May14

Written by:Driper
Thursday, May 14, 2009 

Well another few weeks have passed and I am preparing for our trip to Greece which is now turning into only a trip for Greece. It was simply to difficult and costly to go somewhere else before hand. Being contractors every day we take off we don't get paid, something we are no use to. Given my contract currently covers us only until the last day in August our trip is somewhat bad timing as no doubt we won't have a great deal of cash and I would prefer to be well into looking for a job just as we will actually be on holiday. Having said that I am lead to believe that they will not cancel my contract until my replacement arrives which could be some time, who knows. With all this in mind we decided to do a short trip to Naxos Island (in the Greek Cyclades with Mykonos and Santorini (Thira). We found some great accommodation that isn't expensive (Mykonos is the most expensive of the three, then Santorini and then Naxos). Naxos is actually physically the larges t island of the three (I think the entire Cyclades) but somewhat less popular and therefore has the added bonus of being cheaper. There does however seem to be a lot to do and see there and it's something different from the other islands for us. We are planning to spend about 3 full days at each location with a little travel time between each in addition. We have decided to fly from London to Athens, transfer to the port and catch the high speed ferry from the port (Paraues) to Naxos. I looked at direct flights to Mykonos or Santorini and a boat to Naxos but it turned out another 40 pound and we arrived at the same time (because it was the same ferry in the end). Having been there before I knew we should take the high speed boats (about half the travel time) and that Hellanic were the best option.

Well another few weeks have passed and I am preparing for our trip to Greece which is now turning into only a trip for Greece. It was simply to difficult and costly to go somewhere else before hand. Being contractors every day we take off we don't get paid, something we are no use to. Given my contract currently covers us only until the last day in August our trip is somewhat bad timing as no doubt we won't have a great deal of cash and I would prefer to be well into looking for a job just as we will actually be on holiday. Having said that I am lead to believe that they will not cancel my contract until my replacement arrives which could be some time, who knows. With all this in mind we decided to do a short trip to Naxos Island (in the Greek Cyclades with Mykonos and Santorini (Thira). We found some great accommodation that isn't expensive (Mykonos is the most expensive of the three, then Santorini and then Naxos). Naxos is actually physically the larges t island of the three (I think the entire Cyclades) but somewhat less popular and therefore has the added bonus of being cheaper. There does however seem to be a lot to do and see there and it's something different from the other islands for us. We are planning to spend about 3 full days at each location with a little travel time between each in addition. We have decided to fly from London to Athens, transfer to the port and catch the high speed ferry from the port (Paraues) to Naxos. I looked at direct flights to Mykonos or Santorini and a boat to Naxos but it turned out another 40 pound and we arrived at the same time (because it was the same ferry in the end). Having been there before I knew we should take the high speed boats (about half the travel time) and that Hellanic were the best option.

Obviously that trip is a little far away to be our next one so our short trip for the weekend (that it looks like I have ended up planning in retrospect) will be to Cornwall. I had looked at hiring a car and driving to Bruges however Freda is a little nervous about me driving on the other side of the road (now someone knows who's fault that is don't they). It sounded ideal, its about 100miles (160km) to the ferry from home and about the same from the port on the other side to Bruges. Oh well, next time.
Working with something a bit more local we are thinking that we can hire a car and drive to Cornwall. It will take about 5 hours but on the way there we can go via Bristol for a night. On the way back we can split our journey with stops to places like Stonehenge which to be honest I know nothing about but think we should see (you know, a bit of culture).
It works out fairly cost effective, the long weekend drives prices for everything up so a flight to somewhere nice was about 400 pounds return each, a bit much for a long weekend. The car on the other hand is about 100 pounds to hire, we will use about 100 pounds in petrol and then accommodation which is around 100 pound a night. All in all probably a 500 pound weekend.

I'm still getting the occasional call from recruiters seeing if I am looking for work and I tell them about the length of my contract and most recruiters politely terminate the conversation. Some however indicate that its not a problem and progress the conversation regarding the opportunity. Once recent role was for Oxford University which as shocking as this may be is located in Oxford. I say this because it's about 70km the wrong way from our house. It took me 2 hours to get there for what I was lead to believe was a 1 to 1 interview which turned out to be a panel interview. Well actually 2 panel interviews. I met a total of 11 people and was interviewed by 9 people.  Because Oxford didn't really have any SharePoint people to interview me and this was a SharePoint role they decided the best person to interview me would be Microsoft. Apart from the fact I forget most technical things in an interview I seem to do well generally but having Microsoft at the end of the table doing the interview was a little off putting. Probably more so because I knew of the gentlemen asking the questions and some of the work he had done in the past surrounding SharePoint.

Oxford itself was a nice looking place. Didn't really have time for sightseeing or photos but it was basically a nicer looking more spread out London with an average population of probably 25. The 70km train ride from London (Liverpool St Station) to Oxford takes just under an hour so it's not a big trip particularly when you consider that Parramatta to North Sydney (35km) takes about 45 minutes. The trains even at 2 pm was fully packed to the point that some people found the floor to be  a replacement seat.
 

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