(Get it? Get it? Ha.)
So, we finally have interweb at home (Virgin Media sucks), so some progress reports.
1) The move: as The Limey said, everything went fine. We got here, the cat's freaked out, it's three weeks later and we're still in a sea of boxes. See, we haven't got any furniture, but we do have boxes of stuff that goes on, into, inside, around and against furniture. So that stuff'll just have to stay in boxes for now. What we're going to do about furniture will be saved for another post, I think.
2)The job: is awesome. I was lucky with timing. The project I was put on started experimental work the day I joined the company. So I could get my hands dirty right away. I'm back to UHV (ultra-high vacuum) work, which is what I did my PhD in, so I could tighten bolts, press buttons, etc., without having to be supervised or given detailed instructions all the time. Basically I felt that I made myself useful right away. The people are really friendly, and there's still the feel of a university research group about the whole thing. Except unlike some academic research groups, everything is managed very tightly and everyone has projects with clear goals and progress is monitored and measured so everybody knows what's happening. It's nice.
3)The flat and Woking: The flat is pretty good. For some reason I remembered the living room being longer, but it's still quite large. You could fit The Limey's whole Ringsend flat in it. The kitchen is a separate room, which is nice. Open plan kitchens are great in theory, but in practice, everything just smells like cooking all the time. The people who decorated the place had terrible taste. I think we'll be replacing a lot of stuff.
As for Woking, well, er, Woking is less than exciting. I think it's because it's an awkward distance from London. London is so close that there's no point having anything here except the train station. If you want to buy/do/get/see anything, you go up to London. But it's just far enough away that it's a pain in the ass if you just wanted to pop out quickly to, oh, say, a yarn shop, or anything. The pubs we've tried have been very quiet. Restaurants consist of the ubiquitous fast food chains, curry houses, Chinese take-aways, and a couple of "pizza and pasta"-type Italian places.
4) The commute: is frustrating. So, yes, I live quite far away from work- roughly 40 miles. The first 38 is covered in 45-50 minutes by train. It's fine- there're always seats. I sit, knit, read, nap, whatever. That last two miles is teeth-grindingly frustrating. My job right now is in two locations: the labs (which are still at the university) and the offices, which are in a commercial/industrial estate northwest of the city. Getting the the uni is no problem: if I take the 08:00 train, I'm in lab at 09:15. However, getting to the company's offices is a total, absolute nightmare. The first time I did it, it took me three hours. Three hours! Two hours ten minutes of which was to cover the two miles between the train station and the office. See, there's no bus to the estate. The closest bus stop is a 30 minute walk away. Worse, there's no direct bus from the train station to this bus stop. I have to get a bus into the university and change. And traffic in certain parts of Southampton (the part the buses go on, naturally) is really bad during the commuting hours. So I wait forever for the bus, then the bus takes forever to cover a 5-minute journey. So far, I've dealt with this problem by never going up to the offices. This is not a permanent solution, however, as the company is buying new equipment and slowly moving everything to the estate and leaving the university labs.
I really don't want to drive. I won't be able the beat train time on that first 38 miles; it would solely be to save my sanity on that last two miles. But then I don't get my knitting/reading time and does Southampton really need another car on the roads at commuting hours? And with the cost of a car, insurance, and petrol, I probably won't be able to do it for less than my train pass.
I think I'll get a bike.