Thursday, 5 November 2009

Remember Remember the Fifth of November...

I am sitting in my dining room, listening to the pop and whirr of fireworks on this Bonfire Night, a very British "holiday" which commemorates Guy Fawkes' failed plot to blow up Parliament in 1605.

Most of the U.K.'s major cities host Bonfire Night celebrations (usually on the weekend before or after Bonfire Night, if it happens to fall on a weeknight) with huge fireworks displays, bonfires, music, toffee apples, and more. Perhaps next year, when Crumpet is a bit older, we'll venture to Alexandra Palace, which is just a stone's throw from us in North London and hosts London's largest Bonfire Night celebration. For now, I'm content to watch some of the many private displays that are taking place tonight for free from my dining room window.

It's just another one of those quirky, uniquely British holidays (like Boxing Day) that I look forward to every autumn. Let's just hope the incessant booms don't wake Crumpet....

Monday, 2 November 2009

Working in London

Half Term is officially over, and oh what a glorious week it was. We didn't jet off to Italy or Portugal or Egypt or any other exotic location like some of my students (and fellow teachers), but somehow taking Crumpet to pick out her first pumpkin at a local farm and chasing after her when she learned to climb the stairs was much more exciting.

So as I settle back in at work, slightly wishing I was still at home in my PJs, I figured that now would be a good time to be positive and reflect on some of the things I love about working in London. Although the daily commute has taken some getting used to (at less than an hour door to door, with only one change, I can't complain too much, but seeing as my previous commute involved stumbling sleepily from the bedroom to my desk in the dining room, any daily travel is going to take its toll), I do feel a certain level of excitement about working in London. Here are just a few of the things I love about working in the city:

1. Lots of reading time on the commute. At home, there always seem to be a million other distractions.
2. Working in a fabulous old Georgian building instead of a character-less office block or modern school building.
3. Being on the doorstep of Oxford Street and Regent Street.
4. The number of little cafes and delis in my neighborhood.
5. Starbucks. I love my caramel macchiatoes.
6. Krispy Kreme. Yes, Krispy Kreme is available in London... and not just at Harrod's. I was allowing myself one doghnut indulgence a week on my way to work in the morning, but the guilt got the better of me and I have decided to cut that back to one a month.
7. The rush of excitement I get when I walk to work in the morning amidst the energy of the city. Admittedly, I am less excited when it's gray and miserable out, but when the sun is shining in the bright blue sky, like today, it's glorious.
8. Coming home. It's nice to work in London, but it's even nicer to retreat to the relative peace and quiet of the suburbs at the end of the day.