Saturday, March 26, 2011

Women of the War..

War is cruel. Many die defending ideas, and nations. And so it's only natural that all civilizations have ways to honour their dead. London is full of Cenotaph's , tombs in honour of those who died elsewhere , who perished in alien lands, mostly during World Wars 1 and 2. Most boroughs (neighbourhoods) have one for the locals who served during the war.
Among the ones I've seen here, my favourite would be the one erected in honour of the women who fought in World War 2. A 22 feet poignant reminder in Whitehall of the hardships of the time and those who rose in response to it. What I so loved about this , was not just that it honoured the brave soldier, but also women who soldiered on in other aspects of life.. Doctors, Factory workers, emergency services; The little Handbags left dangling says it could have been any one of us.. The statuettes are attired in Working women's clothes, bronze metaphors to the 7 million odd women who worked in service of the country then. It was unveiled in 2005 , to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the war

The Cenotaph @Whitehall
- Meena Venkataraman

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A day in Hydepark

It was just another day in Grey London, Cold and Windy with a hesitant tentative sun. Perfect we decided, for a walk :). And so all bundled up we found ourselves in Hyde Park.
Hyde Park is one of the Royal Parks and has a long and colourful history going back all the way to Henry Viii, when it served as a private hunting ground. Changing hands among the important British families of the time , it finally was made a public park. The park also served as a platform for mass demonstrations in times of war and peace, most famous among them being the 'Stop the War' protest against the Iraq war of 2003. Between Chartism, a very important movement to reform the politics of its era and The Reform league, pushing for the ballot being more inclusive, the Park truly was power to the people!

We of course had other more pressing matters to attend to! The Serpentine which snakes its way through the park is full of Birds! The Serpentine is a recreational lake and was created in 1730.
We were the outsiders , but the birds didn't mind having us around... (Very inclusive I must say :))

Greylag Geese, Keep watch over the lake :)
The Greylag geese , are predecessors of the now common domesticated geese. Also known as the Wild Goose, their greyish brown bodies stood erect watching the action on the waters. These geese are now found only in Scotland , specifically in the Outer Heberdies . This news excites me and am really hoping to see them on our trip to Scotland thats soon coming up. They were the subjects of a study on imprinting. (I first heard this term while watching a falconry show. Among the birds there was an owl which had almost entirely grown up amongst humans and the person conducting the show warned that the imprint did not recognise humans as the top predator, having grown amongst us and so was not scared to attack ! )

Canada Geese 
A twosome of Canada geese swim past. They of the black head and beautiful plumage , are also migratory like the Greylag geese. The difference between the two species is striking. Among the two the Canada goose definitely is more elegant.

Watching the Sun set from Serpentine Bridge..
The sun begins to set. We linger on..
Mute Swans , Coots, and Tufted Ducks
A Mute swan casually glides past. The not very flattering adjective 'Mute' is just to say that this particular specie is less vocal than others in the swan family.I love the colours , especially the striking orange beak and the white body which is soo graceful in flight.
Coots are supposedly omnivores. Something about the way their heads end seems a little abrupt :).
But make no mistake, black and white are prime plumage!. The others of the black and white kind are the tufted ducks. Among all the ducks I've seen this one is my favorite. Small and beautifully crafted, nature can seem partial to some of her creations. I make a mental note to get better pictures the next time we visit
A beautiful Mute Swan..

Is it only us that seem so affected by the cold. It definitely seem so. The birds don't seem to care . Joggers  , some people walking dogs.. The owners all huddled up, the dogs totally excited by the chill air, barking at the birds. We wish we could linger on. But we would return we decide, maybe in Summer :)


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Furry Friends..

Discovered that camping in the garden has its benefits..
Even if it means standing out in the freeeezing cold

After days of winter, it looks like Spring is finally here :). Got this shot of this little squirrel yesterday.
It was hard to keep up with this skittish, frisky visitor who was such a joy to watch.
There certainly are more birds in the garden and when I look up I seem to see nests... As nature gets busy and the little broods appear, there seems to be a lot of frenzied chirpy activity...
Its been a beautiful day



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