has denied reports they were warned of an attack by Israel minutes before the blasts.

This is a news article - I thought I would post this as it is the most accurate thing I can find. It also helps me put the morning's events into a time frame. My time frame til now has consisted mostly of what I thought were rumours, and lots of confusion. A bit of a slow blur.

I arrived at Caledonian Road Tube just after 9am and thousand were streaming out of the station to wait for buses. Not a big surprise to anyone who has ever used the Tube. A station master explained there had been a major security alert, and that the entire Tube was closed. People just put it down to someone spotting an unidentified Tesco's bag, and didn't think much of it. I had my horn, so of course, no-one would let me on a bus. I had to wait around 30 minutes to be let on. We moved along very slowly, the bus being extremely full. There was lots of moaning by the angry commuters, but at this stage, still a typical morning.

We became gridlocked outside King's Cross station. One of the passengers mentioned an explosion, but Julian texted me to say it was reported to be an electrical fault at one of the stations. When we were finally kicked off the bus due to old fashioned gridlock, there were thousands and thousands of people wandering around trying to work out how they were going to get to work. I tried calling a couple of people, but no luck. King's Cross was blocked by Police in all directions. I saw a woman crying and covered in black soot, but still no news of anything malicious. Then I overheard a man on his mobile who said a bus had just been blown up.

I finally got hold of Julian and told him that I had heard of a way around King's Cross to get to the West End. Unfortunately after I hung up, Julian realised I was heading towards where the bus had had its top ripped off. He tried calling, but of course, he couldn't get through. In fact, the cafe where I gave up and just started drinking endless cups of tea (as you do in a crisis), was about a block from the bus, and the alley was being used to ferry the imjured and shocked. I was in the cafe for about 2 hours and Julian finally got in touch with me and came to help me back home with my horn. The West End was full of Army personel and they asked for people to just go home or try to stay put rather than try and come in to the city.

Considering all of us were a block from 2 of the bombs, the Police and all the commuters were super calm. One guy I was chatting to said that his generation were kind of accustomed to things exploding after 20 years of IRA attacks in London. The Police were actually amazing. Really helpful and informative when they could be.

Sylvie at work is too scared to catch the bus home. Lots of people are bunking in hotels for the night as they have no chance of getting home. Strangely, I don't feel scared, not even with the baby. The explosion happened on my line, but luckily I like to lie in and would never have dreamed of getting to the station in time for a terrorist attack. It's so strange that after years of being afraid that my plane would explode mid air, I really don't feel like I can allow this to change my life (maybe I would feel differently if I saw more). I am just really grateful that everyone I know is absolutely fine - and it's nice feeling loved when people try and try to contact you to see if you're ok.

And if any of you terrorists out there want to hurt my Julian at peak hour, you're going to have to come to our place. (One of the joys of working from home - he's fine too).

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Our blob

Ok this is a really crappy picture. We took it outside the lovely (sarcastic) Whittington Hospital. I couldn't wait to get it up here. In this picture little Betty-Jean/Ossie is waving!

I am super happy about our news. And the staff at the hospital really know their stuff - thank God! On my first visit to the hospital there were cigarette butts on the floor! It's like the ghetto in there. And here is the best part - today on my visit there were posters everywhere saying that 16 year olds make great parents too. I shit you not. This country is terrifying.

The weblog has been a bit slow of late as my life has been revolving around trips to the bathroom to check in the mirror whether I have a belly yet (I don't.) There has been other stuff going on but not much - and I didn't want to go "online" with it until my official first scan.

But a quick summary :
We have discovered Borough Markets. Julian has an unhealthy relationship with Chorizo sausage and Borough Markets is not helping him. I have started eating Meat. In particular Meat and Cheese Burgers. This website is well worth a look. Very funny, and when I complain they send me free burgers.

I have started swimming a few times a week - baby loves it. And here is my best weight loss tip ever : if you want to lose weight, get knocked up. I have lost many kilos. Morning sickness renders you pretty much unable to eat for 3 months, and you're even put off the taste of alcohol. I look better than ever before.

Julian has bought an old 80s banger. It is a MOTO GUZZI. I am terrified. One accident and the bike gets it.He's got mouths to feed now and he aint working without a head!

And lastly, we're looking at the Trans Siberian Railway for Winter. Then we can visit Simon in China, and fly to Australia from there. We'll never get to see whiteness like it again.

Singing off, and will be less secretive from now on!