Date: 12 February 2015.
Location: 55 bus home. The red double decker bus has not yet lost its toy-like appeal to me.
An update on work + play in London.
The office is in creative, fashionable Bloomsbury — the home of Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley (note: note Aldous as potential, hypothetical progeny name?) and the Bloomsbury Group of artists — where museums and parks and formal squares dominate. Homicidal minicabs aside, you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a more regal era. The office itself occupies a hulking period cave of a building, gutted and revamped for a moden healthcare monster to inhabit. On the ground floor is the gym, glassed behind tall windows so that the fitness prowess of all the little employees is on show for bundled-up passersby to see. In reception, a fruit bowl and smoothies, for guests to make their day a little healthier. On the lift doors, scrawled in mock graffiti, encouragement to take the stairs, ‘Don’t even think about it! The stairs are that way,’, ‘Entrance to the Walkacademy is behind you!’. On the top floor is the Observatory with a panoramic view over London landmarks just like those on my coffee mug — the Gherkin, the Shard, St Paul’s, the roof of the British Museum — with a cafe with tolerable coffee with nutty, grainy, fruity health bars that they loyally name after the company, and an office restaurant. The restaurant offers an selection of mains every day (including a clean eating option!), a soup bar, DIY jacket potatoes and a better-than-Sizzler salad bar. Today for lunch I selected the ‘hot protein’ of salmon escalope with caper drizzle and added a beet salad. Yesterday it was courgette pasta with minted avocado and a winter greens and pomegranate salad. You pay for everything with a little card onto which you can load cash, and everything is heavily subsided. Is this the norm in London? I love it. Though, it does make lunch a lot like the school cafeteria. Who are the cool kids? Am I loser if I sit alone? On which day do we wear pink?
The work itself is almost all new to me so I’m in sponge mode — absorbing all knowledge — and puppy mode — wagging my tail at everyone, tiring easily at night.
The 23 year old legal intern has developed a little crush on me. This is sweet as he’s so friendly. And also handy: he does my company searches and brings me tea. More details on the rest of the team if they prove relevant.
My one complaint so far is that they won’t pay you until you’ve worked a full month. I’m not sure how anyone survives in this city for a full month without being paid in pounds first — especially people from countries, such as our dear little Australia, whose dollar is worth 50 pence! Let alone how anyo e survives, pays a securit deposit and rent and socialises. In a town where your weekly public transport may cost you upwards if $75! Quite honestly, that aspect of London is proving to be a bit of a ‘wake up with cold sweats every night’ nightmare.
It’s already getting a little Made In Chelsea.
Wednesday night I had drinks (and a tapas dinner, an afterthought) with Legally Blonde in Holborn. 3 glasses of wine apiece, at the Square Pig’s very generous 250ml a glass means… uh oh. A whole bottle of wine apiece on a school night.
She filled me in on work (horror) and dating (worse). Her childhood friend has also moved to London and has recently broken up with his girlfriend. He, she and a mutual girl friend have become a tight-knit London triumvirate. They all three banter like siblings. They have little three person dinner parties. They’re planning Easter in NYC together. She swears they’re all just friends. If this was a Kate Hudson movie, our Boy would fall for the other Girl, Legally Blonde would be thrilled initially, then suddenly realise that she loves Boy, be devastated and cancel her ticket to New York, then end up chasing after Boy at Heathrow, miss him, turn around at the gate and see him waiting there for her after all.
This may yet happen.
Work + Play
Tonight is drinks with the legal team. Best behave.