28 April 2007


I found this stall in a market in West London. It sold almost entirely images and models of Jesus and the holy family.

I am fascinated by the icons that we humans use in our daily lives. Not always, but often to symbolise protection and our wishes and hopes. When I left Tasmania, I was given several different gifts to keep me safe on my journey.

A mother hesitated after school one day. "You don't have to accept this," she said, handing me a tiny silver image of Mary. "It's been blessed several times and is for safe return." I was delighted. Somebody wished me protection enough to have an icon blessed more than once. I slipped it into my luggage.

Another friend gave me a rainbow-coloured bag with an agate stone "for protection." I nearly left it behind, having little faith in the power of stones, but got it out to look at it just before I left. I turned it over and over in my fingers and something felt right about it coming with me.

Maybe I'm crazy to bother carrying these things with me. But somehow, for me, just the fact that somebody has wished for my safe journey enough to give me these objects makes it worthwhile. I believe there is enormous power in wishing.

24 April 2007

Things I would have told you if I'd seen you...

Picadilly Circus

You know when you have a secret but you really want to share it?

Yeah. I have one of those. Well, not technically a secret but it is from you guys.

It's one of those I-just-haven't-told-you-because-I-haven't-seen-you secrets.

I'm going to Paris for my birthday! Lauch and I booked the tickets yesterday. But I've been secretly dreaming about it for weeks. Doodling 'Paris' while I've been taking messages on the phone at work. Finally! I get to eat in patisseries, examine French people to see if the women really are chic and if the men really all have big noses. We're just going for the long weekend. Anyway, no more about Paris.

Here are some photos of L and I at Picadilly Circus. We went to Covent Garden on the weekend, went out for dinner (v. romantic) and walked down to Picadilly Circus to check it out. In the photos I look like a pig and then a turtle... guess which one's which! However these photos make me laugh when I look at them so I thought I'd share. I secretly love photos that show off my inner goofiness.

22 April 2007

Man With Head in Wall

Lauch and I were down near Oxford St yesterday afternoon when we came across a funky art gallery.
An artist called Mark Jenkins was exhibiting. In the doorway was a garbage bag with two legs wearing jeans and sneakers sticking out of it. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn't real.

A lot of his art was installation, where he'd create these human looking forms that were wearing clothes and there was something odd about them, and put them out in public spaces. Like, there was a man who looked like he'd stuck his head into a wall. Or a man sitting down cross-legged on the pavement with his hooodie up but no head inside the hoodie.
Anyway pictures explain it best. Click on the links below:

Man With Head in Wall

Man With no Head and other pictures

18 April 2007

The View From the Top

Last Sunday we went for a walk in a park. A posh park. A park with fountains filled with flowers, with immaculately groomed paths and hedges and beds full of tulips. Tulips without any aphids at all. It was called Regent Park.

Here we are in Regent Park. From left: L&T (our flatmates), L and his friend, A.

Surrounding the park in a gigantic square loom the biggest, whitest, richest-looking houses. People live in these houses and they don't rent them out in quarters. They live in the whole thing! (Our home is a quarter of a house).

Further on past the park you get to an affluent area called Primrose Hill. It has a gorgeous little boutique type shopping area full of expensive gourmet pubs and furniture stores selling pretty things. I fell in love with this shop, called Graham and Greene. (Click on the name of the shop to see their website). Check out all the different funky lights hanging from the ceiling.

Below is the actual Primrose Hill. You can go up it and see the whole of London. On this particular day, most of the inhabitants of Primrose Hill were on the hill. It was stunning weather and they were all lying around on the grass having picnics and sunbathing in bikinis. So we got ourselves some icecreams and lay on the grass too. I couldn't quite bring myself to put on a bikini though.

The West End

I took this photo for you, E-Who-Loves-Dr-Who. In my non-educated way I thought I would post a picture of a London phone booth the Doctor goes into. Err... later to be informed by L that Dr Who actually goes into some other kind of cubicle. Oops. Still, I love the red phone booths as much as I love the red double decker buses. There's something cool about the fact that these things you hear about, cobblestone streets, red phone booths and buses, actually exist.

Among other things that really exist - I found this funky theatre near Leicester Square. Love the disco-man stance of the statue!

And things that I didn't know existed - there are quite a few of these guys around, holding up signs for various shows and performances. I guess they must be the theatre equivalent of wobble-board pizza advertisers. Can't wait to actually go and see a musical. I'm open to recommendations...

15 April 2007

Cabbage Cheese and Wild Boar Sausages

We went to a place on Saturday that has put an end to my England-is-the-home-of-baked-beans-and mushy-peas expectations, once and for all. It's called Borough Market. It's down in the heart of the city, right near London Bridge and just around the corner from the Golden Hinde.

Borough Market is open on Saturdays to the public and on Sundays the restauranteurs come and buy all their ingredients. There are: a million different cheeses, breads, sausages including wild boar sausages, wine, organic food, vegetarian organic food, seafood, the best looking fruit and vegies, cakes, brownies, fudge, olives and antipasto type things, tea and I'm sure there were more things that I didn't even see.

I tried some cheeses, including one that looked like camembert but it was cabbage flavoured. Ew! I bought a wedge of a cheese that has holes like swiss cheese and had a massive sandwich with grilled vegies and huge pieces of goat's cheese inside it for lunch.

L tried a sausage, and I got a bit excited for a moment thinking that he had accidentally eaten a wild boar sausage. But disappointingly it was a Hungarian sausage. L bought a big huge brownie from the mountain of brownies and some middle-Eastern sweets like baklava and others that we had never tried before.

I'm sure that there are mushy peas out there. I also know that baked beans are important enough here to find their way on the standard list of baked potato toppings and also as a side dish on the KFC menu. But as long as there is Borough Market we will always have the cheese, sorry I mean the choice.

10 April 2007


Let's pretend you ring our doorbell. It's one of those traditional "ding dong" ones. I open the door. What a surprise! So nice of you to drop by for our housewarming! Come on down the hallway. Smell something cooking? It's a thai green curry in the kitchen.

Our bedroom is in one of those doors on the right. It isn't really that hot pinky kind of colour. It's more a red brick kind of colour. Notice the Friends poster on the wall, a kind parting gift from the flatmate before us. Borat is also on the wall in his lime green bathing suit. I thought he'd only last there for one day but it's suprising what you don't notice after a while.

Through the corridor and you arrive in our lounge room. Sorry I didn't have time to clean up for you. See the door at the end? Our kitchen's through there. It's about the same size as our home in Tassie. Here's L doing the olive oil dance, a traditional London welcoming ritual.

We have lovely housemates also, but they're out today. Something to do with skiing in France. Would you like a cup of tea?

8 April 2007

Chocolate Fuelled Enthusiasm

Hi everyone!
So I'm sitting here in the loungeroom of our new home eating an Easter egg from Amsterdam. It had what looked like a modern art design on it.

It's been the best, craziest weekend. I went everywhere! Here are some pics just from today.

I went with my uncle A (not the uncle I stayed with) to visit my grandmother I haven't seen since I was 9. It was a delicious day of lindor bunny, a three course pub lunch with strawberry fool for dessert. Many cups of tea.

From left: me, Grandma and my aunt.

This area is in the country, west of London. We saw the remains of a fort from about 3000BC, where ancient people sheltered from wolves and other bitey scary things. The fort now looks like big green grassy hills.

Right nearby there was a white horse on the hill. This was originally made by cutting away the grass into the side of the hills, which are filled with white limestone. The horse is from when the Anglo Saxons defeated the Danish in a battle. They put a big white horse on the hill to say "Ha ha! We win," and there it stayed.

And we saw a fantastic old church. My grandmother said it was a "wool church" - erected by the wealthy wool dealers from the village in an attempt to save their souls.

This area is seriously the stuff of English tv shows. Birds twittering, the smell of cow pats, thin winding country roads with high thorny hedges. You have to beep your car horn when you go around a corner in case someone else is coming from the opposite direction.

On the way there I saw all these road signs with pictures of deer on them. On the way home - twilight was falling - I saw a deer by the side of the road.

So here I am eating chocolate and blogging. I want to wish you a fabulous chocolate filled Easter and a wicked long weekend.

6 April 2007

Squirrel Hunting

Ever since my first squirrel sighting, I have been hunting for a slower and more docile squirrel who likes having its photo taken. The third squirrel I happened on had potential. It was in the park in the photo on the left.

I looked around. It was the middle of the day. Everyone was at work (except the tourists like me). Nobody was around to think I was a little strange chasing a squirrel to get a photo.

The squirrel was on the ground. It was shaking its tail. It could not decide where to go. Carefully I stalked it, chasing it slowly around the tree so it would get on the sunny side and become more photogenic. It went up and down (they can go down trees head first, just like geckos) the tree. It went around. And finally it ended up here, in my photo, thinking that it was victorious.

Victory is mine, little squirrel.

Note: My first squirrel was spotted while out walking with my uncle. He informed me that the Eastern Gray Squirrel is, in fact, eeeevil. It is the eeeevil enemy of the (gorgeous) European Red Squirrel. Apparently the Gray Squirrel comes out of hibernation earlier than the Red, and so eats all the food. Also the Red Squirrels have worse memories and they often completely forget where they have stashed their nuts. Doh.

P.S. Just in case you can't actually SEE the squirrel in my photo, I've made it clickable so you can see the bigger version.

3 April 2007

Moving On

Congratulations Alan and Vikashni on your engagement! I'm so happy for you both.

In other news, L and I have found a place to live and will be moving in tonight if all goes according to plan. It is a cute place with a red door and nice Antipodean flatmates.

Thanks to my lovely uncle, aunt and cousins for letting us stay for a week and a half, and goodbye for now to their gorgeous and amiable Ziggy cat. Ziggy I will miss your purring and your friendly, fluffy nature.

1 April 2007

Cobblestones & Cathedrals

I've been in London for a whole week now! Feeling confident that I can find my way home, I got myself a variety of maps of London and decided to see somewhere famous. The page fell open at St Paul's Cathedral.

I wandered around the nearby streets, looking for pretty English-type buildings. There were three ice-cream vans in one street and lots of people eating icecreams.

I found this weird-looking bridge for pedestrians only, with a sign saying it was the Milennium Bridge. Just then, a marching band came over the bridge, winding around the tourists. Except that they had no uniforms, there were just ten guys in a line.

A nearby busker laughed as the marching band passed and then he went back to playing Augie March's 'Four Seasons in One Day.'
I crossed the bridge. It led to the Tate Modern art gallery. I looked at some Dali paintings and this and some other cool work by Cindy Sherman.

I wandered cobblestone streets and found the Golden Hinde, a replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship that circumnavigated the world. After checking out the Tower Bridge, I disappeared into the maze of the Underground to find my way home.