UK Life – Settling In

Hey All,

As my last entry was about my observations of British culture it has been awhile since I have given an account of my goings on. Life has been fairly quiet the past month. Go to work, go for a run, read a book, go to bed. There are however some interesting bits to share.

A few weeks back I popped down to Bristol for the day. A lovely little spot about 45 minutes south of me (on the train ). The place came highly recommend by my good friend Denise Moakler who spent a year there awhile back. Bristol is obviously a place that has significant meaning to her. She made it sound like the men grow to be 15 feet tall and the women get pregnant from drinking the tap water. Maybe a bit over the top but I must say, it was quite lovely.

Bristol has roughly 450,000 people which makes it over 4 times the size of Cheltenham and the 2nd largest city in Southern England (after London of course!). The most exciting thing about Bristol for me was water! I miss the water. I suppose I have only been away from home for 8 weeks now but I am so use to having it right there. I didn’t make it out to the Bristol Chanel this time (John Cabot set out from Bristol when he “discovered” North America) but there is a river that runs through the city.IMG_0690.JPG

I was treated to some British folks skating. God bless them they were trying!


I also saw this in Bristol.


Quite the coincidence because I had literally just finished reading a book about a guy who biked around Britain! And I don’t mean that figuratively, I finished reading the book in a cafe and then walked by this 5 minutes later. Needless to say the book has given me some ideas. The bike around Britain took the guy about 4 months. Maybe a bit too long for me. Maybe I’ll just bike around Ireland. Or Wales. Or Britain. Lots of options. I must admit, I spend a lot of time looking at the map nowadays.

In other news, I saw my first live rugby game two weeks ago over in Gloucester (about 10 minutes away on the train). They play in the English Premiership (or the Aviva Premiership) which is the top rugby league in England. I didn’t really know too much about rugby other than it is a big sport around these parts. I went with my co-workers which includes Dave who is a big rugby fan. He was more than happy to explain the rules and what plays are important and all that. The game is not that hard to follow. It is continuous like soccer but rough like American Football. A hybrid sport of sorts. The fans were pretty jacked up so the atmosphere was pretty cool. Though I am not sure if they were all really excited about the game or about the drinking. I know the game was more or less window dressing for me. All in all it was an entertaining evening. Plus the home team won!

An interesting thing about rugby is that there isn’t really a concept of a “star” player. In basketball especially you can have one player that can be the difference between say…. three consecutive championships and a first round exit. Rugby is much more of a team game. There are 3 distinctive body types: 6 foot 6 towering monsters, 5 foot 10 thick as fuck guys with infinite quads, and somewhat human looking smaller and faster players (though still jacked).

One more bit of excitement was my work Christmas party last Friday. It was an all day affair at Wembley Stadium which started at 12pm. Seems a bit early to start drinking but this is England after all. It seriously was an all day drinking affair. Very enjoyable. All of the 7 offices from across the UK came (about 700 people). Pretty cool to have the entire firm together like that. Not really something you could do in Canada! I got to meet a lot of wonderful people. Everyone I meet here has an extensive travel record. It is quite inspiring. Again, I spend a lot of time looking at the map lately…

Speaking of maps and travelling, I will close with a description of my holiday plans. I am heading up to Finland for the World Junior Hockey Championship! I am pretty jacked about it!  I’ll be in Helsinki from the 26th – 6th so I will be able to watch the majority of the tournament. I have tickets to most of the Canada games but unfortunately the gold medal game was sold out. I am sure I will find a way in there though. I am not worried about it. Either through legal or illegal means I will be watching that game. Period. As an extreme bonus, Rory and Nadine are going to join me for a portion of the trip! It is shaping up to be a pretty great holiday!

That’s all for now. Miss you guys lots.

Take care and stay safe.



One thought on “UK Life – Settling In

  1. Hey, hey Matt!!
    So sorry I missed this originally as Sandra and I snuck away to Florida last week for, what we felt, was a well-deserved break and I tried not to look at e-mails. What a wonderfully restful time we had as Sandra’s Mom has a condo on Ft. Myers Beach and we just vegetated for 9 days!! Swim, lay by the pool, read, sleep, eat, swim, lay by the pool, read……you get the picture!
    So glad to hear from you and to see that you’re still enjoying the novelties associated with the country……biking-round-the-world, rugby matches and the girls in Bristol!! Oh, by the way, I couldn’t open those pictures. And now Finland to look forward to…….the Canadian boys are leading Sweden 5-1 after two periods. What is your work schedule like this week, do they honour the Holidays as we do here?
    The team has really gelled over the past month……what a stretch of hard work for everyone but the next quarterly process will be much more organized. We brought a new analyst in from the Fredericton shop to assist Jordan and to build the team out. Andrew Spurrell is his name, a big sports fan (6’2’’) and a self-professed “nerd” so Jordan felt good about that!!
    I’m working up to the final bell, tomorrow at noon, as I let the rest of the boys off early to rest up and thank them for their extra efforts over the past number of weeks. Then Sandra and I head to PEI and time with our Rynn for Christmas Eve and morning……then back to Moncton for meals with both sides of the family. Our kids come home on New Year’s Eve, so we’ll celebrate “Old Christmas” with them, a few nice days with them, catching up, playing games and drinking a tad!!
    Gotta run buddy, take care of yourself over the Holidays and have a wonderfully restful time away from the office.
    Talk soon,


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