Righto. Greetings from London! I tried to update from the Hong Kong Qantas Club Lounge but their wireless was playing up. Here’s a pic from Hong Kong though:

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We arrived in London just after lunch on Friday afternoon (London time). The flights were good. Very happy with the service in Premium Economy and we were fortunate enough to be seated in the Business Class section, which means those great capsule seats! We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and checked in at Hotel Indigo. The weather is warm and a little cloudy, in the low 20’s (Celsius).

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That’s the hotel in the background. We freshened up after the twenty-one hours on two flights and then went for a walk through Hyde Park. I had been to Hyde Park before but, because it is so large, I hadn’t seen all of it and there are some really lovely wild areas, which was unexpected:

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We wandered down to The Serpentine (the big lake in the middle of Hyde Park), rented some deck chairs and watched the paddle-boats, ducks and swans. Lots of people passed by too – it’s summer here!

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On the way back through Paddington, we stopped at the Victoria pub and had a pint of beer:

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We also enjoyed the lovely garden squares in the area:

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I’d like to extend a big thank you to all of you who have wished Mark and I well in this new adventure! I have to say at this point that Operation GPL is “likely, but not yet guaranteed”, but we’re pretty serious! We had the cats vaccinated for rabies a few months ago so that they would be “immigration ready” and  won’t have to have any quarantine time, so there’s a pretty solid indication. In all likelihood we will move in January of next year. We are not going to live or work in London at this stage – but I need to be close enough to have London day trips or weekends! There are two cities currently in contention, depending on Mark’s brilliance, which, as we all know, is unquestionable. I will have to follow up in another blog entry our reasons for the move, but for now I need to go back in time and take you through the series of events leading up to this moment. Here’s a summary of last Thursday:

8am Got up and had breakfast
9am Did computer-type things
10am Wrote some Postcrossing postcards
10:30am Had a chat to my friend Dimitra
Did other relaxing holiday-type things of the same variety as above.
12:30pm Mark and I had some lunch
1pm Got a odd-shaped freckle removed from my back by the doctor – ouch! (Yes – I have about five stiches in my back right now and a scar about 4 centimetres is beginning to form.)
1:30pm Got home and told Mark that my dressing needs to be changed the next day. Mark was concerned that he wouldn’t be here to do that as he was getting on a flight that night to London.
1:40pm Mark said “You could just come too. It would be great because then you could visit both cities and we can get a better idea of whether you would like living there.”
Scott said “Oh Pish Posh”
1:45pm We walked down to the chemist to buy a waterproof dressing for my back.
2:00pm Mark said “Why don’t we just see Arleen the travel agent across the road and find out if there’s any seats on my flight and how much it would cost…”
2:05pm Arleen found one last seat available and held it for us while we had a think over coffee.
2:15pm Had a coffee at the café and borrowed a pen from the waitress. Scott said “What time is the cab to the airport booked for?” Mark replied 7:15pm. Five hours. We make a list of everything that needs to be done. Some quick calculations were done.
2:30pm Scott decides to go to London that night.

We impressed ourselves with what we accomplished in the next five hours. There were cats to be booked in to boarding and taken to Dr John’s. There was a delicate phone call I had to make to my principal explaining my intended absence. We had to do a load of washing, pack, shower, contact the neighbours, put the bin out, tidy up, get the dishes done, confirm my flights, pay Arleen, get travel insurance, book the Heathrow Express and other train journeys, change hotel bookings, clean out the fridge. At the same time I was on the phone to my brother in New Zealand and my mum here in Melbourne trying to convince her that she probably needed urgent medical attention due to her encounter with the H1N1 virus (she’s now in isolation but at least is getting some much needed care!). Plus Frogdancer called forty minutes before the taxi was to arrive and we still hadn’t packed (Mark hopes he didn’t sound too preoccupied).

There were moments a bit like that dream you sometimes have where a task needs to be done in a very restricted amount of time and every little thing you do seems to take forever. At other times we looked at each other like we were mad for even contemplating this. Luckily we work well as a team, plus I still had all sorts of lists prepared from the last trip so I wouldn’t forget what to pack.

And here we are.

Tomorrow we are getting on a train. Destination: Liverpool (European Capital of Culture 2008, birthplace of The Beatles).

Signing off for now.

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