Saturday, November 27, 2010

This week summary


This week I've been to a fringe theatre for the first time thanks to my brother visiting London who dragged me out. Actually, I've watched even two shows, The Showstopper at King's Head and The Coalition at 503 theatre.

Both performances were as unusual as the venues are (full-functional pubs with a small stage behind the ordinary door) - an improvised musical and a political satire (too straightforward here and there, but for that shotgun episode anything could be forgiven). As a completely amateur spectator I am likely very easy to impress but even on that assumption I was utterly delighted in either case.

By the way this is a bad picture of Sean McCann taken outside the pub (just wanted to use it in the post but didn't know how to drive to it). He is a great MC:

So I realised that I was missing much (surprise!) and will try to get more of London culture in future. Speaking of which:


This week Home office has announced that the visa type we are living here with is due to be closed in April. It became a tradition that the initial press release doesn't reveal some important details which I hope will follow soon enough but the main thing perfectly clear: the last so-called "high skilled" visa granting the right to be hired as easy as locals will be issued in March 2011 (and before that no more than 600 visas will be issued every month which, if you considered that opportunity, makes applying even right now almost pointless).

It is not clear yet if those with already issued visas of that type will be allowed to extend their existing status or they'll have to switch to other types of clearance or leave the country. Sadly, judging on the previous HO decisions the latter is much more probable.

The new visa type accessible to most of the current holders allows employment only in case if no locals were hired in several months before for some serious reason. Also, not every company is allowed to hire staff this way and even if it is (which costs extra money to the company, of course) there is a very limited number of "slots" per employer.

One can say it looks exactly like American H-1B visa found good enough by many people all over the world but to me it looks more like slavery especially considering the intention to break the link between working and settling declared by the new government.

Some people are rushing to extend their status while the type is not yet closed (which is possible for no monthly cap is applied to extensions), but it makes little sense to me - I've got time with my current document till April 2012 and if I extend it now it will only provide me an additional year (two years is the term of extension compared to the one I've already got). It won't be enough for settling anyway so it makes almost no difference to me when to switch or to leave, in a year or in two.

So I'll just enjoy what I have and wait for more information to come (and sign a petition, okay). Even in the worst case scenario, it has been (as still is!) a fantastic experience.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

HMS St Albans at Docklands

Today public tours were allowed to the real frigate moored for a time at West India Docks.

HMS St. Albans HMS St. Albans Turret Merlin HM1 helicopter

Merlin HM1 helicopter

But what has really surprised me was the frivolous font used for various serious signs resembling the handwritings on pub windows:

Nice font Nice font Nice font Nice font

Thursday, November 4, 2010

London cycle blogs

As any newbie I'm consuming a lot of information about cycling in London. My favourite sources so far are:

Also, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of this site.

Still all of that above is no more than a theoretical knowledge to me for the time being. Right on the day before the last Tube strike I somehow managed to crack the rear wheel rim - how's that for ironic considering that on the previous strike I got the same wheel punctured. So until the new wheel arrives which may take weeks due to its peculiarity I mind the doors again.