Continuing on from my last blog post, I summarise the last month and a bit over here. As usual photo albums are linked along the way.
While waiting to hear back from Google about whether they would offer me a job, I got offers from two other companies. Google was my first preference, so fortunately I was able to persuade both the others to wait for a few weeks until I got an answer from Google.
|Nottingham: Despite the rain we managed to have a look around. I thought this was a pretty cool fountain.|
In the meantime, I went up to Nottingham to visit some friends of friends and see the place. A couple whom I know from my church back in Wellington, Kelvin and Caroline, used to live in Nottingham. They moved to Wellington almost a year ago now. Before I left Wellington some of their friends from Nottingham came to visit and they had been very thoughtful to introduce me to Pui, Claire and Guy. So I was able to go up to visit the three of them last month. I took the train up on Wednesday 9th June and stayed with Pui and Claire at first and then Guy later on. We went to see the Nottingham caves (or at least, the small part of them that is open to tourists), the Galleries of Justice (an old prison turned into a tourist attraction, with guides acting as jailers and such), the outside of Nottingham Castle (it did not seem worth paying to go inside), and several pubs. One of them, the Trip to Jerusalem, claims to be the oldest in the country, though it is one of about 20 pubs to make such a claim. Nonetheless it is a cool building, with parts of it being caves carved into the hillside. It has a nice relaxed atmosphere, kind of maze-like. We also went to Sherwood Forest, and saw the Major Oak, which is reputed to have been the hiding place of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. There are quite a few statues of him around the place. Other places I went include Attenborough Nature Reserve (in the rain), Wollaton Park, and the campus of the University of Nottingham. It is a lovely campus, with a large lake and beautiful grounds and buildings. It must be a nice place to study. Guy’s birthday was on Sunday, so he had a small party on the Saturday before. I took the train back to London on the morning of Sunday 13th June. The photos tell a better story than I do, so check them out.
The following Monday I got to catch up with Frith, an acquaintance from Wellington who had been on exchange studying up at Leeds and was on her way back to New Zealand. We went to the Science Museum and had a bit of a look around. That week I also begun my search for a more permanent flat, as I needed to be out of the Peckham flat by the end of June. I contacted various different places and ended up looked at a couple on the Wednesday and Thursday nights. On Thursday I heard back from Google that they would like to offer me a job, which I accepted pretty much immediately. On Friday afternoon I got to catch up with another friend from Wellington, Teresa, who had been in Canada studying for the past year and was also on her way back (indirectly, via Bangladesh and Syria) to NZ. She and her friend came over for what ended up being rather a late lunch. It was great to catch up and to have some company, though a bit hurried due to the limitations of public transport. That Sunday All Saints Peckham had a big combined service with another church focussing on the effects of gang violence in the area and paths to peace, which was interesting.
The following week I had lunch at Google on the Thursday to meet some of my colleagues-to-be and discuss a bit about what I would be working on. I also went three more times to one of the flats I had looked at the previous week, in Earl’s Court, to meet each of the people currently living there, as they were not all available at the same time. It was the landlord who had shown me around the first time, as none of them were around. They seemed quite keen on me, and when I asked they said that they did not have anyone else looking at the flat. They promised to let me know by that Friday, 25th June, whether they would have me in the flat. It was looking fairly likely, and I had very little time left to find somewhere before I had to move out of my first flat. Unfortunately they did not get back to me on Friday, or Saturday, and I could not get in touch with any of them. I finally got a call on Sunday to say that they had found someone else, which was frustrating after the delay and having had to take the time to go all the way there and back 4 times to see the place and talk to them. I immediately set to looking for other flats, and found two potential places, one in Wandsworth and one in Battersea. The Battersea one looked like it might be a better place to live and was also cheaper, but the guy living there was away and so I would not be able to view it until Friday 2nd July at the earliest.
My first day of work was Monday 28th June. I looked at the Wandsworth flat that evening, and it looked like a decent place and certainly in good condition, though quite expensive. I heard back the following Wednesday (I think) that the landlord would have me, so I decided to go for it as I was rather desperate by this stage to find somewhere to live. Fortunately Tracy and Andrew were very kind again to put me up between flats, so I made two trips walking, busing and Tubing with all my luggage out to Colliers Wood on the Wednesday night after work, and managed to carry everything in one trip back to Wandsworth on the Saturday to move in. Straight after moving in and going through the inventory and so on with my landlord I headed out to Kew Gardens to join Tracy and Andrew and a couple of their friends for a picnic. They are nice gardens, but £13.50 does seem like a lot to pay just to visit some botanic gardens. Unfortunately I did not think to bring my proper camera so I only got a few photos with my phone camera.
|Kew Gardens: They have a New Zealand section in one of the glasshouses.|
So I now have a flat for a little while. I signed a 6 month contract here. My landlord was planning to go back to France for a couple of months for work, and then to somewhere in the USA for 4 months or so, so wanted a couple of people to rent out the place while he is away. A few days after I moved in I was joined by a guy called Jiri who is here from the Czech Republic for a couple of months over the summer to do an internship and work. He seems like a nice guy. Our landlord has been living here as well, I think his plans have changed somewhat though I am not sure quite what is happening as I have not been able to talk to him lately.
|London flats: My bedroom in the Wandsworth flat, where I sit writing this.|
Last Sunday I went to the evening service at Holy Trinity Clapham, which is fairly close. They have something of a claim to fame as having been the church of William Wilberforce and his Clapham Sect friends, who are well known for their work in abolishing slavery in Britain, among many other things. It seems like a nice friendly church, though the service was rather short and a bit lacking in people around my age. I might go back tomorrow anyway.
I fly to New York on Monday week, rather early in the morning.