Some Views That Inspire Me

Sunset over The Mall, London

Sometimes you look at nature, buildings, food etc and you feel inspiration welling up in your belly and up to your face. You smile, remembering a faraway memory in the past, a fun time, places, family, loved ones, friends and God. I like to take photos of things that inspire me. When I do spontaneously I feel exactly what I’ve described above.

Here are some of  my favourites moments…

A mug in a Church cafe
At one end of Pall Mall along St James Street, London

St Paul's Cathedral, Victoria Street, London - a view through two buildings at the shopping centre
Sunset through the trees at dusk, Green Park, London
Awesome architecture
Early morning moon - from the kitchen window

Capturing these sights and views is so compelling. I take photos wherever I go and when I am walking with friends – they just laugh at me and call me ‘paparazzi’. I reckon that’s a compliment. It’s a great hobby and love of mine, capturing views that inspire me.

Happy New Year!

Not a cloud in the sky...

I wish all the readers and followers of this blog a very Happy New Year and a wonderful year ahead. I am very glad that I am able to share my magic moments with you last year and will continue in the coming year. I woke up this morning to a great sunny day. It had been quite a miserable few days even on New Year’s Eve.

View from the window...

Yeah, I remember ordering a pizza for last year’s (2008) New Year’s Eve dinner in my hotel room in San Francisco. It was cold and wet and I wasn’t interested in venturing out that evening. The pizza tasted really great then. I watched TV and waited until the the ball dropped in Time Square before I fell asleep.  There were a couple of sunny days to make a trip to Muir Woods and Sausalito and other touristy things. Otherwise it was exploring the city, a boat trip to Alcatraz and having a relaxing time before returning to London.

My happy plant....it brings warmth to the living room.

Well here I am in London. I wasn’t expecting a sunny day today but hey, the sun came out in all its glory and lasted throughout the whole day. I wonder if a sunny 1st January, 2010 is a great sign of things to come for the rest of the year.

Here’s to a great 2010!

Lights On, London! You Beauty!

The Christmas Carol brings on the spirit of Christmas 2009

I’ve almost forgotten what central London looks like at Christmastime since I moved to north London. The lights on Oxford and Regent Streets are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve totally forgotten how these lights really bring on the spirit of the season. I was in London for a spot of last minute shopping and what a joy it was to walk out of the shops and see the lights on the main street.

Wondered about the credit crunch...

Lights above and the shopping crowd below – makes one wonder if the credit crunch has gone away or just that the Christmas spirit is so strong in the city people will risk life and limb to shop for Christmas gifts. Although I try to avoid the shopping crowds I am amazed at how Christmas makes everything else a triviality. Was Christmas meant to create a feeling of well-being immune to economic reality that continues to besiege businesses – large and small? The influence of Christmas is definitely overwhelming!

Stunning umbrellas 'ellas 'ellas...

Looking back towards Oxford Street just past John Lewis department store, I caught my breath. Whoever thought of umbrellas of lights must be a true Londoner – never leave home without a brolly. Umbrellas are synonymous with London – it can rain at anytime so always be prepared. What a stunning theme! Breathtakingly beautiful.

A massive gift-wrapped pressie - a gentle reminder?

Despite the credit crunch the shopping crowds were out and into every store standing on the main street. The massive wrapped pressie symbolises the priority of the season for lots of people and it gets one wondering that no matter what happens – credit crunch or no credit crunch, people can still celebrate the season.

Hammock of light?

Walking down towards Regent Street above us was this massive hanging blanket of lights – hammock or a magic carpet of lights? Can’t work out what it is on it’s own. Don’t know what the theme is here but it is awesome.

Looking down the main street - fishing nets in lights?

Closer to home in Middlesex I realise that the lights of London compensate for the dark, cold streets in Winter. My photos of the lights in central London reminds me of yet another festive Christmas season. Once again, London says it with lights, in style!

Snow-Man’s Land Or Icecream On The Ground…

A Winter wonderland at my doorstep...

Last night it snowed like nobody’s business. We had about 2-3 inches of snow. It started snowing about 9.00pm and continued relentlessly for hours.

Mountain of snow - en route to Minneapolis from Austin, Minnesota

When I was growing up in the tropics, I thought snow was like icecream on the ground. Well, how can anyone not having seen snow before understand what snow is.  Simple! Since most of us eat icecream (or know what it looks like) the next best thing is to magnify the quantity of icecream humongous-illion times and voila! there’s your snow in the tropics. Unless you can spare the cash this exercise could blow your year’s icecream budget let alone trying to stop it melting in 33-degree tropical heat and scorching sun.

Winter sightseeing in Ottawa, Canada

I have been to places where snow is taken for granted as a familiar seasonal powdery stuff that can turn into gunk and clog up pathways, roads etc.

Snow blizzard in New York City - out and about on my birthday!

Here in Middlesex this morning, the snow was still thick on the ground as I looked out of the train. However, I was clearly disappointed that there was no powdery goodness in Central London. Nothing to chat about except that it was cold and miserable. At midday the sun came out but was gone in a few hours. Such is life in snow-man’s land.

Autumn Trees…

I walked with a friend through Green Park one lunch time on our way to some shops on Victoria Street and these were my impressions of the trees on this cool Autumn afternoon. We’ve walked by these trees over the past year or so but on this particular day they looked so different.

Looking towards Green Park Tube Station.
There is something solid, wholesome and steady about these trunks.
Tree-lined path...awesome!
Beautiful and serene...
Imagine walking through this everyday to and from the office...just perfect
Autumn wonderland...
A lamp in the park...
Leaf-less but not life-less...
Autumn leaves...a leafy carpet.
Anatomy of a tree...
A park lamp...like a sentinel watching over the trees...

I was really happy we walked through the Park to get to where we were going. It gave me a totally different feel of the Park and what a privilege it was. The sights were exceptional.

Dido Elizabeth Belle: Princess Of Kenwood House

I came across a video on Twitter. It is a very interesting and moving story of a young girl who was brought up in a wealthy family. Born circa 1761 and died 1804. This is the story of her life at Kenwood House.

I visited Kenwood House in May 2008.  A very nice house and a listed building.  The surrounding manicured gardens were just great. I couldn’t help wondering what it was like growing up in England in a house like this and what were her favourite pastimes? Apparently hers was a very interesting life.

Kenwood House
Home of Dido Belle

Her father was a captain with the British Royal Navy but little is known about her mother.  Dido was sent to live with her uncle the Earl of Mansfield at Kenwood House, Hampstead, England when she was very young. Despite being brought up like one of their family and member of the household, she was never treated as an equal and would be made scarce when guests were around for dinner.

Walking down to the house...home of Dido Belle

Little is known of her later life. Her father did not leave her any money when he died however Lord Mansfield did leave her about £500 in his will when he died.

In 1793 Dido married John Davinier and had three sons. She died in July 1804 and was buried in the St George Hanover Square (off the Bayswater Road).

There are lots of places where you can read about Dido Belle which I’ll be doing. The video tells Dido’s story so well. Don’t you wish that we had video cameras, camcorders, Youtube etc at that time.

I only learnt about Dido Belle because I met a few people who make it their business to preserve these histories and to continue to honour the memories of people who through no plan or design of their own found themselves in countries like England. They benefited some, but mostly suffered all kinds of injustices and untimely deaths. May God forgive through His everlasting mercy.

I am really pleased to learn about Dido Elizabeth Belle. Such courage, such honour. RIP.

Sunsets: Captivating, Inspiring and Spiritual…

On my street looking west......
On my street looking west......

There’s something about sunsets that I cannot describe. Whether it is the time of the day or the hues, there is something mystical about sunsets.

Bits of blue sky...
Bits of blue sky...

Scientists and meteorologists take a scientific approach in telling us about sunsets, and we all know that the sun sets because that’s the way the world works!

Amazing hues...
Amazing hues...

However, I’ve yet to find out why one feels compelled to take a photo of a sunset, use it as a background or just admire it. Whenever I see a lovely sunset, I remember this hymn, “Abide with me…”. I think there is a spiritual connection with sunsets because of the awesome hues, the time of day and the mood I’m in which is usually pensive and reflective. I don’t know why that is but it is a fact. I took these shots of sunsets in my neighbourhood.

The strip of blue and orange...
The strip of blue and orange...

I got to carrying my camera around because I don’t know what I might capture that makes it my magic moment.  Most people think that the best sunsets are found in the tropics. I too believed that until now.

Here I am in England and I realised that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there is always a sunset that will grab your attention and hold it for as long as you want to stand around or sit and watch it.

Coming from an idyllic island in Papua New Guinea, sunsets have inspired some of the best romantic and beautiful songs ever written.

As a songwriter myself, sunsets inspire me so much and are a major ingredient in my nostalgic and romantic songs. Two of the songs I’ve written that have been inspired by sunsets and I can remember straightaway are: “Sunsets on Sundays” and “Bonabonarua Miadi” (Island Life). Whenever I watch a sunset I feel my spirit comforted, soothed and inspired.

The evening lights come on as the sun sets...
The evening lights come on as the sun sets...

I was at PC World store, Staples Corner recently, and on the way out this was what confronted my eyes – a stunning sunset.

Absolutely captivating!
Absolutely captivating!

There were no islands in sight or swaying coconut trees or the sea. But the affect was the same. I forgot that this sunset was over the busy Edgware Road or that there were buildings everywhere. It was absolutely captivating.

I kept on snapping...
I kept on snapping...

I was so glad I took to wearing my camera around my neck because I never know what interesting event or person etc I could see or find that is worth capturing on my camera. Or make a significant impact on my day.  I stood infront of the store just simply mesmerised by the bright orange and blue grey hues.

The spirally dark blue clouds above the bright orange hues...
The spirally dark blue clouds above the bright orange hues...

As I was standing there rooted to the spot and camera snapping away, other customers also stopped and started taking photos of the sunset. I asked one couple why they were taking a photo of the sunset and they said they were simply captivated.

Stunning combination of colours
Stunning combination of colours

I agree. We were simply captivated. Imagine a few minutes before this awesome sight we were strangers and now in the dusk and fading light, we were united in our admiration of this English sunset as if we had known eachother for ages or neighbours.

Orange greys and a dark foreground...
Orange greys and a dark foreground...

The emotions we felt about the changing colours of the sunset kind of united us with one sentiment – to admire one of natures wonders – a sunset!

Tints of yellow appeared...
Tints of yellow appeared...

I was just standing there unable to move. After taking a few shots I decided to watch as the sun sets.

The couple moved off and other customers coming out of the store also stopped to watch the orange blue grey colours in the distant. What a sight! Honestly, the sunset was just incredible.

As I drove away from the store my mind was still on the sunset. I wanted to watch it until there were not more amazing colours. However, it was getting dark fast and dinner needs to be cooked. Now that brought me back to earth so to speak.  Anway, a few minutes along the parking lot, I jumped out of my car and took some more shots of the dying sunset.

Bright colours fade.., from this part of the parking lot.
Bright colours fade.., from this part of the parking lot.

I was not the only one in the parking lot.  There was a fella there who drove especially to Staples Corner to take shots of the sunset. We exchanged our impressions of the sunset – again perfect strangers. I didn’t ask him about his camera…as he was already clicking away. I also thought better of making conversation. Perhaps he too was taking comfort from this georgeous sunset.

One of his comments that resonated with me was that if we were taking photos of the sunset, we’ve got to be fast as changes in hues happened every second.

Yes, I agreed and looked back towards the direction where I’d just come from. The the flaming orange was still there but within seconds it was gone…

The combination of colours was still there...as I drove off...
The combination of colours was still there...as I drove off...

Try watching a sunset, I bet you you will feel a whole mixture of emotions. Remember there is always a sunset in every land – inspiring and spiritual whichever way you look at it – guaranteed!