Today the weather decided to give up showing grey skies and presented a bright blue sky, and quite warm temperatures. I thought I would make the most of it and take a wander down to the beach. And so did everyone else…
I walked for about an hour through Bournemouth before finally arriving at the beach at around 5pm. The beach was soo busy! I arrived at the Pier approach and walked west along the promenade past a whole selection of amusement games, little ice cream stalls and loads of beach huts.
I wandered along a zig-zag pathway up the side of a hill to be offered a wide, bird’s eye view of the beach.
Up here I noticed a lone Nikon user on his way to the beach. He noticed my red Canon strap and we had a bit of a chat. He was convinced his Nikon was far superior than my Canon, but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him ;) You can check out Troy’s photo blog at Shooting through Life.
Turning around, I walked about 2.5km along the beach to the east to have a look at Boscombe pier. This end of the beach was a little bit quieter, but there were still loads of people out soaking up the English sun. Boscombe pier is much more subtle then Bournemouth pier, lacking amusements rides and a restaurant, it is mainly suited for fishing from, or just a nice place for a walk.
Heading back along the promenade towards Bournemouth pier I noticed a very impressive Audi R8 parked by the beach. I asked the owner if I could grab a few photos and he was very obliging.
Bournemouth pier was buzzing with activity. Children delighted with carnival rides, couples enjoying a Sunday evening drink, fishermen trying their luck in the ocean, and a pretty girl along the pier out for a photoshoot. I asked if I could take a few shots of her, she allowed me and then was on her way.
I finished browsing around the pier and began to make my way back up the hill to watch over the beach and pier as the sun disappeared for another day. I took a few long exposures, before packing my camera away and making my way back home for the day.
Thursday afternoon saw Siobhan and myself on the road headed south west for Bournemouth once again. We plan to be here for the next week or so as Siobhan has work to attend to.
We arrived late in the evening and spent the night in, chatting with Siobhan’s Uni housemates til early morning.
Today, I planned a trip to Southampton, another city on the south coast, to the east of Bournemouth. I never intended to visit there, but due to a shattered screen on my phone, and the nearest place to sort the issue out was in Southampton, I spent the day exploring parts of the city while I was there.
After sorting out a replacement phone, I set off toward the city’s port, as I knew there would be plenty to see there. Much to my surprise I found the cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 presently docked in port, along with departing ferries heading to the Isle of Wight regularly. I also saw the Balmoral cruise ship depart Southampton port full of happy holidayers.
On my walk I started to notice parts of old stone fortress walls. I followed them around and found some history about the walls.
After the French attacked Southampton in 1338, King Edward III commanded a huge wall be built around the town, overlooking the sea. He was furious that the town’s people had allowed the raiders to so easily attack and steal his wine and goods.
It was quite interesting seeing these walls still partially standing after nearly 700 years! Sadly the grey skies were not helpful in photographing these walls. I do keep hearing stories about the sun appearing for more then a fleeting moment in this country though!
The afternoon was getting on so I made my way back to Southampton Central railway station to catch the express train back to Bournemouth for the night.
This weekend I decided to take a trip into London to meet up with a work mate from back home, and to see some of the country’s capital city.
Siobhan dropped me at the local train station and I purchased a ticket into Waterloo station, where the above meets the underground train services.
After travelling down what seemed like the world’s longest escalator, I was deep underground the city and looking for the station to meet up with my work mate.
A short ride later, a line change, and a elevator ride back up to the ground level, I met up with Matt and his girlfriend Kayla.
They have been in Europe on a Contiki holiday tour and have spent the past week in London. This was their last weekend in the city before flying out to Ireland to continue their holiday.
We decided to catch the underground tube into the heart of London to see some of the sights.
Westminster Abbey was first on our list. While queuing for maybe 45 minutes or so, the weather went from sunny, the rain, to light hail, and back to sun! Talk about 4 seasons in one day!
Inside the Abbey you can do your own electronic guided tour. Following a map around we saw various memorials, burials, exhibits and learnt a lot about the history of the Abbey.
The architecture of the building was amazing. So intricate and detailed.
We finished up the tour and headed across the Thames river to Southbank near the London Eye. The queue was huge, so we decided to pre-book tickets and visit early the following morning.
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and head down to the hotel pub for dinner and drinks.
We had dinner with Hayley, a family friend, also holidaying around Europe. She had to be up at 3:30am the following morning to head to the Greek Islands so had to have an early night.
Matt, Kayla and myself headed back onto the tube to check out Covent Garden and Leicester Square of a night time. The place was so busy with people everywhere!
We were offered discount tickets to a show by the London Comedy Club. The show finished up late so we had to make our way to the nearest tube station before they shut for the night. It seemed everyone else had the same idea, as the station platforms were packed full of people, as were all the trains.
Eventually we squeezed ourselves onto a train and headed back to the hotel for the night.
Sunday morning, after a quick breakfast in the hotel, we were back on the underground and headed for the London Eye. Collected our tickets and lined up. After about half hour we were walking into a pod and on our way 135m up!
The view up from up here is quite impressive, and fortunately we had clear skies. The Eye takes about 40 minutes for a complete revolution and was certainly worth the wait.
After the London Eye we found somewhere for some lunch then began to make our way to the London Dungeon.
“The London Dungeon is a popular London tourist attraction, featuring exhibits about various tortures from the Medieval Age. It recreates various gory and macabre historical events in a grimly comedic ‘gallows humour’ style, which attempts to make them appealing to younger audiences. It uses a mixture of live actors, special effects and rides”
Following the Dungeon we went and saw the iconic Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast, docked in the Thames river.
It was getting on in the day and I still had to make my way out of the city, so we headed back to the hotel for me to collect my things and head off.
Back on the tube for me to Waterloo station. Then up and out of the underground and onwards back to Woking.
I arrived back there at 7:30pm to be picked up by Siobhan and her friend Alex. We made a quick stop back at Siobhan’s place, then proceeded further south, as Siobhan and Alex had to sort out some accommodation for the upcoming uni semester.
We went and had a look at Bournemouth beach. One of the few sandy beaches in England, which also has a rather large pier heading out to the sea. We spent the night in Bournemouth before heading back to Woking first thing this morning.
As 10:30pm came around we approached Singapore airport. The touchdown was gentle and we disembarked, stretched our legs and began security screening to re-board the plane we had just been on.
We taxied out to the runway and sat there for at least 20 minutes before the pilot kindly informed us that the windscreen wipers weren’t working, and he was sure they would be needed on our approach to London, and so, he turned around the plane to get the issue fixed.
After a total of 2 hours delay we were finally in the air and bound for London.
The flight turned out to be much longer, and much more draining then expected. This leg of the journey had me sitting in the same seat for 15 hours straight!
Coming into Heathrow airport was, unsurprisingly, quite wet, but the pilot landed us safely.
Nick and I passed through border security and collected our baggage and made our way out of the airport.
Nick found his mum quickly and she was overjoyed to see him, but I had yet to see my lift!
Soon enough Siobhan was located, and I actually think she was happy to see me!
I met Siobhan in Australia at the start of the year and will probably spend a bit of time with her and her friends whilst here in England.
She drove me back to her place where I met her mum and we had a bit of a chat. We went in town and sorted out a UK phone number for me to use while here too, and I got a hold of my very own British Pound notes!
The day to depart has finally come!
It’s been quite a stressful lead up to today though. As part of applying for a working visa for the UK, I was required to post my application paperwork away, along with my passport, to the UK Border Agency for consideration for the visa.
I caught the train to Sydney on Monday 30th May for an appointment to be fingerprinted as part of the application process. This took all of about 5 minutes, but it meant the first stage of my application was underway.
The following day I completed the rest of the paperwork, and placed my passport into the post, to be sent away.
I waited, and waited, until on Thursday, less than a week before I was due to depart, I received an email.
“Your visa will be despatched shortly.” And they estimated approximately 3 days for it to arrive back to me via post.
Now any other week, this would have been fine, and it would have arrived the day before I was due to depart.
But, just my luck, Monday was a public holiday, and such, my passport did not move in the post.
This left me, at best, an expectant delivery date, of 15th June, between the hours of 9am and 5pm! I was due to depart at 4:10pm that day!
So the frantic phone calls began. Trying to find an alternative flight as a backup plan was looking to be rather expensive, but as a last resort, I would still be able to get to London.
Calls to the UK Border Agency were of no use, the best I was given was “any day now”
Then, after refreshing the postal tracking website, at 6:32pm on Tuesday evening, the day before I was set to leave, a status change. My passport was finally in the post on the way back to me!
I monitored the tracking all night only to see no change in the status, until I eventually fell asleep.
Waking up the next morning, the status had finally changed. My passport was in Newcastle!
I phoned the postal service and explained my situation, and was pushed to the top of the queue as they tried to locate the delivery driver with my package.
Sitting at home, looking out the window, wondering if I’ll ever get out of the country, when all of a sudden, at 10:28am, half hour before I needed to leave for Sydney, there’s a knock at the front door.
The long lost passport had arrived!
I opened the package, checked it was correct, and jumped in the car with mum and dad for the two hour drive to Sydney.
We got here safely and I met up with my pommy mate Nick, who is returning home for a few weeks, before heading back to Australia for a very extended stay.
Nick and I checked in our luggage, and we began to follow the crowd through customs and security.
After a very painless process we were on the other side and our plane was in sight!
We waited around for an hour or so til our flight was called to board.
With no delay on the runway, it wasn’t long before the pilot had our A380 jet high in the sky and headed for our first stop, Singapore.
This plane has an on board camera, where all passengers can view the take off as if they were sitting just in front of the tail.
We are currently 3hours away from Singapore, casually cruising at 900km/hr, 12000m above the earth. Current in-flight data says it’s a cool -58C outside! I know England is cold, but this is beyond a joke!
Yesterday I received a phone call from Jim a Coda Creative Studios to let me know my business cards had arrived!
With the help of Jim and Liz and their design skills we put together a simple, but unique design for a business card. Thinner then your average card, and printed on a nice thick card stock, they feel nice to touch, and I can’t wait to hand them out!
For anyone interested in their own business cards, I strongly recommend Jim and Liz at Coda Creative Studios!
After a week of rain and generally dreary weather, Friday presented itself with nice blue skies and an opportunity to finally visit a place I’ve had my eye on for quite some time.
Forrester Beach is located on the New South Wales Central Coast, 15km North of Gosford.
The beach was fairly quiet this afternoon, and after a 5 minute walk along the sand to the south, I was presented with a fantastic array of rocks, rock shelfs and crashing waves.
Today was more of a chance for a look around, to assess this location for suitability for a sunrise photoshoot.
I discovered, after being swamped by a rogue wave, that it’s best to wait for a lower tide, with a small swell. I found myself lifting my camera over my head as the water rose around my knees!
Upon leaving the rocks and heading back up the beach, the sky briefly displayed a lovely pink glow on the horizon, before disappearing for another day.