Rugby

I have recently started watching rugby... cos Rick watches them every saturday... sigh! I'm not very sure I understand the rules of rugby and when I can finally make heads and tails of it, i'll let you know...but I do know there's rugby union and rugby league though and they sort of have different rules...anyway, it looks very very physical and I'm really impressed by the amount of physical contact in rugby and I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone's neck break while being tackled yet! ...but one thing I really enjoy is when New Zealand is playing. The All Blacks always do a Haka(Maori traditional dance). My goodness!!! I love watching them do a Haka(there are different haka for different purposes). They do look intimidating when they do it... and i have to say something really 'woman' now. I'm beginning to think rugby players have got some of the most fantastic bodies in sports!!!! I also have to say the New Zealand rugby players are at the top of my list now...and believe me, some of them are so good looking, it's impossible not to go ga-ga over them! hehe...

Here's a link to a video showing the All Blacks doing a haka, enjoy!
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=83U_Vg1GRvA

Foot Binding

Foot binding came up in our discussion (don't even ask how or why) yesterday. Rick was quite disgusted(he was the one who brought it up by the way) with the whole idea of foot binding. He sees it as a show of male dominance over women and is appalled by it because it crippled women. As a Chinese woman, I can understand why foot binding(albeit how painful and crippling it was) was done for almost a thousand years in China. It was fashionable and could give you a better chance of getting married into a wealthy or better family. I can see why mothers are forced to put their poor daughters through the ordeal which left their daughters crippled and maimed for life.

Foot binding started because an emperor was enthralled by how graceful and exotic one of his court dancers feet were. The dancer had wrapped her feet in silk to dance(ballet style) on a lotus stage. Thus, bound feet are called 'golden lotus'. Since then, the craze of 2 - 3-inched feet took president over eveything else. Mothers started binding their daughters feet for life in hope of finding good and wealthy husbands for them and looking for potential daughters-in-law with golden lotus. Not only that, society also dictated that bound feet were beautiful and normal ones ugly. Bound feet were also a sign of social standings for the family. Which good obedient daughter back then would want to shame her family by having ugly normal feet? Of course, the men also thought it was exotic and women with bound feet were not likely to indulge in affairs because the women were made immobile by their bound feet. This lasted until the early 20th century and only after 'combined' efforts of the communist era, nationalist revolution and western missionaries was the practice of foot binding eradicated.

Yes, bound feet hurt for life because the bones of the feet are broken and in time are totally useless and many women die from infections as well. The bindings have to be kept on and rebound after they wash their feet throughout their lifetime. Bound feet in itself already hurt and when these women were forced to take the bindings off, it hurt as well because without the bindings, the feet expand and there's no support for their feet which made walking just as painful. Some eventually bound their feet again.

Women with bound feet were not expected to do much work because back then only the lucky(or unlucky) wealthy girls did it. Then this practice spread all over China except for the poorest of the poor who had to work in the fields. Interesting enough, the Hakkas did not practice foot binding because they were the primary workforce of the paddy fields. Hakka daughters had to work in the fields alongside the men to plant paddy so they did not have their feet bound.

On a lighter note, aren't these shoes exquisite?


Read more at
http://www.ccds.charlotte.nc.us/History/China/04/hutchins/hutchins.htm
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8966942#8962920
http://www.josephrupp.com/background.html
http://anthromuseum.missouri.edu/minigalleries/chineseshoes/intro.shtml
http://www.dynastyantiques.com/2BoundFootShoes.html
http://www.sfmuseum.org/chin/foot.html#top

Planning...

Another day of playing games while thinking of where to go next week... where shall i go? mmmm... any suggestions?

Nails

before


after



amazing how different nail polish can make your nails look...
(yes, the nails are real)

What time is it?

Can u tell what time i took these two pics?



hehehe.. the first one was taken at 8 pm last night... huh?!? and the second was taken at 10.16 pm last night...

Incredible, isn't it? too bad the shops are all close by 5pm... sigh!!!

Monday Blues...


It was a very rainy and cold day yesterday... this was what i saw when i looked out the window... people say this is a miserable day but to me, this is a nice day because it's cold... well, a bit too cold but i think its better to shiver than to sweat... hahaha ...although i was stuck at home (not that i go very often anyway), it's enjoyable. there i was sitting down by the window fiddling with the computer, drinking my cup of cold tea, listening to my chinese songs... this is life... relaxing and enjoying the cold... wouldn't u like to hv a life like mine now?

On the other hand, hehhe...this is how it was when i opened the window... heheh it's not really as bad as the first pic looks... but it was raining and the wind was blowing, the sky was dark and everything was wet,... but it's not miserable as Rick called it... I think it was just a gloomy day... gloomy because on days like that when u hv all the time in the world, u start getting contemplative of the meaning of life... u start thinking about the things u hv done, people u hv met and places u hv been... then u start getting homesick for ur family and friends... sigh! Monday blues...

Cheryl's Blog-Review

Just the other day I was chatting to Cheryl, she said something that made a lot of sense. She said (and i quote) 'It's nice to get along with hubby's friends'...and that got me thinking...yup, it is nice and it certainly avoids a lot of trouble that comes with 'hubby and his friends' and 'hubby and his friends and i'.... if u know what i mean...i say this because i am speaking from experience cos that created a lot of problems in the past for me...

so i'm glad that Cheryl and i get along cos Gerald, her hubby, is one of my closest friends... and if u go look at her blog, she has a lot of lovely pics of her and Gerald...also, about what she does in her life...and it's great listening to her talk about how she feels about Gerald too... these 2 are sooooo in love!... Cheryl also has a lot of interesting things on her blog and interesting widgets too(which i have lifted off her blog...heheh..thanx)!!! and she really doesn't sound like she's living the life of a married woman from all the adventures she talks abt in her blog...hehehe... great blog, Cheryl!

http://www.cherylleong.blogspot.com/

Longest Day- Summer Solstice


Yesterday, 21 June, was supposedly the longest day of the year. It's also the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere. When Rick told me it was the longest day of the year, i thought ...ok, does that mean the sun rises earlier and sets later? i actually waited till it got dark which wasn't much later than normal...cos when i woke up at 4.38am, it was light... hehehe...nope...at least not exactly on the same day... so anyway due to the position of the sun and the earth (or something like that) to day is supposed to have 12 hrs of daylight for the equator, 24 hrs of sunlight for the north pole and 24 hrs of darkness at the south pole... and some places may experience earlier sun rises while other places later sunsets...

and talking abt sun rises... did you know that the druids used Stonehenge as a calendar back 2,000 or so years ago? Anyway, on this day, the sun is supposed to rise exactly on one stone in particular-the Hell stone and this was supposed to be a very important day for them.And the druids also have rituals or celebrations to praise the sun and they light fires to strengthen(???) the sun cos days would be getting shorter soon. They do this on Midsummer's Day eve, which is only a few days after summer solstice (this part i can't figure out, why midsummer when it's only a few days after summer solstice!) They( the ancient and present day druids...yes, druids are still around) do a Summer Solstice Ritual/ Circle Dance (http://www.awakenedwoman.com/solstice_ritual.htm) where they light candles and praise and sing in a circle to give thanx and to ask for wishes to be granted, cos this is supposed to be the day when the Mother(earth maybe?) is at her strongest. Worth a try you think?

Windsor & Eton Walk

Last week, i chose the place for our walk cos i didn't want to look at the countryside again this time so i thought a view of Windsor castle would be nice if i have to walk for hours... the town itself wasn't as grand as i thought it would be considering the castle is there... and every 15 mins or so, there're commercial airplanes flying overhead!!! i mean if it were my castle, i wouldn't want things that noisy to fly over my head throughout the day...everyday!!! would u?

Anyway, the walk started in town this time... sort of... as you can see... the view is beautiful except once in a while u hv fathers trying to impress their sons by conducting the Swans and Ducks Choir on the River Thames, people walking around and plenty of cafes...

and the aprtments that are along the river... wouldn't u just like to live in one of those? i know i would...

and the u can hv a peek at Windsor Castle between the buildings...mmm...i wonder if the royal family pops into town when they need something from the shops? i don suppose they do, right?

That was only the beginning... nice walk along the river, under the railway, through fields( playing fields...hehe..with no sheep or cows!)... thru more fields and for a change, a golf course...i was terrified a golf ball would hit me!

...then more bloody NETTLES, had to trek thru a jungle of them actually... after that ordeal...we came to Eton College...a small part of it anyway... we saw students(rich students!!!) playing cricket(how come we never had cricket in school?). then we walked outside the schoolgrounds and the size of Eton College astonished me and i am not even talking about the fields they have which includes a mini golf course and where they keep the horses!!!... sigh!... pics? was too awed to take any...i know i know... stupid!

and thru more fields of wheat? barley? ... beats me!

After following signposts like these for HOURS...
and then finally...

Windsor Castle again! and that means the end of the walk/trek!!!!

Humidity


Rick and I sometimes have a very interesting discussion on humidity because sometimes i complain that it is very hot and why i hate the sun in UK... apparently it has to do with humidity...from what i understand, the more humid the air is, the more uncomfortable it is... why then do i hate the sun here considering i come from a country with perpetual summer except when it rains? i think it's because we from Malaysia are so used to sweating when it's hot and the 'hot' is 'wet'(sweat & humid), and the 'hot' here is 'dry' and I don sweat as much so I think it's hotter here than it is back home, thus i feel the sun more... not that i'm making sense even to myself! but it seems 'dry hot' is less taxing on the physical and mental aspects of the body than 'wet hot' is. also, when it's hot, nobody wants to go out and we stay inside with the air-conditioning on! but here, ppl sort of 'worship' the sun considering they only get it for a few months each year.. but still!!! It is also amusing that i am actually getting darker now than when i left KK. Sigh!!! good try...

Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 and Zong Zi 粽子




Yesterday was the Dragon Boat Festival and people back home are eating zongzi and i don get to eat any...sigh!!!!...i miss my grandma's special zongzi cos hers are the only ones i would eat... grandma uses mostly lean pork with crushed peanuts mixed well together with 5-spice powder... and the zongzi she makes are by far more superior to any other zongzi in the world!!! and i don care what anyone says!!! Sylvia and mom teased me mercilessly cos i can't eat most of the zongzi they made with my grandma!!!!!

well, this prompted me to do research on what the Dragon Boat Festival is all about so I can explain it FULLY to Rick now ( like a true chinese!) lol...there are many versions to the legend but as far as i understand it, this is how it goes...


A long time ago, there was this very famous poet who was also minister or advisor to the emperor of that time. His name was Qu Yuan. So anyway, the other ministers were jealous of him and ganged up to persuade the emperor to ignore his advice because they were at war with someone else during that time. Qu Yuan was apparently so disappointed and disgusted by everything he jumped into the MiLuo River and drowned himself. When people heard, they raced across the river to look for his body but of course, they couldn't find it. Nobody wants the fish to eat his body so they threw rice dumplings into the river as fish food. From then on, we have Dragon Boat races and we eat zongzi to commemorate Qu Yuan.

This poem was Qu Yuan's last poem about how he felt.

Many a heavy sigh I have in my despair,
Grieving that I was born in such an unlucky time.
I yoked a team of jade dragons to a phoenix chariot,
And waited for the wind to come,
to sour up on my journey

Wicked-The Musical








Fantastic musical with beautiful stage set up, costumes, make up, storyline(it's about some of the characters in Wizard of Oz), music..everything...they've put a lot of work into this...well worth watching... here's the link to the website where i took the pics from... www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/index.php

so anyway, this story is about these two witches who became friends. Glinda is beautiful, blond and popular. Elphaba is green and unpopular but with a misunderstood kind heart. so the play is about how they became friends and what they went through-falling in love, heartaches ,betrayal,etc-and how the Wicked Witch of the West and other characters in Wizard of Oz came about. I just bought the novel written by Gregory Maguire...wonder which is better...

Donnington Castle





Donnington Castle... well, wat's left of it anyway...

On Swings in a Pub


Rick and I








James went on the drive to the countryside with us. He came down from Nottingham to visit.

A trip to the Countryside


a horse statue in a field... no idea what it symbolises... but it looks really majestic i think


a backroad which the GPS directed us on... Rick has to choose the longest route thru the countryside...we got stuck in a locked field with cows and a bull on the loose...


field of poppies... they grow wild in the countryside... beautiful from far


a countryside house... Rick's car

Medmenham Walk





My First Walk-Medmenham
ok so the first adventure was a walk Rick took me on. now, walk to me means a stroll through the park... but... no! sigh! some of you may know of my aversion to exercising??? anyways, we went on one of those circular walk thingies that starts at a pub and you walk for MILES round the area and come back to the pub again.. so we started at a pub called 'Dog and Badger'. I was rather excited thinking 'oh wow! a nice leisurely walk through a field or the countryside... easy!' sigh!!! first, we had to look for the start of the trail which was hidden at the opposite side of the road. naturally, when u r looking for something, u'll never find it at the first attempt. we didn't so we ran back across the road through a patch of... NETTLES!!!!! i assure u, it was NOT fun! when we finally found it, SIGH!!! we had to walk up a steep hill!!! by the time we got to the top, i was ready to scream except i had no breathe or energy left to talk and was too proud to quit!!! but the view was great... i have to admit, the walk (i still think of it as jungle trekking through the countryside) through the big green fields, forest reserves, seeing wild squirrels, ducks on the River Thames, sheep grazing, wild flowers... it was fun and so worth the effort! and oh!... lol... the pub was in fact an Italian restaurant!!!! i really don recommend ravioli with orange peel...it was...a very interesting taste... but bread dipped in balsamic vinegar and olive oil is fantastic!

Taramasalata

here i am trying to figure out where to begin telling you about my adventures... and hehe... i'm eating breadsticks with this wierd dip made of fish roe(fish eggs) ... tala-sumthing!!! i'm surprised i'm eating this since i don like fish and i don eat fish eggs..roe..whichever...sigh!!! but i have to admit it's nice... think i'm going crazy... first things first, i've only been here for 3 weeks and i have already put on about 2 kg from gorging on apple pies smothered in double cream.. yum yum!!! the fish dip is called 'Taramasalata' which is very light pick in colour and i didn't know it was fish roe until i saw bits of round balls in the dip and when i was at Sainsbury's, i read the label. it was fish eggs!!!!

Tattoo




My new tattoo

Gorgeous babes!!!

Tip of Borneo Pics



Rick and I at the Tip

Tip of Borneo Pics


Audrey and hubby, Martin, At the Tip

Tip of Borneo Pics



My sister, Sylvia, my best friend, Audrey, and I at the Tip of Borneo