Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gulshan mein gul khilte hain jab...

Mid-term soon revealed how boring my life is. After returning from Birmingham I did little other than see Jodhaa Akbar (recommended highly to anyone with 4 spare hours - gosh people were good looking in the Mughal era) and book tickets to Hong Kong and Sydney in April.

It's strange to be going again after only 7 months (particularly as I waited 2 years before the last trip) but since I'm restricted to travelling during school holidays, I reason that this is the best time of the year to go in regard to weather and ticket prices.

On Saturday, Mogfa had requested a trip to Victoria Park for squirrel feeding. When she called in sick, I visited the local Turkish restaurant instead for beans on yoghurt and rice stuffed in vine leaves. When she texted in sick again on Sunday, I replied, 'no worries, flowers about to open, can't leave house'.

Almost a week later, they still look the same. Thank goodness for earthquakes!

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's the mid-term holiday and I'm off to Birmingham today. I'm back Wednesday and plans for Paris have failed (I was too late trying to book bus or Eurostar tickets) but Mogfa is on break too and we're planning a Hackney fun day later in the week. I love holidays!

The Mughal era epic, Jodhaa Akbar, released last Friday and it's quite fortunate that I'm on holiday becuase it's 3.5 hours long. I love the music so I'm hoping the film turns out to be okay.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bike luck

After having a bike stolen a month ago and falling off last week, I've had more bike misfortune. Yesterday I was fined 30 pounds for crossing 3m of deserted footpath between the end of one bike path and the beginning of another. Grrr.

It's not much money but I feel stupid for being honest. When the community police person stopped me, she was talking on a mobile phone and I had to wait half a minute for her to finish the call. I could easily have cycled off or given false details.

I've learnt an important lesson and it's nothing to do with cycling on the footpath (which I don't like doing in any case).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


If you see anyone in London feeding squirrels, there's a good chance that they're Australian. When I discovered how tame the squirrels in Victoria Park were, I bought a huge bag of raw peanuts (they're called monkeynuts here) and went back the next weekend. There's still half a bag left so let me know if you're keen for a feeding trip

If I tell an English person that I feed squirrels they scoff. Yes, I know that they're vermin but if you grew up only seeing squirrels in story books, grey squirrels (the red ones are native and good) are not that bad. Certainly not on a par with pigeons.

And I do know how to recognise real British wildlife when I see it. While feeding the squirrels I also spotted this, which I recognised as a Blue Tit, quite surprising myself!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Ever since moving to London, I've looked longingly at the boxes of longans for sale in Chinatown. When I lived in Temple Street I used to buy whole bags to take back to my room and eat in front of the fan while listening to the BBC world service. Until now, I couldn't justify buying a box of fruit flown from Thailand but Chinese New Year is a special occasion. I bought them for our CNY party but there was so much else to eat that we didn't even open the case. Yay!

Speaking of my carbon footprint, I'm suddenly feeling an urge to plan several holidays into the next few months. I think it has something to do with not getting the job. Destinations include Paris, Cornwall and Scotland. On top of that, I'm still toying with the idea of going to HK and Sydney in the spring holiday. And somewhere in the Himalaya over summer. Suddenly a box of longans is not such a huge indulgence.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to everyone for Chinese New Year.

I'm more than happy to say goodbye to the year of the pig. I came off my bike yesterday morning, spent an evening getting examined and x-rayed and then arrived home to a letter of notification that I didn't get the job I interviewed for last week.

Anyway, nothing's broken and work has been so happy lately that staying around isn't an unnatractive prospect. I've asked for feedback on the job interview and I'm going to use the long tube ride to work to catch up on all the bits of last weekend's newspapers.

So may the year of the rat be a good one. Here's the first sunrise from my balcony.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


After a couple of months without internet, I've lost none of my talent for wasting time in pursuit of the most bizarre pieces of knowledge.

I was listening to Rihanna's 'Don't stop the music' when I noticed how many people had made angry comments about her stealing from Michael Jackson. I wondered where he got the 'ma ma makossa' from in the first place.

Hooray for wikipedia. 'Makossa' actually means 'I dance' in Duala, a language spoken in Cameroon. 'Soul Makossa' is a song by Manu Dibango, whose lawyers obtained out of court compensation after claiming that Michael Jackson had stolen the chorus for for "Wanna be startin' somethin'". It's a very cool song.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Recalled to life

After a couple of dormant months I'm back online at last and my blog, like my little balcony garden, is set to blossom.

I've got lots to say. Later.