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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

VISAs and netbooks

So my VISA extension application was sent off a week or so ago; yesterday I made the appointment for a biometric ID card which -- now -- all "foreign nationals" will be required to have (and carry? I might start carrying my passport -- once I get it back -- and ID card together in some kind of RFID-blocking wallet thing). It's pretty bad, really -- £465 for a 12 month extension, then when I rang up to book the appointment (which MUST be within 15 days) the only available slot was ... 15 days later! Talk about making things difficult! But I'll take the day off work and travel down south on the 'tube to wherever the Border Agency is.

We're still hoping to get it back before our next holiday, because I'd like to visit Marrakech. If we don't, it will be a week in Wales instead!

In the meantime we're keeping out of trouble. Last weekend we got up earlier than usual to bus down to the London Eye for a speed-boat tour out to the Thames Barriers.  Dee has always wanted to see them, and it was either than or a lunch tour -- and we both decided we always do foodie (or drinkie) things. Besides, "a lunch cruise on the Thames" sounds a little more ... mature ... than either of us are willing to act!  So it was a speed-boat, travelling up to 45 knots (which I think is around 40mph) in the cold morning weather. They gave us warm rain-jackets along with the life-jackets, and we were glad they did! Frozen fingers from holding on (you have to -- we jumped over a few small waves and rounded corners dramatically) but at least nobody fell in.

After the cruise we had breakfast nearby, then went looking in electronics shops -- Dee wants a netbook like Dayna's!

After a few hours walking around and bussing between shopping areas (like Oxford Street) we still hadn't found the "new" netbook, a Samsung NC110. It's the next version of the NC10, which was very popular (and therefore out of stock all over the place). I think the difference is the battery -- the NC110 is meant to get 9 hours battery life on a single charge, which is pretty amazing. But it's not in the shops anywhere (and Dee's been waiting for ages) so this week she ordered it online.

(It is meant to arrive today! She's very excited.)

After that we headed home for a nap. No kidding! We were on the speedboat at 9am, and had a long evening planned, so it was really just being practical. A couple of friends who have moved to London showed up at about 5pm (Martin -- he was in Jack The Ripper The Musical! with me; and Helen, his girl), so we headed in to China Town and had a delicious meal.  (I tried "crispy shredded beef", and it just tasted like batter and sauce ... some of the more interesting items on the the menu included squid, braised eel and (I was so tempted) pigeon. The only thing that stopped me is the state of pigeons in London!)

With dinner settling we took our leave of Martin and Helen and wandered towards Leicester Square and the Empire Cinema -- we had tickets for the new Star Trek movie!  Empire Cinema is great -- it's where they had the London premiere, apparently, with a bunch of famous actors and whatnot -- with extra comfy chairs and an incredible sound system. The Enterprise flew past and we rocked in our cushioned places; photon torpedoes exploded on the hull and we shuddered with the screeching metal. Very much fun!

I should probably upload some photos from the speedboat, huh?


  1. You are certainly leading an interesting life. I hope all goes well with the passport and visa extension. After Dayna's experience with British mail, you need to keep checking them.
    Dad is feeling better but still not eating enough. He's managed two cans of 2cal, weetbix and a bit of cheese today. Hopefully he'll try some potato and pumpkin for tea. Not sure if he'll go ahead with chemo next Monday or delay it another week.

  2. Love the added piccys guys. Looks like a fun thing to do in London.


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