Oh. My.

DSC06552, originally uploaded by samantha.vimes.

Gosh. In a way, more has happened in the time since my last post than in my entire time here. And I want to share it with all of you – but I don’t want to overwhelm! So today’s post is just the bullet points. Over the next week I’ll be posting lots of photos and telling more stories about all this craziness. I’m finally back to work this week and back to my normal routine, which I think will help with blog regularity! (Plus I’ve been eating more fibre…).

I am still in love with this marvellous city, and I’m meeting more and more interesting people every day. London is just so alive, so steeped and stewed in all flavours of history and culture. But enough with the poetry – let’s get to the meat, shall we? Here are some of the stories I’ve been a part of in the past few weeks:

-I had to cancel my trip to Italy, and four days of work, due to a nasty flu-type business that left me lying awake with a fever about two hours before I was due to leave for the airport. Sucked, but it was uphill from there…

-When Easter break had officially begun, and I was finally starting to feel better, I started to wander around the city again. I did a literary walk through the posh streets of Picadilly; strolled the quiet banks of the Thames; and had a quiet, beautiful afternoon in Highgate East Cemetery in Islington, soaking in the beauty and the history and visiting Douglas Adams’ grave.

-With my flu dissipated and time on my hands I decided I should go and do something a bit bigger. As Mum is fond of reminding me, I have Europe on my doorstep after all! So Paris it was. And it was an amazing trip. I remember being so overwhelmed my first time there five years ago – this time I feel like I was really THERE. The food, the river, the lights, the food, the men, the food… did I mention the food?

-My good friend Neigele had long been scheduled to come and visit me at the end of her European tour, so we met up in Paris and had a lovely day together, and planned to head back to London as a team.

-But with peaks, there come troughs… things took a turn when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted, spewing ash across Northern Europe. We had already been planning to take the ferry back to England, but with everyone else grounded and forced to use lower altitude methods of transport, the train, bus, and ferry systems were completely clogged. A trip that was supposed to cost about 70 pounds and take about 5 hours wound up costing a good 130 and taking from 11am at Paris Gare du Nord to a 1am kebab around the corner from my flat in Hammersmith. But we saw the White Cliffs of Dover from the sea, and witnessed the quietest most English riot ever – by no means a wasted day.

-And then we bounced back! I showed Neigele London, and in the process discovered even more of it myself… parades through Westminster, fuzzy little goslings in Hyde Park, and a bona fide hog roast in Baker Street! Not to mention a stop at the Camden Head pub in North London to see my new friend Pete perform at an event called Nerdgasm. Awesome.

-From the city we ventured outward, and spent today at Stonehenge. An amazing experience, and an economical one – an 18 pound ticket gets you a tour bus to and from the site with hop on/off service all day, admission to Stonehenge itself, as well as a visit to William the Conquerer’s Salisbury stronghold. And it was a BEAUTIFUL day – we got some great shots.

So stay tuned in the coming week – I’ll be expanding on each of these adventures with a new set of stories and pictures every couple of days. After all, I’ve got to start clearing the backlog away to make room for the new. I’ve been spending time with my wonderful new friend Anita (including a trip to a Rumi poetry seminar yesterday), getting more involved with LOTNA (a scifi fan group here in London) and just generally soaking the city in. I should also be getting some articles published soon through an online freelance collective I’ve joined – I’ll let you all know when they’re available to read. I want to thank all of you again for your patience, your readership, and for all of the conversations and messages and moral support I’ve gotten throughout my journey here in England. I love you all.

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