The last days of the past...
05.05.2010 - 07.05.2010 12 °C
I know I wrote in my last blog entry that I was starting work this week, but I didn't. This week was a short week with Monday being a holiday, so my start date was pushed back to next Monday. Therefore, I had one more week of unemployed bliss before starting my new job.
The weather has been nice, so I've mostly been out wandering around. As I am moving away from the King's Cross area soon, I wanted a last few attempts to check out the area. This week included a trip to British Library beside St. Pancras station to see an exhibition on Maps.
There was a map from the 1680s - some 15ish years after the great fire - of London. You can see a zoomable flash version or a simple picture version online. What was interesting is that looking at the maps of the City of London and the southern part of Westminster, I was easily able to identify the streets. In fact, I could have taken the map down and very successfully navigated the streets using the old map.
My current home near King's Cross wasn't on the map (it would have been fields and small villages at the time), nor would me new home in Kensington, which also would have been outside of the urban area of London back in the 1600s.
After checking out the British Library exhibit, I headed to the local polling station to vote. Thursday was polling day in the local and national elections here in the UK (local elections only in England, but national in all four countries). As a Commonwealth citizen with residency in the UK, I was able to vote. Unlike the Euro elections last year, the national elections use a simple first-past-the-post system, where the person with the most votes gets the seat.
After watching 4 hours of election coverage on Thursday night, I went to bed at 2 in the morning with the result still being up in the air. Friday I woke up at 8:30 and picked up watching the coverage. The result was slightly less muddy in the morning, but still unclear. The UK woke up to a "hung parliament," with no one party winning a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. Coming from Canada, I'm used to minority governments, but its a very unusual situation here in the UK, and people are justifiably nervous about it at a time when the Eurozone is on shaky ground and the UK's debt load is historically high.
Come lunch, I went over to Chapel Market in Angel, Islington to grab lunch. I often head over to Chapel Market for lunch, both during the past 2 months of unemployment and during the previous 6 months of employment when I was working from home. Today as I walked through Chapel Market, I realized, starting work on Monday and moving out of the area in less than a month, this could be the last time I head over here for lunch.
I grabbed one of the best lunches available. First up a burger from the "Designer Burger" stall, where the proprietor calls his customer's agents - "Agent 2," he called out to me, being the second customer in line, "what would you like?"
"A burger - non-chilli - with cheese, please," I replied.
"Non-chilli with cheese," he confirmed, before moving on to get the order from Agent 3.
After my burger was prepared, I headed over to the Crown Fish and Chip Bar to pick up a large order of chips. Real, honest-to-God chips, with vinegar and salt. Ordered it for "take away," so they wrapped it up in brown paper for me.
Burger and chips in hand, which I have come to call my "Chapel Market Lunch," I headed home to see the rest of the election coverage.
I headed home and spent my last day of weekday freedom eating my last Chapel Market lunch and watching the leaders of the political parties discuss how to form the next government. How it will all shake out is still unclear, but what is clear that a minority or coalition government will be a change for the UK. Just like the change coming to my work life on Monday, and the change coming to housing situation in less than a month.
Days of upheaval are ahead, both for this country and me personally. I'm not scared, though. I'm excited.