Another from the London collection – Big Ben itself! Well, actually, I suppose that is incorrect since ‘Big Ben’ is the name given to the famous bell. I believe the structure goes by the name of St. Stephen’s Tower. Please don’t shoot me down if Google has failed me in finding this out…
My reasoning for including “Not So Big Ben” in the title is simply because when I first set eyes on the world-famous structure, standing across the road in awe, I was amazed at how much smaller the tower actually was, and how thin it stood. When seeing it on television, I used to think nothing of it and thought it was a broad and very tall work of art. But no, quite the opposite!
Nonetheless, it was still surreal standing there, witnessing something I had only ever seen in films and on television!
It was so strange when we arrived in London. One minute, we were travelling through some streets, just off of the motorway and the next, we were slap-bang caught in a traffic jam in the centre of London. We went on the Thames River Cruise and I managed to sneak a few nice, crane flooded photos whilst bobbing up and down in a very dinky and rusty blue boat along the river.
Wow! Long time, no writey!
Yeah, I think it is safe to say my “January Break” went a little longer than I would have wanted! But I’m back and I’m ready to blog, blog blog!
So, what’s happened recently? Not much really. Started the year with a family bereavement, which I am sure you can tell was not nice at all. In the weeks after that, it’s just been same old, pressurising school, a trip to see West Side Story somewhere in between everything, and even more school paranoia!
Right then, what’s the plan, now that I’m back?
Well, there isn’t one. I’m going freestyle this year, but I’m hoping I still keep a great flow of content going! And to start, I need to apologise to myself and to anyone out there who was expecting them – THE LONDON PHOTOS. YES, I FORGOT. IT WAS WAY BACK IN NOVEMBER AND I HAVE NEVER GOT ROUND TO POSTING THEM HERE! They aren’t my best photography works, but hey, I’m no professional!
Yet. You can look out for them over the next few days, weeks and hopefully not as long as months!
So, it’s hello again from me and here’s to a great year!
Only hours to go now before “the bells” here in Scotland. But already, I’m getting ahead of myself! – Did you have a nice Christmas? (Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to actually tell me or shout at your screen, people might worry. I should have instead said: I hope you had a nice Christmas! I certainly did: wonderful Christmas build up, wonderful Christmas day, lots of presents, lots of cheer… the usual. Still no Santa, sadly.
My motivation for this post isn’t only because it is Hogmanay, but also because I remembered what I was doing exactly this time last year. I was here, writing a similar post only with a lot more depression. I went on, and on, and on, about how rubbish a year 2012 was. I remember that only a week later, I contradicted myself by scrapping that thought after I had some time to actually think about what I achieved in 2012.
I’m not doing that this year. This year, I am happy. I know that this year has been absolutely fantastic. Honestly. So much has happened this year both for the little things related to my blog and more importantly, the big things that have happened in my life.
If I had to list and give a description of every single one (should I remember them all at once), I would be publishing record breaking posts because of the sheer length of them!
Before I do share a few of the magical moments and experiences in 2013, I want to share with you a list I made this time last year. It is a miniature bucket list of things I wanted to accomplish and do this year. I published it for a little while and then didn’t see any sense in it and so set it aside. As I came across it today, I was amazed at how many of these things I actually accomplished without realising! Here is the list, which I amended today according to my experiences in 2013!
Pass all of my exams and get as good a grade as possible for every subject (even French!)
- Publish a blog post every day for as long as I can (exam times may be allowed as an excuse)
Make many new friends and socialize as much as possible!
Play an organ
Pass Grade 4 piano and get started on grade 5!
Earn money from doing something outside of the house (e.g. a job)
Compose my own piece of music
Explore/ Go to at least 5 new places
- Write a book (a short one or long one, depending on laziness level) just for the experience of it, not necessarily for publishing
Perform at least once, playing piano with an audience
Record some piano works
Publish at least 200 photography works
Try at least 3 new different, foreign foods
Reach 15,000 views on my blog
Do something for charity
- Successfully bake/cook at least 5 things
See at least two shows at the theatre
- Write at least 15 short stories and publish them on my blog
- Learn how to play basic guitar
Play piano with a group of musicians
Do some voluntary work
Climb something other than a ladder
- Buy a fez
Ok, so I never blogged everyday, nor baked any cakes (well, there was that one disaster Christmas cake that I don’t want to mention) but the most gutting of all… I never bought a fez!
Well, I’ve made a really poor attempt at creating a dazzling end of year display of a few things I’ve accomplished, been through, experienced etc. this year… but hey, enjoy!
Well, I’m off into the living room to sip on my cola and nibble at some shortbread. I have some great ambitions, plans and feelings for 2014 and I hope you can all join me in that as Hawth.me goes through yet another year. I hope the new year brings you all good will, hope and fresh beginnings!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Well, almost a week ago, I wrote and shared with you my excitement towards a London trip. Well, I’m back now. Just let me check…
Yup, I’m back.
And what an experience it was. I could go on and on about my experiences in London and to be honest with you… I probably will just go on and on, and on, and on, and…
In order to try and shorten this post a little, I thought I’d just write a few things under some headings of activities, places, sights etc.
Thames River Cruise
Despite the rather long wait on our boat to arrive, this was one of the most surreal experiences of my life: seeing London in person. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve seen it on TV, in films, online – everywhere!
London Eye & 4D Experience
For my first ever 4D experience, the pre-London Eye five minute film was absolutely amazing. Terrifying, but amazing. As for the London Eye… oh, it couldn’t have been more beautiful and stunning. I was totally fine with being in a small pod a hundred metres or so in the air with many strangers but the view was just breathtaking. Absolutely breathtaking. (Photos to come in the coming weeks!)
London Christmas Markets (1)
Below the London Eye, lay a thin, long strip of Christmas market stalls. We were given about an hour to browse these markets. They were certainly Christmassy and I could have bought anything from small, handcrafted keyrings to giant, four foot gingerbread houses. I didn’t buy anything however – nothing really to my taste nor my wallet’s. The only outcome of the markets below the London Eye was that I discovered my biggest weakness: mulled wine. I honestly cannot stand the smell – as soon as I came in contact with the smell, I couldn’t stop gagging!
Hard Rock Cafe
Though we were only given a set-meal (from which, I chose the cheeseburger with chips, Diet Coke, and the ice-cream served in a glass) I did enjoy the Hard Rock Cafe. I’m not the biggest rock fan but there was an essence of awesome knowing that I was surrounded by some of the most popular and treasured rockstar memorabilia.
IMAX 3D Film – Gravity
I thought it was odd that on a trip to London, we would go to the cinema. We could see a 3D film pretty much anywhere back in Scotland – no? True as that may be, I am certainly glad we went to this cinema. The auditorium was massive, giant, colossal, humungous… you get the idea, don’t you? And the screen was taller than the London Eye (bit of an exaggeration ) and wider than three London buses one behind the other. The IMAX 3D was 99% perfected with minimal blur and motion faults and the film Gravity was just spectacular! Highly recommended!
London Bridge Tombs Experience
I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so much in all my life. It wasn’t so much in fear but more so excitement, nerves and anticipation as well as paranoia. The first part was lots of fun and very educational: basically just your average interactive ‘dungeons’ experience. However, the second part was more like a haunted house only… worse. Small, confined spaces, circuses were the clowns were hidden just to terrify us, dolls in abandoned cots, psychotic men with chainsaws… It was terrifying in a way but I just kept telling myself that it was all for fun and a laugh. Let’s just say I ran out the exit door and winded myself on the way out. Yeah…
Well, I’ve never felt more like a peasant in all my life. This multi-floor pound-shop for millionaires just completely took my breath away. Everything looked and felt so expensive whilst I was terrified to move one way or another in fear of knocking over a mannequin wearing contents twice the value of our family car. From live puppies for sale (at extortionate prices) to grand restaurants with only the finest grand pianos- this shop had everything. It was here, one of the most terrifying things happened to me:
I was in the “writing” section and was eyeing up some fancy, but simple leather notebooks. I took an interest in one and decided to ask the sales assistant how much it was, believing it would be approximately £25. She opened the book, and flipped to the back inside cover where a nicely printed label was neatly resting. She answered my query with: “It’s one five five (£155) sir.” At this moment, I had to thank her and pretend it wasn’t the right colour before running out of that department. I don’t know what shocked me more: the unbelievably highly (over) priced notebook or the fact that I was actually called ‘sir’.
Covent Gardens Markets
This had to be the most Christmassy of all the places in London. The main market hall was so grandly decorated and the hustle and bustle of people from all over doing their Christmas shopping just made the perfect atmosphere. There was a market for everything!
West End Show: “We Will Rock You”
Wow. Just wow. As the last activity of our trip, it was by far one of the best. I can honestly say I have never witnessed anything more amazing, breathtaking and thrilling in all my life. I could have done without the “technical issue” which caused a halt of the show ten minutes in. However, the show did go on and I loved every second!
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London was just amazing. The past week has been filled with a depression; me wishing I was back down there! It was very expensive and I honestly think I would die of exhaustion after any more than a week down there! However, I took plenty of photos and so, you can expect to see them over the next coming weeks!
I can’t decide if I am for zoos or not. I love the fact that I can visit one location and experience the beauty of many countries around the world. The animals are spectacular and some are breathtaking. But it is all cruel. These poor animals are trapped in a single enclosure in a climate they may not be used to, with thousands of people looking on and taking photos of them day in and day out whether they like it or not. And not to mention the wonderful little children who so artistically annoy the living daylight out of the animals. Sometimes, I think it is the children who should be put in cages.
When at the zoo quite a few weeks back, I noticed that all the penguins were like soldiers, waiting on commands and serving their duty (whatever their duty was). Or maybe they were just being very obedient for their food…
There could be a thousand and one titles I could have given to this blog post. Perhaps Where the Wild Things Are, or How Not to Not Be a Student, or some other witty and catchy heading which may catch the eye (though unlikely) of someone surfing the interwebs. But nah, I’ll stick with the simple one I’ve given to this particular heading. – On with the content!
To begin with, it was a Thursday, yesterday’s Thursday, the somethingth of October 2013. A friend had asked if I would like to accompany her to a not too far away university library just for the sake of studying and for a change of scenery during the slow days of this October week break. I accepted the invitation and off I went in search of the university.
Google Maps told me where to go and I told my taxi driver (dad) where to go. Within one second of arriving on location I was struck with an intriguing thought.
Where the heck am I?
A giant block of grey with cloudy windows stood ashamed of itself in front of me whilst students walked, ran, skipped, hopped and jumped by. It really was quite an eyesore. The building wasn’t much of a pretty sight either.
There were signs. Signs with arrows and letters and words and colours (mostly blue) on them. “Main Entrance” popped up now and there so I tried to make sense of the simple jungle.
Three texts, one phone call and half a headache later, I eventually found my friend as well as a way of actually getting into the building. It’s not as easy as it sounds or should be!
It was a small but cosy library desperately trying to keep up to modern standards; a glowing, colour changing thing here; an electronic returns system there.
Students. Students everywhere. Well, everywhere apart from the grey-haired man in the corner, trying to blend in with the young, reading his newspaper. It was so busy! I don’t know if it was a case of a small library or an overpopulated university, but it was definitely busy.
We walked and walked along a winding yellowish laminate trail through the library which obviously was a collection of rooms with the walls knocked down. It may as well have been the yellow brick road to Oz since it went one way and then another as people joined in behind us, as if we were all in search of something awe inspiring and amazing: a good spot.
The quest was worth it though. An area full of tables suitable for group work with solo booths at either side became our dwelling for the day, right at the back. I unpacked my study materials from my soaked-through bag and got to work.
I could have sat there all day, staring at the many variations of student. After a short while, my brain had configured a system of sorts, a system which could tell me an awful lot about a person: their purpose, their field of study, their attitude towards their chosen subject(s) and so on. It really was a lot more intriguing than the headache my homework was giving me.
Perhaps the easiest of the many types of students to pick out, was and still is a student studying physical education. It’s quite hilarious actually, as if the sight should be in a comical novel or film. For example, yesterday, for an hour or so, at the table in front of us, sat three young male students. It was blatantly obvious that they had spent no less than an hour in front of the bathroom mirror that morning, trying to impress every living and non living thing around them, like they expected us all to blush at the sight of them and their well-oiled hair. I just stared, fascinated by them, like a species you’ve heard of but never seen until this moment. Each of them had on a different though similar looking and very expensive tracksuits: two black, one red. And then there was the teeth. It was almost unreal and impossible as to how white every one of their teeth were. Simon Cowell would have nothing on them. Oh, the accents. If there was ever an award for worst Scottish accent, they’d win in it by a long shot. They spoke as if they were trying to impersonate one of the familiar Scottish sports commentators who spoke right down gritty Scottish but with no slang. They failed however, slang slipped out and they couldn’t keep up the “Oh, I am a professional team leader, I eat, breathe and sleep sports and if I keep up this accent, I can sound highly qualified as if I know what I am doing.” – Or something like that anyway.
Then there were the accountants. Funnily enough, in complete contrast, it was a group of three young female students. They too however looked as if they spent a day or two in front of the mirror before coming here: bright red lips, tightly tied up hair, high heels apart as tall as the Eiffel Tower (apart from one who wore pink trainers) and expressions as if to say “Hello. I am an accountant.” They spent their hour or two solving mathematical problems and getting through exercises set by the lecturer, leaving now and then and coming back with a take away cup full of some sort of hot beverage. I recall that there was some sort of minor accident on the table involving a hot beverage and some course notes. Nothing too extreme.
Oh, and we mustn’t forget the young man who sat alone at a small round table with a laptop for as long as we were in the library, maybe even longer, I didn’t stay to find out. His eyes were glued to that laptop all day -I can’t think of a time he blinked never mind taking a small break to glance around- as if he was competing in some form of race. Or maybe he just left an assignment to the last minute.
Students and people of the public (though mostly students) came in and out of the place all day. Tall, small; fat, skinny; young, old; wearing a hoody or rain jacket. It just fascinated me that such an environment existed; an environment I had never experienced before. I’ve been in libraries before but nothing quite like this.
The most startling thing perhaps, was the thought that this could be me in only a few years time in whatever university library, surely they are all pretty much the same. How on earth am I going to be able to spend an hour in front of the mirror every morning as well as having a different hoody every single day?
I was approached earlier today with an email. An email which has boosted my hope for mankind, hope which I was lacking… until now.
This nicely written email told me of the “Grow Wild” campaign. I’m no good at putting things into my own words so I cheated and copied and pasted a little excerpt from the Grow Wild site – I’m sure/ I hope they don’t mind!
Grow Wild is an exciting four-year campaign to bring people together to sow UK native wild flowers.
We believe that we can transform where we live – bringing colour and surprise to our streets. By Growing Wild, we can turn our gardens and windowsills into wildlife-friendly wild flower patches.
I love the idea of the whole campaign and I love what the campaign is doing. And before I get ahead of myself with my unnecessary opinions, here’s where you come in:
You can help decide the
fate (fate may be a bit too extreme)… You can help totally change a site in Scotland for the better with one click and not a penny taken off of you. You can vote (using the link above) on which of the three sites you want to turn into a “beautiful wild flower haven for everyone to enjoy”. Even if you don’t know the area (or if you are from the other side of the world!) you can see photos of each site and what will be done to the site should it receive the most votes and be in receipt of a great new transformation!
I truly do believe that this campaign is a brilliant idea. I was saying before about how my hope for mankind has boosted, this also is true. It just goes to show that there are people out there who do care about the environment and who do want to make a difference! And you can make a difference too – your vote is valuable!
Psst… You better hurry and vote, because votes will only be accepted up until midnight on 3rd November 2013 and the winner will be announced in mid-november! Go on, make a difference to somewhere that needs this opportunity!
I’m pretty sure this should be attached to a ship, lying at the bottom of the sea… No?
When at the zoo, it is sometimes hard to believe what you are seeing. An animal such as this Zebra belongs in the wild and definitely should not be in Scotland! But for our pleasure, it’s trapped inside an enclosure. That’s the thing, I’m not sure if I am all for zoos!
Whilst at the coast on Monday, I was gutted when I switched my camera on, only to find out that the batteries were out of charge and just my luck, I didn’t have my spares. However, remembering I do own a smartphone with an 8MP camera, I went back to my really amateur days (I still am an amateur but I have progressed since my simple point and shoot days). I must say however, I was impressed! Even better, being bear a harbour proved to be very photographic indeed!
“Oh, he’s used some fancy filter in Photoshop on this one” is what you may be thinking. If so, then you are wrong on two points. The first: I
rarely ever never use photoshop and the second: there is no filter which adds a sort of Gaussian blur (just because I don’t use Photoshop doesn’t mean I’m not familiar with some associated terms) or any other blurred artistic effect.
No, the rain created it’s own filter in a way on the car window. And in true photographer fashion, I snapped that beauty.
10 o’clock in the morning and I’m on the road? That can only mean one thing. I’m off to the coast!
I remember this was taken in the very early days of this year, I think. Since I was emptying some folders on my computer and SD card, I thought I may as well upload this photo of a David Livingstone monument-type thing.
I don’t think there’s any mating going on in this photo (I hope not) but I’d like to think there is some playing instead. Nonetheless, they are zebras. I like zebras. And therefore, I think you should too. I’m sure the title doesn’t need any explanation!
A photo taken from Edinburgh Zoo many weeks ago! At first I was tricked into thinking this was some sort of emu or a similar animal but instead it was something I’ve never heard of in my life, “Darwin’s Rhea”! Whatever it is, it seemed to like looking into my lens!