This was a weekend of people visiting us this time, John’s brother George and his girlfriend Kathryn were over on Saturday and Sunday. We ran some errands in the morning before they arrived late afternoon, and our plan was basically; play games, head to 7bone for dinner, then probably more games. I enjoyed the first two parts of that but had to excuse myself after dinner for a mildly stressful but ultimately not-actually-urgent and in fact rather boring, out of hours visit to the hospital, which is I suppose exactly how you want life’s little emergencies to turn out.
I got back home a bit late but got a full night’s sleep and in the morning we had a nice big breakfast hash and, you guessed it, played more games. It was hailing at one point, so we were disinclined to venture outside and it ended up being a nice relaxing Sunday. After they left John made a tasty chorizo pasta and we continued to catch up on season 6 of Game of Thrones (so much happening!) and generally chill.
A couple of weeks into the job and feeling pretty settled. It’s a temp assignment so I’m still looking, but the free floating anxiety over entering a workforce in a different country has faded a bit as it becomes clear that the broad strokes are basically the same. The coffee is instant but otherwise I could almost as easily be working in a San Francisco office.
Eastleigh is small but has enough to keep me busy during a lunch break, including a bunch of charity shops and a tiny little market on Thursdays. But the best part is that from door to door my commute is under forty minutes, with only fifteen of those being the train ride. It’s not really enough time to dive into a novel but I am getting back on the podcast wagon at least.
Beyond that, the exploration of Southampton continues apace. John and I have now visited the Waterloo Arms for beer and scotch eggs, and the Wellington Arms for a pre-pho pint with his parents. There is a third pub equidistant, because of course there is, but we have not been there yet. Where we have been is a very cool local brewery called The Dancing Man, which is located in a medieval wool storage house and which John’s parents kindly took us to lunch at. The food and beer where great, although I did have to get all American at some people who were not controlling their children.
Now the weather has turned very cold, with the weather news promising sleet and all sorts of horrors but I think I may finally have enough sweaters.
Usually on February fourteenth I find myself at the LAX Marriott along with a couple thousand other Whovians. This year I wasn’t able to attend Gally but I did get a nice consolation prize; my first proper Valentine’s Day with John.
We started with breakfast at a little Portuguese cafe near our flat which reminds me a lot of similar style Spanish places. They do an English breakfast but I had a chouriço com batatas and John got steak and eggs, both were good and cheap and started the day off well. We dipped back into the real world to get some chores done and then headed down to the city’s indie cinema, Harbour Lights, for a special Valentine’s Day screening of Casablanca. It’s been a while since I’d seen it and it’s still fantastic of course, but I had forgotten quite how funny it is as well. Finally in the evening we had hot chocolate sand read for a while before ordering some very nice pizza from a place we hadn’t tried before. A successful first Valentine’s together and I hardly checked the #gally1 hashtag at all!
And now today is the last day before I start my first job here, up the road a bit in a town called Eastleigh. It’ll be nice to feel that much more properly settled, though I’m really not looking forward to getting up early again.
January went by quickly but has left me in a pretty good place, with most of my settling in processes sorted out including UK banking and NHS, and with a job on the horizon. I also got my computer repaired and my room somewhat set up, and less productively played about a zillion hours of Pocket Mortys.
During the month I also got some more exploring done in Southampton and John took me to his favorite burger places, a Vietnamese restaurant with good pho in our neighborhood, and an excellent Mexican place in Portswood. We also found out that the kebab place nearest us is actually really good, which is super handy. His brother visited and I joined in a Star Wars roleplay which I admittedly didn’t hate and may even have enjoyed.
We went into London to see the Cosmonauts exhibit at the Science Museum and a recording of the John Finnemore Souvenir Programme at the BBC, both of which I really enjoyed. Later in the month we joined his family to see Cirque de Soleil’s Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall and had really good American style barbecue.
All in all well done January.
So far February is doing its level best to keep up the excitement, and not only by hitting the country with Storm Imogen. We spent this past weekend in Leicester to see some of the Leicester Comedy Festival. I really enjoyed both of the comedians I saw; Sophie Hagen and John Robertson (of Dark Room fame) and John also saw a third show on the Sunday. It was nice to spend some time in Leicester again, the city is looking great and has a few new cocktail, beer, and food places so I’m looking forward to showing people around in May.