Monthly Archives: June 2007

Back to pen and paper…

Re-starting this blog has been a lot of fun – over the past few months my love for writing has greatly increased and it has been nice to know that some people are reading it also. Like anything internet related though, I think blogging can become a little bit addictive. I saw a funny cartoon recently in a great article I found called ‘How to be Creative’.


Yeah. So with my recent craze of blogging, my trusty diary has been somewhat neglected. I have loved diary writing for a long time now. I started when I was about twelve – a bit of a patchy beginning, but by fifteen I was writing quite regularly. Over the years I have come to rely on my diary to see me through everything, both good and bad. In reading it back I remember wonderful things, learn about my nature and how to become a better person, by anticipating default patterns of behaviour that I tend to fall into. Sometimes my entries are just ‘brain dumps’; essential for mentally overactive people like me. Sometimes I write entries slowly, choosing every word carefully, as if writing a poem.

I’m looking forward to getting back to my diary again this summer. Travel diaries are always the most fun to write – normally bulging by the end of the trip with leaves, tickets, receipts, flowers, random bits of cloth and paper, postcards, feathers – on last year’s bus tour I even stuck in bits of rock (interesting bits of course).

I hope I have the same enthusiasm this year, although a part of me worries that my computer reliant writing is slowly replacing that of my humble pen and paper. I guess writing is writing – it’s the same worry everyone has I suppose, about our increasing reliance on technology. The more friends I have around the world, the more heavily I rely on email to keep in touch. The other day I wondered what it would feel like if all of these things had never been invented. Skype, email, telephones, digital cameras. I used to love letter writing, and I used to have a handful of people that I regularly wrote to. Now a box of writing paper and envelopes gathers dust under my bed – I really wish people still wrote letters.

So this is goodbye little blog – I’ll be back in two months with many stories to tell I’m sure. For now, it’s back to pen and paper…


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Night-time Haiku and Nature Notes

In the fading light

I found my parents picking

Evening raspberries

In other fascinating news – no really, it is! June is blooming – our strawberries and cherries are coming now, and everywhere I see poppies, elderflower, pink and white wild roses, and sweet smelling mock orange-

and this funny buddleia, which I always call orange blossom to myself, just because they’re round and orange and I’m trying to economise on cerebral storage space-

Ah. I love nature.

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Farewell London

Only fifteen days now until I leave for America again. I will once again be travelling on the Hare Krishna Youth Bus Tour for eight weeks, criss crossing North America, assisting with festivals in over thirty cities and having plenty of adventures along the way!I had a wonderful time last year – it really changed me quite dramatically, dissolving some of the shyness and inhibition, that I felt had characterised me for a long time. Living with forty people on a bus for two months is an intense experience, and the relationships formed are priceless. What to speak of the satisfying feeling that comes from performing service as a team, in countless temples, from Toronto to LA. But I’ll really miss home too. This year, (unlike last year when a small group came from England) I will be going on my own…oh well, onwards and upwards.

I had a really nice day on Monday. I went into Central London with some of my best friends and we visited the V&A Museum.

I love the V&A – it’s an art and design museum but the range of artifacts housed there is quite amazing. There are all different departments, arranged by country and culture, and also those arranged by artistic medium (e.g. silverware, ironwork, marble sculpture). You can lose yourself for hours, just exploring the warren of corridors and staircases. Art is everywhere you look, from floor-

-to ceiling.

It’s always amazing and inspiring to look at these works of incredible craftsmanship, and imagine the worlds that surrounded them. Particularly in the South Asia department, looking at the exquisite sculptures, frozen yet animated;

or the intricately strung necklaces, heavy with precious stones – I find I can catch a glimpse into the opulence that once pervaded ancient India. I remember reading in the Mahabharata that someone had an average army which included 400 elephants – I can’t even imagine that many elephants in one place, at one time!

After the museum I made a quick stop at the temple in Soho, home of their beautiful Lordships Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara (the Lords of London).

photos by Sanatan

I grabbed some lunch at Govinda’s and ran down Tottenham Court Road to catch the tube to Waterloo. I waited to meet my mum outside the Royal Festival Hall, on the Southbank. The air was so balmy and the lowering sun glanced off the water and the glass of the building – I wish all days in London could be so beautiful.

A little later I went into the Queen Elizabeth Hall to watch Anoushka Shankar in concert.

She was playing her sitar with a group of amazing musicians – piano, flute, tabla and drumkit. It was such a great concert. The acoustics of the hall translated the sparkling sounds of the sitar so clearly and the musicians were a joy to watch. It’s always so wonderful to watch people perform together when you can see they’re really enjoying it. After the concert I spotted another of my favourite musicians – Nitin Sawhney, at the front of the hall. I suppose it’s a small world.

We walked back along the Millenium Bridge, the water now illuminated by the city lights; and as I took my last journey home on the tube for the next three months, I said a little farewell to London.

Above all ryvers thy Ryver hath renowne,
Whose beryall stremys, pleasaunt and preclare,
Under thy lusty wallys renneth down,
Where many a swan doth swymme with wyngis fair;
Where many a barge doth saile and row with are;
Where many a ship doth rest with top-royall.
O, towne of townes! patrone and not compare,
London, thou art the flour of Cities all.

from ‘In Honour of The City of London’ (in Old English)

by William Dunbar 1460-1522

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Of Churches and Chapels

The other day my parents and I went to the church flower show of our neighbouring village. ‘Aldenham’ used to be the name of the entire area, but now it only refers to this one little hamlet, so stereotypically English, with it’s village green surrounded by little cottages (with roses round the doors), and the old church standing tall in the centre. It’s all hidden from the main road, so driving in can sometimes feel like you’ve stepped into an episode of Miss Marple.

The flower show was interesting. I have grown up being taken to churches all over England – mostly due to my Dad‘s passion for religion of all kinds! At Christmas time, we used to go to the carol service at our local church and in my secondary school years, I used to perform with the school choir in St Albans Abbey.

My sister and I even used to go to Easter arts and crafts workshops, run by our local church. I’m not sure quite what we made of all the Easter basket decorating – I remember once making a clumsy replica of the cave from which Jesus rose again and covering it with yellow primroses and hyacinths. They used to sing a song:

Roll the stone, roll the stone, roll the stone away…

Jesus died, now he’s alive, so let’s all celebrate!

Hm. It had actions too 🙂

I think these experiences have made me feel very at home in churches. When I was younger I always used to get excited about the ritual of lighting a candle, saying a prayer (to Krishna, how ironic) and putting 10p in the donation box. I still like doing it. With their high, arching ceilings and the jewel toned light from the stained glass windows, churches are designed to make people feel closer to God, and it does work. The space is a sacred one, no matter which God you believe in – and if you happen to believe that God is one with many names, like me, all the better.

So, I was a little surprised when we entered the church flower show to find that it had the theme of ‘Inn Signs’. Every flower display was themed on a local pub, and throughout the pews I could see empty beer bottles carefully placed as ‘decoration’. I even found one within inches of the main altar. I suppose with the religious upbringing I’ve had it’s somewhat of a visual oxymoron. Oh well. In the little booklet they gave us when we came in, it was supposed to be celebrating the ancient history of the patronage of local brewers to the church. It made me reflect on churches, and how much they were (or are) tied to spirituality and religion and how much they served more as a social centre – a place to meet before making merry…

Before we left, we had a quick chat with the vicar there – Rev. Alan Fletcher. He is a friend of the devotees at Bhaktivedanta Manor and visits whenever we have an open day or cultural evening. He was really pleased that we had come to support a church event and I think that perhaps our spontaneous visit that day will have positive repercussions to come. It’s so nice to see, in the political climate of the world today, people of faith just respecting and appreciating each other for also believing in God.


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