Archive for May, 2013

Three Months in Manchester

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Today is the three-month-versary of my new adventure in Manchester. I realised this last night and almost fell over when I realised that I have been here for a quarter of a year. That sounds like a very long time but once again I am feeling that mixed sensation where the time has both flown past and I feel like I have been here forever. I am not, however experiencing the infamous Three-Month-Depression which is a relief. Perhaps it is because I haven’t moved here from my home town and so I don’t have that intense desire to return to Perth. Instead, this morning on Skype I declared to my best friend that I am HAPPY. And I meant it.

I haven’t written on my blog for a significantly long time and I apologise to anyone who has been habitually checking to see what cake I have eaten recently (although that you can see on my Instagram account here.) I can assure you that I have been eating cake (some good, some not so good) and generally enjoying myself in this reliably rainy city. What have I been doing… Allow me to summarise:

  • I have settled into my new office space and have started having light conversation with some of the other people working there. It has been great to be able to leave my apartment and my ridiculously uncomfortable dining chairs to be able to sit on almost-as-uncomfortable wooden school chairs in a communal office space. Nice to have other people around and to hear the gentle hum of work.
  • I got a job! I will soon be Manchester’s best waitress, working at a brand new restaurant that is opening in the fancy-pants shiny office zone of Spinningfields. The restaurant is called “Artisan” and it is going to have local artists’ work on the walls. Plus it is owned by the same company who run Australasia – my favourite restaurant in Manchester and home to two of the best desserts I have ever consumed in my life. So I have high hopes for the desserts on offer in this restaurant that I will hopefully be able to sample regularly.
  • I have been networking like a professional. It started off as a way to make friends and has evolved into potential work opportunities – I have been to numerous meet ups with people working in creative industries, or just random people who decided to come and drink beer and draw on paper table cloths. It has been a lot of fun and my confidence in meeting new people has grown enormously.
  • I spent a fantastic Sunday afternoon walking around Manchester with a new photographer/web designer friend, interviewing random Mancunians to use for a book proposal. Nathan and I were applying for job to create a book about veteran cricket players in Yorkshire. Sadly, we didn’t get the job, but we did get a taste for the crazy characters of this city and are now planning our own book. Stay tuned.
  • The sun has come out twice. This weekend was a bank holiday and the sun blessed us with its presence on Saturday and Sunday. I discovered that having my skin covered up for seven months has resulted in it being the whitest it has ever been, and also the most sensitive to the sun. Exposure to a few rays and turned red. I have learnt a valuable lesson. Today it is raining again so it is back to long sleeves.

I have been busy busy busy which has been fantastic. I am making friends, meeting new people, exploring Manchester, visiting exhibitions, writing, eating, doing. Life is good and Manchester is treating me well. Although I would greatly appreciate less pathetic drizzle. It gets in the way, is quite depressing and my umbrella has officially carked it. I really need to invest in water proof clothing.

In the Office

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Exciting times in the world of Zaum, me and all things Manchester – I am writing to you from my new office space! Extraordinarily uncomfortable faux-leather dining chairs, home-related distractions and general boredom while working in my apartment have encouraged me to seek new office territory. There are a lot of small, shared studio spaces around Manchester, most offering space to work at really low prices. I signed up to join a space called The Classroom – a white walled, school-desk furnished work space that is used by freelancers of various disciplines. For £24 a month, I can come in here and use the desks, printer, kitchen, and internet on any weekday from 9am to 6.30pm. I am yet to really meet anyone but I have only been here for half an hour. It’ll happen. I can smell great potential.

Getting My Legs Out

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Something truly astonishing has happened today. After approximately seven months hidden in the dark cave of jeans and trousers (I live in England now so I am practising not saying ‘pants’), my legs have escaped and are being exposed to UV light. The forecast for today is 19 degrees and sunny, which is the British equivalent of mid-summer in Australia. While 19 degrees would normally have me in multiple layers and complaining about how freezing it is, my internal thermometer appears to have shifted since moving to Europe and I am currently thinking, “Gosh, it’s warm.” I am joining the inevitable onslaught of pale and pudgy English flesh that will be reflecting the sun’s rays in parks, terraced pubs and any sunny public space. Normally I would be shy of my ridiculously pale legs, but here I blend in nicely. Although I am contemplating joining the Orange folk with their splodgy boot-polish brown spray tans. Then all I need to do is draw on some fake eyebrows, peroxide my hair and wear some leopard-print lycra and I’ll look like a local.

It is 10.30am on a Bank Holiday and the city is currently dead as everyone recovers from their MAD Sunday night out on the town. As my Sunday night involved abstinence from alcohol, a chicken and roast vegetable salad, and the final of Master Chef, I was up for my usual morning run at 7.15am. Running on public holidays is the most enjoyable experience as NO ONE else is around. Today was particularly glorious as the sun was shining, there was no wind, the air was slightly crisp and the trees are currently in bloom with pink and white blossom. All I needed was for a deer to run along side me and I could have been Mary Poppins. But as I returned to the city and ran along the main drag of Deansgate, I ran past a series of pubs that had smashed glass and beer stains all over the pavement. The stench from stale beer was overwhelming and forced me to run faster in order to get away from it. I don’t think Mary Poppins had to deal with that.

Today I am planning a walk along the Manchester Canal to the Lowry centre where there is a food festival on. I am mostly going in order to complete one of my 108 challenges – to get as close to Paul Hollywood (a celebrity baker/chef with “piercing blue eyes”) as possible. He will be there signing books and as long as I don’t have to buy a book, I will attempt to get a photo with him. Right – time to go and work on my tan.

Bread Winner

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

On Saturday afternoon I took the train through the glorious hills of the Peak District to Sheffield to see Brother Ben. I don’t think I will tire of this train ride – an hour of rolling hills, small English towns, sheep (so many lambs at the moment) and beautiful trees. On Saturday the sun was sort of shining so the sky was blue with big puffy white clouds. Quite spectacular.

So pretty in the Peaks.

So pretty in the Peaks.

On the Sunday I helped the Forge Bakehouse team sell bread at the Sheffield Antiques fair. Ben and I set up the stall with the wonderful help of Martha’s mum and her bread mobile (or Range Rover) and then two hours later started packing up. The bread disappeared in a flash as people stood umming and ahhing about which bread to choose, eventually deciding to take multiple loaves after I suggested slicing them up and popping them in the freezer for future convenience.

Mmm... bread.

Mmm… bread.

It was a fun weekend involving plenty of food and Ben falling asleep on couches after having two very early morning starts. The only down point was that I somehow missed my train back to Manchester by 30 seconds, meaning I had to buy another very expensive ticket to get home. Not happy, but as I am currently reading my horoscope on a daily basis for my 108in108 challenge, I discovered that it wasn’t my fault – it was the stars. Or the moon or whatever. The energies. Apparently that weekend was a BAD weekend to travel for business and I would experience hold ups and inconveniences. So there we go. It wasn’t just because I lost track of time and left home too late. Damn you, moon!