Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee 2012

The past week (1 - 5 June 2012) saw the whole of Britain celebrating Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee.  It was baffling for hubby and me at first, because as far as we know, 'diamond jubilee' refers to a celebration to mark the 75th  anniversary of an occasion (wedding, establishment, etc).  Queen E, on the other hand,  has only been on the throne for 60 years.  A check with Wikipedia enlightened us on the matter:  'Diamond jubilee' is also used to mark the 60th anniversary of a monarch's reign (started during Victorian times).

Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation day in 1953
Celebrations kicked out months earlier with retailers selling festive paraphernalia: bags, mugs, tea towels, fridge magnets, you name it.  You also have diamond jubilee packaging of biscuits, chocolate, sweets, etc.  There were diamond jubilee sale, diamond jubilee street parties planned in various neighbourhood, etc... surpassing the Royal Wedding frenzy :)

There were many tv programmes to commemorate the week-long celebration,  I watched some and skip some.  I enjoyed "A Jubilee Tribute to the Queen by the Prince of Wales" (BBC1) as I got to see private photos and home videos of the royal family.  This and "Elizabeth: Queen, Wife, Mother" (ITV1) showed a different side of the queen.

Pictures of yesteryear reminded  us of how beautiful the Queen was when she was young...  

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh...

The Royal family

The queen as a child, with her sister

The queen, now

In between packing for my North England-Scotland-Midlands Trip, I managed to catch the "Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant" (BBC1) and "All the Queen's Horses:  A Diamond Jubilee Special" (ITV1).  In the former, the Queen's royal barge led a procession of over 1000 boats from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge.  A very colourful flotilla despite the rain.  The latter, showcased horse performances from various nations, within the grounds of Windsor Castle.  Never thought that horses can be so adorable, prancing and jiggling to the music!

Yeah, I watched everything on TV.  I wouldn't have gone to see it live anyway, because I'm sort of claustrophobic?? Not a chronic one, but just can't stand crowds.   Anyway, I do feel lucky to have been able to experience the festive mood of so many historical events and happenings over my three years here, like the Royal Wedding, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and in the near future, the 2012 London Olympics.  Memang terasa kemeriahannya.  Syukur atas kurniaanNYA :).  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bluebells in Bristol

It's nice to see how flowers seem to take their turns to bloom in spring.  The first sign of spring was the sprouting of daffodils in March.  Next, were the tulips and other colourful perennials.  In April, bluebells started to make their appearance in people's lawn, but the ones you saw, would most probably be of the migrant spanish variant. If you want to see English bluebells, you would have to venture into the woods :)
In Bristol, there are a few places to admire bluebells.  One of them is Abbots Leigh, in North Somerset.

The scenic road to Abbots Leigh

We went there without high hopes because we were aware that the temperamental weather (more rain than sun) had stunted the growth of flowers all over England.  Yet, we harboured the hope of seeing bluebells in the woodlands, just as we had witnessed last spring in North Cornwall (blog post belum keluar lagi... hahaha!).

It was a sunny day.  Sheep laid on the green meadows - a common sight in England, Wales and Kg. Dioh in Kuala Pilah :P.

Walking through the dense foliage, felt like home @ Malaysia. Steering away from the well-trodden path,  we found the carpets of violet and blue :).

Bluebell wood in Abbots Leigh
We carefully weaved our way through the undergrowth, making sure we didn't tread on any bluebells.  Stepping or even picking flowers is a no-no among the Mat Sallehs, hatta wildflowers sekali pun.

Hyacinthoides non-scripta aka English bluebells

There were not many bluebells as we had anticipated, but enough for me to feast my eyes and plan for some shots.  This time around, though, I had to share my camera with a photographer pencen.  Hubby who has long given up photography as he opined that digital photography was not as challenging as single-lense reflex, suddenly decided to pick-up the camera again.  Adoi!!  Bukan main lagi hogging my camera... camni rupanya purist ambik gambar... (tersangatlah) SLOW AND STEADY (pasang tripod bagai).  

Bokeh and bikin :)
Anyway, I managed to 'kidnap' my camera every now and then, and  QUICKLY snapped some shots of the bluebells basking in the glorious afternoon light.  Siap ada BOKEH lagi!  Well... some more pleasing to the eyes than others... saya budak baru belajar :)

A pleasing bokeh?
The photos taken by hubs were not bad at all but I couldn't upload them here because they are in RAW format.  Yeah, the purist is warming-up to photo-editting :)

As usual, there's no photos of me because I was the photographer :).

A very modest spread of violet and blue