He has that look in his eye. That seething look that says “Don’t talk to me, or I’ll Kill you!”. The adrenalin is still pumping from a hard nights’ work when he sides into the recently vacated seat and inhales his first drink of single malt scotch…
It barely hits the back of his throat before he is reaching for the pint of larger that he knows he will struggle to hold with his already aching arms. The others, all dressed in black, with slicked back hair and that same “life sucks” look on their faces, are grumbling about sore feet and the fact that they were all asked for ID at the bar. The grumbling soon turns into laughter as they start reminiscing about their night.
Most of them were lucky. They had it easy, catering a wedding of 160 guests at the Sheraton on Park Lane.
He is momentarily sour as he realises that he drew the short straw. He was one of 80 workers catering a business function with 860+ at the Hilton. His night had begun with the serving of welcoming drinks and deteriorated when he was instructed to carry a bulky food-laden tray on one hand and serve the silver service three-course meal with a fork and spoon in his other.
It was not a good start to Daniel’s first introduction to this side of hospitality and he did not like it. His first words to me after the shift were “I have to find a ‘real job” and there was definitely a new found respect for those who work in hospitality for a living. So an after work drink at the nearest pub was a very welcome end to the very hectic evening. And it was a great way to make some new friends in London. Some of our new friends might be a few years younger than us, but they are all here for the same reason that we are; to live in London on minimum wage, saving our pennies until we can afford that next amazing holiday abroad…
After 3 weeks in London it feels as if we have been here for much longer. Other than some casual catering shifts at some 5 start hotels through Egoli I have also started working as a temp in a couple of offices around the city. The work is fairly easy compared to what I am used to, but I don’t think I am ready to jump into a full on role straight away. I am much happier just plodding along, writing my blog and exploring London, to settle down into a serious job just yet.
Thankfully my foot is almost back to normal so I am able to handle short hospitality shifts when needed. Though Dan did buy me a foot spa/massager after my first 2 days of hard work in 18 weeks. I am such a lucky girl!
So far we have had a few amazing days out in London and enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather. It has not rained very much since we arrived, except for the torrential downpour that concluded our day at Thorpe Park a couple of weekends ago.
Last weekend we had fun catching up with some members of the Moroney family when they were staying in London after their incredible cruise from Amsterdam to Prague. It was wonderful to catch up with Lorraine, Phil, John and 94 year-old Grandma Marge as we had not seen them since the wedding in April. We enjoyed a lovely meal at their ‘local’ pub in Gloucester Road on the Friday night, and for a traditional pub roast (drink included) at Weatherspoons on Baker Street on the Sunday night. I find that you need to experience local food to really immerse yourself in the local culture, and traditional pub food is a perfect introduction to London!
During the week we immersed ourselves in the local culture a little more and explored the shopping district of Oxford Street, enjoyed a meal in China Town, near Leicester Square and had a fantastically hilarious night watching Monty Python’s “Spamalot” at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End. Eric Idle “lovingly ripped off” the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail and released the musical comedy “Spamalot” in 2005. We laughed so hard that it was easy to see why it won 3 Tony Awards in its first season on Broadway.
We have also been exploring our local neighbourhood, Shadwell, and the area in which we live. We discovered a wonderful little pocket called Wapping which is full of winding canals, green parks, beautiful converted docks, old warehouses and cute pubs that sit along the Thames River. In particular, I think that The Captain Kidd will become a local favourite with its gorgeous cobblestone beer garden that overlooks the Thames River and cheap beers and food.
Today we had our first experience with the Walkabout pub in the Aussie filled Shepard’s Bush. Now London tube experts, we travelled 12 stops west to the pub at 10am this morning only to witness the Brisbane Broncos get dominated by the North Qld Cowboys. It was quite disappointing, but we did uncover a great place to watch future Australian sporting events with fellow Aussies and Kiwis.
Tomorrow we are going to enjoy The Mayor’s Thames Festival at the near-by St Katherine’s Docks and London’s South Bank. It sounds very much like Brisbane’s River Festival, so I am looking forward to the atmosphere and fireworks display, though I am sure it will have nothing on Brisbane. Hopefully the weather stays a warm and sunny 27 degrees!
We are missing you all, but have recently purchased a jar of Vegemite from Tescos that I hope will get us through! Love to all xxx
J & D
Some photos from around London:
St Paul’s Cathedral
Tower of London
First Published on: Sep 8, 2012 @ 20:23 #12monthhoneymoon