Chrysanthemums

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Chrysant yellow, chrysant red, dahlia

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The root of this red crysanth plant is 8 years old! I just keep pruning the stems after every flowering season and 3-4 times while they are re-growing to encourage more stems and thus, more flowers. Eight years ago, when I was still an learning how to garden, I never pruned the stem believing that a flower will soon come out of its growth. But it kept growing taller and taller until it almost reached a meter! It was only when I started reading about gardening that I learned the trick!

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The non-working Flight Information Board

Greetings from La Belle France!

I know. You are probably getting topsy-turvy following my itinerary. It doesn’t stop there. Day after tomorrow, I’m flying back to England. Two days after that, H and I drive back to Paris, straight to our new apartment where we will stay during his 3-month assignment.

I’ll say it again: I would rather take the train, travel by car or by bus, more so by ferry, than flying!

Or maybe it’s me? What is it with me that I seem to attract flying mishaps!
The last time it happened, it was 2 months ago, via CX.
The other day, it was via EZ, but nothing has prepared me for this.

My flight to Nice was at 6:20am.
At London-Gatwick airport, as early as 5:20am, my eyes were practically glued to the Flight Information Board to check which gate I should go to, pausing in-between microsecond browsing of The Sunday Times newspaper which I instantly regretted buying after the cashier announced that it costs 2 Sterling pounds! Half of the paper is crap advertising anyway.
I must have sat there for an hour and even if I did notice earlier that the flight info was not getting updated and the words “Please Wait” seemed to have stucked permanently next to my EZ to Nice flight, it did not bother me the least because I was so used to EZ getting delayed.

At 6:23am, I looked up the board again. Unchanged. “Please wait“. I stuffed the 2-pound newspaper into my bag and quickly got up. I knew I must do something. Then a sudden pandemonium occurred before my eyes. Several people were running, I heard a voice saying, “that screen is not working! go downstairs! check the screens downstairs!”

So along with several others, I hurried downstairs via the escalator. Upon seeing a flight info board, I was surprised to see that the entries were completely different from the big board upstairs. The 6:20 flight to Nice was not there! The flights that were shown were those from 7am onwards. I wanted to scream “Help!” but no words came out of my mouth.

– (talking to myself) No! don’t tell me I missed my flight! I can’t believe I missed my flight! I can’t believe this is happening to me, again!

My eyes quickly went on radar mode. I searched for an airport staff in the midst of hundreds of passengers striding here and there. Saw an ID’d woman who referred me to Security who, in turn, directed me to the Flight Info desk.

The lady on the desk seemingly took my problem with a grain of salt.
– “Please have a seat and wait for an EZ staff to come and attend to you.”
– (talking to myself) Why is her tone sort of bored-stiff? Heck, I think I’m not the only passenger who missed her flight!
– “Are there other passengers like me who missed their flight?”
– Yes!

Finally, after 20 minutes of fiddling about wondering what would become of me, an EZ staff came to our rescue. She took us to a labyrinth of passageways and secret doors so as not to go through security barriers. There were eight of us following her like chicks to their mother hen.

At the EZ desk, we were given new flights. A couple who was supposed to fly to Toulouse at 7am had to wait for the 6pm flight. I was luckier, there’s a 9:20am flight to Nice.

While we were walking (following the mother hen), I overheard her half-murmuring to herself half-telling another passenger

– “That board had stop functioning since 4am! We already reported it to BAA but they haven’t done anything!”

Two hours later, I went passed the non-working board again upstairs on my way to the departure gate and noticed that the same (wrong) information was still on display. Several passengers were still staring at it, looking for their flight information with crinkled foreheads. I told a woman, “That board is not working, madame. You should go downstairs to check your flight!”….. “Is it? Oh thank you!”

The next thing I heard, the Public Address System was announcing, “Please check your flight situation as some boards may not give you the correct information!”

That is London-Gatwick airport, my friends. Incidentally, it was FOR SALE sometime ago. I read in the news that the two strongest candidates vying to purchase the airport are Virgin boss Richard Branson and a member of the Royal Family in the UAE. Fancy selling Ninoy Aquino International Airport!

Note: Sorry, no photographs. Taking photos at any British airport is strictly prohibited.

Kew Gardens

Wakehurst, West Sussex 

We met up with some friends at Kew Gardens today. While they got in free of charge, being holders of season tickets (cost at 20GBP each ticket) that allows them free entry to the gardens (including the one in London), H and myself had to pay 9.50GBP each just for that particular entry. If we were UK residents and holders of season tickets, we could visit Kew at each change of season: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. In the autumn, the colours of the gardens is simply amazing!

Autumn in England 

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Photographing a peasant is serious business

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Images of England

Been out driving today, a much-needed respite from two days of emptying my father-in-law’s house. 

While I am still mourning my dear father’s recent passing, H has to painfully face the reality that an era is soon to end.  The house where he spent his childhood will soon be just a memory.  It’s a treasure trove of archives representing several generations: the oldest newspaper we found dated 1909, wartime newspapers of 1943 with Winston Churchill in the front page, ration books* dated 1952

We could well put up a museum just looking at these valuable collection, or could even write a book out of the old photographs we’ve found.

Meanwhile, let me show you some pics I’ve taken from our moving car:

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* Ration book.  From 1940 – 1953 as a result of WW2, the UK was going through extreme shortages of foodstuff that the Ministry of Food instituted a system of rationing. Each person would register with their local shops, and was provided with a ration book containing coupons. The shopkeeper was then provided with enough food for his or her registered customers. When purchasing goods, the purchaser had to give the shopkeeper a coupon as well as money.

Kew Gardens
Wakehurst, West SussexWe met up with some friends at Kew Gardens today. While they got in free of charge, being holders of season tickets (cost at 20GBP each ticket) that allows them free entry to the gardens (including the one in London), H and myself had to pay 9.50GBP each just for that particular entry. If we were UK residents and holders of season tickets, we could visit Kew at each change of season: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. In the autumn, the colours of the gardens is simply amazing!Autumn in England

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Paris here we come!

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Yes! another new assignment for H which will make Paris our home for 3 months. We think that this is the opportunity we have been waiting for to jumpstart our plan to relocate to the Capital. But we have to live “extra muros” or outside the city to get away from the noise and crowd.

We found a furnished flat just 4 train stops away from La Defense (the financial district) but before we could get the lease contract signed, we have to produce a thousand and one documents which necessitates me to fly back home on Sunday to collect them all!

I am so looking forward to living here. There’s so much things to do! Everyday there are exhibitions and activities to be had. The one I am so keen on going is the Salon du Chocolat or Chocolate Fair this weekend, a chance to take photos of choc designs from around the world!

And oh, I’m already practising to be a Paris resident by trying hard to look even a micro-trace of one, and what a compliment it was when, on the underground Metro, a lady approached me just to ask where I bought the Burberry bag I was carrying and I quickly responded, “d’Angleterre!” (from England).

Gosh! so Parisians do love this UK brand!