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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Time to Gather your Thoughts

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas. We have been enjoying the feastive season at Amangalla in Sri Lanka. A wonderful old hotel steeped in hundreds of years of history. They have been celebrating Christmas in true style.

09:26 this morning a two minute silence was held to remember the 230,000 or more people that lost their lives in the devastating 2004 tsunami that hit the coastlines along the Indian Ocean, effecting over fourteen countries. The guests and staff at the hotel lit candles and placed then along the fort wall taking a moment to say a prayer or a few comforting words in remembrance of all those effected, especially the Sri Lankan people living along the coastline just metres below the fort.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Balmy Christmas

Its the week before Christmas and just feels so wrong to be sitting here with a temperature of 29 Degrees overlooking my tropical garden and pool. Im a big Christmas fan and really missing the cold weather, the preparations, everyones decorated houses filled with twinkle lights and even the cheesy Christmas songs in the shops thats leading up to Christmas day. To cheer us up we have however, had a delivery from a friend that came over from the UK. M&S mince pies and christmas pudding with a bottle of port to wash it down with. There are some things that you just cant do without!

Whilst sitting here wishing I was home in the UK this Brahminy Kite settled on a palm tree just across from my study. Even with all the building noise going on around he was totally aware of my camera shutter going off and acknowledging the bursts of clicks.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Endearing Nepal

Have just returned from trekking in the wonderful mountainous land of Nepal. Crisp clean air filled our lungs for 5 days. Admittedly climbing up nearly 1000metres one day with 15kg of camera gear on my back wasn't my idea of fun but the views, villages and people along the way certainly made it worth while. Fortunately that was just one day, other treks were easier and along with climbing up there is always the coming down.

The city of Katmandu is a total contrast, rich in history with some of its monuments now listed as World Heritage Sites. It is full of noise with amazing colour, architecture and tradition. A flight past Mount Everest was a perfect end to our trip and overwhelmingly exposed the magnitude of the region. Truly a unforgettable experience.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Fly

Today I noticed something rather large and black with rainbow coloured wings floating in our pool. I managed to hook this guy out and I think he actually survived the experience.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Shivajinagar Scrap Yard

I attended a street photography workshop yesterday and we visited an amazing area in Bangalore which solely sold used car parts. Rows and rows of sheds and brick built units full to capacity of headlights, suspensions, engine pieces, window mechanisms and panels. You name it, it must be there somewhere. The vendors were so friendly and as cars are a real passion of mine, I spent a lot of time talking about cars and not taking photos. Fortunately, there was time to get some shots!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Independence Day

On August 15th 1947, India became a sovereign nation and was no longer under British rule. On August 15th since then it has been a holiday and vast celebrations occur around the country to commemorate it's independence.

Lalbagh botanical gardens put on a large display in celebration. A mixture of stalls selling garden ornaments, seeds, plants and some craftwork edged the pathways. In my husbands opinion it was Bangalore's very own Chelsea flower show.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Russell Market

Yesterday was a public holiday to celebrate the birth of Krishna. People tend to stay at home, visit their local temple and attend prayers. We took the opportunity to go into town and visit Russell market. It's full of vendors selling local produce including flowers, meat, vegetables and fish. The market smell may be overpowering but the people are so friendly and proud of their produce, also very happy for you to take their photo!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Holy Cow!

Whilst out and about in Bangalore, you see many cows roaming the streets and roads. Because they are considered sacred they are allowed to roam freely. On my trip into town today we were stuck in a traffic for much longer than usual. The problem was a cow, standing in the middle of a very busy road without a care in the world. I also saw a cow today plonk itself down in a very decorative plant display outside a hotel. I had no time to get the shot unfortunately, instead below are cows rummaging through a rare green area where rubbish has been dumped. Cows succumb to stomach problems or even die because they have digested plastic bags. It is a very sad to see dogs, cows and goats looking for food in the piles of rubbish around the street.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Yesterday I was out with a friend visiting some fabric shops close to the city. We decided instead of driving between shops to walk. We walked for about 45 minutes. On one hand it was a great sense of freedom to do something I'd not think twice about doing in the UK. On the other hand it's like of taking your life into your own hands. There are no pavements and litter and dirty water spills out into the roads. You also have to constantly keep an eye out for cars, bikes and rickshaws as there come from every director. Thankfully we survived our little adventure.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Life in India

I thought I'd give you a little glimpse of daily life in Bangalore. Today whilst sitting at my desk working I noticed there were a couple of large crows in my small little garden tossing something around. On further inspection I realised it was part of the remains of a very large black rat! But I guess that can pretty much happen anywhere in the world.

Below is a typical home. Many homes have symbols in chalk or paint to welcome people in or in the case below to wish goodness.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Amongst the Flower Pots

It's not the kind of thing you expect to find when looking around the rows and rows of bold and beautiful flowering plants in a garden centre.  But this is no ordinary garden centre, it's a Bangalorean one!

Have a great week!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Blooming Marvelous

I've been very bad of late updating this blog. Mostly because I've been working on my garden design assignments. With all the amazing colours of India one thing thats lacking in Bangalore are public gardens to give me inspiration. I have even resorted to asking ex-colleagues to bring out previous years recordings of the Chelsea Flower shows to ignite my creative thinking!

To surpress my yearning to be back in the UK nurturing my garden we purchased some plants to adorn our patio area and give it some colour. How wonderful to be able to buy vibrant pink bougainvilleas, hibiscus and a scented passion flower. Sitting amongst these plants will brighten even the dullest of days. Have a great week!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Plumeria Rubra

Within the small garden we have here, there are very few flowering plants. However, the striking structural flora with large luscious and colourful variegated foliage certainly make up for it. We are lucky to have two plumeria or Frangipani plants. The dark pink below and a white obtusa which is considered the 'pride of Hawaii'. As you walk into our house the wonderful  fragrance of the simple waxy petals envelops you and the chaos of the Indian streets is immediately left behind.

Plumeria rubra - Kim Klassen Textures

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Local Doorman

This weekend we drove out of the main city of Bangalore to visit an Angsana Spa. I had the best massage I've ever had. It was just a shame some parts of our stay were not as relaxing. But I'll have my rant on Tripadvisor! I think the phase 'live and learn' comes to mind.

People here keep telling me just focus on the good parts of India. One of those good parts is that I love the scenes you see whilst driving around India. It never ceases to amaze me what you can carry on the back of a bike. It made us laugh the fact he has his pencil behind his ear!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Nandi Hills

Is 60km from the city of Bangalore and 1478 meters above sea level. Steeped in history it is said it acquired its name from the famous temple atop the hill. A large stone bull guards the outside of the Yoga Nandeeshwara temple and people regularly place offerings around the trees and bushes. Prior to the British capturing it in 1791 it was a stunning Mysorean fort. Now its a tourist attraction and home to a number of birds and animals.

These monkey's are quite the experts at pinching food and drink when you're not looking. I thought they were rather cute until one turned and came towards me looking very angry as I was taking photographs. Perhaps he was expecting to be paid!

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Short Rains

Finally the temperature has dropped due to the rain we have had over the last week. It's still slightly humid but about 10 degrees lower. I was so grateful for the rain that I actually just stood on our decking letting it cool me down. Something I haven't done since I was at school (we used to get soaking wet so school would send us home).

The only problem with the rain is that there is no proper drainage. Road become rivers and driving can be treacherous as you can't see the pot holes and the traffic jams are even worse.

Whilst out in the car I spotted this street dog curled up sheltering from the rain. I noticed how he had found a spot that was just a few inches from the wet pavement.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

India's People

A few weeks ago I was asked to stand in for a photographer to cover a assignment for a local charity. I was incredibly nervous having never done anything like this before. It turned out to be very relax and I was asked to capture some images they could use on their website. proVISIONASIA was founded by two Americans back in 1986. It is a non profitable charity based in Bangalore which focuses on helping the physically challenged generally from poorer areas. Facilities they offer include medical treatment, rehabilitation, work placement, training and play groups. It's a very worthy charity and has been life changing to a number of people who would have been seen as outcasts in India. Their goal is to empower people and give them the future they deserve.

This little girl was always playing up to the camera. Her large eyes draw you in.

Monday, 9 April 2012

His Furrowed Brow

A life time of outdoors manual work shows in his face. This hard working gardener very kindly let me photograph him whilst we were walking around the Garden of Five Senses  in Delhi.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Colours of Delhi

We had to fly up to Delhi for a business dinner at the weekend. It was a fleeting trip but we managed to visit the India Gate.  Built in 1931 by Sir Edwin Lutyens and inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. We also visited a wonderful garden called the 'Garden of Five Senses'. Its spread over 20 acres and has many themed areas show casing amazing stone and bronze sculptures. It's built over a rocky terrain. The many types of flowering trees and shrubs supported by hard landscaping, creating private spaces for the young courting couples.

Courting Couples

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Bucket anyone?

Today was a good day. I felt I actually achieved something. After visiting a number of curtain shops around the city I finally settled on two shops who will supply the material and make the main and sheer curtains I need. Would you believe how difficult it is to find 100% cotton/linen voile in India! Afterwards I felt a manicure and pedicure was well deserved and then I treated myself to lunch at the best hotel in Bangalore. Well, what else is a lady meant to do with herself?!?

A regular sight on the streets.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Blooming Beautiful

Ive spent most of this week in the calming surroundings of the hotel. I just couldn't face the challenges of life on the streets of Bangalore. Some of the sights are quite shocking and could certainly discourage some people from ever visiting. You do have to see past these things and although I do not want to gloss over the  everyday life here there is sometimes true beauty in Bangalore.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Health & Safety

The locals here take motor bike safety very serious. As long as the driver of the motor bike is wearing some sort of helmet thats ok!

The roads of bangalore remind me of wacky races. Its a free for all and the biggest and boldest wins the space! It certainly not for the faint hearted or nervous passenger.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Blogging from Bangalore

It's day 5 of living in India. Admittedly I'm still living in a hotel. Some parts do feel like a holiday and there are other parts like the admin required to stay here, which may have caused some people to get straight on the next flight back home! But at the end of the day, drinking a cool Kingfisher beer we have to pinch ourselves to remind us it's all real. We are now Indian residents and live in Bangalore.

Girl at Lalbagh Botanical Gardens

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Beauty in Black and White

It's just under a month to go until we leave the Kent countryside for the Silicon valley of India. I so want to capture the essence of England but with my mind in a whirlwind I can't seem to connect with my imagination. I feel numb with the unknown ahead of me.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tomato Soup

There's no better comfort food on a cold winters day, than a bowl of tomato soup.

Kim Klassen Texture

Friday, 10 February 2012

Blue Sky

After a week of pretty much grey skies, today the clouds dispersed to reveal blue skies and sunshine. The snow is melting quickly and I can see the spring bulbs dotted around the garden! Last year I planted many more bulbs I do hope I get a chance to see their display before we leave! In the mean time I'll enjoy the bunch I purchased from the local shop.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Is it Art?

Yesterdays Saatchi Gallery visit exhibiting 'New Art from Germany' had me puzzled and shaking my head in confusion. I love creativity, sculptures, great paintings fine and modern. But there is some 'art' I just can not connect with and I seem to see more and more of it these days. They say trends go full circle. I do hope they are right.

Isa Genzken

Monday, 6 February 2012

Rockin' Robin

The South East had a wonderful dusting of snow over the weekend. However, it melting fast. I think the birds are very happy about this as their feeders are accessible again!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Little Things

Although there are blue skies and bright sunshine, it's freezing here in Kent. Whilst walking around the garden to see what damage the frost and cold weather had done my spirits were lifted by the sight of a few snowdrops. So small but big on impact.

Kim Klassen Texture

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Feeling Blue

Today the packers carefully finished packing up the contents of our home for its long trip to India. We will follow in around 6 weeks time. Walking around the house today seeing all my worldly possession wrapped and boxed in cardboard made me realise how complex, materialistic and cluttered our lives are. Tomorrow the house will be pretty much empty and we will live with just basics for a time. How cleansing that will be.