Friday, October 29, 2010

Feeding Squirrels at Brandon Hill

The weather has not been exactly great.  It had been wet for the past few weeks and there were days when temperature dipped to zero degree - ideal for snuggling in bed...  I practically had to drag my feet to go to school everyday! Huhuhu...  With autumn settling in, it gets dark (and cold) pretty early in the evening and by 5.30 p.m. I would be on my way home.  There's dinner to prepare and the usual household chores to do.  By 8.30 p.m., everyone (save for hubby) would have plonked in bed and before you know it, another day begins.  Dreary days, ain't it?  Therefore, I always look forward to weekends, especially Sunny Sundays :).  

Alhamdulillah, we had been blessed with good weather for two Sundays now.  It was during the first Sunday that I discovered a gem of a park near my school (Graduate School of Education).  Well, I knew that Brandon Hill was just a few metres away but I didn't know that it was a lovely park teeming with birds and squirrels!

I remembered dragging my sons up the hill for the first time to take some autumn pictures.  They had wanted to follow my husband and daughter to the art shop down the road, but I sort of forced them to come with me ...  Kuikuikui!

Cabot Tower at the top of Brandon Hill

Notice of Cabot Tower undergoing restoration

Cabot Tower on a bright sunny afternoon

One smiling face

Finally... 2 smiling faces :)
Yeah, they protested loudly at first, but was soon taken by the beauty of the place and its little "dwellers".  So they begged me to come again the following Sunday as they had wanted to feed the squirrels.  So, we went there again last Sunday, with a tubful of hazel nuts - leftovers from Amani's baking activities :).

a squirrel nibbling our hazel nut
Boy, did they come to us!  Big, thin, bushy-tailed - you name it.  Macam-macam pe'el.  Some took the nuts and nibbled happily in front of the camera.  There was one which had the peculiar habit of burying the nuts.  Maybe stocking-up for cold winter days :) ... Others just snatched the nuts and were gone in a flash. 

I didn't quite succeed to take nice pictures of the squirrels in action and it was only later that I remembered that I could have actually videoed them in action with my NikonLupa lak ... tee hehe!

Nampak macam sang kancil lah pulak! :P

Jon was clearly the squirrel's favourite! :D

Squirrel yang kurus dan berekor panjang

Squirrel yang sihat sket ...

Bushy-tailed squirrel

While the kids were busy feeding the squirrels and feeding themselves as well (hazel nuts tu !), I took the chance to enjoy the ambience while capturing some autumn scenes.   Loved the effect of the natural evening light on my pix! :)

see the squirrel on the path?

I had to coax my son Jon to go home when it got cold and had to promise to come back again.  Looks like it's Brandon Hill next weekend, too! :D

Redup dan nyaman

Nice view of Bristol city from Brandon Hill

Time to go boys ...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oxford Street

Our last night in London was spent in Oxford Street.  Since we left Malaysia, it has been a while since we last jalan-jalan at night.  Most shopping complexes in Bristol close by 8.00 p.m. on weekdays and 4.00 p.m. on Sundays.  Yeah ... B*O*R*I*N*G!  Therefore, Oxford Street brought back fond memories of our weekly excursions to Suria KLCC, Sunway Pyramid and the evergreen Subang Parade :).

We didn't really explore the whole length of the road as we had made plans to have dinner with BIL and his wife.  So, we just loitered around Selfridges and took pictures while waiting for them to arrive.

The clock at Selfridges

In front of Selfridges

Penarik beca di London :)
I think Selfridges was promoting their shoe collection at that time because they had this fantastic nursery-ryhme-themed series of  shoe display.  I had to take some photos :)

What about shopping, you say?  Nothing that we don't already have :). 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Trafalgar Square - where have all the pigeons gone?!

From Covent Garden, we made our way to Trafalgar Square.  When we reached the place, the police had just removed the cones on the street.  There were hordes of people in front of the National Gallery.  The Pope might have just addressed the Catholics here, I figured.  Only later did I find out that the Pope had not been there but various anti-Vatican groups had assembled at Trafalgar Square to voice-out their protests!  Kui! Kui! Kui!

Protestors and sightseers mingled in front of the National Gallery

If we hadn't promise to meet my BIL and his wife there, we would have entered the National Gallery.  Teringin nak tengok Van Gogh's Sunflower :) and the works of Renoir, Rembrandt and Monet ...  Nevermind, some other time :).   So we just took some photos outside the place.

National Gallery
north of Trafalgar Square

posing on Nelson's Column

... in the background is St. Martins-in-the-Field's Church

"Hah, nak ambik gambar Tourism Malaysia ke??" 
Tiba-tiba terdengar suara sumbang suamiku...
I thought he was poking fun at me as usual, but on further scrutiny I saw that a Tourism Malaysia office was indeed on the right side of Admiralty Arch!  Hehehe!

Admiralty Arch to the Southwest

See the lion's head??

... and the lion's rear (on the left)

Orang kata kalau ke sini mesti ambik gambar dengan singa bronze tu kan?  Well, I don't know how I could have missed taking a 'whole' picture of one of those lions (there were four!!).  I remembered trying very hard to get a nice angle of the lion but just couldn't because other avid photographers were constantly blocking my view trying to get their best shot!  Huh!  Must seriously consider getting wide-angle or zoom lenses...

With BIL and his lovely wife :)
So, that's about it.  We came, we took pictures, we bonded... but wait!  Where have all the pigeons gone?!  Read all about it at this link...

Monday, October 11, 2010

West End walk: The Strand & Covent Garden

We've heard so much about this place.  I siap ingat tempat tu taman bunga! Kui! Kui! KuiDah tentu bukan... :P.  So, on our second day, we decided to check the place out.  From our homestay in Willesden, we took the tube to the Enbankment station and from there, made our way to Covent Garden on foot.  We passed The Strand, home to a few London theatres.  In its heyday, it used to be the hub of Victorian Theatre and nightlife and there were at least 11 theatres then.  Now there are only 4.

walking along The Strand
The Adelphi Theatre

The Savoy Theatre

The Lyceum Theatre

After a while we finally reached our destination:  Covent Garden :)!

Outside Covent Garden
ala-ala Central Market KL

There was the Apple Market in Covent Garden.  Just as Covent Garden was not a garden, the Apple Market did not have apples :).  Instead, all kinds of clothes, art and crafts were sold there.  The atmosphere reminded me of the weekend flea market at the Curve :)!

My kind of thing :)

Next we ventured into the Jubilee Market Hall which has more stuff on sale.  Unfortunately, the vendors were quite reluctant to be photographed.  Takut orang tiru idea kot??? :P.  So the only photo that I got of this place was this...

The Jubilee Market Hall features different items on different days.  On Mondays it's antiques.  Tuesdays to Fridays:  general market.  Weekends:  arts and crafts.

Verdict:  My kind of place :)!  Yours too if you're into flea market nick nacks, arts and crafts.  Cuma, tak sama dengan flea market kat Asia where you can haggle for price of things.  Oh well,  different place, different culture :). 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

London Eye

Next on the list was the London Eye.  It was just me and my sons as the father and daughter were not really keen on the ride.  The queue was rather long and when it was my turn, I was surprised that the tickets were not as expensive as I thought.  Adults pay 17.95 pounds while children, 9.50 pounds each.  Yang mahal tu tiket combination...  It's cheaper to buy online, of course. 

Before we got on the ride, we were ushered to a nearby theatre for a 4D experience of the London Eye.  Yeah, the in-thing in tourism London now is 4D.  Well, as long as it is FREE (it comes with the tickets), I'm not complaining :P!  Heck, I didn't even raise an eyebrow when I had to part with some money (again!) for the photo packs (one large photo, a photo key chain & photo fridge magnet).  Yeah, this in-situ no-obligations photo thingy seems to be the norm in London :P.  I ended being a few pounds poorer but the delighted faces of my boys...  PRICELESS! :)

Me filling up 'the gap'

We had to queue again before getting into the capsule (that's what they call 'em).  Our bags were thoroughly checked for sharp items.  Yeah, the day we were in London was also the day when THE POPE came a-calling.  Security was tight everywhere we went.  After a while, we were ushered into a capsule. 

all smiles... tercapai hasrat :)

Houses of Parliament from the London Eye

Rare moments of brotherly love :P

This was how the capsule looked like

Top of the world @ capsule moments :)

When you're at the top,
don't forget to look down :)

Our ride took 30 minutes but the whole London Eye experience (queuing to buy tickets, 4D experience, queuing for the ride, the ride)  was longer than that.  By the time we got off, hubby and Amani had already been loitering for quite sometime and were hungry again!  Begitulah putaran perut diorang... hehehe!

Verdict :  OKlah...  London Eye was bigger than Eye on Malaysia, so you wouldn't feel the capsule moving.  No flipping of the stomach or dizzy fits, folks!  There were seats for passengers but most people prefer to stand anyway.  Not really a WOW experience but as long as the kids are happy, (their atuk happy), I'm happy! :P