Saturday 21 February 2009

On the streets

Hi there, on this very peaceful Sunday morning. Well, Friday night I went out with the team of Street Pastors and we had a really good night. It was the best night I've had by far with this team. We had great conversations with many people. My sister was asking if we were planning to go out every week. On reflection I think we do need more of a regular presence in Brixton. So many people there really just want someone to talk to; some of the stories people shared with us were really touching and very sad. There needs to be a continuous presence there of some kind.

Am still trying to figure out how to work my camera so pardon me if the shots aren't that clear.

Thursday 19 February 2009

London At Night

Shots of iconic London landmarks taken yesterday:

Tower Bridge

The London Mayor's Building

The Gherkin

London Bridge

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Vauxhall at night

Went out for a bite to eat and to test out my camera again last night. The zoom lens is incredible; it can make out images clearly from quite a distance. Very James Bond!

Ok, so it looks like slop, but it was actually quite a nice meal!! It was egg fried rice and ribs in curry sauce at Noodle Noodle in Victoria.

Swanky Riverside apartments right on Vauxhall Bridge. Very expensive!!

The other side of the River

Showing the shops and eateries under the plush apartments using the zoom lens. I'm several hundred feet away taking this shot using the zoom lens. Impressive!

The London Eye at night

Monday 16 February 2009

Pricey Apartments

These apartments in Marylebone Road go for a few million pounds each!!

Playing with my new toy!

Hey guys! Two days after I wrote saying that I hadn't received my camera, it arrived!! Typical! I seriously thought of sending it back on principle as it had not arrived when Amazon had promised it would and I was therefore entitled to a full refund. But I reasoned that I would need a camera at some point anyway and there was no point in cutting off my nose to spite my face.

I was surprised at how tiny the camera was; it for sure will fit into all of my handbags!

So, I took it out today for a test drive. I went to my favourite park, Regent's Park, and took some snaps. Not bad, though I say so myself!

A map showing how huge this park is! It isn't as big as Hyde Park, but it is still one of the biggest in London.

Saturday 14 February 2009

Broken Britain

I don't know if the news has reached your respective corners of the world yet, but for the last few days England has been shocked at the news that a boy, Alfie Patten, has become a father at the age of 13; copy and past the link into your browser to read the whole article and watch the video.

I'm wondering if this chap really is 13 because I personally would say he looks no older than 10 years old. Whatever his age, I feel sorry for him because it is so evident that the enormity of this situation is completely lost on him. His parents are milking it for every penny that they can get, having already netted several thousand pounds since the story broke late last week. Alfie is being tossed to and fro in the media hurricane and no one is looking out for his welfare. This story has been debated in Parliament where speakers are saying it illustrates clearly how broken our society is. To add to this crazy situation, Alfie has to take a DNA test to prove his paternity because two other boys, aged 14 and 16, are claiming they are the father of this baby. One suspects this is purely for financial gain as this is one of the biggest, and therefore one of the most lucrative, stories in England at the moment.

I agree that our society is broken, but it has been broken for decades. With each year that passes there is another crack in the dam of English society that threatens to burst and destroy everything in its path. The world and therefore our immediate societies are changing at breakneck speed leaving in its wake problems and challenges that this nation is ill equipped to deal with.

I'm 36 years old and all I know for sure is what I have witnessed during these years. I trace the decay to when the government took power from the teachers and parents and put it in the hands of the young. The youth of this land get away with all kinds of antisocial behaviour on a daily basis because the poor decisions made in Parliament over the years have made them virtually untouchable. Parents can't correct their children their way, teachers can only give a token reprimand to pupils otherwise they could be charged with abuse. Their hands are tied and the law will not back them to do what is necessary to bring order back into homes and schools. The result has been gangs of feral youth and young adults roaming the streets and causing untold misery to thousands. The law favours the criminal heavily; it would appear that only a foolish person would choose to live within the law. Few people take responsibility for their actions because the law in the main does not hold them accountable for the deliberate decisions that they have made to break it.

England has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the whole of Europe. Why? One of the reasons, and I stress it isn't the ONLY reason, is because for decades pregnant teenagers were immediately given council flats and a whole range of benefits to help them in their new lives as young mums. It is only in the last couple of years that the government has started to clamp down on those who are getting themselves pregnant purely to get their foot on the housing ladder, but I think it is a case of too little too late. I remember when I was unhappy at home and decided to go and apply for a council flat. I was asked a number of questions: was I pregnant or did I have children, was I on drugs, was I in an abusive relationship, etc. When I replied in the negative to these questions and all the others I was asked, I was told I wasn't a priority and would be on the housing waiting list for many years. If I had been pregnant or a law breaker I would have gone to the top of the list.

I could go on and on; the Jamie Bulger case, all the horrifying stories of children being killed at the hands of their parents, binge drinking, crime spiralling out of control, people fleeing the country in terror, etc. But all it would do is make you want to jump off a cliff!! What is needed to restore order and peace in this land is for a few men and women in places of authority with backbone to stand up and say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done AND NOT SEEK TO PLEASE PEOPLE JUST TO BE POPULAR. It will be a lot harder to do it at this stage in our country's history but it CAN be done. This country has a glorious heritage, but the only reason it has one like this is because of the calibre of men and women who were in positions of power who stood for what was right in the face of overwhelming opposition, and sometimes even death. Fortunately, it isn't as drastic as that anymore and with that in mind we must believe for politicians who are of the stock of their political ancestors to step up to the plate and make the much needed changes. England isn't finished with yet, but NOW is the time for those who can turn this country around to do so.

Friday 13 February 2009

25 Random things about me!

1. I love to eat but I hate to cook!
2. I'm the only one in my family who has fillings.
3. I love travelling.
4. I attract a worrying number of insane people!
5. In London I'm often mistaken for someone called Sandra Henderson.
6. In America I'm mistaken for a famous basketballer called Lisa Leslie!
7. My plan is to move to the US in the not too distant future, unless God has other plans!
8. My paternal grandfather was conscripted to fight for England in the 1st World War.
9. I LOVE crime shows, i.e. CSI Vegas and New York, True Crimes, Crime Scene USA, Forensic Detectives etc.
10. Growing up I wanted to be a post man so that I could read everyone's letters.
11. I also wanted to be a bus conductor because I thought that all the money people gave them was theirs to keep!
12. I used to like eating brick dust and chalk.
13. I often don't get the punch line in jokes until months after the fact!
14. I had my one and only fist fight when I was about 9 or 10. I won!!
15. My sisters used to say that I was like Idi Amin, and I would take that as a compliment!
16. I started smoking at 11 to try and fit in with the cool kids, stopped when I was in my twenties.
17. I wanted to be an archaeologist after watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!
18. Wanted to be a croupier after watching a few James Bond movies, but my maths is rubbish!
19. I flew for the first time when I was 19, which was a miracle because I had a fear of heights, water and being in enclosed spaces!! I had been praying hard in the days leading up to the flight because I didn't want to freak out! It worked!
20. I took the Eurostar by mistake and DID freak out! Long embarrassing story!!!
21. Even though I was born and raised in London, America is the only place I have ever felt at home and that is where the bulk of my friends are. I find people here a bit wierd in comparison.
22. January 1st is my favourite day of the whole year.
23. I played baskeball for England when I was 14.
24. I'm a nature baby and LOVE the outdoors. Except for when it is raining, snowing and freezing cold. I guess I'm basically saying I love the sun!
25. Red is my all time favourite colour.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

No camera!!

Sigh!! My camera never arrived, boo hoo!! :-( It was supposed to be delivered into my eager hands on 3rd February, but the day came and went with no camera. At first I thought that they were having problems getting to me with the bad weather that we have had lately. I called Amazon on the 4th to find out what was happening, only to be told that the delivery date had been extended till today. I was sorely tempted to cancel at that point because I only found out this information because I had called them. They had not advised me of any delay to the delivery prior to my enquiry.

I took a deep breath and decided to be mature about it. I agreed to wait until today but said I would cancel if nothing showed up. Well, it is now 4.41pm and there has been no delivery. I called up and cancelled. The chap I spoke to reckons it has got lost in the post. Mmmmmmhhhhhhhmmmm. I'm disappointed because I was really looking forward to getting my new toy. Oh well, I'll have to search elsewhere for a camera now.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Curiouser and curiouser

I hadn't been to work this week until today due to the bad weather. As I stepped gingerly out of my house for the first time in two days (you wimp, I hear you cry! Yes, I’m a wimp and proud of it LOL!!), the ice crunched beneath my feet with each step I took. I was surprised at how easy it was to walk on it without falling.

I bought my weekly ticket and went to the station to catch the bus that would take me on the first leg of my two hour journey. It went without incident although I noted when I got to Brixton that the journey had taken nearly 30 minutes longer than it normally does.

The second leg of my journey to Oxford Circus took 30 minutes. I knew that I would now be late for work. On the third leg of my journey, I called work at 9am to let them know I would be there in 20 minutes. The line manager answered the phone; when I told her I would be late she asked me if I had spoken to my agency recently. I said that I had spoken to them yesterday to let them know I wouldn’t be in that day. The line manager then said she had spoken to them yesterday saying that that I shouldn’t bother coming in any more. I was surprised at this, but secretly happy. She said it was bad of the agency not to have told me this, but she would fill me in when I got to work. I was not impressed with this shabby treatment.

I called my agency but kept missing the person I wanted to speak to. While on another call I heard my other phone ringing. I didn’t look at it as I figured the person would leave a message. When I finished the call I was on I switched my attention to the other phone. It was from my agency; I listened to a rather frantic message from the lady who was handling my account saying that she had left a message for me yesterday on my voicemail saying that the contract had been terminated as there wasn't enough work for me to do, or something like that. She said that she hoped that I wasn’t on my way to work.

In retrospect, I can see that this woman was trying to cover herself. She did not leave any such message for me on my phone. She never called me; I think it was the call from the line manager that jogged her memory to the fact that she hadn’t passed the message on yesterday.

I eventually spoke to the lady in question at the agency. She told me that because the professor who I was working for had changed how he works, e.g. he now checked his own emails, there wasn’t a lot for me to do and so therefore there was no point in being there any longer. She said that she had left a message on my voicemail, to which I replied there was no message on my phone. She didn’t challenge that and said she had probably called someone else, although she thought it had been my voicemail. She said it wasn't anything that I had or hadn't done which resulted in the termination of the contract. She told me there was another job available, a junior PA post in central London. I wasn’t happy with this as she knows I am a senior PA, but because of the current climate I swallowed my pride and told her to put my CV forward for consideration.

I eventually got to the place where I worked. The line manager came out and said she was sorry I’d had a long trek in for nothing. She again stated she thought it was bad that the agency hadn’t told me; she also made mention of the fact that they hadn’t told her yesterday that I had called them to say that I wasn’t going to be in. She repeated the same story that the agency had given me, namely that the boss' work habits had changed and this meant that another my post wasn’t required. I couldn’t shift the feeling that neither she nor the agency were telling me the truth, but I really couldn’t care less. I was relieved that I wasn’t going to be working there anymore. I took my things from my desk, said goodbye and with that I left.

I really don’t want to work for people anymore, but until I nail down exactly what I want to do, it’s the way it’s going to have to be for now.

I told you – I’m a weirdo magnet. I think I’ve met enough weird people and had enough strange encounters to be due a break now!!

So, how was YOUR day?

Monday 2 February 2009

What happens in London when it snows?

Greetings on this snowy morning! What a difference a few hours make! On my way home from church yesterday, there was a very light dusting of snow crystals on the ground that were blowing around like fine dust in the strong wind. I've woken up this morning to discover that the whole of London is paralysed because we are totally snowed under. There must be at least eight inches of snow outside our front door. No trains or buses are running AT ALL so I am unable to go to work today (which I'm really sad about even though I'm smiling, lol!!). There are only a handful of cars on the road. Central London is shut, nothing can go in or out. I've just checked the website for my nephew's school and discovered it is closed due to the severe weather so he is staying home. After some persuasion my sister had decided not to go to work, as the conditions really are hazardous. The news reports have said that this is the heaviest snow we have had since 1991. I wish I had my camera so that I could show you. But I've attached a couple of pictures to show you what London looks like, but they really don't do justice to the scenes in the city. I have a feeling that delivery service won't be venturing out to deliver my brand new toy today, boo hoo!! :-(

It tends to be worse outside London, so they are probably buried, almost literally, under a few feet of snow. I don't know if it is going to get worse or better but I will keep you posted! Enjoy your day today!

Sunday 1 February 2009


Today in church a young couple announced that they had got engaged. I was pleased for them and clapped and cheered along with everyone else at the news. Afterwards I got to thinking about how fascinating life is.

We never know what each day is going to bring. In February of last year this couple didn't know the other existed. They were both getting on with their lives and doing their thing, never dreaming that in August of that year their paths would cross and their lives would be forever changed. On the morning of the day they first met, it no doubt seemed to them to be a day like any other. They got up as they normally did, showered, dressed and went about their daily lives, not realising that day was very different indeed; it was a day like no other for on that day they would meet the one they would spend the rest of their lives with.

I recall in August or October of last year I was at a lunch with the young lady in question. She told me that she was helping plan her younger sister's wedding. She was happy but sad at the changes that would bring into their lives. She is very close to her sister and the thought of that relationship changing was difficult for her to digest, not realising that in 5 or 6 months time she would be planning her own wedding and would be moving to Italy!

Each day is brimming with endless possibilities and life changing experiences. That is why January 1st is my favourite day of the whole year. The year stretches ahead of us like a blank canvas waiting for our daily lives to draw a picture on it. It reminds me of when snow would fall overnight and there wouldn’t be a single mark or foot print on the fresh white powder, it was untouched. We have absolutely no idea what to expect from each day. In some ways that is terrifying, in other ways it’s electrifying. We have eleven month’s worth of opportunities and experiences waiting for us. Isn’t that great!

That notwithstanding though, I have come to realise that life isn’t something that happens to you; we have a huge hand in shaping the type of lives that we end up living. My attitude previously was to sit back and expect things to come to me. But I know now that I have to get up and invest my life in a variety of different ways in order to reap a return/harvest. Harvest time will only come for those farmers who sowed seed in the first place. The farmer who doesn’t sow seed doesn’t go out expecting to see anything growing in his fields. There are four main investments I plan to make this year:

1) In my relationship with God by applying the teachings of the bible to my life and spending more time asking God to help me understand who He really is, not who I think He is.
2) In people; I want to spend more time building relationships of all types.
3) In my writing.
4)In myself.

I know that as I diligently and consistently ‘sow’ this seed, I will be amazed at the ‘harvest’ I reap! How exciting!