Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nice weekend, worse week [EDITED]

DILEMMA

Oh gosh! I've been offered a job at the pension/benefits company I'm temping with at the moment. I was there in April too, and they asked for me again this time. When she returned from holiday, the secretary I had filled in for offered me a job there. The thing is, back in April I was complaining about it. I don't know how they all wake up every morning and go in there to do what they do. But someone has to do it I guess. The place is full of actuaries. Do I have to tell you more?

I am flattered that they like my work and want me to stay, but to do what, shrivel up and die inside?

At the same time, I have a temp booking next week with a private art dealer on Bond Street :)
Lots of getting down and dusty and hands on, finally.



The interesting thing about the City of London, the financial district and original city, site of Londinium. Old juxtaposed against new in more startling contrast than the "newer" parts of London.

**********

PUSHING AROUND THE PAWNS

This week London was paralysed. Monday evening began a long-threatened 72-hour Tube strike that affected 9 of 12 Tube lines. I already live in the middle of nowhere and loathe having to travel an hour in to anywhere I need to go in town. So it took me an hour to get to my interview which unfortunately was at 7pm. I wasn't going to make it home in those heels, so I stopped at a shop afterwards and got a pair of nice dark patent leather Roland Cartier flats. And then I left my heels in the bus! I know I'm tired when I leave things behind.

I got home at a quarter to 10pm.

Tuesday it took me 2 hours to get into work. Tuesday evening, 2 and a half hours to get home. 4.5 hours travel time is unacceptable. I sat on a bus, then a train, and then another bus. My behind was so numb! At least I got a seat, but that is because I insisted on leaving after the major rush hour. There is no reason why I ought to fight hundreds of people to get on the same bus, is there? Lots of other people did the same thing. Why cause more chaos? Mine is not a time-sensitive job anyway, and I am only a temp.

Putting this in perspective, I live about 5 or 6 miles out of the centre of London. In the same amount of time, you could drive sort of slowly from a northern Dallas suburb to a southern Houston suburb and that's over 200 miles.)

After the first day everyone was fed up and no longer sympathised with the striking staff. I never had anyway. It was ended late on Tuesday night, but disruptions were rife as the system was rolled back out. So I took a different route home, but all on the Tube and not one bus on the agenda! It was exciting to be back home in a "mere" hour and a quarter!

Tomorrow it might be a "mere" hour into work. I used to complain that it wasn't 15 or 30 minutes, as I used to live so centrally I was round the corner from everything.

**********

When your napkin is unfolded and placed in your lap before you've lifted a finger, you know you're in a good place...



On Sunday we went to The Petersham Hotel in Richmond for a family friend's 60th birthday luncheon.

Lovely setting, really precious hotel, and delicious food. The decor was classic Edwardian/Art Nouveau.

It began with a wine reception where we mingled in the anteroom, before being seated in the dining room with name cards, fortunately.





Starter: sweet red pepper broth with cubes of fresh mozarella under the surface, hot and chewy. The flavour of the broth was amazingly comforting, the sort of thing you'd eat on a rug in front of a blazing hearth. The bread, even the granary, was light and easy to eat with just the right chewiness.

Main: a proper English Sunday Roast. Succulent roast sliced sirloin, perfectly medium rare and not dense. The half-potatoes roast in the beef jus were tasty and crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. One little Yorkshire pudding (but then I could eat one the size of Rhode Island) and an intriguing gravy with a slight sweetness to it.

Dessert: the most perfect creme brulee I've had since Paris Cafe in The Woodlands. Bursting with vanilla pod, creamy, with a delicate shell-like layer of burnt sugar on top. Makes the ones in the shops look pedestrian.



Cheese plates: the obligatory blue cheese, smoked hard cheese, goat's brie, and camembert, served with oat crackers.

Tea/coffee and chocolates: enjoyed on the terrace with nice views.



**********
PS. Matt reminds me that yes, these photos were taken with my fantastic Sony Ericsson k810i which I adore!

21 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...

That first part of the post reminds me of the recent comment by a right-leaning American news service saying that most Americans love their jobs. This is according to a poll carried out by a conservative think tank.

Considering the number of people that work at places like Wal-Mart, well...

So, did the NY taxi strike make the Tube workers jealous, or vice versa?

When people know they have the entire population of a metropolis by the throat...or at least the behind...*sigh*

Another mouth-wateringly fine restaurant review, even without pics. Thanks, m'lady.

nikkipolani said...

All your food descriptions make me wish we could have dinner together.

I was just whining this morning that with school starting up again, traffic had increased so my drive was 40 minutes instead of 30. I'll shut up now.

Katja said...

Oh gosh - much as the people there are lovely, I wouldn't want to be there full time. I'm chary enough of going there for a few months. Who would you be replacing, as a matter of interest? *nosy* ;)

Olivia said...

Minstrel - you know I wouldn't if I were there!

It was my theory that lots of people work in jobs they don't want, and there is a period where you loathe it, then you nearly lose your mind, and then either go postal or surrender and become a grey person.

Here in the UK we did not hear about the NYC taxi driver strike. I guess the Metro and the sidewalks were packed, and more people drove to work?

It's awful that they can use us - what power.

***

Nikki - I would really love to. Virgin is offering flights under £300 but can't justify another jetting off after the upcoming trip!

Man, 40 minutes seems so short.

***

Katja - shhhhhh you did not hear anything. It's not even advertised yet, and I don't know who...

lunaliar said...

1. DON'T TAKE THE JOB!!! You're doing well enough at the temping, and sacrificing the opportunity to keep your face and name in the game with the art community would be a misstep! I remember waiting tables while going through college, getting an internship offer in D.C. but turning it down because I wanted the security of living in a college town. Don't trade security for a chance to make your future shine, ever.

2. I live on the far east side of Dallas, just a few miles from Garland, my office is on the Southwest side of downtown only miles from my home. But because parking is horrid downtown and the air pollution in Dallas makes me want to ditch my car altogether, I take the train. 30 to 40 minutes one way -- a trip that would take 12 minutes to drive. Stupid.

3. Your dinner sounds delicious! I've never heard anything like the broth with the boccocini! SOunds terrific. I just made a miso soup this past weekend that had some flash boiled tofu that was steeped in garlic broth. So delicious. The creme brulee sounds amamzing as well, though Paris Cafe isn't what it once was. Question: Do you first give your creme brulee a whack with the back of your spoon, or do you dig in with the tip and then lick your spoon, and then dig in? Technique is so important!

Glad to hear your dilemma is a good one, though! Seems like Miss Liv is in high demand!

P.S. Hope you're settling in well!

MattJ said...

The problem with the strike is that it was nothing but muscle flexing, no improvement was reached on the deal and while that aprticular union has proven it can cause chaos - they have lost any public sympathy whatsoever.

on to more improtant things - those photos taken with your phone? I'm beginning to regret my decision to hold out for the HTC now....

Anonymous said...

well, congrats on the job offer but I think you are right not to take unless there aren't anymore temp jobs.....you will end up more depresses than happy doing something you hate.

gosh, those are long commute hours. With 4hours of driving I's in Corpus Christi. yikes. So when are you coming back to H-town?

Man, those pics made me hungry!!! Dinner time for me.

BTW, we went to Merida for labor day weekend. I'll have to tell you about it.

bisous
Vanessa

Dan said...

Decisions, decisions!!

What does your heart tell you to do?

Wow! You had a swanky meal, didn't you. Very nice!

M. said...

(nothing I can say that hasn't already been said... but... love the photos; leaving shoes on the bus - yikes! signs I'm tired? usually waking up on the train 2 stops from where I was meant to get off (happened yesterday - still - at least a nice lady whose reserved chair (I guess as opposed to an outgoing one) I was filling woke me in Wolverhampton asking something or other - could have been me in glasgow!!)

(phonewise - just replaced my dead 2 year old phone with the W810i ... which... for the most part is good... but it seems to have issues and I fumble through them instead of attempting to find what I need in the overly thick, all English, manual that came with the phone)

Catch you later
Mx

MattJ said...

Hmmm, looks like I am goign to have to wait even longer for my phone! grrr! Maybe I should go back to plan A and get a phone liek yours :p.....

amillionpieces said...

I tend to be in the don't take the job camp too! I don't think it's you! Or do if you need it, but keep looking elsewhere! And enjoy next weeks work, that sounds much more you!

ML said...

That travel time is outrageous! Yes, my bum would be numb too.

The luncheon sounds just lovely. Your description of the food had me just drooling all over my keyboard. You have a way with words :)

AmitL said...

Hi,Olivia..jobs aplenty for you,I think..now,the decision is to make the right choice.:)Good luck.

ooph,u have these troubles in London too?Tube strikes,et al?I thought it happened mainly in India.(In Dubai,there're rarely any strikes,since they're illegal)

Wow to the napkin unfolding..I bet that place was priced equally well.:)

Jessica said...

Beautiful photos! I love the architecture.

Olivia said...

Luna -
1. Yes, you are absolutely right. Thank you for the support. And very well put!

I'm not taking it, by the way...

2. Going green is hard work isn't it?

3. Boccocini?
You've been to Paris Cafe? It's been there about...7 years, hasn't it? The owner must have sold it. Shame.

Answer: I dig in with my spoon and lick it, both sides! What do you do?

As for the settling, it has halted at the point before you put rugs down. There are boxes lining the hallway. Nowhere to put them. Boo.

***

Matt - relieved that they decided not to go ahead with next week's strike, which would be more pointless than the last one anyway.

I got a k810i, ner nerner ner ner!

***

Vanessa!!! I misss yoooooou!!!!

Funny, I am watching Animal Cops Houston, and trying to identify what areas the SPCA are called out to!

Was the hurricane around Merida, and did you go Scuba diving?

***

Dan - I listened to my heart...

***

Hey Mas, welcome back! Would you have really ended up in Glasgow? WOuld you have had to take a long nap for that?

The w810i was my old phone, I had it for a year before this one. I love this one! Ask Matt!

***

Pete - I already had a 3 hour breaking in session at this job; after the one hour handover, I spent nearly 2 hours more with the owner doing some work with images.

***

ML - Thank you so much for the compliment! I am flattered that you enjoyed reading.

***

Amit - so when there are strikes in India, how do people get to work?

***

Jessica - Thanks! I'm glad I've recovered my eye for London scenes so you cold see some.

Beenzzz said...

If you know you would be miserable there, then don't do it. I stopped dead in my tracks at that beautiful looking creme brulee. YUM!

Anonymous said...

hurrican dean was south of Merida. h. felix-- I have no idea, I didn;t keep up with it.

We did not go diving but we did go swimming in a "cenote" water source in a cave in the middle of the forest. It was AWESOME!!

MISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS yOOOOOOOOuuuuuuuu Toooooooooooooooo.
biz
vanessa

Olivia said...

Beenzzz - I wish you could taste it through the screen. It was the best.

***

Vanessa - Ooh, two comments from you on the same post!

I have heard of cenotes. Have you seen "Apocalypto"? It is about the Mayans. Amazing movie.

Anonymous said...

no, haven't seen it. But I did not know it was about the mayans. Y. would probably like to see that.

Wish we could chat today: going to Kasten's bridal shower, rehearsal with Susana and then doing a "Spirit Tour" tonight. Should be interesting.

vanessa

Olivia said...

Melissa is marrying that guy I saw in the photos? Good for her!

Lotus Reads said...

Oh dear Lord, just look at that creme brulee, I would kill to have some of that, you lucky, lucky girl! Loved all of your other descriptions of the food, too! You'd make a great restaurant reviewer, you know?

About the job, I know it's tempting, but if it's not something that makes you bounce out of bed in the morning all raring to go, don't take it!

Sorry you lost a good pair of shoes! That would have made me very cranky.