Thursday, 21 April 2011

I quit my job

and I finish today.

I don't tend to talk work on here (other than saying sometimes it's busy etc) but we've had a lot of staff turnover within my immediate team in the 16 months I've been here and, well, it's not been fun lately.  Not only has it not been fun (I mean, I get it, it's work, not a hobby or leisure activity), it's been downright unfun. 

People that read this and see me in real life can tell you that all about it - it's been a constant topic of chat. 

So I quit. Without a plan.  I just knew I needed out.

Thankfully, that same day I gave notice (or told them i wasn't renewing my contract), I got headhunted.  Internally.  So I start my "new" job at a desk about 50metres from my current one on May 4th. 

No more CVA calcs for me as I move from credit risk into market risk.  CV wise, it broadens my risk experince whilst still retaining continuity of employers. I still have lots of friends here and am glad to not leave - it is a good employer.  Without being too specific the main point of difference - I'll be in a different reporting line.

I'm not really sure of the words to best explain how glad I am about this move, but know that I'm excited about it, relieved about it and glad to be moving on.

So that's where I'm at...

Monday, 18 April 2011

My weekend in pictures - Dutch edition

And Dutch canals and Dutch hycinths.  I spent the weekend in the Netherlands with some school friends and my pics reflect this!  My mates are on a longer Bennelux road trip but I'd convinced them that the Dutch bulb fields and the Keukenhof Gardens would be worth a visit so I flew in (to Amsterdam) for the weekend to partake with them.

Saturday was all about flowers.  A good few hours at Keukenhof and then driving around the country side up to Den Helder past the many many bulb fields.  I think the pictures do the talking but I will say - it was stunning! So much colour.  The gardens were perfectly manicured, stunning and filled with colour


And then there were the bulb fields.  We saw so many from the car, but only stopped to take a few pics. We were blown away by the first field we saw but just as equally impressed by the last.


And it's not like the Dutch are known only for Tulips.  There's frites with mayo and Anne Frank and canals and bikes and poffertjes and beer.


A brilliant weekend.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Travel, Doctors and Travel Doctors

I'm off on a quick trip this weekend. Of to the 'dam with some school friends, and Keukenhoff gardens for some heady tulip sights. Kind of can't wait. First though

*begin rant and confusion and bewilderment*

Next week though, I'm heading further afield to Morocco - my first trip to any part of Africa. With that in mind, I thought it time I get my travel vaccinations up to date. I'm mostly up to date but I knew it was nigh on 10 years since my last Tetanus jab. So…here's how it went getting on.

Some set up though - in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) provides free medical. You can see a doc and it won't cost you. Unlike Australia (which I naively thinks falls between the UK and US in terms of cost of care, but closer to the UK), you can only see the GP you register for. Or the GP clinic. You can't just get an appointment anywhere. And once you register at the clinic, assuming you're in good health, you will probably only ever see the practice nurse (eg. For contraception, I need to see the doc every two years but the practice nurse can reissue my prescriptions in the interim).

Turns out the practice nurse at my clinic is also the one to administer tetanus jabs. Turns out she's also on maternity leave until September. And no, giving my a vaccination is not something the doc can do. But the receptionist helpfully pointed out I can ring back in August to make an appointment. So, if the nurse is on maternity leave without cover - I can't get my tetanus jab there. I also can't get contraception there. Looks like a whole lot more people in my borough are going to be on maternity leave in the next year or so as well. Seriously guys? How does not providing nursing cover.

So contraception aside (deal with that later, and not on the blog - its more than any of you need to know), I still need a Tetanus booster. I'm lucky - I'm in a "good" job (quoted because it's not a job I like at the moment and I'm finishing up next Thursday) so I can afford to pay a fee to see a private doctor. That's not an issue (it's actually easier as I can do it in my lunch or coffee break, I don't need to take any leave). So I made an appointment for the private clinic on Tuesday to go get my tetanus (and polio and diptheria) vaccination.

On the way in this morning, I got a call from the doctor, wanting to know what type of tetanus jab I needed. Not understanding, he explained that there is a vaccination or there is a post accident/sht something has happened jab and he wanted to know which one it was I was after.

Does he really think, that if sht, something happened, I would make an appointment in advance and pay ridiculous fees when I could just walk into any hospital and get treated for free?

Seriously? Health care in this country baffles me beyond.

Anyway, I got the vaccination and that's me done for another ten years.

*end rant* (confusion and bewilderment continues)

What's healthcare like where you are? Cheap/free/expensive? Accessible?  I do appreciate that it is mostly free here - I think that is fantastic.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Ten on a Tuesday - 75

Another Tuesday, another 10 questions via Chelsea.  I've been a bit off with these lately, not participating for no good reason.  Today though, the sun is shining and I'm answering.

1. If you work, do you drive to work or take public transportation?
PT. Sometimes a bus (depends on weather and time - I like the walk if it's sunny and there's time), a tube and the dlr (light railway)

2. How often do you get your haircut? Do you go to the same person every time?
About every 4-6 months. I'm not great with it. I did at home but not so much here - I go where Groupon sends me.

3. Do you read the newspaper? If so, a hardcopy or the online version?
Online (The Age - a Melbourne broadsheet, Herald Sun - a Melbourne tabloid with an excellent sports section, The Guardian - UK paper).
Hardcopy (City AM - financialcentric freesheet, the Evening Standard - London freesheet).

4. What is the best book you have read this year?
The Happiness Project and Sister (just finished, loved it).

5. What is the best movie you have seen this year?
Tough one - I saw a lot early on, I think the Kings Speech was probably my favourite.

6. Do you tend to crave sweet or salty foods?
Both, but seemingly more and more salty as I get older.

7. Do you eat breakfast every day? If so, what do you have?
Yep. Weekdays it is usually toast or bagel with vegemite or peanut butter (depending on if I eat at home or work). Weekends - love a cooked breakfast/eggs florentine etc

8. If you celebrate Easter, what Easter treat/candy are you most looking forward to?
We do traditionally at home but not over here. We use to always get pjs for Easter and something small for the house once we were older (like a pink spatula or some cookie cutters etc). That, and we have an Easter egg hunt at the farm.

9. How late is “sleeping in” to you?
9 or 10am? That's a sleep in, but so is midday (and later) which I'm known to do but don't seem to any more.

10. Where are you going on your next vacation?
Amsterdam this weekend (and the surrounding tulip fields) is my next trip but my next vacation (time off work) is Morocco the following weekend (and for the subsequent 10 days).

Monday, 11 April 2011

Wonderful Weekend

London really sparkles in the Sun.  The Thames glistens and the residents soften.  This weekend was a welcome one – warm, relaxing, fun, just wonderful all around.


Skyping with my boys (brother and nephew)
Breakfast burritos at the Breakfast Club (that has Strawberry Shortcake wallpaper in the lady lavs)
Cool corner on an otherwise undistinguished London building
Fun nails (Essie’s Turquoise and Caicos, something a little different)
Rowing on the Thames with friends (followed by pub lunch and a sunny sit around)
Dark chocolate cupcakes, awaiting cream cheese icing but super tasty as is (molten centres)

A damn fine weekend. Lots of shopping to. Maybe another post, maybe stuff you will see in upcoming travel pics.

How were your weekends? Starting to feel like Summer is on the way where you are? 

Friday, 8 April 2011

In his next life–a year on

One year ago today, my beautiful cousin left this world for the next.  Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him.  And miss him.  And love him.  And miss those that loved him.  And love those that miss him. 


Recently, I was able to watch his service on DVD.  As only appropriate, it was an exceptional service – high up with coastal views, amazing turn out, singing, dancing, a true celebration.  A wake.  A rave.  All for Timbo.

Timbo, we love you and miss you.

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*It’s not often I’ll put pics of coffins on my blog.  But his was just such a peaceful stunning service.  So befitting.  Whilst there were tears (oh, there were plenty of those), there was more laughter, singing and dancing to be had. 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Last night

Yesterday was glorious - after a random cold snap the day before, London brought the sunshine. Lunch was spent out side on a patch of grass by the Thames and pretty much everyone was smiling. To make the most of the warmth, I walked home* with a colleague along the Thames and nattered away. The walk reminded both of us to make the most of this city. It's a great city and neither of us are planning on being here for our forevers (she's a Sydney sider). Nothing like a walk and a chat to clear the head and catch up. Views like these help too.

I got home feeling all refreshed and great and thinking an early night and some reading (currently reading Sister and loving it). Instead, my housemates and I got drawn into Sleeping with The Enemy which was showing on Film4. Have you seen it? Early 1990s, Julia Roberts, amazing beach house, pshyco husband? It's pretty predictable but somehow, it managed to scare the bejesus out of me. I jumped multiple times. I dropped my phone twice. I shrieked once. I shreiked. Double ewe tee eff? When did I become that girl that shrieks at average predictable early 90s drama/thrillers movies?

Oh, and whilst we're on numbers, I counted a bajillion sheep before I actually got to sleep. So much for an early night.

How were your nights? Watch any surprisingly scary movies lately?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A colourful weekend


The weekend seems like a distant memory.  A warm distant memory though for it was just lovely.  A day out and a day in.  A nice mix.

No pics of the day in. Me, in my pj's, spring cleaning and singing out loud - do you need pics? Should i mention my housemates were doing the same? and as part of the spring cleaning, I was going through the clothes I don't wear often (ski gear, costumes etc) so there were wigs.  Spring cleaning is always better when wearing wigs and singing out loud, I tell you.

Pics of the day out though.  Plenty.  I spent Saturday taking in the colour of the Royal Botanic Gardens (also known as Kew Gardens) with an old friend.  We've been meaning to go for a while and didn't make time for it last spring.  I'm terrible with plants (a real black thumb) and know not their names, but I can appreciate their colour and beauty.

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The entrance price at the gardens is reasonably steep (£15) so that's why we were so keen to go in Spring, although many of the flowers you see above are in the various greenhouses so there would be some colour all year round.  It could be quite magical in winter (cold and eery yet really warm in the greenhouses).

The temperate house on the left (circa 1869) and the palm house on right (circa 1844)

A weekend well spent.
*the peacock pic at the top is also from the gardens but was taken with a hefty amount of zoom.