london diaries – week six

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January 22, 2013 by leighnewlands

3Six weeks down. YOH.

Saturday: Planned on heading to the National History Museum with my cousin but the line had other plans for us. It seems like everyone chose this day to become more cultured and learn about dinosaurs and the likes. So we ventured next door to the Science Museum which is equally as good. I just like the interactive things and to be able to push buttons!


The sections ranged from “Who am I?” to The Future, aeroplane exhibits, car exhibits. a glimpse of medical history and many more.


We then ventured out and directly opposite is the Victoria & Albert Museum (do you get the sense there are a lot of museums in London?). This is known as the World’s greatest museum of art and design. They have sections from around the world such as Asia and India. Two of their current exhibitions are “Light from the Middle East: New photography” and “Hollywood costumes”.


The outside courtyard of the V&A is a beautiful place I can imagine in summertime with its greenery and mini lake in the middle of this beautiful building – there aren’t many places to just chill in London in terms of greenery so when the day is a good one, this is a known place to come and just relax.


So onwards to South Kensington station, Jubilee line and off we head towards London Bridge station. We proceeded to Borough Market – one large food market. For those reading this in Cape Town and who’ve been to the Hout Bay Harbour market, this is like that market in terms of the food section BUT on steroids! I cam across some amazing fudge, some amazing smells but also some stalls selling meat which I love EXCEPT when they have the animals from which the meat originated, hanging up above the counter. Dead obviously but still. I was faced with a rabbit and many birds. Not cool!

Gary's Fresh Fish


We then took a walk along Embankment and over the Millenium Bridge where we got to have a breather and overlook the river thames. Even though the sun isn’t shining here in London, it is still beautiful in terms of buildings and people. I’m sure though you overlook it when you’ve been living here for a while but at the moment, it’s still a novelty for me.
Saturday was also ridiculously cold. Our hands were frozen and us, being from the same family of brightsparks, we didn’t bring gloves so all that we had to keep us warm was Caffe Nero’s hot chocolate and choc chip cookies 🙂


Stewart then showed me where he’s been studying for the past 3 years. He’s studying music at the London Centre of Contemporary Music. Around the corner from that, we came across a graveyard known as the Cross Bones graveyard. As quoted from Wikipedia (reliable source ya know) : “It is believed to have been established originally as an unconsecrated graveyard for “single women,” a euphemism for prostitutes, known locally as “Winchester Geese,” because they were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work within the Liberty of the Clink. The liberty lay outside the jurisdiction of the City of London, and as a consequence it became known for its brothels and theatres, as well as bull and bear baiting, activities not permitted within the City itself!”


We then made our way to Trafalgar Square (it’s all really in walking distance. You end up in places that you think are much further than they really are, all usually by mistake. We decided to become even more cultured and popped into The National Gallery. Full of famous paintings by artists such as Van Gogh and Da Vinci. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see good ol’ Mona Lisa as she’s situated in Paris, France. How inconvenient. It really was intriguing though and I preffered it much more than the Tate Modern – but that’s different tastest of course. I managed to take a couple of photos inside, with my cousin assuring me it was alright until I was scolded at by an official. But I got two pics – YES MAN!



The art that stood out to me the most – Canaletto and all his paintings of Venice. Just wow. If you ever get the chance to see it in person, do. It’s just amazing!

SUNDAY: Hello FREEZING. My plan for today was to explore Windsor but it was too cold to venture out that way. So i stayed local and went to Canary Wharf with my cousin and his two American friends who were down from California. There was an ice-sculptre festival that had been happening all weekend where artists from around the world come and sculpt during the day (whilst the audience watches) and then are judged later on in the evening. It was amazing the different tools they used to carve into the ice. The most extreme was a chainsaw and an iron (used to smooth then surfaces no doubt?).


With the large crowds coming in and out, they had developed this stop and go system which was lame so we took the slightly longer exit which required a bit of walking. We then found warmth in the nearest McDonalds where we tucked in. I had the same yesterday. McDonalds in two days – eish wena. Serious gyming when I get back!


As darkness approached us, we decided to take the Emirate air line instead of the conventional tube just to spice things up a little. This line runs from the Royal Docks and and North Greenwich with a journey time of less than 10 minutes where you travel via cable car. It may be a short journey but it’s an experience, overlooking much of London, comfortable carriages and just pleasant. Can you imagine being able to use this mode of transport every day into work. You can use your pay as you go Oyster card for this line to as it’s still technically part of London’s transport system. BONUS.


Once reaching the other end, we made our way past the 02 arena and headed home. whilst my cousin and his friends headed home and to church, I went home, slipped into sometihng more comfortable, made some tea and watched Dancing on Ice and Celebraity Big Brother – Yes, they’ve both got me hooked. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch the rest when I get home so I’m just embracing both while here.

MONDAY:Brace yourselves, ladies and gentleman, it’s SNOWING. If you’re reading this and you’re from Europe, you’re probably thinking what’s the big hooha but back in South Africa, the most snow we get is either in a little dorpie known as Ceres with it lasting about 2 hours, usually not on the ground for you to touch and not soft but rather icy and sometimes painful to touch in terms of temperature and texture or the once in a never blue moon where it freakishly happened in Johannesburg last year! ( I woke up to see the cars outside covered in snow, children having snow fights in the street. I got off at every stop on the way in to work just so I could go take some pictures. It’s still light snow with the second batch of snow arriving in the afternoon. It’s just so beautiful – I couldn’t stop watching it from my work window.



TUESDAY: In the hope of a bit more snowfall overnight, nothing. It was actually pretty damn cold with no cloud cover and all. I was given the task today of writing a release based on EY’s Oil and Gas transaction year-end review. I love writing releases but this was not my kind of content. A large (very large) amount of jargon, numbers and percentages. A very good learning curve though but not my field of expertise or interest. Leave numbers and maths out of it, I’m ok with that.

WEDNESDAY: Arrived in the office, logged onto twitter only to be greeted by numerous posts about the helicopter that crashed this morning near Vauxhall station. It hit a crane and just came down in a gulf of flames. Many think it’s linked to a terrorist act as the MI6 HQ (Secret Service) is close by. 2 are confirmed dead, one not being in the helicopter but actually in their car at the time!

Went to an EY Induction later on in the morning (even though I am leaving a week later?!) and then received feedback of my release. Very good comments and she was very suprised, giving I don’t know much of the content. It’s amazing what a boost of confidence you get hearing praises from people who’ve been in the business longer than you.

THURSDAY: Tried to register for my fourth year with CPUT’s new online registration – didn’t work. It looged me in which I saw as a very good sign but as soon as I click “register”, it tells me this service hasn’t been given to me. I mean really! Oh well, it just means I must go in physically when I get back from the UK. Nothing is ever simple with CPUT.

In the evening, I tackled Lily Whites for a Liverpool shirt my sister was looking for. One thing you won’t go short of here, anything soccer related. This country is football crazy.

FRIDAY: Woke up to a blanket of snow over the whole of London with the snow persisting for the whole day. It was so exciting that I spent most of my day going outside to the work car park and surrounds, taking it all in whilst freezing my hands off. It was so cold that my hands actually hurt.



Left a little bit early from work, many people hadn’t even made it in or also left early because of the snow and transport disruptions. I stopped off at Green Park and Hyde Park – there’s nothing quite as beautiful as a London park covered in snow.


I’m going to miss this snow.



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