Monday, 18 February 2019

Write...Edit...Publish...+IWSG: Welcome to 2019 and another year of fun Challenges!





Welcome to the first Write...Edit...Publish...+IWSG Challenge of 2019! 

The prompt for this Challenge has been picked as winner from among a host of  IWSG member generated ideas. The winning prompt is from long time WEP/IWSG member Toi Thomas. Nifty!

I'm coming in with something I've never tried at WEP before - a photo essay. Last summer I took a trip to UK, and finally learnt to use my camera phone. I have used a 28-day period  for my entry - based on the holiday and the pre-holiday prep and excitement mode, from 7th July to 3rd August 2018.  I hope you'll enjoy it.




The Trip Abroad and Within



7th July. 


The Oyster Cards arrived, well in time, phew! The paperwork for the holiday had to be split into two because I had planned on going to Kolkata alone in June - I would need my passport back before that first trip. I applied ahead and went solo to the visa office (megastrange!), the family applied later. For the same reason, ordered the Oyster Cards after getting back, because there'd be no-one to receive them at home. Big relief when they turned up early.

Really helped - road, tube, rail, ferry, valid everywhere in London 


16th July.

FB update - Planning on MOOCing on the go - there's a first time for everything! We'll see...


A MOOC from the IWP, Uni Iowa is a summer staple. A few misgivings this time, because though I'm usually holidaying in India during summer, I'm still parked at one place. Here I'd be moving every three four days – no time for mouch-potato mode.


But I completed the MOOC and used what I wrote there - tweaked suitably, for the subsequent WEP Challenges. Two birds, one stone, and bonus - writing lessons learnt, that's three birds really...almost a flock. Even this photo essay idea was seeded at a later MOOC. 


18th July.



From plane over Heathrow

Landed at Heathrow early morning. Had booked a holiday rental way back. Discovered after baggage claim - property owner had cancelled booking due to previous guests extending stay - utter rubbish excuse! Never experienced this ever in all my years, and certainly never before in London which I've visited multiple times. Completely freaked out in the middle of airport like some medieval damsel in distress type figure, only much less elegant and certainly not willowy. Fortunately, hubby keeps a cool head. Marched fainting/fuming wife and baffled teen off to Tourist Info Counter. 


Guy at counter was super helpful, London was fully booked up, but he got us a room in Holborn finally. Budget, of course, shot to pieces right then and there. But valuable lesson learnt. Turned out the location was 10 minutes’ walk from the Brit Museum. Silver lining to every cloud, don't even have to look hard. Got to the hotel and immediately onto the Museum.

The closest attraction - British Museum


Walking around - Bloomsbury


Trafalgar



Kew Gardens


From the river ferry to Greenwich


On Cutty Sark


St Margaret's


The Family - Henry Moore, Tate Gallery



23rd July.

Covered good ground in London. Met up with my friend from the Cairo Book Club and then video-called another CBC friend in Dhaka together.  Met up for dinner with three of my cousins, and one of hubby's. 

Went to Brit Museum, V&A, went back to Tate, and also Greenwich after some 30 years? - walked to Victoria Embankment to watch the late sunset, from Tate to Parliament Square and to Trafalgar. Finally made it to Kew Gardens this time on my fifth trip, yeah! 

London was in the middle of a heat wave, did not get one drop of rain. Not that rain would have fazed me ha! - I had umbrellas. Just like in India in monsoons. Besides, British rain is polite and disciplined, unlike the Indian unsystematic pour-at-random version.


24th July.

Leeds. Had always vaguely thought of it some dreadful, boring industrial town. Pleasantly surprised. Lovely setting on a tiny river - Aire, some cool bridges. Across the hotel was the Royal Armouries Museum, highlight of the trip.  Hall of Steel - uber impressive display in a three-storey high, glass atrium, although am strictly non-violent, squeamish type.


Royal Armouries, Leeds


Sunset over Docklands 


Bridge over River Aire



26th July.


Arrived at Coventry, changing at Birmingham. Small town. Less spruced up than the others visited. But has been designated as the City of Culture for 2021 and lots of construction going on. Interesting train journey in. Staff kept apologising over p.a. for minuscule delays, thirty second unscheduled stop because of signals not being clear etc. - unused to this consideration from any transport staff, very odd. Can't remember this happening in Spain. Maybe they were announcing in Spanish and I was blithely unaware? 

Wrong decision to use Coventry as base for Stratford-upon-Avon, SuA is an overnight destination. It was raining, everything was clogged with day-trippers, the Rose & Crown said it would take one and half hours to serve us any food, the kid and his father were hungry and cranky so let myself be manipulated into..OMG, McDonald's...mortifying! Wanted to see a play but they finished too late...Overall, not a success. Will have to go back. And not in summer. Maybe solo. 

On the way to somewhere..train tracks




Walking to Coventry city centre


Outside a church...just caught my eye

Sunset, as we dined

People watching at the centre

Larkin was from Coventry


Starting out for Stratford...nice n sunny...


But by the time we got to Warwick...


it was 'into each life some rain must fall'...




Stratford upon Avon...has its own Eye...didn't expect that...


Still raining on the way back


But sun or rain...the planet's lovely in every mood, gosh!



29th July.

Arrived Bath via Bristol. Beautiful Georgian town steeped in history, feast for the eyes whichever way one looked. Stayed put long enough to draw breath, pottered around, walked, walked, walked solo; and walked with family. Gobbled up gardens, baths, abbey, bridges, houses, owls; and the river was still with us, Avon, stunning at every angle. Went to Stonehenge, another long time item on the bucket list.



Sunset behind the Bath Abbey



Pulteney Bridge, early morning on the way back from Waitrose.

Jane Austen lived here. Gay Street. 
On the way to the Royal Crescent.

Lost in the picturesque streets of Bath.

Some walls should be preserved...and some others never built.

William Wilberforce lived here. Read about him in school.
The other famous residents I didn't know much about


Sulis Minerva. The main Roman moon deity of the Bath. 
Only the head survives. Fortunate, all things considered.


2nd August. 


Left Bath. Had lunch on arrival at Paddington. Hubby decided to cab it to our hotel near Heathrow...saw a lot more of London streets and architecture but did take a long time. 


Many trains, many journeys, I love rail travel.



On the way back to Paddington. From Paddington
to the hotel next to the airport to spend the night.




But wait, can't leave without clicking this once. So back here, solo.



I didn't have time to go in, but...London
trip isn't a trip till I walk this area



All gone now...time to go home
3rd August.


Took a cab to the airport early. Got majorly held up in security because I’d forgotten to take out plastic pouch with liquid toiletries from handbag. Luckily, hubby's bag got held up too because of some gizmo or other. Or else would never have heard the end of it. Uneventful flight back.


And we're back...in Bahrain...



...where the turquoise seas were glorious...the
planet continues to enthrall wherever one looks.

So. That's the trip. Old memories revisited. Fresh ones made. Some lessons learnt. When I looked for Stonehenge photos on the phone, I found I didn't click any. However many photos are clicked, memories will reconfigure themselves into the fuzzy-pleasant. 

Will I remember the disastrous London booking? Only as a caution, with the sting taken off. The colourful sunset skies behind the Bath Abbey? Probably not long term. But the expansive wonder that unfettered landscapes induce, that's hard to forget, it squeezes the breath out of me every time. 


Let me leave you with this poem I read on a wall outside a public loo. The biggest lessons are in teeny-tiny things, the smallest wordcounts. Always in the most insignificant and unlikely places. In the least remarkable of moments.

Final words. Final lesson. Final note to self - be mindful of the 
unremarkable moments. Even a trip to a public loo can be an 
epiphany.




WC - 1002
FCA


Read the other entries here -

60 comments:

  1. Nila, this is delightful. Love photo essays. We don't see enough. I often think of it, but then some flash comes buzzing into my mind.

    Love all your London haunts. Adore Bath and Stonehenge too. Bad things happen when we travel. Not so fun at the time, but afterwards make good stories afterwards.

    I would flip the first line of that delightful poem: I travel so I can write.

    Thanks for a great entry for 28 Days partner!

    Happy trails!

    Denise x

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    1. I know what you mean by flash happens and all other thoughts evaporate!

      I'm going to try and tackle things I don't normally write at the WEP...let's see how that goes. April will topple my good intentions, no doubt :)

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  2. I enjoyed your trip. Glad your hubby was the knight to your damsel in distress and it all worked out well, despite blown budget. Museums, walking, Bath - all lovely pics.

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    1. Budgets are insane things, better avoided right from the outset :)

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  3. Hari OM
    ...not sure you'd consider the rain lashing the Hutch's window right now as "polite and disciplined"... neither is it the relieving kind that might be said of the monsoon...

    You certaily covered ground on your visit - some wonderful places pictured and nooks crannied. If you do decide to travel solo, make sure you call out and come visit the Bonny Land! YAM xx

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    1. Maybe a shade more impolite but nothing compares to a monsoon downpour's rudeness! Bucketfuls just dumped out of the sky without warning.

      I visited Inverness many years ago, went up by train from London. Everyone in London had said oh, it's raining there, terrible weather etc etc...when we walked out of the station the 'terrible weather' turned out to be a drizzle so fine that I couldn't feel it falling at all, it just misted heads like badly applied hairspray :) The rest of the time the weather was grand. The highlands were/are super beautiful..would totally love to go back.

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  4. Great photo essay and great memories! It's always wonderful when something positive comes from a "mistake." Maybe there are no mistakes, just a route to different opportunities.

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    1. I like that thought! I'm going to use that next time the dinner's burnt - not a mistake, a different opportunity. Thank you.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your lovely trip photos! That is too bad about the reservation snafu and the blown budget, but otherwise, it looks and sounds like a fabulous experience. Smiled at "British rain is polite and disciplined". ☺

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    1. Luckily the bad happened right at the beginning and was dealt with and it left us free to enjoy ourselves for the rest of the trip. It was indeed fab, heat wave and all.

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  6. This was a wonderful way to fulfill the prompt! Thanks for sharing such wonderful photos! I would have also been flustered by the whole booking disaster. I'm glad you found another place to stay.

    Thanks for sharing that poem at the end! Wonderful and so true!

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    1. The booking disaster turned out to be a blessing in disguise really, as disasters often are. We ended up at a great location. I totally loved the poem and its profound insight, no boundary between the trip abroad and trip within..

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  7. What a wonderful trip it must've been. I'm green with envy. I still remember my one trip to London, almost 20 years ago, with nostalgia. I want to visit again, and your essay gave me the opportunity. A little bit, vicariously, but every bit counts, right? A great entry to this challenge.

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    1. London is one of my favourite cities to visit, but I what I really love is to go into the British countryside - gems round every corner!

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  8. I loved your takeaways and it was wonderful traveling with you. I haven't been to Stratford-Upon-Avon since the summer I turned 11 (I've been back to London twice since then), so I had no idea they had an Eye. Oddly enough, when you mentioned how busy it was there, I remembered that - we got there before things opened when we went and by afternoon it was crowded. Do they still have "standing room only" at plays there?

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    1. It was standing room only in the entire place...

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  9. I enjoyed that! But McDonald's??? :)
    Every time I see Paddington I think of the Agatha Christie mystery on the train! Thanks for sharing your trip!

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    1. Ya, I'll never live that lunch at McD down! :D

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  10. Hi,

    I want to visit London this year in connection with a writing workshop. Your pictures made me want to go there now. I've been there before but I was always on the run. This time I want to take the time to enjoy the trip.
    Thanks for sharing this. It awoke my desire to see England again.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked the pics. Enjoy your trip to London!

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  11. I love the idea of a photo essay. Thanks for sharing your UK trip. Your images are great. You've got a good camera on your phone. Sorry you had to eat McDonald's and didn't get any Stonehenge pictures. Perhaps, I'll make it to the UK one day.

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    1. I got Stonehenge pics on the regular camera, forgot to take any on the phone. The phone camera turned out better than I thought, but the standalone one is my comfort zone!

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  12. That was an unexpected entry. I enjoyed the use of your photos, which served to enhance the story's narrative. It seemed you enjoyed the trip, even with the minor issues that occurred during it. Well done, Nilanjana.

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    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the pics. I had a great time on the trip.

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  13. Some really intriguing shots here! Fun post.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Good trip makes for fun photos, the heatwave helped of course :)

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  14. Lovely! I’ve never tried a photo essay to a prompt, but you make me realize that my photo posts about our various trips and tramps are, in fact, photo essays :). Maybe next time I’ll try one for WEP!

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  15. What a wonderful photo essay! Thanks for sharing your holiday with us!

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  16. An interesting journey. I enjoyed looking at the photos!

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  17. I recall if I ever read a photo essay before but yours was wonderful to read and to peruse all the beautiful photos you took. Bath is one place I'd love to visit if I ever go overseas.

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    1. Bath is a brilliant place to visit. Endlessly fascinating.

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  18. I'm always interested to read people's accounts of their travels, and none more than of places I've been to - or live! I'm even more interested to see what they photo, and especially, which they choose to share with others. So all in all, I found your trip fascinating!

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    1. I love armchair travelling too, it's the next best thing to the real thing.

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  19. Hi Nila
    I loved seeing all your photos. I had to smile at polite rain. Here in Colorado we have rain showers in the summer that last half an hour. You can be driving down the road in the sunshine and literally, the other side is raining. We call them, 'Little Mountain Showers.' Since Colorado is semi-arid, our little showers cool things off.

    Next year hubby and I are going to start to travel. First on the list is the Sequoia National Forest in Washington and Oregon, States. I will need to learn how to take pictures and up load them.
    Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy, US national parks, quite a few of them at least, have been on my bucket list forever. Hope I make it there someday.

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  20. That was quite a journey. Loved the pictures. Yep, and empty wine glass signifies time to go, lol.

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    1. Yeah, once the wine's over not much point in sticking around, right? :) :)

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  21. Hi Nila - gorgeous seeing England in the heat of the 2018 summer (when I wasn't in the country - bah and with a smoke haze damping the heat on Vancouver Island - blah!). Holborn is a good area to be 'stationed' in ... Brit Museum, Covent Garden, theatre land et al ... and lots of other museums ... not far to the British Library.

    I see you didn't get to see the new Cathedral in Coventry - erected for the many who were killed in bombing blitz in the War. I've never seen it ... but some day would like to.

    Love the poem at the end ... I hadn't seen the Cutty Sark sign ... love the wood carving; while I'd like to visit the Armouries ...

    Well done and so glad you had happy trips - cheers Hilary

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    1. UK I find gorgeous in any weather - living in the desert one learns to appreciate the rain in a special way.

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  22. Great post, glad you had a wonderful time (mostly).

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  23. I would love to visit London, but I liked seeing your photos. Wish the Stonehenge images had been there. Things go so fast when we are traveling that we don't see all the details until we later look at the images captured. Things always happen on vacations, irksome at the time, but adds to the interest in the long view. Thanks for sharing your experience. BTW - Did you know the 'henge' part of the Stonehenge name comes from the natural circular formation of the land in certain parts of the UK. Learned this on the show, 'Expedition Unknown'.

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    1. I do have Stonehenge photos - but on the regular camera only, no phone shots. The history is fascinating, thanks for sharing it here, DG.

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  24. I've visited London many ties but with each travelogue I find that there is much I still haven't seen. Unfortunately the UK Govt's policy of charging a heft visa fee for Indian tourists, my trip to the UK is getting more and more distant. So thanks for sharing your holiday pics and experiences

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    1. Visa fees are a killjoy everywhere :( London is rich city, needs many visits to uncover it fully. I'm not really sure it can be 'seen' entirely even then...best of luck for your future trip there.

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  25. I really enjoyed your photo essay. You made lots of great observations like "British rain is polite and disciplined"-so true! I live in the UK but haven't visited some of the places you mentioned, like Stone Henge. I attended university in Leeds-it's a great city. Stratford Upon Avon is a lovely little place. I hope you enjoyed a pasty or two. How wonderful that you found such an interesting poem outside a public loo!

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    1. I've enjoyed pasty and cream teas, but not on this visit. I really like getting outside the main cities and seeing the countryside. Glad you liked the post, thanks.

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  26. Such a lovely photo story (I must say that you have quite an eye for photography).

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  27. I loved seeing photos of places I either visited or missed when I lived for decades in England. Getting to see a play in Stratford takes planning from what I remember they don't make it easy.

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    1. Yes, that was my takeaway too - not a place for a spontaneous walk in kind of trip at all...next time will go planned up to the gills.

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  28. I love that you found wisdom by a toilet.
    Great pictures. Thanks for sharing your trip!

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    1. Ya, I particularly liked that toilet connection. Not sure what that says about me :) Thanks for visiting!

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  29. Been to all these places, and your post made me want to go again, especially Bath, a town I could settle in, in a heartbeat!

    Damyanti Biswas

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    1. Bath is indeed a particularly gorgeous place - irresistible.

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  30. I wasn't 100% sure what a photo essay entailed, but now I know. Thanks for the enlightenment!
    My thoughts as I went along:
    Such a wonderful voice!
    Oyster Cards? Never heard of this. Is it like a day pass or a whole week's pass?
    British rain versus the Indian rain? Ha! So evocative. Love the imagery!
    McDonald's?? Nooooooo. Sounds torturous. Plus no play? That IS mortifying!
    Stonehenge... ah! Despite having no photos, it must have been beautiful.
    Love your photos. Such colourful trains. Bath looks really charming...quaint.
    Thanks for the wonderful journey!

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    1. To be perfectly honest, Michelle, a photo essay need not be anything like a 1000 words, lot smaller wordcounts are acceptable.
      Oyster Cards are electronic smartcards used to get around London, they are valid indefinitely I think. You fill them up with a certain sum, which gets progressively deducted each time a journey is made. Using a card means a substantial discount over conventional tickets.
      British rain is definitely more disciplined! Just back from India where it rained heavily when it's NOT supposed to - in spring. No consideration, you see. :)
      Not a fan of McD so yes, painful memory. Especially because it was at William S' birthplace.
      Stonehenge was beautiful, loved the feel of the place.
      So also Bath. Stunning vistas. The trains are nostalgic and colourful both. Pretty punctual too. Glad you enjoyed the journey.

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