Thursday, February 27, 2014

QotD: "As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset I am in paradise" Ray Davies (The Kinks)

2014.02.27-IMG_9633Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night
People so busy, makes me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright
But I don't need no friends
As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunset's fine

Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station
Every Friday night
But I am so lazy, don't want to wander
I stay at home at night
But I don't feel afraid
As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunset's fine

2014.02.27-IMG_9637Millions of people swarming like flies 'round Waterloo underground
But Terry and Julie cross over the river
Where they feel safe and sound
And they don't need no friends
As long as they gaze on Waterloo sunset
They are in paradise

Waterloo sunset's fine

- "Waterloo Sunset" by Ray Davies (The Kinks)

A day at the Royal Philatelic Society

Some amazing things and people!!!

Rainy day in Bayswater

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

QotD: "Come take a walk in sunny South Kensington ... Come loon soon down Cromwell Road, man" Donovan

2014.02.25-IMG_9497I've had some sunny days and I've had some rainy days in South Kensington! But for Donovan, I guess it was always a freaky, sunny street!
"Come take a walk in sunny South Kensington
Any day of the week
See the girl with the silk Chinese blouse on You know she ain't no freak
Come loon soon down Cromwell Road, man
You got to spread your wings
A flip out, skip out, trip-out, and a make your stand, folks
To dig me as I sing
Jean Paul Belmondo and a Mary Quant got
Stoned to say the least
Ginsberg, he ended up a dry and so
He took a trip out East"
- Donovan, "Sunny South Kensington"

And a sunny good morning along Porchester Gardens here in Bayswater

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

QotD: "Silver rain was falling down upon the dirty ground of London Town" - Paul McCartney

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"Silver rain was falling down
Upon the dirty ground of London Town
Someone somewhere has to know
Silver rain was falling down
Upon the dirty ground of London Town"
- "London Town" by Paul McCartney

Actually, it was a torrential downpour that caught me unawares in the middle of Kensington Gardens on my way to the Natural History Museum. By the time my meetings were over around lunch time, the sky was blue and there were puddles along Cromwell Road that reflected the museum.

Good morning to the locked greenery of Kensington Gardens Square

Not secret, but key access only

Sunday, February 23, 2014

British Airways 216: IAD to LHR

Gate B44

Some passages from Fergus Hume's "The Mystery of the Hansom Cab", a 19th c. Melbourne mystery

2014.01.30-IMG_8192 Fergus Hume (1859-1932), born in England, relocated to Australia where he became a well-known and successful author. His first book, The Mystery of the Hansom Cab (1886), is a mystery set in Melbourne, often in the then disreputable area around Little Bourke Street (none other than the neighborhood I'm staying at!). Alas, no Mother Guttersnipe, Musette, or Sal to be seen, nor, hansom cabs. Below are some passages I highlighted.

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume
  • Mother Guttersnipe I unearthed in the slums off Little Bourke Street; and I gave what I am afraid was perhaps too vivid a picture of her language and personality.
  • "Let me see," said Moreland, crossing his legs and looking thoughtfully up to the ceiling, "it was about half-past nine o'clock. I was in the Orient Hotel, in Bourke Street. We had a drink together, and then went up the street to an hotel in Russell Street, where we had another. In fact," said Moreland, coolly, "we had several other drinks."
  • And on either side Gorby could see the dim white forms of the old Greek gods and goddesses—Venus Victrix, with the apple in her hand (which Mr. Gorby, in his happy ignorance of heathen mythology, took for Eve offering Adam the forbidden fruit); Diana, with the hound at her feet, and Bacchus and Ariadne (which the detective imagined were the Babes in the Wood). He knew that each of the statues had queer names, but thought they were merely allegorical.

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  • Then he went along the Wellington Parade, and turned up Powlett Street, where he stopped at a house near Cairns' Memorial Church, much to Mr. Gorby's relief, who, being like Hamlet, "fat and scant of breath," found himself rather exhausted.
  • It was a broiling hot day—one of those cloudless days, with the blazing sun beating down on the arid streets, and casting deep, black shadows—
  • It was Saturday morning, and fashionable Melbourne was "doing the Block." Collins Street is to the Southern city what Bond Street and the Row are to London, and the Boulevards to Paris.
  • "I don't like Latin," said Miss Frettlby, shaking her pretty head. "I agree with Heine's remark, that if the Romans had been forced to learn it they would not have found time to conquer the world."
  • Bourke Street is a more crowded thoroughfare than Collins Street at Night.

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  • Some writer has described Melbourne, as Glasgow with the sky of Alexandria; and certainly the beautiful climate of Australia, so Italian in its brightness, must have a great effect on the nature of such an adaptable race as the Anglo-Saxon.
  • But his guide, with whom familiarity with the proletarians had, in a great measure, bred indifference, hurried him away to Little Bourke Street, where the narrowness of the thoroughfare, with the high buildings on each side, the dim light of the sparsely scattered gas-lamps, and the few ragged-looking figures slouching along, formed a strong contrast to the brilliant and crowded scene they had just left. Turning off Little Bourke Street, the detective led the way down a dark lane. It was as hot as a furnace from the accumulated heat of the day. To look up at the clear starlit sky was to experience a sensation of delicious coolness.
  • But here in Australia we are in the realm of contrariety, and many things other than dreams go by contrary. Here black swans are an established fact, and the proverb concerning them, made when they were considered as mythical a bird as the Phoenix, has been rendered null and void by the discoveries of Captain Cook.
  • Sorrow is a potent enchantress. Once she touches the heart, life can never be quite the same again. We never more surrender ourselves entirely to pleasure; and often we find so many of the things we have longed for are after all but dead sea fruit. Sorrow is the veiled Isis of the world, and once we penetrate her mystery and see her deeply-furrowed face and mournful eyes, the magic light of romance dies all away, and we realise the hard bitter fact of life in all its nakedness.
  • To a young and fervid youth, love's young dream is, no doubt, very charming, lovers, as a rule, having a small appetite; but to a man who has seen the world, and drunk deeply of the wine of life, there is nothing half so sweet in the whole of his existence as a good dinner.

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  • "That puts me in mind of what I heard Dr. Chinston say yesterday," she said. "This is the age of unrest, as electricity and steam have turned us all into Bohemians."
  • Well, I believe there are many people like that in the world, people whose lives are one long struggle against insanity, and yet who eat, drink, talk, and walk with the rest of their fellow-men, apparently as gay and light-hearted as they are."
  • In a short time they found themselves in Little Bourke Street, and after traversing a few dark and narrow lanes—by this time they were more or less familiar to Calton—they found themselves before Mother Guttersnipe's den.
  • In questions of morality, so many people live in glass houses, that there are few nowadays who can afford to throw stones.
  • If a man has any mental worry, his life becomes a positive agony to him. Mental tortures are quite as bad as physical ones, if not worse. The last thing before dropping off to sleep is the thought of trouble, and with the first faint light of dawn, it returns and hammers all day at the weary brain. But while a man can sleep, life is rendered at least endurable; and of all the blessings which Providence has bestowed, there is none so precious as that same sleep, which, as wise Sancho Panza says, "Wraps every man like a cloak."

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  • "No man can be stronger than Destiny," he said, dreamily. "I have lost and you have won; so life is a chess board, after all, and we are the puppets of Fate."
  • Standing with her husband on the deck of one of the P. and O. steamers, as it ploughed the blue waters of Hobson's Bay into foam, they both watched Melbourne gradually fade from their view, under the glow of the sunset. They could see the two great domes of the Exhibition, and the Law Courts, and also Government House, with its tall tower rising from the midst of the green trees.
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

A visit to some Hindu temples in Singapore

2014.02.06-IMG_8751I wasn't knowing quite what to expect in Singapore, but my first thought was certainly not of Hindu Temples. In reading my Singapore history, however, I learned all about the large south Indian population that migrated there. One of my chief sightseeing goals ended up being the Little India neighborhood.

It was quite interesting and filled with the sights and sounds of India (maybe even perhaps enough to sait my appetite for India!). There were a number of Hindu Temples around other parts of town, including the Sri Layan SIthi Vinayagar Temple right around the corner from my hotel in Chinatown which greeted me each morning with bell ringing at 0730hr.

The temples were all very active, crowded with devotees and alive in full Bollywood Technicolor!

Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple (Chinatown)
This was my "local" Hindu temple, just a few steps from my hotel and within earshot of the bells that would ring at certain hours (such as 0700hr. This was also my first experience of the "smashing coconuts". This is the rite where the devotee takes a coconut and smashes it (in a metal box with stone in the center); this symbolizes the shattering of obstacles to spiritual concentration.
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Sri Mariamman Temple (Chinatown)
It took me a while to find this temple, but when I did it was dusk, turning to night and it was a very nice view of the temple. The deities in the dark and light were quite spectacular!
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Very disappointed to see that this temple was under re-construction. All covered in scaffolding and hidden away. There was a little "pop-up" temple for devotees.

Very large temple complex, unfortunately, it wasn't open when I was there so I had to settle for the spectacular exterior and some long shots into the inside.

Another active temple in the Little India section of Singapore.

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Large temple in the Little India section of Singapore. It was very active and being decorated with flower garlands on my visit. Very active coconut breaking when I was there!
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Curious temple in that it's hard to see from the street. Built for North Indians, it was closed when I visited, but got a good view of the front exterior, much of it is hidden from regular street view.
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