I Am A Leaf On The Wind

Across the avenues and boulevards
Their bodies lay strewn about
Pushed to the side and brushed away
Without a whimper or a shout

In their falling there is beauty
And passersby will gaze
But once fallen they are forgotten
And left lying still for days

There was a time they stood tall
Atop their lofty perches
Sheltering those below and within
Mighty Oaks and Elms and Birches

But time did break their bonds and bodies
Made them pale and weak
And so they left this mortal coil
And slowly fell to sleep

Soon others will stand in their stead
But as seasons go so will they
For this is how life marches on
For this is its way

 

(P.S. To all you Firefly/Serenity/Wash fan out there – Sorry for the mislead ; p)

Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens (Better Late Than Never II)

Alright I definitely have to get more organised about posting my photographs after a session/trip… Because here we go again. Posting from the back log – This time from my visit to the Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens (again sometime in 2016 while I was living in England). Hopefully from now on I learn my lesson and post more regularly. As a bonus though, this post is particularly Otter-heavy… So gets ready for the awwwws : D

Compared to the other Wildlife Parks and Zoos I had occasion to visit the Cotswolds was definitely one of the better ones. Being somewhat out in the country meant that it had large spaces and bigger enclosures for most of the animals, and a really large selection too. Though if you’re a “completionist” like me be sure to pack a lunch and some comfortable walking shoes, because it will take you all day to check out the park… and there are many animals you’ll want to visit repeatedly depending on the time of day.

Holi Hai

Colours are flying
Children are laughing
Spirits are soaring
Holi hai

Balloons that don’t float
Rivers but no boats
People with many coats
Holi hai

There is chaat and chat
Sun dresses and sun hats
Whether you’re blue-collar or aristocrat
Holi Hai

Though there is a nip in the air
Warm embraces we’ll all share
While rubbing red in everyone’s hair
Holi hai

So whether you chill or you riot
Whether its free or you buy it
Do something to enjoy it
Holi hai

Chester Zoo – March 2015 (Better Late Than Never?)

Pardon the date in the post. As it should make evident, I took these pictures a while back on a visit to Chester Zoo in England. The trip was a fun from what I recollect. Unfortunately it was also cold and shaky hands make for bad photography. So while it was somewhat memorable, it wasn’t all that successful.

Still I’ve picked out a few worth publishing from the batch. Certainly a few gems in there I’m happy to add to the collection. Hopefully next time, if there ever is one, I’ll do the Zoo and its “Islands” justice.

I wish I had more to say on the visit. But time and other factors nudge me away from reminiscing. So hopefully these few shots speak for themselves.

Booth 51

Fantastic beasts glide by me
With feathered wings or devilled horns
And passerby they marvel
And carve images a they fawn

All the while I am stationed
Do your duty, man your post
Be ever the friendly face
When you give, give the most

Most just pass and stare
The glint of idols in their eyes
Some do stop to probe and poke
But most they do not buy

It’s my soul that I attempt to sell them
With each unit, a small piece
Counting down the hours
Till their charade does finally cease

For those who do take a piece away
I thank you for your kindness
And to those who will not even try
I spite you for your blindness

In the end I will pick up the pieces
Of my heart, my spirit, my soul
And pack them up to take them home
Where sleep may make them whole

And there they’ll lie till the next time
The next time we play this game
Where things are every changing
Yet ever stay the same

But I am yet resolute
Though my strength and patience may diminish
I know the path is long
And I know I may not finish

But I do this not just for me
I do it for many others
And in that fight I do not fight alone
I stand with my band of brothers

So for them and for their struggle
I stand and call to thee
For though this world is harsh
We know what it can yet be

“I Hope You Get Cancer” – Frankie Boyle Live at New Theatre Oxford

WARNING: This post contains adult themes and explicit language

Now, let me start by stating the obvious, I don’t want anyone to get Cancer! But it certainly got your attention didn’t it? It also maybe gave you an indication of how “inappropriate” some of the content in this post may be. So if jokes about Cancer or AIDS or Pedophilia aren’t your bag, do us both a favour… Don’t read on… Because this review-of-sorts of Frankie Boyle’s ‘Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved‘ tour may not be for you…

Frankie Boyle, even at his most polite, isn’t a “family friendly” comic. This is a man who was banned by the BBC because he once said on stage “I thought the only way they’d let me back on the BBC was if I shagged a child” But despite not being as mass-marketable like others in his line of work, such as Michael McIntyre or John Bishop, Boyle is still very popular – A fact that was made very evident by the fact that despite being extremely politically incorrect, he sold out his show in Oxford. Even if it meant fans driving down from London or Redding or god knows where else, as many had seemed to have done.

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What A Marwell-ous Day At the Zoo

Right, well, another Zoo post… I’m really making a habit of these aren’t I? Well… No regrets!!! : D

Here are some of my favourite shots from a visit to Marwell Zoo, in the English county of Hampshire. Tickets were quite affordable, compared to say ZSL, but then it was quite a drive away to get to. It wasn’t the sunny day one hopes for on a visit to the Zoo, but then it is England ; p

Quite honestly, Marwell was amazing. The animals had great enclosures and I’m sure during the summer it must be quite a sight to see many of them roaming in shared habitats. If you love near by or are planning a trip in that direction, take a day and go. You won’t regret it.

A Day at Whipsnade Zoo

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you’ll know that I like, once in a while, to try my hand at photography. Now, I am by no means a professional. Barely even an amateur. But I do manage to get the odd picture or two that I can look at years on and feel quite pleased with.

One of my favourite things in the world to photograph is animals, and while I’d much rather photograph them in the wild, being a city a boy I rarely get the opportunity. So it is a delightful treat when I convince a friend to accompany me to the local Zoo.

Knowing of my love for the furry, slimy, scary and cuddly, a very dear friend decided to take me to Whipsnade Zoo, located in Bedfordshire. And I must say, if you haven’t been, you really should try to get out there. It is just breathtakingly gorgeous and seeing so many of the animals roaming in their large enclosures really warmed my heart. Many of the smaller herbivores were even roaming free about the whole compound, which was an especial treat! It may not be the great plains and jungles many of them are accustomed to, but it’s nice to see them being treated well. Or as well as can be hoped.

I hope some of these pictures inspire you to patronise this establishment for yourself. And take it from me, if you’re a real animal buff, get the ZSL Membership – 3 trips to either Whipsnade or the London Zoo and it’ll have paid for itself.

An Afternoon at the Museum(s)

Despite spending a wonderful year in Oxford I had not, much to my chagrin, visited the two linked museums in oxford – the Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers. So a few days past, thanks to the prodding of a very dear friend, I finally made the excursion to see the muss and fuss (and of course the Shrunken Heads!)

What followed was a realisation that these two museums are severely lacking in space. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply that they were by any means shoddy or architecturally minuscule… Rather I make such a comment simply to make more dramatic the point (as is my habit ; p) that the institutions are absolutely bursting with an amazingly diverse collection of artefacts, fossils and various bits and bobs. While I have had the pleasure of visiting many museums, none made so vigorous an effort to catalogue the minutia of human existence as did the Pitt Rivers. And the Museum of Natural History can boast many wonders of its own… From masks to games to arms to cosmetics – the various displays house thousands of little pieces of the human story.

But it’s not all tiny puzzle pieces of the grander human experiment (apologies for the mixed metaphor). There is also much for the less anthropologically inclined, such as dinosaur fossils, various extinct species of animals and a fairly decent collection of stuffed animals. Admittedly I did not spend much time in Natural History Museum, owing most to the fact that I found it difficult to stare at the stuffed remains of so many beautiful creatures, which I would have given much to see in the wild. Sadly for many of us, and especially generations to come, stuffed and mounted is probably the only way many of them will ever be seen.

My personal thoughts on conservation and preservation aside, the Pitt Rivers is a wonderful family friendly afternoon that I encourage all of you in or about Oxford to drop in on. Admission is free and you can even enjoy a nice picnic in the garden out front.

For more details about visiting and what’s on go to Pitt Rivers Museum or Natural History Museum sites.

Once More

Once more they rode
Through gaping maw
Strapped but with their wits and everlasting souls

Knowing they would returned changed
Some chipped, some halved
None whole

Each man stood
In his fate alone
As they strode on together

Some stiffening recalcitrant lips
Some quiet
Some hoping for better weather

The church bells rang
Staffs were gripped
As nerves and strengths were beckoned

This is your chance
Each soldier thought
You’ll receive no second

March on forward to your fate
First the left foot
Then the right

Now there is no retreat
Now we march
Now we fight

Once more once more
The general cried
Soon promised lands we’ll reach

Once more young warrior poet
Once more
Unto the breach