Photo Walks Around The City; October 2017

In October, I was in Phra Nakhon area, one of my favourite places to hang out.

I took a bike to the intersection where Lan Luang Road meets Ratchadamnoen Klang Road where King Prajadhipok Museum and Wat Saket are located.

I stood for what seemed like ages for a gap in the traffic.

Up the steps of Phanfa Bridge

Mahakan Fort, one of the two remaining forts that protected the city, the other being Phra Sumen Fort

Wat Ratchanatdaram (Loha Prasat or Iron Castle)

Architecture on Phra Sumen Road

Wat Bowonniwet Vihara where King Bhumibol resided when he was a monk

And my walk ended at Thanon Tinao. It doesn’t look busy at this time. Give it a few hours and it’s heaving

Photo Walks in Bangkok

Still plenty more to see in this city I call home. I hope you enjoyed my walkabout as much as I did walking about! 🙂

Visit morrisophotography for more photographs 🙂

The Paths in Life

 

Paths in Life
One of my favourite quotes by Khalil Gibran

“The one moment that changed my life and sent me on a path that would end up living in Thailand came twelve years ago in 2005.”

“Throughout life, everyone travels down certain paths and sometimes things happen that set you on a different path and although you may feel scared or unhappy, just know that you’ll be stronger for it. What doesn’t kill you…, right? Don’t think of the negatives, think positive and be excited at not knowing where your new path will lead you to.”

“I often think in life we all start to travel down one road, be that marriage or kids, and that’s our life. We get on with things and we make the most of what we have, and we’re happy, but then something happens, like divorce, which causes us to travel down a new path, an uncharted course that filled me with anxiety.”

“A path that seems so uncertain, very much the opposite of what we’ve experienced before.”

“….my life was taking a new path and I wasn’t anything but happy about that.”

“….the next trip I took was one that set me down a path that would eventually lead me to a life in Thailand.”

“Don’t be scared to go your own path…”

Above, are excerpts from my new book and I seem to mention paths quite a lot.

I am a great believer in going your own way, maybe that’s something that comes with getting older, but I believe that it’s the only way for people to really life their own lives.

I am not saying this is right for everyone, certainly not, I know everyone is different, but I remember when I was younger I would follow the crowd and it was great. But I have changed, I’m not like that anymore, I do what pleases me and go where I want to go and that’s great too.

Paths in Life
London

If I hadn’t done that I would probably still be living in my hometown. So instead, I branched out and began following a new path and I am so much happier for it.

Was it scary? Hell yes!

Am I stronger? Yes, I am!

Have a learned more about myself? Yes definitely!

Paths in Life
Paphos, Cyprus

These are all positive things that have happened, even the scary part, but I had to start with that one step along my new path.

And my path may yet change again in the not too distant future. Not because I am unhappy now, far from it, but I want some new challenges in my life and I want to start planning for my future (something I would never have said 3 years ago!) I guess it comes to us all.

So, who knows where this new road will lead me. It’s scary and uncertain, but it’s also challenging and exciting. And, for me,  that’s the beauty of following paths!

Paths in Life
Koh Tao

Visit morrisophotography for more photographs of The Paths of Life 🙂

Photo Walks Around the City; September 2017

My wanderings took me all over the place in September.

From my vantage point at the House of Lucie in Ekkamai. I was there for an art exhibition

Photos walks in Bangkok

The steps to the BTS station have some words to get you through the week

Photos walks in Bangkok

A stroll along Saen Saep Canal

Turning into Kasem San 2 Alley with flowers and trees making it feel like you’re not really in a big city

Photos walks in Bangkok

Back in the throng of things and Bangkok’s newest skywalk. It crosses over the busy Pathumwan intersection. It cost 300 million baht to construct

Phaya Thai Road with my favourite building, Mahanakhon, at the end of the road on the left.

Photos walks in Bangkok

One of Bangkok’s many canals, taken from Phanfa Bridge

Photos walks in Bangkok

Phra Sumen Fort on Phra Athit Road, taken at the blue hour

One of my favourite roads, Phra Athit Road

Another fun street to hang out, Soi Rambuttri

I hope you enjoyed September’s walkabout. Until the next time 🙂

Visit morrisophotography for more photography 🙂

The Ladies of Ta Khian

Here in Thailand, you’ll see colourful strips of material wrapped around trees all over the country. Legend has it that a female spirit, called Nang Ta Khian, or Lady of Ta Khian, lives in the trees and surrounding areas. The trees are also called Ta Khian  (Hopea odorata) and can grow up to 45 metres in height, so pretty big.

Thailand Folklore and Legends
Bangkok

The spirits, known collectively as Nang Mai (Ladies of the Tree) sometimes appear as beautiful women and people wrap the material around the trunks of the trees in order to keep the spirits happy. Also, Ta Khian trees are sometimes felled for their wood, but people believe that consent from the spirit must be given before the tree is cut down, so a special ceremony is usually carried out.

Thailand Folklore and Legends
Rayong

It’s not only Ta Khian trees that are used for this purpose. In February, I went to Koh Chang on holiday and there were two really tall fig trees, with huge roots, some of which were around 18 inches high, at the bottom of my friends garden, right next to the sea.

Thailand Folklore and Legends
Koh Chang

They were both ceremoniously wrapped. He suggested that I bring my own piece of protection and add to the collection around the tree.

Thailand Folklore and Legends
Koh Chang
Thailand Folklore and Legends
Koh Chang

I don’t really believe in spirits, but I think it’s a nice thing to do (maybe I do believe), but a little piece of me is still there on Koh Chang.

Thailand Folklore and Legends
Koh Chang

 

The Truth Behind the Cages

I took this picture because I liked the bird cages, I thought they looked cute, but the truth behind them is not so cute.

Cruelty against animals, Thailand
Bird Cages at Big Buddha Hill, Pattaya

Many people in SE Asia believe that if they release birds, it happens with other animals, like turtles, too, they will be awarded with good karma. Any bad luck they have experienced will be transported away with the animals and they will only receive good luck from then on. For Buddhists, this is a traditional way of life and one that has been carried out for centuries. Unfortunately for the wildlife, they have to be captured in the first place in order to be set free and, according to one article, 700,000 birds are used for this purpose every year.

The same article, written in July 2017, goes on to say that the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has begun to raise public awareness of just how cruel the releasing of birds and animals actually is and many temples have followed suit with signs encouraging people not to support the trade.

I guess time will tell whether these plans come to fruition but, in the meantime, even if you think that this act is “nice to do” please think of the animals and help to support the protection of wildlife. 🙂

 

 

 

Beachcombing

I recently read a post about beachcombing by Global Housesitter X2 and it reminded me how much I love it. When I went travelling in 2008, wherever I went I would take time to stroll up and down the beach in search of things that had been washed ashore. Beautiful shells, interesting pieces of driftwood or coral, anything that would catch my eye. The only thing was I had to be careful how many things I collected as it was so easy to get carried away and have at least 1kg or more added to my already full case. Even before this, many years ago, I would beachcomb when I was on holiday and I collected hundreds of shells and small stones, all from different countries, all different colours and shapes, which were taken home and placed in a large glass jar.

Things to find on a beach
The beginnings of my new collection

I remember once, my girlfriends and I took a trip to Puerto Banus in Spain and we had spent the day on the beach where I went in search of more treasure, so I could add to my collection at home. I found this pebble, it was big, I’d say about 7-10 inches across, but it was so beautiful, smooth and black, I couldn’t resist it, so in my bag it went. At the end of the holiday we got ready to fly back to the UK and I put the pebble in my hand luggage, not really thinking about it. When my bags were scanned to board the plane, the woman at security asked me to unpack my bag and I remembered my lovely pebble was in there. She wanted me to hand it over. I looked at her, as if to say, “please can I keep it?” but, not saying anything, she gave me a look that said “really?!” Not wanting to be the person that got arrested for having a large, potentially deadly weapon (pebble) in my bag, I, sheepishly, parted with it.

So that particular find never made it home and, when I moved to Thailand, the glass jar, by this time brimming with my beach finds, was handed over to my parents who kept it in their conservatory. I thought it was still there until a few weeks ago when I casually asked my mum if they still had it. “Oh no,” she said, “we had to throw them away because the shells had started to smell.”  I couldn’t expect my parents to continuously wash the contents of the jar for me.

Things to find on a beach
The beginnings of my new collection

I know there are more important things in life, but, I have to say, I was a little disappointed. But, not to worry I have the beginnings of a new collection right here in Thailand. And, back home, even my mum and dad have indulged in my treasure finding hobby for themselves, but their little stash never leaves the garden.

Things to find on a beach
My mum and dad’s beach treasure

Photo Walks Around The City; August 2017

My photo walk in August took me along Silom Road where there is usually plenty going on.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple (Wat Khaek)

Shopping on Pan Road

Photo Walks Around Silom Road, Bangkok

I love the patterns caused by the sun filtering through this tree

Photo Walks Around Silom Road, Bangkok

Covert people watching for some candid shots

Attempts at panning. Some work, some don’t, but it’s fun to do

Massage therapists taking a break

Photo Walks Around Silom Road, Bangkok

Motorcycle taxi drivers taking a break

More photo opportunities along the road

Tuk Tuk driver snoozing

Pigeons getting involved in the action

These photos are a result of walking along with my camera at hip level, not looking at what I was photographing. A different way to take photos, but one that had me chuckling out loud all the way up the road.

I hope you enjoyed August’s walk as much I as did.

 

The Book Lover’s Tag

The Book Lover's Tag
The Falcon of Siam by Axel Aylwen
The Book Lover's Tag
The Kipling Reader: Selections from the Books of Rudyard Kipling

Every week, on a Thursday, I receive my much awaited blog posts from my friends who live all over the world. The topics they write about are so varied and interesting, it means I get to learn new things all the time. Once such blog was by Sarah from secretartexpedition.wordpress.com who is a talented artist and lover of art, nature, literature and a lot more. Her post was called The Book Lover’s Tag and she had been nominated by another blogger to answer questions about a favourite pastime of hers-reading. Just like Sarah, I love reading, so I thought it would be fun to consider myself tagged and answer the same questions.

Here goes:

Do you have a specific place for reading?

I normally settle myself on the sofa and read a chapter or two at a time. The other place I read is in bed at the end of the day.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I used to mark the page by folding the corner in the book but I don’t like to do that, so I have a bookmark that I bought in Goa, it’s simply handmade with a piece of card and colourful string wrapped around it and a longer piece that sticks out the book so I can easily retrieve my place.

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

I do sometimes but I find eating is distracting because I can’t eat and read at the same time, especially when I’m lying on the sofa. I can just about have a swig of whatever I’m drinking and continue to read.

Music or TV whilst reading?

I can’t read and listen to music or watch TV at the same time. I find it too distracting and can’t concentrate on the words.

One book at a time or several?

In the past, I used to only read one book at a time but now I read more than one. I am currently reading two. One is a paperback and the other is on Kindle.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I love to read at home and I make time in my day to do that but I also love reading outside in the sun. I go swimming a few times a week and I always take my book with me, so I can read by the pool afterwards. I also like reading on the beach, although I find lying on the beach and reading rather uncomfortable, so a lounger under a tree is more preferable. Whenever I go out and about in my city, I usually end up in a bar having lunch with a couple of glasses of wine, so I like to sit and read there.

Read out loud or silently?

Silently, although if I read something I don’t understand I like to read aloud and slowly, it helps me to process the meaning in my head.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I never skip pages, unless it’s a study book or technical book and I don’t need to read everything. I have been known to read ahead but I soon realise I don’t want to know what’s going to happen, so I quickly get back to the point I’m at. I do this when I’m watching TV, read a spoiler and then kick myself that I now know what’s going to happen.

Break the spine or keep it like new.

I love the feel and smell of new books, so I like to try and keep them in that condition. I buy a lot of my books second hand and they can be a little tattered but it doesn’t stop me buying them. So, I’d say that I don’t go as far as breaking the spine but I don’t mind if they get a little wrinkled.

Do you write in books?

I used to write in my study books all the time and all over the place but I don’t with reading books.

What books are you reading now?

The Falcon of Siam by Axel Aylwen.  I am engrossed with this book, it’s such a fascinating tale about a Greek adventurer, working for the British East India Company, who finds his way onto the shores of 17th century Thailand and makes a name for himself working for the Ministry of Trade. It’s a fabulous read which incorporates historical fiction and great storytelling from the author. I can’t put it down.

The Kipling Reader by Rudyard Kipling. Wonderful tales like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the tale of a brave mongoose and William the Conqueror, a love story of a girl, called William, during the British effort to provide relief to starving natives in famine-stricken Madras. There are a few more tales from this master story writer but I’ve only read the first three so far.

What is your childhood favourite book?

I enjoyed Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories but my favourite was Ruby Ferguson’s Jill Series. Jill’s Gymkhana, A Stable for Jill etc. There were nine books in the series and I read every one. I was obsessed with horses back then, I still am. Most of the books I read, when I was younger, had horses in them.

What is your all-time favourite book?

This is a hard question to answer because there have been many favourite books of mine and I don’t have an all-time favourite but some of the books I have absolutely loved, in no particular order are:

The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
The Hobbit by J. R.R Tolkien
The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell

Thank you Sarah for your wonderful post, I loved reading about what books you enjoy 🙂 xx

If you enjoyed this post, I would like to extend the invitation to get involved with the Book Lover’s Tag, I’d love to hear about your reading habits. 🙂

In Loving Memory of My Friend

Some time has passed since you left
Our lives since then have been bereft

Taken from us far too soon
I can still see you, the brightest star, the magical moon

It is shocking and it is sad
A son, a friend, a loving dad

You were one of life’s shining stars
Now I’m the one who worships from afar

The world is a much more lonely place
Without your laughter, without your face

But we’ll live our lives without you here
And I know you’ll always be near
Keeping us together, keeping us strong
With the love you gave us as we go along

One day in time we’ll meet again
On the golden shores we will remain
But until then my friend, good night, sleep tight, Amen!

Peace and Love Always ♥ ♥ ♥

Photographic Memories
Bangkok 2011