Thursday, 23 June 2011

Getting Lost in Canary Wharf (Snap Happy Picture Post!)

This week I was in Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is an area in London where a lot of financial companies have offices. It's like a whole world on its own, and it seemed that it was only understood by the people who are there on a regular basis.

For someone like me, who doesn't know it that well, it is both really big and really small. No matter where you walk, and for how long, you always seem to be in the same place. I had to go to one of the offices there so, the organised person that I am, I printed out my map and made my way. When I got out of the station, it turned out that the road name of the part of Canary Wharf that I was in on wasn't clearly written down on the map.

I walked towards one of those giant maps that tells you where you are and I was still confused. There are so many damn glass buildings, and if you're not going to one with its name in giant letters on the top you are screwed. I walked around for ages wondering where the hell I was, and ended up in exactly the same place I started.

I asked one city worker on his cigarette break, a taxi driver, and a postman where I was. It took me half an hour to find a tiny office about two minutes away from the station.

At lunch time I got lost again. Although I did find a giant pic n mix stand in the middle of an area filled with cityworkers ...

I looked for a place to eat and ended up in a giant shopping centre underground that seemed to span across the entire area. I found a place and ate half a falafel wrap (which had pickles in it and some sweet and sour sauce - blergh!) and half a brownie that tasted of oranges - I never thought I would see the day when I would force myself to eat a brownie. I always feel so bad about wasting food.

Afterwards I sat in a lovely grassy area ...

And got harrassed by a duck who was probably used to having people give him their sandwiches.

That was my day. Thank you and good evening.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Summer Time! (Allegedly)

Good Things about Summer in the UK
~ People are in better moods
~ Being outside and seeing everyone in brighter clothing
~ More energy to be outside and enjoy yourself
~ The beautiful BBQ smells when you walk down the street
~ Carnivals and funfairs!

Bad Things about Summer in the UK
~ You have to make the most of the one or two days of 20+ degree weather because you will have rain for the next two or three weeks.
~ Spiders
~ Sod's Law that states as soon as you clean your car your entire windscreen will be covered in bird poo the next day.
~ Being on the trains and buses surrounded by sweaty people (at 5ft1 I am constantly underneath the armpits of people holding onto poles and bars)

Go ahead and add to the list!

Monday, 13 June 2011


I was at a wedding this weekend. One thing that has always made me laugh on the topic of weddings, is that when I was younger I had been to more weddings in one year than most people had been to in their lifetime - I think there was a time when I went to five weddings in three months.

Weddings today are a lot different than I remember when I was younger. People of my generation are really going all out on their wedding day, especially if it has been a modern love marriage.

Way back when, weddings used to take place in crowded school halls with the ceremony being carried out on the stage. You would sit on those uncomfortable plastic chairs that came from the classroom and all of the guests would use the wedding as an excuse to gossip and catch up with people who they hadn't seen in a while and not really paying attention to the happy couple. One thing that I remember as a child is never sitting through an entire wedding ceremony - my cousins and I would always be around outside chatting. The food was served up in plastic plates which had sections for you to put each item of food in (sweets, curries, rice, etc) and there were only a few tables around. The unlucky ones who couldn't get a seat at a table would sit on the chair they were 'watching' the wedding ceremony from and either eat with the plate on their lap, or pull up another chair and use that as a table.

These days, things have changed so much. More money has been poured into grand occasions.

The wedding takes place in huge hotel wedding suites that have been beautifully decorated. Wedding mandaps (the structure that the ceremony takes place in made up of four pillars all joined together at the top - Google them) are more extravagant. For example, instead of wood, they would be gold coloured, or have flowers all over them, or be made from glass, or have crystal droplets hanging from the top. People of my generation, now want the wedding to take place in pin drop silence because we realise how rude it was when we were all running around and all the aunties and uncles weren't paying attention to the wedding ceremony. It is also important for the priest to give us an English translation so we know what we are doing instead of blindly following what we are told to do. We also want our non-Indian friends to understand what is happening so they don't get bored.

While some people still have the plastic plates, we now have tables to sit on! All of us! Well sometimes, because the meal takes place straight after the ceremony and there isn't time or space to turn the entire wedding hall into a banqueting suite.

We also put more effort into the registry wedding. Before, it would just be something that would have to be done, because no one was really married until the Indian ceremony. Therefore, no one thought it was important. Now, the registry weddings are a whole other ceremony in themselves. Some brides are now wearing the big white gowns like from the English weddings, or wear an Indian outfit that is similar. There are bridesmaids, best mans, ring bearers, and flower girls.

The receptions are great as well. There are proper plates, and tables with seating plans! No more running after a free table. More people are invited to the reception than the wedding, because the couple want the guests that they really want at the wedding and everyone else at the reception. It's better for them to have their gossip and catch up where it is appropriate to do so.

People of my generation want to really celebrate their wedding day. And I say, good on them!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Books ... Old or New?

I was reading through one of the many listy articles that MSN put up (procrastinating much?) and there was a topic that was titled 'Ten Things you Shouldn't Buy New.'

Number 4 was Books.

Now I am in no way taking this article seriously, but it did bring about a topic for me to blog about so who am I to complain?

The writer wrote about how you don't really need to spend all that money to buy a new book, especially if you are only going to read it once.

Now I don't know about you but I love buying brand spanking new books, even if I do read them only once.
I love going to a bookshop and walking among the shelves with all the classic, new, bargain, and special offer books surrounding me.
I could spend ages in one shop reading through the blurbs in the back and through the first pages of different books to see if it is the one for me.
I look through five copies of the same book to one the absolute perfect one ... un-used, no rips, creases or dog ears.
And apart from the sunlight changing the colours of the pages, my books are kept in that condition. Even if I read it more than once.

I am fully aware that there are reasons for buying used books, but I love new books.

How about you? Old or New?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Amazon, Writing Progress, and Weekend

I now exist on Amazon! Have a look. Now my book is real. It's exciting! Now I'm more in a rush to finish the thing.

Writing Progress
I think the Musical May worked in my favour for a couple of reasons. It allowed me to talk about something other than writing, and just gave me the space to just get on with the writing process. I am just under 43k words, which is a number I didn't even think I would get to all those months ago when the book started. I feel so happy with myself that I have got to this stage. I feel like such a newbie writer when I say I want to send it off to the editor already. If there's one thing I know you writers hate is revisions. At the moment I want to see someone else's take on what I wrote and what things do or don't make sense. Naive much?
And another way all the Bollywood worked in my favour? I have been getting traffic to my blog from people all over the world who are looking up Bollywood music. And you guys learned a little something too. I hope you enjoyed it.

I had myself a fantastic weekend because on Saturday I had a Spa Day. I was at the Sanctuary in Covent Garden and it was great. Had some pampering, ate lovely food, bought stuff, got free gifts and generally just lounged around. There is something about walking around in a giant bathrobe that goes down to your ankles (yes I am that short) surrounded by giant sofas, and relaxing music that makes you want to do nothing but sleep all day. I went because it was a birthday gift for my mother (paid for by my brothers too), so I took her. Just being lazy all day really emptied out my brain from the mental block I have been suffering. It's like all of these ideas were just trying to push through the door at the same time and as a result all of them are stuck and no one is moving. Does that even make sense?

Now I have been tapping away at that keyboard, I started at about 9 this morning and hope to finish at about 12, maybe 1 (it's a beautiful day outside and I want to enjoy it). I have been getting back to scribbling away with a pencil and more sheets of paper are floating around my room with chunks of my book written all over them.