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June 30, 2007

Mini pub crawl

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I met up with Stuart and Sam last night for a stroll down memory lane. Well, more like drinking in a lot of pubs that I used to go to when I spent more time in London.

We decided on four-five places beforehand and said we would have a pint in each. Or two, if that is how it worked out.

Anyway, Stuart and I kicked off at the Ship just off Eastcheap near Monument Station. This is where we used to go after work every day. I mean EVERY day. Somehow, I forgot to take pictures.

When Sam arrived, we headed off to the West End. The first stop was the Ship and Shovell near Embankment Station. It is actually two pubs with a walkway in between. Here are pictures of both...

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After that, we popped over to the Sherlock Holmes for a few drinks. We were lucky enough to get a table out front, so we stayed for a few. This picture is actually of the side entrance.

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A few pints later, we went over to The Harp near St. Martin's, mostly because we remembered they could be convinced to make sausage sandwiches and we were in dire need of food. But...they do not do that on Friday, so we had to settle for crisps instead. Here is the Harp as we walked up to it. I muist have dropped my camera or something because the picture quality really started to suffer. I am positive it had nothing to do with the number of beers I drank.

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So, we met a guy who used to work as a police officer at the station across the street. Somehow, it came up that his parent's were engaged at our next stop, The Coal Hole, so he went there with us. And here it is - this is the best of the three pictures I took. After that, we went to the Charles Dickens Coffee House and had a latte to fortify ourselves for the trip home. It was a really good night.

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Today is the last day to smoke in bars and restaurants before the smoking ban starts on July 1st. So, I guess I will be out again! I hope my camera recovers.

Posted by Kirk at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2007

Something always happens

I was out drinking with the guys I used to work with last night - it was good fun. Finding a taxi in the City at 11pm is pretty difficult, however, so I took the tube back to the hotel. Well, sort of...I went to Embankment, which is about a 30 min walk away...that probably gives you a fairly good idea how much I drank. I walked over to Trafalgar Square and somehow found a taxi there. So, that was good.

Imagine my surprise today, when I am walking over towards Picadilly and see this:

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The whole area around Haymarket was closed off. There were police everywhere and lots of TV vans, reporters etc. Apparently, someone left a car bomb in front of the Tiger Tiger nightclub. Fortunately, the staff noticed the car, called the police and it was deactivated. That is pretty scary!

Anyway, you may have guessed I got a USB cable, so I can post some pictures. And, here are some more. The one on the left is the Dover Castle on Weymouth Mews. It is a Samuel Smith pub. I really like it and it is close to my hotel. The other one is the Hand and Racquet pub near Leicester Square...surprisingly relaxing place.

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I am meeting Stuart tonight for drinks. Not sure where we are going yet, but I have a list!

Posted by Kirk at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2007

Back to London

Hmmm...when I was working, coming to London used to be a common experience and I probably used this title a lot! Having said that, it has been almost a year and a half since the last time I came here. Wow!

And I realise that I have missed it a lot. And that is despite flying into Heathrow to start the trip. As you probably know, there is always something going wrong when you do that! This time, there was a gas leak somewhere near the airport and they closed the sirport to inbound traffic. Fortunately, I was on the last plane to land before that happened! Who knows where I would have ended up otherwise. My cab driver from the train station said that a lot of flights had been diverted to Gatwick, Stansted etc. Lucky me?!

Anyway, it is much cooler here than Tokyo. When I left yesterday morning it was already 29 degrees and humid. But it is probably 10 degrees here. It really rained hard for about 15 minutes last night. I know that because I was going from one pub to another at the time and I did not have an umbrella. I was absolutely soaked. Nothing a few pints couldn't cure.

So, I will spend the rest of the time here meeting people. It is a lot like Tokyo in that everyone is working except me. I should remind myself to bring that up in conversation a lot.

I have my camera with me, but no USB cable, so I have to get one of those before I start uploading pictures.

Posted by Kirk at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2007

The walls come tumbling down

They started the reconstruction last week...and they are really moving fast. I have some photos below. In the meantime, I have been spending a lot of time in Zushi as well, mostly getting all the various details sorted out. I am on my way to London for a week, for the first time since I stopped working. It will be strange.

Anyway, when I went down last Thursday, this is what I found:

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And here are a few before and after pictures...lots more on the way, I am sure...

The kitchen:

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The back room:

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And straight throught the apartment:
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So, it is really different, right? The pictures above are from last Thursday. I was down there again on Saturday and took this picture, which shows them preparing to put in the flooring.

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I was also down there Monday, but I did not go to see the apartment. They are doing all the electrical work now and I wonder how far along they will be when I get back next week. That is the next time I will take pictures of the place.

Posted by Kirk at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2007

Apartment renovation time!

I have been running around like crazy recently! The good news is that the apartment is mine...signed, sealed and delivered! And today is the first day of the renovation process. So, I thought it might be a good time to put some photos up, since it will be looking a lot different soon.

First of all, I should mention this is a 60 square meter 3DK (if you are outside Japan, that means it is 3 bedrooms with a dining room and a kitchen). I am turning it into a 2LDK: 2 bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. But, it is not a standard design, so it will look a lot different. In short, I have made the rooms smaller and allocated that space to the kitchen and living room.

I should scan something in the computer and post it, but feeling a bit lazy at the moment...sorry.

Anyway, some pictures of the apartment as I bought it. It has already changed...the walls and interior are being gutted between now and Wednesday. I will go down Thursday to take some pictures of the "shell" of the building. Cool, right?

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This is taken from the middle of the apartment looking towards the (small, small) balcony. You can see the outline of the shoji (paper screen) walls in the middle and on top. What you cannot see is the tatami mats under the brown floor - nice, but I do not need them. This will be the living room in the new design.

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This photo was taken from the same spot, but at a slightly different angle. It shows more of the other room. The wall to the left is a big closet and it is being torn out. That will be part of the kitchen. Speaking of which, this is what is there now.

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How someone could cook anything there, I have no idea. Anyway, you can safely assume that the pink tile on the wall will be gone. Unfortunately, I have to keep the sink and stove where they are, but that whole bit is being replaced and it will be taller.

Here are a few more pictures...the back bedroom, which will be turned into a guest room and the lovely light fixture it came with.

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There is a wall to the right that separates this room from the entrance hallway. That will change somewhat - more on that later. That pink lighting fixture is going to be somebody's birthday present. Keep it mind...

Posted by Kirk at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)