Random Wanderings

Ran some errands, so was out and about, but journeyed a bit farther afield for an little adventure.

The weather was clear and sunny but cold and London was determined to enjoy a little bit of that sun —

 

Of course, it was just another day at the station… or was it? Meet my new friends:

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CCTV Focusing Dummy

He’s VERY photogenic, but doesn’t speak much.

A quick stop to refuel and caffeinate —

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Costa’s — because they are reducing their use of plastic!

… and we were on our way!

Playing around with Google maps, we’d tried to find a park, but it turns out that they were on “Winter Hours” and by the time we got there, they were closing in 20 minutes. So a few minutes of staring and scrolling led us on another adventure.

St. Mary’s Church in Denham, turned out to be an intriguing little spot… more on its history here — http://www.speel.me.uk/chlondon/denhamch.htm — and we did get to take a few photos. The grounds are lovely, some of the trees are most impressive:

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Detail

Hope to go back when it’s open… the doors looked intriguing!

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Side door at St. Mary’s…

We checked out a local dining spot and the food was excellent. A return trip is definitely called for…

So for now, a bientôt!

Aloo Parantha for Breakfast

Along the path to Expatistan, one must learn to adapt. Perhaps it is the one single thing we must all do as we travel this path. Breakfast has always been one of those meals that was subject to change — we’re all familiar with “have dinner for breakfast” and “why can’t we have pancakes for dinner?” And everyone knows that if pizza isn’t any good cold for breakfast, then it isn’t any good.

But I think those are all temporary. In the States, we don’t make a habit out of this kinds of meals, though some phases might be lengthened more those others. I confess that chicken enchiladas still sound like a good way to start the day.

But as one gets further away from the States, breakfast begins to take on a whole different look. And Europe can be a pretty wild and crazy place when it comes to breaking that fast of the night before. Especially when you find yourself in a place where the cafes don’t really open before 10:00 and their first language is not Indo-European in nature.

The neighborhood I’m staying in right now is an amazing mixture of Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi, and goodness-knows-what-else, all of which makes for a true feast of choices for eating. The air is truly redolent with spices and the eye is filled with the color in the same way.

Wikipedia dryly proclaims that aloo paratha (their spelling, my little local cafe spells it with an “n”) is a ” bread dish originating from the Indian subcontinent; the recipe is one of the most popular breakfast dishes throughout western, central and northern regions of India as well as in Pakistan.”
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloo_paratha) And yes, that it is. They go on to describe it as a flat bread filled with potato, usually mashed, and spices and having been cooked in ghee.

Oh, how insubstantial that description!

Hot and fresh from the tawa, chutney and pickle in dishes on the side, perhaps a cooling bowl of bondi raiti served with — what a way to start the day! This could easily become a regular thing… bacon and eggs will never look quite the same.

Suffice it to say, I’m having some visual adventures, too, and here are some samples for you to enjoy:

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The green grocers, the bakers, and the butchers DO open early, as evidenced here. It’s a little harder to find coffee and a place to sit down if you’re out early, though. You’ll just have to wait for that paratha!

The eye is drawn in so many different directions, visual textures everywhere.

Jaleni Station

It’s still very much “Winter’s light” and the mundane is graced by what sunlight there is.

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Like giant knees

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People watching is a little different — since we’re not in “cafe country,” being a flaneur means adapting, as well.

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But, of course, there’s ALWAYS the train —

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The Mysterious Newspaper Reader —

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So until next time, a bientôt!

Taking Baby Steps

I take photographs. But then, you probably figured that out if you’ve been reading along.

I’ve been taking photographs for some time and ever so often people buy some of them. This makes them happy and it makes me happy, too. So I’ve taken a small step to make that more possible for more people — I’ve created a Patreon page and am offering up some of my images in several different formats.

I hope that some of you will consider supporting this effort — if you’re reading this, I’d like to think you’re interested in my efforts and becoming a patron will go a very long way in allowing me to continue this.

And for that reason, here’s a little something from a recent visit to one of my favorite train stations:

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Paddington, 20 February 2018

Paddington is one of my favorites — I like King’s Cross/St. Pancras, but the architecture of Paddington constantly amazes and surprises me with the shifts in the light of both day and night. Enjoy!

A bientôt!

“White Monkey Jobs”

And so this morning I learned a new phrase that I couldn’t wait to share: “White Monkey Jobs.” Stay with me here — it relates to the blog. No, really, it does.

Some of you know (and if you didn’t, now you do) that I have a certification that says I can teach English as a foreign language to adults. A few of you may know (and now you ALL do) that I have been looking at this as a means of making this peregrination a little more comfortable. In pursuit of this object, I have joined various online forums to understand how best to utilize this knowledge and training.

This morning I was sorting through the chaff, looking for the wheat (or was it looking for the sheep amongst the goats), when someone posted a video talking about “white monkey jobs.”

I’d never heard that phrase before. I was somewhat familiar with the Monkey King, but this was a new one for me. So I clicked on the link and lo and behold, a video. I’m providing the link here:

What happens when White Monkey Jobs go WRONG?

I had heard of travel bloggers getting these offers, but didn’t really pay much a attention to them, as I’m not traveling quite the same way. Still, it was an interesting insight to an aspect of the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language business that seemed, well, a tad disheartening? discouraging? distasteful? deceitful? Yeah, most of that. Kind of a reverse racism reserved especially for white foreigners.

The market for language teaching in China, South Korea, and Japan (as well as parts of Southeast Asia) continues to expand at a phenomenal, if not downright scary, rate and Facebook especially is rife with ads from yet another Asian-based language company, school, or agency looking for speakers of English — and many of them have such low bars to entry as to border on the absurd. For a number of these, it is definitely a case of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Caveat emptor, indeed.

Still, the phrase stuck and I sense that it will re-appear from time to time, perhaps in a slightly altered way.

And since you have been so patient as to read all this way down, I’m rewarding you with some visual goodies. These are from the train on the way in to London Liverpool Station. Enjoy!

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We struck up a conversation shortly after this and it turns out he was on his way in to London to take part in the re-enactment commemoration of the beheading of Charles #1… he was a Marshall for the parade… and was part of the Roundhead contingent. Nice chat…

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In profile, across the aisle…

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Engrossed in the screen…

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Engrossed in the screen, Part Two…

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Framed.

That’s all for this morning — hoping to get out and make some more images for you all to see.

Until later, á bientôt!