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
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|
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.
|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|
|From the river ferry to Greenwich|
|On Cutty Sark|
|The Family - Henry Moore, Tate Gallery|
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!
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|
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!|
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.
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|
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
WC - 1002