Been a while since we last posted. The snow has gone, there has been sun and things are moving quite quickly. Tam has managed to score a job at M&S (Marks and Spencer’s) as a Price Analyst, a very good role for 3 months. Her marathon training has been a bit hard, finding time for the daily commute, taking an hour and a half each way and starting at 6.30 am on Mondays. Mitch waits patiently for her arrival as he spends most of his time at Jane and Kent’s, searching for a job and getting a bit frustrated at British efficiency. He has managed to get out a bit with refereeing, doing 6 games in the last 2 weeks and hoping he gets graded soon. Jane and Kent have been doing very well as hosts, entertaining us and teaching us some of the local lore. We had a few weeks unsupervised as they holidayed back home in NZ.
We did have some time for the typical tourist moments in Westminster, seeing the Changing of the Guard and meeting countless other Kiwi’s all over the city. There is a vibrant night life, full of different pubs and clubs. One late night train, tube and taxi got us back to Hampton Court at 2am, £30 lighter for the travel after missing the 23:36 from Waterloo.
The Waitangi Day celebrations, constrained to above ground traffic was a good walk through Kensington, only to miss the haka at Parliment Square. The Tube was down this year and the massive crowds swelled over the edges of the footpaths. The police, however, were friendly and helped us on our way, without much trouble.
Jane took us out to Salisbury for an afternoon of Sarum history. We visited the Salisbury Cathedral with its massive spire, the Old Sarum Castle of the early kings and the ancient Stonehenge.
Salisbury Cathedral was very grand brimming with relics, masonry and old money. An original version of the Magna Carta, the one best preserved since its signature by King John at Runnymede was on display. This foundation document was the first to state the king was not above the law and set the stage for future civil rights.
Old Sarum was a medieval citadel built in 1100AD . Now, more of a ruin in the field, destroyed and abandoned with the rise of the Protestant rule. Some of the old remains (such as the massive long drop) remained intact, but you got some idea of the scale of the settlement.
After a good Sunday stodgy meal at a local pub in Newton Tony (full of gravy and crackling) we headed east on the A303 to Stonehenge. After reusing a few concession passes to gain entry (Tam accidentally using the “Mr” Card instead of the Mrs), we got within a few metres of the large stone circle, a little worn from when first erected, but surprisingly standing well, considering they are estimated at being built in 3000BC. Even more amazing is the feat in the erection of these heavy slabs. Believed to be transported using a mixture of wooden rollers, earth and even ice. The stone is from 150 miles away near Wales.
Hope to update with some more travels once we start earning and learning about what is available. Looking for a flat in London and finding rent is quite a bit more than expected (£650-£850/month seems standard). Hopefully once we settle those, we are planning a trip to Barcelona for Easter and in July, a trip to the Alps in the Tour De France by bike and maybe some bear tracking in Romania.