First Days in London

22 Sep

Coming into a new country and knowing very little about it you soon realise that you require alot of help to get yourselves up and running!  Rob Boere has been SO HELPFUL!  Explaining the transport system, where the best places to shop are, what you need to set in place in regards to IRD people, etc, etc, as well as welcoming us into his home.

First of all we needed to change our cellphones over to the local networks, this was particularly important for me as I had visions of me loosing Dennis in the middle of a museum…..  We made email contact with the House Sitting Agency to arrange a time to meet with them to sign contracts, etc.  Then the search began on getting ourselves a motorhome.  On Ebay, there were 300 available in the country, this was whittled down to 30 within a reasonable distance from Rob’s place and in the right price bracket, and then to the two “best buys”.  Rob was willing to drive us to these two sites and that would take the entire Saturday!

So on Saturday we set off to Gerrads Cross to view the better of the two motorhomes.  We were thrilled to hear from the House Sitting lady, Gail, that she actually lived about 5 minutes drive from the motorhome guy, and although the office was closed she invited us to her home for coffee, if we didn’t mind that they were in their weekend clothes!  What a blessing to have the two most important things only a couple of miles apart.

So we had a lovely meeting with Gail, her husband and young son.  Dennis signed all the relevant papers and found out what he needed to do to get an IRD number, before we could begin work.  Then off to see the motorhome.  The three of us were impressed with the van, inside and out and after speaking with the owner for some time, the mechanic who last issued the equivalent of a warrant in August, and knocking down the price abit we decided to buy it.  We would have to wait until Tuesday,21 September to have our finances available and arranged to pick it up on the Wednesday.  I was already nervous about driving it back home five days in advance!!

Graham, the motorhome owner, lived in a beautiful thatched cottage that had been the gatehouse to a large stately home.  Build around 1790.  After this successful morning we went and had a yummy lunch at The Black Horse, circa 1691!

The rest of the village. Gerrads Cross

The Black Horse

On the way home Rob took us through another part of London that we had not seen as yet.  This city is just so huge.  The landscape is so flat it is differcult to get your bearings.  The central CBD area has only a few really tall buildings, like the Gherkin, the Shard and a few other tall office blocks but mainly it’s older, beautiful buildings around 5 or 6 stories high.  One thing that is odd that there are no verandas over the shop fronts!

Rob lives in Shooters Hill, named so because this was where highwaymen robbed carriages traveling through to Dover, in the old days.  It is one of very few hills in London and so it’s a good place to actully get an overall view of the city.


Rob's house

On Sunday we went along with Rob to worship at St Helen’s Church, right in the middle of London, almost directly next door to The Gherkin.  The building itself is gorgeous, build in 1210 it has survived the Great Fire of London in 1666, the destruction of both World Wars, IRA bomb attacks in 1992 and 1993.  It is thought that William Shakespeare attended this church.  The congregation is mostly students attending the various universities around London but also has many regulars around our age.  One of the church workers told us the congregation is around 2000 so they have 3 services each Sunday with a midweek service as well.  Also Bible Study groups, etc.  There are 84 paid workers at the church.  They have a focus of church planting both here and abroad.  We certainly felt right at home during the service, surrounded by around 500 mainly young people, who knew how to sing joyful praises to God!

The Gherkin

Side view of St Helens Church


5 Responses to “First Days in London”

  1. John and Maria September 23, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    Thinking of you today Janette as I planted a punnet of silverbeet – it is spring after all. You will not think about that going into Winter etc. We have daylight saving starting this weekend. Looking forward to the photo of your home on wheels. Every blessing and greetings from John & Maria.

  2. John and Maria September 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Janette can you give us your postal address when you begin to house sit – how long will you be there? Maria

  3. Beaven and Viv September 24, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    We loved the history – makes you realise how young our country is.

    You guys seem to be landing on your feet – fantastic – just love reading about your


    We are all geared up for the NZ V France games tonight – All Black flags flying in all directions!!

  4. Anna Baird September 25, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    Hi Mum and Dad,
    We’re enjoying reading your blog posts and we’re suitably impressed you have even mastered uploading the photos! So how did driving the campervan home go? It could make an interesting blogpost perhaps???

    love Anna

  5. Leen September 28, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    Welcome to London!!!! Great to hear that the locals are friendly to antipodeans (country types from down under) Love your descriptions Janette, I can picture it very clearly. Blessings to you both

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