Bein in a different country Day 15

Talk about divine intervention! Made our way to the tube station in the hopes o’ doin some gift shoppin or enjoin the wonders o’ the 99 pence shoppin centres, when we bumped into the bishop o’ the Church of England. He was a humble man an’ was a doctor in Africa before becomin a priest. Bein a missionary, he preferred to walk/take the tube, even though he’d been provided with a car an’ all the amenities. He insisted that we ought not leave London without visitin St. Paul’s Cathedral- the heaven o’ England, he called it (in an emphatic manner)! An’ indeed, it was!
So, after clickin a keepsake photo together with him, we bid farewell an’ hopped on the tube an’ headed for this gorgeous cathedral- famed for its grand architecture an’ the beautiful murals that covered every inch o’the altar. This is also where the weddin o’ Lady Di an’ Prince Charles took place an’ where Churchill was mourned at his funeral.
We were fortunate to arrive on a day when the Eversong was held. We listened an’ prayed in silence while the cathedral was filled with the heavenly voices o’ the visitin choir. After the Eversong ended, we lit candles for those who’d lost their lives in the stabbing attack on the London Bridge just the previous night (happened while we were miles away at Ilford) an’ prayed for London as well. An’ I do hope my prayers are answered an’ I do hope Londoners never feel unsafe or at risk o’ terror attacks in the future. I hope St. Paul watches o’er em just as his indestructible cathedral towers above the whole o’ London.

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Bein in a different country Day 14

A/N:  Before we start, ere’s wishin Richard Hammond aka Hamster aka my fav Top Gear presenter a speedy recovery after cheatin death for the second time. Also prayin for whoever’s trapped in the London building blaze an’ for the heroes an’ the heroines helpin. May the souls o’ all those who died in the fire rest in peace. Heart goes out to the families 💐

It’s a sunshiney day (although the bloke who forecast the weather on telly said it’d be rainy), perfect for stargazin or just for gazin at the clouds in the sky as we’re off to Greenwich to do just that. It’s time for some sciency-wiency stuff!  With trusty Bob at the wheel, reminiscently narratin his days durin the war an’ tales from his family’s farmhouse , the long drive there didn’t seem that long an’ with all those gorgeous sights- from the cable cars near the O2  to the green, green, green countryside (No, my keyboard didn’t develop a  glitch. Yes, I typed the word green thrice on purpose!💚) -who could complain?
If yer into telephones, telescopes an’ time-tellin devices, yer in luck as the Observatory there houses early telescopes an’ encases the voices o’ those amazin people who read ya yer voice messages (ever since the voice mail first came into existence) which ya can listen to with the press o’ a button (fascinatin, eh? ) Also, time stops still as ya pass by an ancient, well-preserved grandfather clock built by the man who gave us Big Ben. An’ if ya wanna do the impossible, feel free to stand in two hemispheres along the Prime Meridian line outside the Observatory. An’ before leavin, take in a gorgeous view o’the whole o’ London (skyline an’ all) from the telescope located right next to the line. Unfortunately, the planetarium closed for the day before we could see it, so we ended up visitin a relative an’ Bob earned more than he expected.

A dolphin shaped sundial👇

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Hmm…Helsinki. Always wanted to go there! 😁 Standin on the Prime Meridian line like a boss! 👇

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Old Royal Naval College with the London skyline gracefully rising behind it:

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A weather vane:

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Home remedies for several diseases on display👇

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An’ of course, a timey wimey addition to my bookshelf: A book o’ short stories ft the Doctor(s) an’ his faithful companions that I picked up at the lil shop at Greenwich. Woohoo! 😘💙👇

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Bein in a different country Day 13

Stepped off the tube and landed on a busy-ish street at Camden Town to see a selection of vertebrates, invertebrates, avians, et al. (Yup! Just used up almost all the words from my biology textbook) at the London Zoo. Hailed one o’ those cute, classic black London cabs, which may look small but are in fact literally bigger on the inside (Yup! Another DW reference. What d’you expect from a Whovian on her first trip to London?! 😁) and have plenty o’ leg room too.
Anyway, that zoo is just teemin with flora an’ fauna from every country an’ possibly every continent. We started with the caracara, flamingos, vultures an’ other birds of prey, peacocks an’ other birds. It was nestin season for our feathered friends, so there was a lotta screechin an’ flappin around as the busy birds tended to their nests an’ their young ones.  Apparently, it was lazing around season for the majestic lion who slumbered under a tree while we curiously peeked at him from a safe distance, through the peepholes of a giant makeshift fortress: A replica of the Gir Sanctuary in Gujarat, complete with a replica of an Indian village with stalls selling authentic Indian food, abandoned auto rickshaws for people to pose next to (or inside of, however ya prefer), a temple dedicated to Hanuman (the monkey God) with a place for the langurs to lunch and also little shrines dedicated to Goddess Durga. Also spotted a stray cow ere for the first time…although, it was just a statue located close to the lionesses’ habitat. They too were slumberin like queens. If you’re wonderin about tigers, they too were havin a snooze fest! The only carnivores who seemed to be awake were the wild dogs who were up and about, sprinting around proudly like athletes of the animal kingdom!
After some hot cocoa, crisps and other snacks, it was time to see the penguins, who as usual were frolicking, swimmin an’ hobblin about in their pool at the aptly named Penguin Beach. Of course, we soon got bored of the black and white life, so how bout a splash o’ colour? We journeyed into the mouth of a giant, inflatable caterpillar an’ set foot in a splendid, colourful garden with a variety of flowers an’ butterflies. Some fleeted about from flower to flower, occasionally nestlin on our outstretched fingers or flyin in an’ out of our hair, while others were too busy tendin to their cocoons/pupa/larvae.
After exitin the fragrant garden, we decided to move along to the herbivores, who thankfully were more active an’ livelier than the carnivores. Penguins weren’t the only ones whom God painted black and white, as we also visited the other monochromatic beauties- the zebras an’ okapi. An’ since it was feedin time, camels weren’t strangers to stares from some disgusted tourists as they continued to chew their food with their mouths open, ruminatin as they did so. Saw giraffes for the first time, complete with stalky legs, long necks and slimy tongues. The gorillas were too shy to make their presence felt, as they hid from us among the greenery.
An’ finally, it was on to the reptiles an’ amphibians. A word o’ caution regardin the snakes: I’d probably sleep with one eye open around these  cold blooded creatures as some o’ em are capable o’ camouflaging themselves fantastically by hiding among branches, rocks, crevices an’ water bodies too.  The frogs too are capable o’ this an’ we once mistook a group o’ frogs for slimy moss growin on a twig! Ya won’t know what’s in store, until one o’ these cunnin creatures creeps/hops/slithers up to ya in the wild! Thankfully, we were seperated from em by a glass pane! Our journey through the wilderness came to an end at the gift shop as we picked up a cute, cuddly stuffed penguin mummy (or daddy) standing with its baby between its feet…awww! An’ although we missed out on seein the meerkats, we were fortunate to receive a photoshopped image of us all hangin out in meerkat territory to cherish forever (yay!)

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Warthogs lazing around

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Scaly snakes an’ slimy froggies : Look closely, for some o’ em are hidin👇

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Frogs that look like algae

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Alligator baring his/her teeth

Bein in a different country Day 11

Last day here an’ we haven’t stuffed our shoppin bags with the clothin that Scotland’s famed for: The kilts. Now, ya won’t find designer wear like yer Gucci an’ Armani here like on Oxford Street, unless ya really search for it. But, you’ll find tartan patterns every corner ya look! So, ended up buyin kilts in various colours, tartan print tights, a wee coin purse ft the thistle (the national flower o’ Scotland) an’ ghillie blouses. Do not judge me…All that clothin I mentioned beckoned to me! 😁 The men in the family were too embarrassed to try on a kilt, so they ended up buyin nothin an’ instead helped hurl the shopping bags to the apartment.
The next day, after some packin…An’ a whole lotta squeezin an’ standin on the suitcases to fit everythin in, we left on the first plane to London. So, it’s buh-bye (or cheers! as they say here) to Edinburgh.

Shoppin, shoppin, shoppin!

A wee lil coin purse:
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Gem stone necklace from a vending machine:
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On a somewhat unrelated matter, I’m guessin this clan locket below is probably from where Campbell Bain (David Tennant’s character from Takin Over the Asylum AKA the fella in the pic above👆) got his name from. Just ignore the words Of Breadal and there it is! 👇

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Tartan print clothing:

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An’ on my journey back, met David Tennant at the Edinburgh Airport….
Is what I’d have loved to brag about! But, no such luck! Instead, I’d to settle for this lovely comic I picked up at the lil shop there. Woohoo! 👇

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Bein in a different country Day 9

After lunch (beer battered haddock an’ chips. Dad grumbled… so ,I ate his share as well without worry o’ puttin on a few sexy pounds! 😁), we passed by a lil place that didn’t look like it was built solely from leftover rubble, but it was. We also passed by a valley with a spooky history. Ya know how the Americans burnt suspected witches at the stake? Well, the Scots were a tad kind to their witches. They flooded the valley an’ drowned em instead! Oh, well…I’m gonna leave ya with that disturbingly haunting memory an’ hope to God those poor women were really witches😶

The picturesque, albeit spooky valley:

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Bein in a different country Day 8

Learnt about all the famous people who lived here. Most o’ em were born or grew up here, while others found inspiration an’ still others, fame. JK Rowling, RL Stevenson, Robert Burns, Robert Ferguson, Walter Scott (remembered by the tallest monument in Edinburgh) chloroform, antiseptic, Jekyll an’ Hyde (inspired by Deacon Brodie- a cabinet maker by day, gambler/burglar by night who was hung to death and is now honoured with a pub on the Royal Mile- whose story inspired young, bedridden Stevenson), they all got their start in this lovely place.
I found myself hummin Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers as the bus crossed o’er the still an’ tranquil Leith river. This time around, we had a live, human guide (in place o’ the audio guide) an’ the brilliantly unique Scottish accent was pure music to my ears! An’ hearin about the fascinatingly creepy paranormal history o’ Scotland an’ graveyard poltergeists (apparently, every place here’s got a ghost story attached to it!) in this fantastic accent was an added bonus! If ya like grotesque history, there’s also the building used by Burke an’ Hare to commit murders for 16 months (the duo sold the corpses to Dr. Knox for anatomic study).
  Also heard about an apothecary turned pub, cleverly titled Doctors just so hubbies poppin in for a nightcap or two could attend to a call from their worried wives an’ just lie about their whereabouts by sayin the followin: Sorry,love. Be a while. Just at the doctor’s. (True story an’ genius idea to escape a fight with the ol ball an’ chain, eh?) 😉 Talkin o’ pubs, there’s one dedicated to the most loyal dog who stayed beside his master’s grave for 14 years before passin away, bein buried beside his beloved master an’ havin a pub + a statue erected in his honour (even our Indian doggies don’t get that!😅) Alas, the statue’s once shiny black nose has suffered much damage an’ lost its sheen due to it bein rubbed for good luck by far too many tourists an’ now glints in the sun….So, don’t give the poor doggie a hard time! Just pet im an’ stay away from the nose (speakin on behalf o’ the Scottish, of course! :))

Sunshine on Leith: Find a yacht previously used by the Royal Family docked here:

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Greyfriar’s Bobby: the loyal dog with his own pub an’ Disney movie:

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What?! He’s not at the doctor’s?! That son o’ a Scot lied to me! 😜👇

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Lord bless the conservation skills o’ the Scots! Conservin everythin from energy to architecture!

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Preservin the ancient facade o' buildings

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Solar panels as far as the eye can see

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Windmills are the way to go!

Bein in a different country Day 7

That gorgeous castle I wrote about earlier looms o’er the whole o’ Edinburgh an’ seems to follow the tour bus from Niddry street to Leith. I finally got the opportunity to explore it an’ thankfully didn’t have to climb up or rappel down the gigantic, rocky cliff atop which it’s situated, although I did have to trudge up yet another sloping cobblestone street to reach it. With a beautiful view an’ fascinatin history, the Edinburgh castle is a must visit an’ houses what is apparently the mother o’ all cannons and which has brought down many a kingdom an’ now rests its aged self up here. The war memorial up there is also worth a visit, with its ledgers containing the names o’ those who gave their lives in the World Wars an’ its elegant architecture an’ picture perfect gardens dedicated to the same.
Also, filled up on my umpteenth plate o’ fish n chips (blimey! My body must be made up o’ haddock an’ potatoes by now, I swear!), sampled some haggis too (sounds like a yucky dish, but tastes good) an’ slurped down my umpteenth 99 as well (who can resist ice cream, eh?) in a lil restaurant at the foot o’ the castle.
An’ as I write this, my brother is attemptin to play bagpipes that he bought earlier on at a souvenir shop. That , coupled with the bagpiper playin skillfully outside in the square…An’ its bloody bagpipe-a-palooza in the room!

Edinburgh castle:

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The cobblestone slopes leading up to the castle:

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This is haggis. Dig in! 👇

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The restaurant where I dined had these signs hanging on its walls, teaching diners some simple words an’ greetings in Scottish Gaelic:

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Bein in a different country Day 6

At King’s Cross, bookin a train ticket to Edinburgh. If yer ever here an’ spot a team o’ youngsters with heavenly voices, sportin orange tees an’ singin a Capella, do drop money in their donation bucket like I did, as they sing for charity an’ for Africa. An’ if yer a fan o’ the boy wizard, head on o’er to Platform 9 ³/4, complete with a replica o’ the trolley!
Still can’t pronounce Edinburgh. End up pronouncin it as as Edin-bleh… Although, it’s far from bleh! In fact, it’s brilliant! Spotted a gorgeous castle on my first day an’ even though it’s far colder than London (Edin-brrr, eh? ), but I love it! Of course, before I set out to explore this beautiful place, I had to pull on my cardigan faster than ya can say Edinburra (aye, that’s the correct pronunciation…or atleast that’s how I’ve heard David Tennant pronounce it, anyway! ;)) So, lookin quite the Sherlockian goofball as I pulled on the deerstalker hat I’d bought at Madame Tussauds an’ began my long search for my home for the next few days- an apartment at Niddry street. I finally found it: just down a sloping cobblestone street, past the stench o’ scotch (I’m guessin, since I don’t drink) emanatin from a nearby pub an’ up a flight o’ stairs. Tired from all that exercise, I postponed sightseeing for the next day an’ slept like a log till the morrow.

O’er hill an’ o’er dale: Scenes from the train window en route to Edinburgh:

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By the Scottish seaside: If the weather’s this chilly, I wonder how the water is:

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The railway station an’ more picturesque scenes:

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Sheep a-grazin!

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Horses a-gallopin!

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I look like a Sherlockian goofball, but atleast I'm warm! 😝

Bein in a different country Day 5

Time to overcome my fear o’ heights as I felt the crisp, cool air ruffle my hair as the tour bus made its way to the London Eye through the traffic o’ tourists, those signature black taxi cabs an’ Citroen cars. Took in the mesmerizin view o’ the cruise boats on the Thames, the Parliament and other monuments on the way there. It looked like rain an’ it did indeed rain as I walked through a park filled with playing kids, carousels, entertainers painted from head to toe to resemble statues an’ other fun stuff to do even on a damp day. I finally made it to the gigantic ferris wheel and carefully hopped into the moving glass capsule (thankfully, not landing into the river below!)…And, wowser! What a view! Nothing beats an aerial view!
Twas time to say cheese for the camera attached to the ferris wheel as it slowly came to a halt. Thankfully, this time around, the camera clicked a better pic o’ my expression that seemed to say OMG! , unlike the one fitted on Madame Tussauds’ spooky joyride (aptly titled Spirit of London) where my face was a mixture appal, shock an’ horror (I’ve erased that outta my mind, btw!)
On the way back, the bus passed o’er the Tower Bridge and I marvelled at it as it towered above me. The bus finally came to a rest near Hyde Park before I returned to the hotel  by tube. Alright, more stuff after my trip back from Edinburgh. Gonna spend a few days there before I’m back for more London adventures!

Selfies an’ views from atop the tour bus:

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The famed red phone booth

Gorgeous Westminster Abbey:

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Leafy cover

Along the banks o’ Thames:

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Boats docked on the river

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One o' the many statues that dot London city

Tower Bridge:

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Majestic lions at Trafalgar Square:

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Biggest thumbs up ever! 👍

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The greenery, cyclists, roller skaters an’ joggers o’ Hyde Park:

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Hopped off the tour bus to see this young fella (possibly, the next Ed Sheeran;)) beautifully strummin his guitar as he sang Creep outside the tube station near Big Ben. A ray o’ sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day:

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Bein in a different country Day 4

A visit to Baker Street via tube (gotta love the Oyster card😁) resulted in a crossover o’ sorts as I stepped into a souvenir shop on the street famous for bein the home to Sherlock Holmes an’ stumbled into a blue box, the TARDIS, at its entrance! Made my day! 💙
What further made my day was a visit to Madame Tussauds as I posed with my fav stars (not the real deal. Just wax statues, but still…yay! 😛), includin with one o’ my fav Brits- Lady Di: absolutely amazin an’ beautiful, even in wax form!💕 Hung out with the Queen an’ fly…Alas, just wax statues! Oh! Speakin o’ the Queen, also had a bit o’ a fling with the frontman o’ the band, Queen– Mr. Mercury himself! 🎸

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A tribute to the man himself at the Baker Street tube station

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The blue box: TARDIS at Baker Street

I am currently jotting all this down in this notebook that I picked up from the shop mentioned above, located right next to the Sherlock Holmes statue. Notice the Daleks? :

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Me guardin the TARDIS till the Doctor returns😁;)💙