Bosman's London Letter - 28 May 2001
Hello all Just a short note to let you know that after almost four months of living off other people's hospitality and making pests of ourselves (thanks Jill & Marke and Bridget) we have finally taken the plunge and found a place of our own. Well, actually we found it some six weeks or so ago but were only able to move in on the 21st of May. Its in deepest darkest suburban Chiswick and so far we are loving it (although we have only been here just over a week and have barely unpacked all our grimy camping kit). Our flat is part of a huge country mansion (or so we like to think) that has been subdivided and which is within spitting distance of the Thames, Kew Gardens and Richmond upon Thames. The mansion broom closet that we occupy due to various reasons (mostly linked to the high cost of rentals in the area) has wonderfully high ceilings and five enormous windows (three of which are part of a bay arrangement). The high ceilings have allowed for a loft area to be built which gives us two bedrooms in what rightly should be a bachelor flat! Luckily we have a separate galley kitchen and a wonderful communal garden which we have already tested out for braais (on our newly acquired 8 pound porta-braai) much to the envy of our neighbours. Living in suburbia we are surrounded by leafy streets, recycling bins and Volvo station wagons. We are also very much part of the local civil society which has an active pot-hole early awareness campaign lead by Mrs Vivienne Blackett of Horston. There is also a campaign against pubs closing later following the controversy earlier this year that saw the trendy All Bar One pub being allowed extended opening hours - that one hour extension to midnight would apparently have caused no end of mayhem to the sleep patterns of the local residents. Its all very exciting, particularly in view of the upcoming election where issues like pot-holes can be make or break for marginal candidates!
Other news is that I am now gainfully employed on a permanent basis by the firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, an enormous firm by South African standards although by no means large in comparison with some of the magic circle based in the City. I'm in their Professional Regulatory Unit which is basically a custom built unit dealing with legal work for the General Medical Council and various other regulatory bodies. The work is very interesting and involves investigating cases of misconduct against doctors - and boy have there been some of those! Complaints about doctors and the NHS seem to have soared to record proportions and we are involved in a number of high profile and newsworthy cases - mostly fairly gruesome I'm afraid - organ harvesting, serial killer GP's and botched childrens' heart operations! I am learning more than I need to know about medical procedures and drugs and am developing a rather healthy respect (unhealthy fear) of the medical profession which has taken care of any latent hypochondria that I may have had! The department I work in is made up of a really interesting group of people - lots of young dynamic lawyers (some of whom are ex-doctors), three partners and ten ex-metropolitan police officers who are all in their sixties, on their second careers and all look dangerously like Inspector Morse! So far the job has taken me to some interesting parts of England - in search of alcoholic doctors in Devon, to inquests in Southend-on-Sea and to Downing Street of all places (only because its the seat of the Privy Council) although I did try my damnedest to catch a glimpse of Tony.
Nev is still enjoying his job and is now actively (and very importantly) liaising with Copenhagen and Dallas on various legal issues including the VAT structuring in various countries where the company does business. He is also involved in the drafting of the company Health and Safety policy and has become the regulatory authority ensuring that nobody suffers from computer induced eye fatigue or mouse related repetitive stress injury and that there are enough accessible toilets on every level! Unfortunately, with all this Health and Safetying and Vatting we have not yet managed to score a trip to any exotic destination. He is feeling much happier now that we live closer to work - his commute is now a mere half an hour after the previous two train, two bus two-and-a-half-hour nightmare. The weather is much improved and morale is high! We have been treated to two weeks of superb warm weather and are getting used to the famous late sunsets. We have been trying to make the most of it all by working enormous numbers of picnics and park strolls into our schedules. A couple of weeks ago we headed out to the Pembrokeshire area in Wales with Richard and Ida for the bank holiday weekend. It was a superb weekend - lots of walking along gorgeous coastal paths, quaint Welsh towns, lots of braais and camping despite the fact that it was still chilly spring!
That's all for now.
lots of love
Penny and Neville