Too Close to Home

The terrible tragedy in Kensington last week caused me to once again ponder about the uncertainty and fragility of life.  It was the second most horrific event in London this month following the June 4th London Bridge terror attack and the Finsbury Park terror attack the other day.  In all three London atrocities, and particularly the blaze that ravaged the 24-storey residential building in west London, really did hit too close to home than I might want to admit, literally and figuratively, the realisation that a disaster can happen without an apparent warning. Continue reading

My Favourite Garden in London

While most tourist are familiar with some of the city’s more famous locations such as Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, London has also some smaller and less visited parks and gardens. One of them is Holland Park in Kensington, the largest park in the borough and contained within the park is my all-time favourite Japanese Gardens. Aptly named ‘Kyoto Garden’ and ‘Fukushima Memorial Garden’ — both were presented by the Japanese people to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and Great Britain.  Continue reading

Thrills and Frills of Living in London

London is a city full of unexpected surprises.  Every time I am out, doing an errand or simply traipsing around the park, I always come across something peculiar.  The group of ladies having a ‘Hen Party’ — Bridal Shower to Americans (featured image) at Hyde Park Corner is a classic example of this. I find this a bit odd because it is an event that’s usually done in private, but evidently not for some Londoners.

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Nostalgic Memories of my Childhood Home

I’ve been particularly nostalgic about the good old days . . . it’s my father’s birthday and the overwhelming sense of loss of his early passing dominated my thoughts. He died quite young and he would have turned 85 if he’s still around. I’ve been pondering about it all, and found my diary from my last visit to Palapag, my hometown. I wrote down these thoughts, entry dated 28 November 2010, and wanna share it here. Too personal but please indulge me . . . 🙂 

I’ve come here to visit my family home. It is a wonderful place. It’s been a long time since my last visit. Since my mother’s death, I had a deep longing to reconnect with the people in a community where I grew up. As soon as I arrived, my first instinct was to go straight to the nearest beach, Talolora, and on my way there I dropped by at the old cemetery where my ancestors were laid to rest. Continue reading

Nostalgia

This time last year we were billeted at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel before we returned to London, and I meant to write a review of our visit but life gets in the way, and other plans happen. I finally got to finish the draft I wrote last year. 

sofitelphilplazahotel25They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So when it comes to a hotel, the lobby needs to be the showpiece. As such, when I enter a hotel I always observe every detail in the foyer so I don’t entirely miss the impressive entrance hall they have so cleverly crafted.  Continue reading

Winter Delights (2nd of 2 Parts)

Here’s Part 1.

During the winter months when it’s freezing cold and wet outside (rain in London is always a possibility regardless of the season), some people are probably bored being stuck inside and spend a good hour peering their house windows wondering what to do. As for me, all I want to do is to reach into my pile of books and gleefully pull out a book or two and snuggle down on a sofa and spend the day reading and sipping a cup of tea. Continue reading

Winter Delights (1st of 2 Parts)

When I lost my mother shortly before Christmas six years ago, the approach of winter season took on a whole new meaning for me. Personally, the season came to represent three things: the death anniversary of my parents in November, Christmas in December, and my birthday in January. I am not stricken with dreadful thoughts about any of it. Not at all. With the exception of the bone-chilling cold days, I welcome the season with excitement, and I look forward to long walks in the park to witness the changing foliage, staying indoors to read more books, the Christmas parties to attend to, baking cookies and making gingerbread houses, and listening to jolly Christmas carols. And for all the cosy sweater, yummy pies, tarts and many other goodies.  Continue reading

Christmas in January . . . The Pine Cones

It was colder in London yesterday, very grey with temperatures in the low 40s. It felt like a blank day. In the afternoon I decided to do some tidying up. I felt burdened with the problem of the day (involving some of our young people at church), and didn’t feel like doing any reading or writing so I began to look around to see what project I could get into to relax my mind. All of a sudden my attention turned into all of the stuff we used during the holiday season that need to be put away — all the Christmas ornaments, the silver fruit baskets, the placemats and napkins that are only used on special occasion, and many other things that were scattered everywhere. As I was carefully putting everything away, the pine cones caught my attention. I picked them up from the park in early December and painted some of the edges with white nail polish. These are natural and not artificial or man-made; a rather simple but unique pieces of ornament, all in different sizes. They reminded me of God and His beautiful creation. I wrapped each one of them with plastic, and carefully laid them out one by one inside a white box. Continue reading