Friday, January 25, 2008


Good news. I've signed the lease, and I've organised insurance, which surprisingly isn't really cheaper than in South Africa (for household insurance at least). That might be because its covers more though - it seems they assume you have at least £10,000 worth on stuff, and there are various things they cover like legal fees. They didn't include a nude lady though.

The bad news is that the bank is causing me grief. They didn't send a debit card (which is also an ATM card), so the only way I can get money out is through electronic transfers. First they said it was in the process of being issued (almost a month after I'd opened the account?), now they say they don't have the application form from me. So I've had to go and fill in the form, and it'll take another week before I get it.

Next week I'm moving in, and I'll need to organise broadband. That's probably the last thing that I'm really stressed about, especially since it's a 1 year contract so if I make the wrong choices I'm rather stuck with it. It also means that from Tuesday you might find me slow on replying to emails if I don't get it set up right away.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sitting around

Well, today was not terribly exciting. I collected my bicycle this morning (yes I did actually do some exercise, don't get a heart attack). Hopefully it hasn't been stolen yet: the guy at the bike shop seemed to indicate that they'd steal pretty much any part of your bike that wasn't locked to something, including your lights and your pump. Makes my feel like I never left home :-)

Other than that, I'm just waiting to get the lease to sign (was supposed to be last night, now supposedly tonight). I also looked at broadband options today, and if you thought this could be confusing in South Africa, you haven't seen anything. I'm planning on going with Virgin (they do cable, which I've heard from two different people is better than ADSL). They have options for TV (depending on how many channels you want), internet (speed), phone (free calls), and an option to get free minutes on Virgin mobile. However, ONLY
the phone options can be taken on their own. Everything else is either "costs X when you also have Y" or is part of a bundle. And you can't combine bundles. So you can get low-grade TV free with the phone line, or broadband for £4.50 with the phone line, but not both. And you can't have both low-grade TV and the phone line.

Once I've signed the lease I can start looking into things like insurance, and actually ordering the broadband, and planning what to ship, join the library, etc etc.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The House of Merry

So, without mucking about too much, I have obtained accommodation for the next six months (well, I will have once I've received the lease and signed it and paid a deposit etc). It's a one bedroom house in Lucerne Close. And if you thought South Africa had some crazy road naming, go look up "Lucerne Close, Cambridge" in Google maps and zoom right in. It's not a road, it's a tree of roads with 7 dead-ends.

This afternoon I intend to buy a bicycle, if the weather holds up.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hectic in Cambridge

Right, the flight was relatively uneventful, apart from the obligatory screaming infant. The bus to Cambridge ended up taking 3 hours, which wasn't much fun, but on the other hand my room was ready for me when I arrived.

So far I've been to collect my mail from Blaise (banking stuff) and have lunch with him in St Johns. I don't know if it's just because this is an offshore account, but banking seems worryingly slow here. My mail included various things including detail for getting on to online banking, but apparently the debit card could still take a few days. A little worrying when that is what I was planning to use for spending round here.

Sigh... I've just got a phone call to cancel one of the viewings I had planned for tomorrow. That leaves me with basically two at the moment (one I must confirm now), and one of them only actually opens later in February. So I'll be doing lots of flat-hunting this week.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Off to Cambridge

I'm off to Cambridge to earn my living, until I get sick of the weather. I'm in the departure lounge in Cape Town, Firefox on Linux doesn't want to start, and I'm expecting my flight to be called any minute. I'll write more later.