In and Out of Town

Last week I was on a VMware training course near Fenchurch Street. I don’t get into the City much so it made a change. Interesting course and it was nice to be able to travel home with Vic again.

Vic recently started a new job in the City, working as a PA to some HR directors at an insurance/financial company. Her office is very close to the Lloyds Building, which I’ve never really had a look at before.

Lloyds Building, City of London

It’s an interesting-looking building at nighttime when it’s all lit up. Very close by is the Gherkin, another building which I’d not seen up close before.

Yesterday we decided to venture out to the Bluewater shopping centre. We’ve been over to the retail park at Lakeside a few times, but thought we’d cross the river and see what Bluewater was like.

It’s pretty easy to get to from where we are in West Ham, straight along the A13, across the Dartford Bridge and there’s an exit for the shopping centre right after the bridge.

Although it was easy to get there, finding somewhere to park was less simple. There are 13,000 parking spaces at Bluewater but you try finding one on a Saturday afternoon. There are lots of signs saying “P”, but finding which of the car parks actually has any space is a different story. There are cars parked on the pavements, in between the disabled parking spots, in the no-parking zones, everywhere. After about 30 minutes we finally found somewhere in the cinema parking area.

I managed to find three shirts and a pair of shoes for my brother’s wedding next weekend which was the main reason we went. Vic found that lots of the items she liked were sold out in her size, and the place was rammed. By 6pm we were both shattered, so after re-fuelling at Ed’s Diner we went home.

There were plenty of shops, most of the high-street names, plus an Apple Store (which always attracts me). The place is pretty big, though not as interesting as some of the malls in Thailand, Malaysia or the US. I guess that the rents are high enough that small/new businesses can’t afford space there.

I’m not sure we’ll be rushing back, certainly not on a Saturday with Christmas coming, but facing the hordes at Bluewater made a change from the hordes in the West End.

Passing a “landmark”

Last weekend was my 40th birthday. I’m not big on birthdays, but Vic and I went to Brighton and stayed in the (very nice) Hotel Du Vin. Had a couple of nice meals and wandered round the shops.

Got our wedding and engagement rings re-polished at Jeremy Hoye’s shop. They’re now very shiny, Vic’s engagement ring had been done before, but it’s over three years since that was done do the difference is very noticeable. Really nice people in the shop too, and the re-polishing is free of charge as we bought the rings there.

Seagulls at the War Memorial, Brighton

Got some nice presents including a remote control Dalek, a Banksy book, remote control for my iPod and Good Beer Guide.

On the Sunday we walked around town and watched some of the vintage cars arriving as part of the London-to-Brighton Vintage Car Run.

Latest Housing Update

We found a house between Herne Hill and Tulse Hill and are progressing with the purchase. If all goes well we’ll be moving in early in the New Year. Keeping our fingers crossed in this one.

It’s going to be lots of work as we’ll want to put in a new kitchen, bathroom, knock the kitchen through into a kitchen-diner, and it needs a new roof. The area is fairly quiet and it’s within walking distance of Brixton and Streatham.

We don’t have any photos, so you’ll just have to wait until we move in to see it.