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.
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.
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.
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
I love the patterns caused by the sun filtering through this tree
Covert people watching for some candid shots
People waiting for the bus, Silom Road, Bangkok
Tuk Tuk Driver, Silom Road, Bangkok
People waiting for the bus, Silom Road, Bangkok
Attempts at panning. Some work, some don’t, but it’s fun to do
Panning is a photographic technique that combines a slow shutter speed with camera motion to create a sense of speed around a moving object. It is a way to keep your subject in focus while blurring your background.
Massage therapists taking a break
Motorcycle taxi drivers taking a break
More photo opportunities along the road
Silom Road, Bangkok
Not sure what this is but I like the garden and the gate, Silom Road, Bangkok
Where Silom Road and Naradhiwat Rajanagarindra Road meet, Bangkok
Not sure what this is but I like the garden and the gate, Silom Road, Bangkok
Silom Road, Bangkok
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.
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.
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. 🙂
I have written about this day out horseriding in my previous post, Nelson to Queenstown, but I thought I’d dedicate a whole post to Cecil the horse.
I have loved horses since I was a little girl, so this was the perfect way to spend a day in Glenorchy and I was looking forward to it immensely. I arrived and was paired up with a horse named Cecil, who was a magnificent bay stallion. My horse and I spent three hours riding through the Rees Valley surrounded by a landscape of rocks, glacial fed rivers and magnificent mountains. It was an incredible experience as we rode our way passed the Misty Mountains which were made famous by The Lord of The Rings. We spent the whole morning riding and after a break for lunch we rode out again.
Cecil was very well behaved in the morning, I think he was a little sleepy, but it was another story when we got together again. When we left the stables for the second time that day, everything was calm and we rode in silence without any problems. On the way back, I think Cecil got a little excited at the thought of ending his day with a bale of hay and a nice comfy stable because he started to buck his hind legs, jumping for joy it seemed. He didn’t let me know he was about to do that, being a horse all conversation is lacking, and it took me completely by surprise. I nearly came off a couple of times but he didn’t manage to throw me, I gripped as much as my knees would allow me too. Maybe he was just fed up with me on his back for a whole five hours, who knows what goes through a horse’s head!
Back at the stables, Cecil posed with me for a photograph as a memento of our day together and we said our goodbyes.
Afterwards, I wondered how I could spend the day walking over a volcano and another hiking a glacier and not ache in the slightest, but five hours on a horse and it was a very different story. I couldn’t move for the next few days, my muscles had packed up and I struggled to move even a few inches. Now I think about it, it was probably Cecil’s revenge and he was back in his comfy stable sniggering with his horsey pals.
I travelled around New Zealand in 2008, and ended up in Auckland as part of my trip. One day I took a trip over to the nearby island of Rangitoto.
I took a boat from Auckland and the volcanic cone, which rises up to 850 feet, can be seen for miles around, it’s a sight to see from afar. The name, Rangitoto, is Maori for “Bloody Sky” and the name comes from Tama-te-Kapua, a captain of the Arawa Waka, who was badly wounded there during a battle.
Rangitoto island was created over 6,000 years ago by a series of volcanic eruptions and evidence of the eruptions can be seen across the island in the form of fields of black lava stones. And it’s these black lava stones that were quarried between 1898 and 1930 and used as building material for Auckland. It’s a very unique landscape.
On the island, there are paths, that were created between 1898 and 1930 by prisoners, that lead right up to the summit.
It was a fabulous day out, tramping the old dirt tracks up to the summit and seeing the wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and out to sea. I love exploring new places and being reminded of old ones.
There are many places to go in Bangkok to get your fill of art and culture, photographic and painting exhibitions to annual street art festivals, heck there are even boats that exhibit art, so it can be appreciated by people travelling along the Chao Praya River. And next year, the city will play host to its first Art Biennale which will showcase artists from Asia, Europe and the Pacific; an exciting prospect and one that I shall very much look forward to. Visiting art galleries wasn’t something I was into before, but I can’t get enough of it now and I actively seek out exhibitions to go and see. With that in mind, here are a few of my favourite places to go.
Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre
My all time favourite place to go for art, just because it’s so big and there are always interesting and diverse exhibitions going on across it’s 9 floors. You’ll need a good couple of hours to wander round the whole place, but that’s all part of the fun. I usually go there with an exhibition in mind, but there are always other works of art that catch my eye. However, not everything makes me stop and look, and some works simply baffle the hell out of me, but, on the whole, I can appreciate the work, effort, time, and love that has gone into creating something. The first five floors circle up and around the main foyer and the main exhibitions are held on the 7th, 8th and 9th floors in huge, hangar-like rooms. Also in the BACC, are art shops, bookshops, art spaces, and cafes, as well as little stalls selling homemade jewellery and handicrafts, and a resident artist who is happy to paint your caricature. If you’re into art, this is the place to go.
Kathmandu Art Gallery
A small, unassuming old shophouse, converted into the charming Kathmandu Art Gallery, on Pan Road, Silom. It’s owned by Manit Sriwanichpoom, Thailand’s best known photo-artist, and some of his work, displayed on the walls, is for sale. (in his photos, he’s the one in pink!) Downstairs is a book store, with art and photography books, as well as books on Buddhism and Hinduism, for sale. Upstairs is the tiny art gallery, which showcases photographic images from new and established artists. Although small, the windows are always open creating a light and airy atmosphere. It won’t take much of your time here, but the photography is spectacular and you’ll probably have the place all to yourself.
Soy Sauce Factory
A café/bar and art gallery on Charoen Krung Road is an old Chinatown soy sauce factory, hence the name. Downstairs is the café/bar, simply decorated with tables and chairs and bold, light and dark colours on the walls. There’s a drum kit set up for the evenings when the place transforms into a popular hang out for a mix of people who come to enjoy the cool music, drinks, and atmosphere. (Temporarily closed due to renovation, but hopefully will re-open soon
Sofitel, Sukhumvit’s own 100 square metre gallery, it’s tiny, but elegantly decorated and it holds exhibitions from Thai and French painters, photographers and other creators every two months. It’s right there to the left of the hotel’s main foyer, you can’t miss it. There’s a sofa in the middle, so you can sit and gaze at the wonderful art pieces on show.
These are just a few of the art galleries I have visited so far, but I plan to get around quite a few more. The next one on my list is called “Hopeland” at Jam Factory; a selection of photographs taken from the artist’s condo window, so watch this space. 🙂