2006 – The Year in Review

I’m yet to blog about the year gone by, so I thought it’d be useful to reflect upon the year like many other people have. It’s been a very busy year and I’m surprised to see it go already. I’ve met many new people and had many great experiences and it will be interesting to see how the next year turns out.

Read on for even more detail… Read more “2006 – The Year in Review”

True Secret Santa

It’s quite normal for some of my post to go to the office since someone is always there to sign for things, but imagine my surprise this week when I walked in to find a small little package for me. I hadn’t ordered anything myself recently and I was so puzzled as to what was in it that I had to open it when I got home. Imagine my surprise when I found a nice Ciak journal. I’m almost at the end of my Moleskin one so it works out really well for me. This one is also great portable size too so whoever got it for me it’s most ideal.

Secret Santa

Thanks to whoever sent it and I hope you will let me know soon. I really appreciate the gesture and I’m extremely keen to find out who it is. Please contact me (send an email to me on emailpat [at] thekua.com).

Fact of the Day

Validated in Dublin by some locals…

“Guinness is really good for you”

Validated by a number of sources, Guinness actually has:

  • Less calories (because it has less alcohol). In fact it has less calories than a pint of orange juice or skim milk (not to mention less fat than either); and
  • A large number of antioxidants;

A Real Beach

It’s true that England has some “beaches” and there are advantages to having a pebble beach, but for all my English friends, this is what I’m talking about when I mean a “beach”…

A Real Beach

Above is a picture of part of (the admittedly touristy) Surfers Paradise beach in *winter* on the Gold Coast. It’s very enjoyable and most definitely worthwhile dealing with the aftermanth of all that sand.

Congratulations Ben and Michelle!

This entry goes out to two fantastic people who gave me a good reason to come back to Australia (see below):

Ben and Michelle

On this Saturday just gone, I was able to witness the union of two very good friends, Ben and Michelle on, what turned out as, a perfect Saturday afternoon by the river in Tenerife. I’ve been lucky to know these two people for a while, and it wasn’t so long ago that I remember eating dinner with them (and Jamie!) on, what would turn out to be, one of their early “dates”. It’s great to have seen their relationship blossom over the years and that I’ve been able to spend great times with them on many occasions both in Brisvegas and abroad.

The arrangements were exceptionally executed from overseas, all orchestrated with the help of Michelle’s parents, Ray and Maree and the smooth running events were enjoyed by the 90+ crowd of people who attended. Brisbane had, what I will remember for some time (I am in London these days after all!), the clearest of bright blue skies with moderate temperatures and light winds, heightening the already perfect event. The MC, Gerrod was a blast, and all enjoyed the speeches.

The gourmand in me really delighted in the fine food and wine that was served for the evening that really made a display of the quality of Australian produce. My king prawn salad was beautifully fresh, the almost freakishly large prawn meat was so sweet and the smell attesting to its freshness. I scored big time with the plump rare steak for dinner as it was incredibly juicy simply full of flavour. The chefs had encrusted it with a delicious coating of some kind, but it simply did not last on my plate long enough for me to just analyse. The evening’s meal was finally rounded off with slices of the wedding cake and a delightful duo of chocolate cups and a delicate custard tart, both simply divine!

I had a delightful time, and the long plane trips and small amounts of jetlag was totally worth experiencing just so I could share this moment with you guys. Congratulations to the both of you! More photos can be seen here.

Looking for a flat?

London is an interesting place to be looking for a flat, as what you get is never as good as what you want it to be, yet expect to pay through the roof for it. We advertised last week for a flat mate, but after having gone through the process, we learned a few lessons posting an advert for them. Admittedly, one of our other housemates posted it, and they didn’t exactly put too much effort into it.

Here are a few good things to put into an advertisement that might help weed people out and give people looking a better idea of what they’re getting before you have to arrange for people to come around and visit:

  • Number of rooms in the house – The number of rooms in the house gives people a better idea of how big the place is.
  • Number of people in the house – It’s not uncommon in London for people to room-share, or even just for couples to be flat sharing in a large house. Talking about the number of people in a house gives you a better idea of what the dynamics of the household might be like.
  • Talk a bit about the people who live in the house – Their backgrounds might help determine if people want to live with you (such as if you’re all students, or all professionals, or all Antipodean).
  • List all of the amenities – Talk about things like how many bathrooms, toilets you may have, talk about if the kitchen is fully equipped, what is included in the room, whether or not you have a washing machine, how many fridges you might have.
  • Discuss the additional features – Such as whether or not it has a lounge room (such a rarity in London), balcony, garden, etc.
  • Talk about it’s location – How close is it to the tube station(s)/train station/buses, what major things are nearby (supermarkets, parks, high streets, etc).
  • List all of the costs – List the monthly rent (especially if you pay by the month), how much the deposit is going to be, any additional fees (e.g. reference check by agencies, etc).
  • Discuss the bills – People like to know how much bills average a month, and what things are included (gas, electricity, TV licence, council tax, Internet) or not included
  • Type of person you’re looking for – We were trying to keep a balanced household, so we only were looking for females, but sometimes you don’t want students or want people staying for longer than a certain period of time.
  • Room availability – Discuss when the person needs to move in.

Finally when you have listed details about the place, it’s also good to ask for details for the people who are viewing because you will need to weed people out, and it helps to have more information than less. Think about asking for their:

  • Name – Believe it or not, people with obscure emails without a number ask to see a place, yet forget to tell you who they are.
  • Gender – Sometimes it is important to know, especially if their names are not indicative of a particular gender.
  • Profession – A good indicator of whether or not they’ll be able to afford the rent and/or have issues with paying bills. It also means a good indicator to the lifestyle they might have.
  • Mobile Phone Number – When you’re ready to organise viewings, it’s much easier to do it over the phone and get an immediate response from someone than it is to do it over email.
  • Availability – When you are available to move in, and when you are available to see the flat.

Warning to Gmail Users

For those that use Firefox and Gmail chat, be sure you have added Gmail to the “Allowed Sites” for popups before you click on the “Pop-out” option. It seems that gmail is *really* determined to pop out that window and will continue to try for an infinite number of times, effectively blocking your current firefox window.

Cool app (reminds me of the AOL chat applet), but just beware.