New to Owl Order? Click here for 2009's best posts! 00:00:00

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sights of Nottingham: My Home in UK

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

As I've said in my previous blog post, I'm finally back home in Malaysia.

True, Klang is the only place I can truly call home. The hot, messy room with currently four computers (two desktops, two laptops, totalling nine processors, excluding mobiles) infested with countless mosquitoes, yeah that's where I'm supposed to sleep.

Raleigh Park, however, was the closest thing to home I had when I was in UK. A home away from home, if you like.

Out of the Window 2
[HiRes] The view through my kitchen window.

It provided me with shelter from rain, snow, shine, hot and cold. I made most of my meals there. Cleared my bladder and rectum in the toilets. Got all comfy during the showers and shivered afterwards. Curled up in my bed, hiding under my duvet at the corner of my room. Most importantly, I get (mostly) awesome internet speeds there.

Raleigh Park
[HiRes] Raleigh Park, seen from Ilkeston Road. Notice the Bicycle sculpture right in front of the words "Raleigh Park". This place used to be the site of a bicycle manufacturing factory.

Opened in 2002, this place is relatively new compared to on campus accommodation.

Out of the Window 1
[HiRes] Panorama of the view from my room.

I'm definitely going to miss this place. Packing up was so hard. There's just too much memories I know I'm never going to experience again, at least not anytime soon.

I'll show you what I mean. This is my living room slash kitchen slash dining room.

Hang Out
[HiRes] My kitchen/dining/living room.

Things to note:
1. Dining table, on which so many activities other than dining was accomplished. Like watching the others play games on PS2. Or Alex and Jamie slamming the table playing, um, Slam. Or me stuttering over the word game Articulate.
2. Stack of beer bottles, by my housemates Alex and Jamie.
3. Geoff's TV, FM radio, PS2.
4. Fridge and fridge magnets I got from the uni. Visitors and hosts alike had fun with the words.
5. My containers and wok (on top of the cupboard next to the fridges) which helped me prepared so many meals.
6. The stove, grill and oven. I had quite some "fun" cleaning the microwave oven last time. And there's Geoff's toaster.
7. Couches. On which so many visitors spent the nights.

And his is a picture of my room at the peak of its messiness, about 2 weeks after my final exam and few days before I started packing for home.

[HiRes] My messy room.

Things to note:
1. (Bottom left corner) Pringles Pyramid. The amount of Pringles I ate in 9 months is simply astounding. And I threw some away already.
2. (Middle left) My calendar. I filled it up with my expenses, that way I can track how much I spend each day in UK.
3. (Top left) Row of receipts from my first days in UK. I stopped collecting receipts -- the sheer amount is shocking. Superseded by the said calendar.
4. (Top left) Other things on the notice board: souvenirs for my sisters, Malaysia flag, a CD containing Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, UK parliamentary election polling card.
5. (Middle) My laptop right in front of my chair.
6. (Middle) Other things on the table: boxes of muesli (my favourite breakfast/snack), an 800g loaf of seeded bread from Hovis, a stack of DVDs, my phone, water bottles, pencil cases, stacks of paper, notes, coaster...
7. (Top right) My towel hanging on the window grill.
8. (Top) Lightbulb. I changed it from a lower power bulb to a higher power one. From 12W to 23W I think.
9. (Top left) Shelf. My razor, toothpaste, toothbrush, snacks, unopened cans of Pringles, scrap paper were all there.
10. (Top right) Cupboard. Filled not with clothes, but with empty muesli boxes. 24, to be exact.
11. (Bottom right) Bed.


Thursday, 24 June 2010

Home Haiku

Insect bites on me
Waking up with sticky skin
This is Malaysia

Out-of-tune piano
Bad connection internet
No doubt this is home

Long chats with fam'ly
Calls from old college buddies
Why I'm here, you see

Yes, I'm home in Malaysia. =D

Monday, 14 June 2010

Sights of Nottingham: Spring at Wollaton Park II

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

Not long ago, I published some pictures of Wollaton Park right here at my blog. All the pictures shown were actually caught some time ago, back in early April to be precise. I woke up at about noon and joined my friends for a stroll after a quick brunch. Some time later, having empty stomach, full bladder and lagging terribly behind my party, I lost the mood to catch photos. The best were already published in the said blogpost.

[HiRes] A really peaceful and dreamy view of the Park.

So one of the first things I did after my third year exams was to visit Wollaton Park again. This time around, I was more prepared. With my camera fully charged up, a bottle of drinking water (tap water, actually) in my pocket, friends busy preparing for their exams (I finished mine early), I found myself visiting Wollaton Park not just one, but two more times, 6 hours apiece.

The result? Hundreds of photos in 12 hours. Of course, only about 20 of them were actually satisfactory, half of which I'm putting up here today.

Red and Green
[HiRes] An English telephone booth in the Park. Red on Green. Contrasty, huh?

The two trips being nearly 2 months apart, some differences here and there were definitely noticeable. Different species of flowers blossomed. The bees were no longer that busy. The trees started showing off their fresh green leaves.

Country Path Country Path II
[HiRes] The same pathway during my first visit back in April (left) and in late May (right).

There are several key attractions at Wollaton Park. The central of all attraction, Wollaton Hall, Nottingham's museum of natural history, is located at the centre of the Park.

Wollaton Hall
[HiRes]A panorama of Wollaton Hall.

More pictures of Wollaton Hall, both from the outside and inside to come soon.

A flower garden is situated just behind the Hall. There's a greenhouse there too, but it was closed during all my visits. Kind of makes me wonder if it's ever opened to the public at all.

The photos of the flowers shown in the previous Wollaton Park blogpost were captured here.

A caterpillar-shaped hedge at the garden.

There's also a lake at Wollaton Park. Just like the University of Nottingham University Park Campus lake, this lake is a popular jogging spot. But to be honest, anywhere in the park is a good jogging spot.

Wollaton Park Lake
[HiRes] Vertical panorama of the lake, with Wollaton Hall shown far into the distance.

And then there are the deers. In the Park, deers and humans share the same space. The Park being located adjacent to a golf club, golfers swing their clubs literally metres away from herds of deers. Visitors must take care to keep gates closed to prevent deers from strolling out of their enclosures.

Deer Gate
Reminder to keep the gate closed.

Men and Animals
[HiRes] Panorama showing deers on the left and a few golfers to the right.

Overall, Wollaton Park is a real good place to escape from the rush of city life and relax your bones and brains (assuming you have both, a luxury not everybody has).

If only there's one such park within walking distance from my place in Klang.

Celebrate the Day
[HiRes] A panorama of sunset at Wollaton Park. I could've waited longer for the sky to turn redder, but it was cold and I had a bladder slowly reaching the dangerous threshold.

[HiRes] But I caught this! This 3-picture panorama turned out real good. "Why sit when you can soar?" To Jo and SL.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Some Stranger Hugged Me...

... just because I'm a "Chinaman" earlier just now.

No kidding.

I was walking by myself when suddenly a bloke called after me. He muttered some stuff to me which I didn't really understand. I stared at him, bewildered, and gave him a blur "huh?". The first words that came out of his mouth which I actually understood was something like "you're a Chinaman!"

I stammered. "Uh, yeah?"

"Oh, I love you!" he exclaimed and gave me a big bear hug, leaving me totally astounded.

Trust me, I stutter all the time when I talk to local Englishmen. Push me in front of a stranger who hugs me just because I'm a Chinese and my jibber-jabber makes as much sense as Chip and Dale impersonating Donald Duck.

Brought up in Malaysia as a rather conservative Asian, I have to say I was a little paranoid. I don't even remember the last time I hugged my parents. We didn't even share as much as a handshake before I flew here to UK. Add with the many suspicious characters with hidden agendas in Malaysia, giving a free hug to a random chap on the street is probably a free pass for a night in jail.

But this is UK, over 7000 miles away from Malaysia. Things could be different here.

"Oh, what an honour! You're a handsome young man!" He commented in his smooth English accent when we broke apart.

Oh one more thing. I've had fantasies of people complimenting my looks (which, as many of you know, isn't that great, hence the fantasies). However wild my imagination was, none of my fantasies looked like this.

"Um, you too, sir!" I stammered. Flattery is a strong suit of the English, and I figured the right thing to do was to return a positive comment as well.

He chuckled, eyes scanning on me while I smiled stupidly. After receiving one more platonic (I hope) "I love you", I bid farewell to the stranger and left.

A considerable distance away, I looked back, and, after making sure he was out of sight, I gasped "Holy Crap! What the hell just happened?"

I checked my pockets -- all my possessions were still with me and I found no (further) surprises.

It took a few seconds for me to accept the fact that the stranger probably meant nothing else, other than to have the honour of having a 30-second chat with a Chinese (why though?). Besides, it was far too early to be drunk. I sniggered to myself and thought, boy, I love England!

All the best to England in the up-coming FIFA game!

PS. To the person who hugged me: if you're reading this (that's probably even more unlikely than getting another free hug from yet another stranger), thanks a lot for the surprise! You just made my day ;-)