Saturday, January 30

Living the high life

No doubt you've noticed recent blog posts have been punctuated by periods of inactivity. A combination of a heavy workload and a routine home life are conspiring to keep me offline. I'm either too weary to craft something inspiring, or life has been so predictable that chronicling it could send you to sleep in seconds. However, there have been a few moment worth compiling in a brief potpourri post.

Olympic Countdown
A couple of weeks ago my company hosted an event at the Paramount Club in central London. This is truly a stunning venue that opened in late 2008. It's a private members club located on Level 31 of Centrepoint, a controversial high-rise building in Soho. Centrepoint was built in 1966 and rises to a height of 117 metres, or 32 floors. It was one of the city's first skyscrapers and very nearly became its last. At the time it violated every conceivable height restriction imposed by the City of London, creating massive public outcry. As a result, no other buildings of similar height were ever built in the area and so it offers unrivalled views across London in every direction.

Everyone at the event commented on the view and spent the evening identifying popular London locations in the dark; the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Wembley Stadium, Buckingham Palace and so on. However, it was the Olympic Countdown clock wrapped around the top of BT Tower that caught my eye. It was unveiled on October 31 last year to mark 1000 days until the opening ceremony of the 2010 Summer Olympic Games.

Within a few years this view will be surpassed by that from the rapidly rising Shard of Glass, a new skyscraper being built over London Bridge station. When completed in 2012 The Shard will rise 310 metres above the Thames and briefly hold the tile of Europe's tallest building. It's a stunning trianglar design created by world-renown architect, Renzo Piano. He's the genius behind Paris' famous Pompidou centre and Aurora Place in Sydney. The Shard will have 72 floors, including a public observation deck at the top of the building's stunning glass apex. I've read that the concrete core currently under construction rises an incredible three metres every day.

Garry remains employed
Garry's contract has been renewed until June. We'll both be gainfully employed until Summer. I'm currently holding down two jobs at the moment; my regular day job as well as interim manager of UK business. We're actively searching for a suitable replacement so I'm hopeful life will return to normal fairly soon. One job is quite enough.

Wining and dining
We've both been out wining and dining in recent weeks. My CEO was in town last week, which offered the perfect opportunity to enjoy a few of my favourite London venues; Roka and Balans. Garry and I have also caught up with friends for lunch and drinks, again enjoying a few of our favourite restaurants; Boheme Kitchen and Balans (again!). We even tried our local Indian restaurant for the first time in four years. It's been fun going into the city as our frequent travel last year often kept us away from Central London.

Country Living
Finally, a group of us have combined resources and booked an Elizabethan Manor House near Bath for a long weekend in February. We'll be celebrating a friend's 40th birthday in style, relaxing on deep leather sofas in front of roaring log fire. Garry did some phenomenal research, tracking down this stone home built in 1604, then negotiating a deal far below the website sticker price. We've already spotted a suit of armour in website images!

And finally, our neighbourhood fox is in good health. We've seen him several times in recent days enjoying the warmer weather (that means, temperatures above zero). I still marvel at the fact we have such an animal in our yard.


rhonda said...

Thanks for the titbits. The house in Bath sounds wonderful. How lucky are you two to be able to experience all the treasures England has to offer.

Swatch said...

We're just hoping the Manor House isn't one of those experiences where the photos on the internet looks far better than what you get in real life!