Category Archives: UK

Wall of fragrance

Took a walk along the River Thames in the morning. Suddenly we were drawn to the sweet scent of jasmine. What a pleasant surprise. Not far from this spot was a bed of roses, also blooming and fragrant. I’m enjoying these delights of summer.

And I want a wall like this!

image

image

Advertisements

A 36-hour detour

6 June 2014. 5pm, Changi. Finally reached the airport. It’s raining. Wolfed down a late lunch while talking to my parents on the phone. I’ve been so busy the past few weeks that I haven’t had the chance to talk to them.

There are many people in the airport. I wonder where people are travelling to.

5.35pm. Flight departs for Bangkok
Maju lah!

image

7pm. Reached Bangkok Survanabhumi. Got a foot massage and then a boarding pass. Read a novella.

There are just as many people in this airport.

image

1135pm. Depart for Vienna.

7 June 2014. 550am. Arrived in Vienna. The last time I was here, I was only 20 years old.

So early in the morning! What shall I do? Go to a market!
image

Like most markets in the world, there was a market melee. Red-faced people, loud voices, aggressive hand gestures. For some reason, passerbys thought I understood what the quarrel was. I don’t.

This caught my eye. So much detail.

image

image

The zombie of sleep deprivation begins to overwhelm me. Took a walk in the park in the summer sun. I begin to regret buying the two bottles of wine earlier at the market. Or maybe not. If only I have also bought some cheese…

930am. Sat in front of Schoenbrunn Palace, and drinking my second cup of coffee for the day, a melange.

image

I would love to catch a summer open air concert. Alas, there isn’t one today.

image

Headed over to the Leopold Museum. Screening was the video And yet there was art! which showcased how Austrian artists such as Egon Schiele, Albert Konig, Albin Eggen-Lienz dealt with their experiences of WWI in their art.

The late 19th century and early 20th century Vienna flourished with intellectuals. The exhibition showcased how these talents in art, literature and music crossed paths.

The jet lag set in. And I was in dire need of a nap. So I went to the park. Zzzzz…

image

I can’t tell you how much I needed that nap.

4.30pm. At Freud’s former residence on Berggasse 19, where he stayed from the age of 35 to 82 when he left for London following Nazi Germany’s so-called annexation of Austria. He died a year later in London. The building was newly built when Freud first moved in in 1891.

image

Only parts of the apartment are opened to the public: the waiting room for patients, the consultation room, his study and part of the private quarters.

image

Freud and his daughter Anna.

The waiting room for Freud’s patients also saw the gathering of luminaries that formed his circle of professional network and friends in Vienna. I imagine a room full of cigar smoke and conversations.

If I were to design the living room of my home, rather than a traditional setting of tv in front of sofa, I would have a loose arrangement of a table and assorted chairs. It’s something that I have wanted to do for years: nothing too plush but definitely comfortable. The table (it will probably be a combination of several components, still working out the design in my head) is the centrepiece where people gather around to work on ideas or simply bond over a meal. The room would then, rather than a place for vegetating in front of the tv, live up to its name of a ‘living’ room.

Took the street tram. Walked around a bit more.

image

image

Took the speedy train to the airport, thinking I was right on the dot for departure. But to find out that I have been denied boarding for being late. How this could happen when, 1) there was 30 mins before take off and 2) I already had a boarding pass, is bewildering. I am simply too tired to argue and will save the disputes for a later date.

My long detour to London will take even longer now since I will now have to spend the night in Vienna.

Ps. 48 hours later, I am now in London.

Postcards from Dover & the White Cliffs

Above: Van Gogh’s painting of Wheatfield with Crows.

Just an average day with random thoughts.

The painting reminds me of this scenery, on the trail along the White Cliffs of Dover last year.

Except of course these are not wheatfields, and there no crows. In the background: South Foreland Lighthouse. Apparently Faraday (yes, the Faraday, father of electromagnetism) conducted some work here.

More photos of the Dover White Cliffs below.

These are the white cliffs that line the British coast along the English Channel, facing France. The trail is well-defined, and I doubt anyone can get lost – just walk along the coast and get your bearings from the vast sea on one side!

The walk on the eastern cliffs is a pleasant 2-2.5 hours walk round trip. A beautiful green turf greets me as I walked northwards away from the harbour and the din of lorries and cargo transport at the Dover seaport. Spent some time stooping to look at interesting plants. I wish I had more knowledge of botany.

Situated at the south-east of England, Dover is the closest departing point from England to France via the English Channel. Given its strategic point, Dover was historically the site of some battles/defences between the Brits and the French.

It was a wonderful leisurely ramble along the dramatic coastline with gulls squawks echoing in the afternoon sun. And from such heights, the views are marvellous, especially on a day blessed with good weather like this. For the most part, I was the only one walking along the trail, with some occasional avid dog walkers. There and then, I found a great sense of contentment. (Was reviewing some of my self-portrait shots – I looked so happy!)

The cliffs are white because of the white-chalk texture.

The next day, I crossed over to France via the once-common British way (before the existence of Eurotunnel and budget flights): – by the P&O ferry from Dover to Calais. Paid tooth and nail for the ferry, as P&O was the only existing service for foot passengers like me. (Tip: tell the ticket clerk that you have a rail card which qualifies for a helpful discount). Nowadays, it’s so much easier and cheaper to get from England to France by bus: there are direct regular bus services (e.g. Eurolines) from London to Paris, and a round trip can cost as low as £28. Instead what I did was: took a train from London to Dover and spent a night in Dover before continuing on next day by ferry to Calais. It’s a long-winded route. A day’s stopover at Dover was intentional and proved to be worth it, since I had an entire afternoon to myself spent enjoying the white cliffs and sea view.

As the ferry departs from Dover, the semblance of a white fort stood steadfast in the morning mist. No wonder it’s said that the white cliffs once bore symbolic sentiments for Brits when they leave or arrive from France through Dover.

From Calais, my adventures continue here.

06.09.10 – Top notch farce

I’ve already watched quite a few shows at the Edinburgh Fringe (and was dragged up on stage as a guest cast in one particular show for longer than I expected – hello, I paid for the show?!).

So, should I be spending again on shows while in London? Then, I remembered L’s recommendation of The 39 Steps at the Critereon Theatre.

I simply couldn’t resist farce.

And I was not disappointed! High-speed car chase, fast-paced action, shadow play, energy-filled dialogue, thrilling spy noir peppered with Hitchcock allusions, Monty Python-esque performance with multi-characters all presented by a mere cast of 4 in a whirlwind of razzle dazzle where the plot is irrelevant.

Highly entertaining!