Saturday, 31 August 2013

T Minus 43...

Exciting news this week at Gidday HQ.

Chicky is coming!

Yes, after almost a decade of me living here, Lil Chicky has booked her ticket and is coming to experience a bit of London Love at the hands of yours truly.

We'll get to hang out (so completely ace just on its own) and I get to show her around Fab Finchley and my adopted hometown.

We'll also make a little pilgrimage across the Channel to visit Dad's birthplace - the land of clogs and tulips - Amsterdam.

And there'll be the small matter of celebrating a rather important birthday while she's here.

So much to do in so little time together.

And 43 sleeps to plan it all.

Luckily she's already bought the t-shirt...

So in case you missed it, that's T minus 43 peeps...

Let the countdown begin!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Information Super Highway...

I'm reading a book by Niall Ferguson called Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World. It's a fascinating read and already - I am just under halfway through - we've explored piracy, banking and borrowing (a system borrowed from the Dutch no less), colonisation and slavery. And we've even been to deepest darkest Africa for one of the most famous salutations in history, "Dr Livingstone, I presume". 

The latest chapter covers the Victorian Empire and I've just finished reading about India and Queen Victoria's increased interest in foreign affairs following the Indian Mutiny in 1857. What is interesting about this particular time in history is that the 'world' is shrinking. The far reaches of the imperial fold are becoming more accessible with steam power and advances in iron being used to industrialise the empire. Travelling by steamer is reducing journey times and technology is driving industry and commerce to the point where consumerism is no longer restricted to the ruling classes.

In our modern day lives, the world is literally at our fingertips with news from across the globe available in a matter of minutes. But did you ever think about where it all started?

Francis Ronalds offered his idea of the telegraph to the Navy in 1816. The Admiralty turned it down and it took the private sector to see - and develop - its possibilities for overland communication. However, it wasn't until the adoption of a rubber-like substance from Malaya called gutta-percha that durable undersea cables could be manufactured, opening up the potential of Ronalds' brainchild to expansion on a global scale.

And so it was that in 1851 the first cross-channel cable was laid with the first transatlantic cable to follow in 1866. By 1880 over 97,000 miles of cable criss-crossed the world, joining continent with continent and creating the world's first global communications network.

So as we log on, read emails, surf for news and opinions and tap-tap-tap away to cast our particular version of word-smithery out into the digital ether, let's give a nod to the acquisitive ambition of the British Empire.

And to the miracle of gutta-percha...

...the original information super highway.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Spring In Your Step...

I spent a couple of happy hours on the back patio at Gidday HQ today catching up on a whole lot of reading while enjoying the gentle bursts of afternoon sunshine. These are often the days when I am inspired to post about a particular item I've read or a germ of an idea that's been running around in my head for a while forms itself into a narrative and ends up here. I enjoy trawling through it all, a journey through different minds and viewpoints from mine.

Today several themes captured my attention but they have all been washed aside by a rather inspiring idea I've found on Atlas may have held the world on his shoulders but Ministry of Supply's ATLAS socks may just lay the world at your feet.

Ministry of Supply (MOS) has developed a rather awesome technology that they embed into their clothing to help manage body heat and the latest addition to their range is ATLAS, socks that are designed to banish foot odour for good. Using a start-up crowd-sourced funding website called Kickstarter, MOS raised over USD200,000 to fund the project by rewarding investors who paid in USD28 with a couple of pairs of the product itself. Nothing like building your fan base as you finance I say.

But it's not just a clever combination of ventilation and moisture wicking that has one's feet smelling of roses but an everyday boost of another kind.


Image source: www.springwise com

You know how putting a bowl of coffee beans in the fridge will dispense with all of those 'funky' odours? Well the same principle is applied here. MOS infuses carbonised coffee - salvaged from restaurants and cafes - into the sock fibres and voila! Fresh feet are all yours...all day.

Talk about putting a spring in your step!

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Sh*t Bit...

I saw someone post on Facebook this week that people who only have happy positive status updates were not being completely honest - that sometimes life is just a bit sh*t.

After an amazing couple of weeks where I got promoted, had a birthday and generally felt lucky, humbled and a bit like I was floating on air, I've come down to earth with a bit of a thud.

So in the interests of having a good moan balancing the scales, here it comes.

The sh*t bit.

It all started with a second rubbish night's sleep in a row as my back grumbled and groaned through the early hours after a pretty 'robust' acupuncture/ massage/ cupping session on Saturday.

A bad night's sleep is NEVER good...and also one of the many reasons I don't have children.

Anyway I fronted up to the train station this morning to buy my weekly travel card only to have my debit card declined. Upon further investigation, it transpired that my card had actually been cancelled by the Fraud Team (FT) at my bank...last Thursday (today is Monday). While I'm all for taking steps to ensure that some bugger doesn't empty my funds albeit meagre from my account, a notification (like a text message or phone call which said bank seems to use at will for a myriad of other occasions) would be nice. Let me tell you, I can think of a few other words FT could stand for.

Needless to say, I held my breath as I waited for the credit card from my 'other' bank to clear the funds for my ticket.

I arrived at the office, looking forward to a quiet moment with my coffee to ease into the busy day ahead. I opened my email to find that the person from our Russian office who was to join us for 6 months to cover a colleague's maternity leave from today was refused entry into the UK and shipped back to Moscow on a flight at 8.50 this morning. Oh crap crap crap!

Then mid morning I placed a call to my local medical centre to follow up a referral from an appointment 3 weeks ago. After having to explain several times that I wasn't chasing the results but the referral and asking for the letter to be re-faxed (as I had been asked to do by the nurse), I was given a number to call to get a name so that the fax could be addressed to a specific person for me to follow up.

On the best of days, this convoluted sort of process tests me. Today...

...and to make matters worse the number I was given didn't connect, so I had to ring back and explain everything again. Apparently I was going to get a call back this afternoon...

Finally I left the office. I had a physiotherapy appointment booked (for said grumpy back) so I got to the station in plenty of time...and managed to get on a train that didn't stop at my station. The lovely train station lady at St Pancras did let me get back on a train going the other way 15 minutes later (instead of fining me for not having a 'valid ticket for travel') and I did get home in time for a quick change of clothes before my appointment so you could argue that things were starting to turn around.

But quite frankly it was a day I could have done without.

I know that there could have been a lot of other, much worse things to deal with than my litany of inconsequential irritations. But it just didn't feel like I could catch a break. So I figure that tomorrow's got to be a better day...


Sunday, 4 August 2013

L Is For...

Here I am four days into year 45 on the planet. Birthday number 44 seemed to whizz by in a blur despite having a day-off-morphing-into-a-long-weekend, albeit 24 hours after my big day. For a Leo birthday, I have to admit that it has been little less lush and a little more laid-back than usual.

But I've managed to capture myself a few luscious moments along the way.

The night of said big day, after a frantically busy day at work, I logged off and headed into town. It was a hot and humid tube trip in and after picking up my theatre ticket, I decided to pop in to Cote for a quick bite to eat and, in a moment of too-bloody-hot-for-wine, a refreshing glass of cloudy lemonade

Replete with a delicious vichyssoise and ratatouille vegetables in puff pastry, I was soon ensconced in my seat at the Duchess Theatre. Courtesy of, I had scored a cheap ticket to see the play Fences starring Lenny Henry. In short, the play was fantastic and Henry was awesome.

It was late by the time I got home but fave flick Top Gun had just started (who could ever lose their Lovin' Feelin' with that volleyball scene on the box *sigh*) and there was still an hour left of the birthday Day to open some presents. 

I got some lambswool...

...and something with which to further my baking exploits (I've always loved licking the bowl).

As with all birthdays, it is a requirement that one brings cakes into the office for others to scoff and I decided that my new mixer would best be christened by whipping up a batch of great Aussie favourite, lamingtons. These are squares of light fluffy sponge cake dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. So after a lie-in and a morning frappe at local café La Barista yesterday, I embarked on step one - baking the sponge . 

They turned out less light and fluffy...

...and more like sponges of the dish-washing kind. Clearly I need to master the new mixer.

So instead I've made Lemon Drizzle Cake...

...and some white chocolate brownies for the Great Office Scoff.

There's been some lazing about in the sun in between times - reading the paper and excellent magazine, Intelligent Life which always deserves some time to peruse at a leisurely pace. And finally I'll be topping off my big birthday bonanza tonight with my regular Sunday night dip into the lives of the Lancastrians and Yorkists with the BBC's The White Queen.

So that peeps was my lusciously long and lazy-ish birthday weekend...only 361 sleeps until the next one.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

London Love...Fab Finchley

It's been a little while since I shared a Fab Finchley foray with you so here's the post to remedy that.

Yesterday I was off for a visit to the physiotherapist. While not the first physiotherapist I have ever encountered, it was in fact the first visit to this particular one who lives a short stroll away on the other side of my local park.

So last night I set off in the warm sunshine (yes still very warm at ten minutes to six o'clock) and before long my strolling took me across Victoria Park. London has been blessed with a few glorious weeks of summer (the newspapers are calling it a heatwave *guffaw*) and the park was dotted with people making the most of the weather - kids, runners, families, dog walkers. It seemed that everyone was moseying around the paths, enjoying a moment on a shaded bench or sprawling on the grass beneath the bright blue sky.

I had walked almost entirely across the park when I was struck by how vibrant and lush it looked. It wasn't that there were loads of flowers out as there are at other times (I found my first daffs of the season here) but it seemed that everywhere I looked was literally vibrating with energy and colour.

Stopped in my tracks by the beauty of this scene, I turned around to see this.


I smiled quietly to myself. For a few moments I stood there, taking it all in, before turning back and heading on to my appointment.

And it reminded me once again how much I love living here.

ps...regular Gidday-ers maybe wondering about the lack of birthday posting since the big day on August 1st. It's been a busy ol' time but rest assured I'll be updating you soon...