Saturday, February 16, 2013


I have a problem with the food here in the UK. It's not that it's bad, in fact I find excellent and delicious things to eat everywhere.  It's the amount of carbs. Sandwiches for lunch, often bread based food for supper along with toast for breakfast.  This is not good and my Simon is definitely growing and showing.  Later today it's off to the US, hopefully I can be better behaved as far as food consumption is concerned.

But, I love the potato chips (crisps) here. We discovered Marmite flavored crisps in the Sainsburys near work (funny, that's the only place I found them). A perfect combination, Marmite and potato. Who would have thought. Pure culinary genius. Yumm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On a Wednesday

One of the major perks of spending so much time in the UK is Amazon Prime.  For a mere 40 or so pounds you get all your Amazon goodies next day.  It works, I have had dozens of shipments to prove it. What with bwo here, the security guard downstairs at squint central (Egham branch) has been keeping in shape running up and down the stairs to bringing me Amazon orders. This whole order something today and it's here tomorrow is really quite nice.

In other news, looks like the house on Petersham will be where we will be staying for the next 1.5 years (starting the end of March of course). So that is finally organized. Now there are the dozens of other bureaucratic issues to take care of. A bank account for one. The squints recommended I go with HSBC, only because they have the best internet access.  The relo people here notified an HSBC rep who contacted me yesterday. It all went well until they asked for proof of address.  Of course, the relo company sign the lease with the landlord and take care of all the utilities, so there is really nothing in our name to prove we live here. When I asked for something like this, our relo rep (another Joanne) sort of verbally shrugged her shoulders and told me "she will look into it", which from my limited experience of English culture means, you're screwed. There is no official ID card or some sort of generic ID over here, you just need to show a signed lease, or utility bill to prove residence. Not all that easy in our case.  We shall see.

In other, other news. Bwo has managed to visit Windsor twice, neither time to look at the castle, but rather to research the shops. It is really nice having someone to come home at night. I have been spending way too much time on my own in the last while.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Only 27 people in economy on bwo and my flight from Tel Aviv to London last night. I assume it's because it was Saturday. Good to remember this. I have done this route many, many times in the past few months and the flight is always packed.  The flight was so empty, I scored the whole emergency exit row, opposite the backward facing flight attendant. We got to chatting during the taxi and wait to take off. She told me that indeed the route to Israel is not one of the most desirable and least bid upon, as people are (how did she put it again) rude and aggressive. The emergency exit rows cost $75 if you book them in advance and she told me this little story from her flight from Heathrow to Tel Aviv. An elderly (religious) gent and his serious wife were sitting in two of the emergency exit seats.  When the door closed, their aisle seat was still free and a young man asked her  (the flight attendant) if he could sit in the empty seat as it has way more leg room. The seated couple protested vehemently. "We paid $75 for these seats, so you can't just sit here". The Flight Attendant told them, "you did not pay of this empty seat" and told the guy to move there immediately. She told me she's Italian, and even in Italy people aren't that nasty. Nice.

We woke up this morning to cold rain and darkness. We took a drive into Richmond to go scope out the area we hope to be moving to. It is very nice. There are miles of nice walks, parks, a huge common and the Thames down the road and of course lots of shops.  We stopped and parked in the town and even with the miserable weather there were many people walking about.  A buzzing place. The guide book (Lonely Planet's London) I read on the plane said that Richmond's river walk is totally packed in the summer and that the quieter park is where the locals hang out. We drove back through Kew, past the house we nearly ended up with, it now seems a bit far and out of the way.

Work again tomorrow and believe it or not I have that "Sunday Evening Feeling" just like I would get on Saturday evenings before work at squint central Israel. It seems that wherever I go in this world, my weekend ends with a touch of a downer. It will be a busy week and then next weekend I'm off to the US.

Friday, February 8, 2013


It's been a while. We found a house in Richmond, then lost it, then found it again. It appears that sometime around the end of March (yes, it's a long way away) we most likely will be moving to the house that bwo wanted on Petersham Road. On a Friday morning a few weeks back, Jonathan, the real estate agent showed up at my temporary digs in Egham to take the wife and I out to look at houses. It just happened to be the heaviest snow day of the year. Undeterred we set out it look at 10 or so possible rental places.  We chose the Richmond area as it's about half way between work and the city, on the train line between Waterloo and Egham and a reportedly a good place to live.

Many of the places were livable (to me at least). I was happy to not be driving through the snow, which got thicker during the course of the day. It added another level of strange to the whole experience. At some point shortly after lunch we met Danny, the renter's agent who took us to the house on Petersham Road. Well, it at least has parking out front, was my first thought, the grubby wood floor at the entrance left me a little skeptical, it also needs a bus trip to get to Richmond staion. But the house was special. Lots of (very low) wooden ceiling beams, smallish interconnecting rooms, a weird basement done up to look like a sixties bachelor pad's love nest (complete with mood lighting). I could see bwo falling in love before my eyes. It was just quirky enough. The owner is a writer and she built a "charming" little writing shed in the midst of the little garden off the lane behind the house. I liked the place. I particularly liked that it was definitely English. Many of the other places we saw could have been anywhere in the world, but this (a converted tavern) was definitely all English. The house is also directly across from Richmond Park's Petersham Gate. The park is one of the main attractions in the area and is spectacular (with trees and forests, including deer).

Anyway once we got back home, bwo decided this was for her. So she set off to meet the landlady and to find out more. Now when you go on relocation, nothing is simple. The company outsources finding, and renting the accommodation to a third party, who do all the negotiation and ultimately sign the lease for you. Bwo and I were about to return to Israel when we heard that even though the landlady really liked bwo, they had decided that renting to us would be too much hassle.  They were planning a trip to Thailand and we had not given enough time for renovation and the furniture etc. We were sad. The relo people advised that's just the way it is and we should accept it. So we returned to Israel (me for the weekend before heading back) without a place to live.

A week passed. Bwo was unsettled as we made plans for her to come out for another house hunting trip. We had seen other places that would do. After all it was only for a year plus we told ourselves. But I know my girl, she wanted that house. Anyway I spoke to the outsourced agent and we decided we could postpone our entry into the house till the end of March and settle for less renovation. This week it seems they have accepted the new offer, although we have not had final word yet. So maybe we have a place to live.

A quirky house on Petersham Road in Richmond, opposite the park, on the way to Kingston, behind Ham and close to the Thames and Twikenham. More to come as things develop.