Category: Geography

Global Christmas Lights – The Filipino Paról.

As I mentioned in my earlier blog (O (Old) Christmas Tree) about Christmas decorations and how we get them from storage in our loft/attics etc at the beginning of each Christmas season. We check the plugs and fuses of our old Christmas lights and see how many bulbs still work. I think the oldest lights I have are over 40 years old and we drape them around our 45-year-old Christmas tree I had when growing up.

Last Christmas when we were in the Philippines visiting our family, we saw amazing Christmas decorations and lights almost everywhere. We bought back from halfway around the globe, one particular Christmas decoration which is popular in the Philippines. It is called a  paról.

A paról is a star-shaped or star patterned lantern, the shape representing the Star of Bethlehem that guided The Three Kings to the birthplace and manger of Jesus. A paról can come in various sizes and designs/patterns as long as it is a five-pointed star shape and can be illuminated.  They are traditionally made out bamboo and paper. Nowadays they can be constructed from materials such as plastic, glass, thick strong polythene & light metal strips  They are illuminated by candles or electric light bulbs. paróls are traditional to Filipinos at Christmas as the Christmas tree is to us.  Modern electric/battery powered paróls can produce colourful complex patterns like some of our home Christmas lights.


Global Christmas Lights – The Filipino Paról.

Parol, photo by PH Morton +

Parol by PH Morton

 Paról Light in our NW London house!


Stir-up Sunday

A Christmas Pudding, sometimes cream or custard etc are added as a topping.


Stir-up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent.  The custom comes from when families & relatives gathered together and stir the ingredients of a traditional British Christmas pudding before the first Sunday in Advent as observed by Anglican churches.

There is a Collect (prayer)

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’  

Also, It allows time for the pudding to mature properly for the month before the Christmas Day meal. By tradition, each member of a family or participant is encouraged to make a wish as they stir.

The pudding mixture is stirred from East to West in honour and remembrance of the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus with their gifts.

In some households, silver coins are added to the pudding mix. It is believed that finding a coin brings good luck.

I remember as a child in the 1960s, my mother would traditionally put & stir ‘silver’ sixpence coins known colloquially as a tanner into the mixture. Later when the UK went decimal ‘other’ silver coins were added.

It is believed that like Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, Christmas puddings were introduced to the UK in the 1800s, by Prince Albert, who was the husband and consort to Queen Victoria.

There can be some variations of ingredients, traditional puddings mainly contain dried fruits, raisins etc. The mixture and cake are held together by egg and suet &  sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses. It is flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and or other spices. Measured alcohol is added, mainly brandy but dark beers or stout can be used.

Before the pudding is served during the Christmas meal, some households set light to the pudding as the alcohol content allows it to burn briefly as part of the serving tradition.

The pudding is usually aged for a month or more,[or even a year until the following Christmas Day; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.




Chicken Karaage (Japanese Chicken popcorn Recipe)

Chciken Karaage, photo by JMorton

I saw a bit of GMA’s Mars on youtube and like the recipe of the Japanese version of a fried chicken. Thanks to Benjamin Alves, the guest celebrity cook, for making it looks so easy to make and yet so yummy. All the women in the show were all saying how good it was.

Chicken Karaage (Japanese Chicken popcorn Recipe)


  • 6-8 pieces of boneless, with skin on chicken thighs; each thigh, depending on the size, should be cut into two or three pieces.
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 cup cornstarch/cornflour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • slices of lemon to garnish

Method of preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, season the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper. Set this aside.
  2. Make the marinade using a different container. Mix thoroughly the ginger, garlic and brown sugar with the soy sauce and sake.
  3. Pour this mixture onto the chicken thighs. Mix well to soak all the crevices of the chicken thighs.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. After an hour or so, heat the oil in large frying pan or wok for deep frying.
  6. Before frying, each of the chicken pieces, roll each one into the cornflour and then let it sizzle in the hot oil until done.
  7. Serve with your favourite sauce.


The Eternal Love Seasons 1 & 2 (Chinese Drama Review)

The Eternal Love poster


The Eternal Love (Chinese Drama Review)

  • Genre: Romance, Time Travel, Historical
  • Date Released:  Season 1 – 2017
  • Origin: China
  • CDrama: 24 Episodes


  • Xing Zhao Lin as Mo Liang Cheng (4th Prince)
  • Liang Jie as Qu Tan Er / Qu Xiao Tan / Qu Xiang
  • Chen You Wei as Liu Shang
  • Sun Yi Ning as Jing Xin
  • Richards Wang as Mo Yi Huai / Mo Yi Feng
  • Wang Hao Ge as Mo Jing Xuan [14th Prince]
  • Xin Rui Qi as Zhao Qing Yun
  • Zhong Qi as Qu Pan Er
  • Hu Chun Yong as Yu Hao


I am watching this drama this weekend.

I have just finished episode 1 and I must say, I enjoyed it.

It is a time travelling drama.

A girl from the present time travels to the past and possessing the body of the Second Daughter, Qu Tan Er of the Qu Family.

Qu Tan Er, poor girl has developed a rather schizophrenic personality.  One minute she is the demure, introverted and shy Qu Tan Er and then she is possessed by the girl from the 21st century who is feisty, modern and self-confident, Xiao Tan.

The back story was that Qu Tan Er tried committing suicide as she was being forced to marry the 8th Prince when she was already in love with the King’s oldest son.

When she recovered enough from her suicide attempt, she became a different person.

I must say this drama is so entertaining that I have just finished watching episode 2.  I was surprised at how quick it went.

Episode 2, Qu Tan Er has now become the consort of the 8th Prince.

Episode 24:  Yup it is 12:58 am and finally finished the last episode of this interesting and enjoyable drama.  It is full of action, and beautiful sceneries.  There are also yards upon yards of beautiful free-flowing Hanfu costume.

And the actors are so flawlessly gorgeous.

Most importantly, if you wanted romance, this sure is big, I mean huge in romance.  The kissing scenes are so sweetly erotic.

Love this drama. It is not flawless because some of the dialogues (or probably the English translation) would leave you feeling mehhhh!  Like when ‘Old Weirdo” said that the Demon King has grown really powerful and became an expert in Martial arts.  That was funny.

If you are feeling nostalgic in living in the past, wearing all those beautiful flowy hanfu, think again, apparently, your family can be your own worst enemy.

So much so that I shall be watching Princess Agents or is it, Agent Princess. 🙂

And last but not the least to mention is that it has  beautifully haunting original soundtrack (OST)

The Eternal Love Season 2

The Eternal Love Season 2 poster

    • Release Date 22 October 2018
    • CDrama: 30 Episodes
    • Cast:
      • Xing Zhao Lin as Mo Liang Cheng (4th Prince)/Cheng Cheng
      • Liang Jie as Qu Tan Er / Qu Xiao Tan / Qu Xiang
      • Che You Wei as Liu Shang
      • Sun Yi Ning as Jing Xin
      • Richards Wang as Mo Yi Huai / Mo Yi Feng
      • Wang Hao Ge as Mo Jing Xuan [14th Prince]
      • Zhong Qi as Qu Pan Er
      • Hu Chun Yong as Yu Hao
      • Liao Hui Jia as Princess Lan Ye Xi


Note: There might be some confusion with regards to the characterization of the 4th Prince.  In this series, he is not two but comes in three personas.

He is Cheng Cheng (Mo Liang Cheng) in the present/modern times.  He is Prince Mo Liang Chen of the Dongyue Kingdom and he is also Liu Shang, wearing a latex mask to conceal his identity as Cheng Cheng and Prince Mo Liang Chen.

Episode 1

I love this drama so much I am watching it without subtitle so cannot understand what was going on fully.  But having said I have enjoyed it.fd

At the end of season one, the lovers were parted when Qu Xiao Tan was sucked in by a vortex, created by the explosion by the Demon King, that spewed strong gravitational force that skewed space as well as time.

Well, they were not parted for long because miraculously Mo Lian Cheng complete with his princely outfit materialised in the modern-day dimension surrounded by tall buildings with cars whizzing in a cacophony of sound heralding the fast-paced of the 21st century.

Mo Lian Cheng got used to the times pretty quickly; out with the long hair, in with the boy band hairstyle, out with the beautiful hanfu replaced by well-fitted trousers and shirt.

For a year we learn to adapt to a new way of life in another dimension.  He became a prosperous antique dealer.

But all this time he had only one goal and that was to find Qu Tan Er.  He knew that she would not have any memory of him as the timeline in this dimension was different.

Mo Lian Cheng did not waste time, he has a superhuman stamina of body and mind.  He can read books after books a la Superman.

He looked for her every single day until he finally found her working as a realtor.

He did not waste any time in contacting her.

When they first met again Mo Lian Cheng was excited to see her.  She was intrigued by him as well.

Especially when out of nowhere he asked her to marry him.  Huh?!!!

Exactly!  He then qualifies that he needed to be married to a native of that area to be able to purchase a house.

So cute, when his female assistant suddenly arrived and was rather proprietorial towards him, Mo Liang Cheng made sure that there was no misunderstanding.  He told off the assistant of coming to his house for not calling first and also his house is private and she should never come again.

He was going to drive Qu Tan Er to her house when he has a powerful intuition that something is going to fall on his car.  He opens the door and pushed her out and then a huge fridge falls from the sky straight to his car trapping him inside.

Qu Tan Er was inconsolable, neighbours came out to help free Mo Lian Cheng from the car.

Qu Tan Er ended up sleeping his bed with him.  It was the sweetest scene ever.  Their old chemistry is still delightfully present.

Episode 2

Qu Tan Er cannot understand what was going on and she thinks he was a bit of a perv.  So she tried avoiding answering his calls.

She went for a blind date in a restaurant.  But what she does not know, Mo Lian Cheng was not the only that cross-over to her dimension.  There were baddies, called the soul reapers, who were intent on doing her harm or returning her to the past.

Her date was taken over by the soul reapers.   He drugged her drink causing her to fall asleep.  Thank goodness Mo Lian Cheng cannot bear to let her out of his sight so he was able to save her in the end and once again ended up in his bed.

She was annoyed that she seemed to always end up in his bed.  She quickly tried to get away but not fast enough because Mo Lian Cheng gave her a deep passionate kiss with annoyed her even more.

She was just walking to catch a ride when a black car stopped next to her.  A woman hypnotised her into entering the car and drove her near a cliff by the sea.

Mo Lian Cheng was just in time to see her diving into the water under mind control by a black-suited woman.

He jumped after her and after some beautiful slow-motion underwater,  we see him seeing the prince Mo Lian Cheng.

Qu Tan Er also woke up in the body of Qu Xiao Tan without remembering the past.

It seems this dimension is not the one their original one where Mo Lian Cheng and Qu Tan Er first met.

And curiously it seems that there is going to be two Mo Lian Cheng in this dimension!

Episode 3

Yes, there are two Mo Lian Cheng.

Qu Tan Er’s father had been banished to the front line by royal decree.  His position as minister of finance has been taken away because of his corruption and insubordination.  As a punishment, the House of Qu has been broken down with his first daughter serving as a made at the mansion of the Noble Dugu while Qu Tan Er will become a made of Mo Lian Cheng, the Eight Prince.

Qu Tan Er was confused because Mo Lian Cheng, who she considers as her boyfriend from 21st-century dimension was aloof and remote and doesn’t seem to know her.

While she was sweeping the yard, her version of Mo Lian Cheng came to her now dressed as a prince as well and gave her a tender hug.

Poor girl, she will be so confused.

Episode 4

Qu Tan Er finally confirmed that Prince Mo Lian Cheng that she has been trying to seduce was not her Mo Lian Cheng’s boyfriend.  He does not have a rose tattoo in his chest.

Everyone is after the Soul Suppressing orb.

The Noble concubine Dugu has become the King’s favourite and she has been generating controversies to implicate Prince Mo Lian so the King does not favour him anymore.

Noble Dugu was doing it to avenge her Yu Family who was massacred.


As of 7th November 2018, it has been announced that there will be a Series 3 to this drama and hurrah, the original cast will all be in it.  Yey

Episode 5

Liu Shang (doppelganger) has become Prince Mo Lian Cheng adviser.  The prince does not trust him fully because he finds Liu Shang strange, who avoids physical contacts and can seem to echo and reads his mind.

Episode 6

Tan’er thought that the Mo Yi Feng, the first prince, was from the future as well because she saw him with an old pocket watch. When he asked her to go back with him, she thought he meant to the future so she willingly went with him but they were stopped by Future Mo Lian Cheng, who told Yi Feng not to interfere with Tan’er as she was going to be his future princess.

Tan’er got so confused because as soon she parted from Future Mo Lian Cheng, she met Prince Mo Lian Cheng who was on a carriage with different clothing as well as being so aloof.

She thought he was schizoid.

This episode is so cute because Prince Mo Lian Cheng is starting to fall in love with Tan’er all over again.  He even becomes partial to steam dumpling which he did not like to eat before.

Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9

Episode 10

Episode 11

Episode 12

Episode 13

Episode 14

Epidose 15

Episode 16

Episode 17

Tan’Er, Princes Mo Liang Chen and Mo Yi Feng were summoned to the palace by the Emperor, who wanted to know who Tan’Er would like to marry.  Would it be Yi Feng or Liang Chen?

Tan’Er surprised everyone by saying that doesn’t want to marry either.  The Emperor guesses that she was already in love with someone else.

She previously won the prize to determine her own life-partner, hence, the Emperor did not push her to name her lover.

But as soon as they were out of the palace, Prince Mo Liang Chen asked her whether the person she was in love with was Liu Shang.

Mo Liang Chen then told her that he was going to change her mind.

Directly from the palace, Tan’Er went to Liu Shang’s manor, where they had a hug and a kiss.  He then told her that he knew already what happened at the palace.  He then cheekily told her that she had fallen in love with him. So cute.

But their romance might not be all sweetness and light as Liu Shang is beginning to lose his sight.

The pretty and feisty princess of Yoyheng had come to the palace

Episode 18

For alliance purposes, the Princess Yoyheng was being treated with extreme indulgence.  The King of Tang had told her to choose from any one of his sons.

Princess Yoyheng ultimately chose Liu Shang because he answered her question with a very modern sense.

Tan’er was so jealous that she did something about it.  After having an almost energetic bed scene with Liu Shang/Cheng Cheng, she borrowed his latex mask and then use it to approach the Princess of Yoyheng to tell her that Liu Shang has terrible habits.  Not good at all and that he was in love with someone else.

The Princess though can’t be convinced to give up on Liu Shang.

Meanwhile, the Mystical Old Man has finally found a brake to space and time and there is one chance that ChengCheng and Tan’er can go back to their own timeline.

Unfortunately, Tan’er did not show up at the allotted time and though Cheng Cheng is slowly dying in this dimension, he refuses to leave without Tan’er, who had been taken a prisoner of her own father.

They want to use her for the soul-destroying orb.

Episode 19

Tan’er and Cheng Cheng missed their chance to leave this dimension to back to theirs.

Unfortunately Cheng Cheng is now on his last leg.  He was going downhill fast.  Before he gets really bad, he asked the Princess of Yoyheng to help him convinced Tan’er to give up on him.

They pretended to be an engaged couple.

Tan’er was obviously very sad, she told Cheng Cheng that she hated him, that he was a liar, who went back on his words about being always with her and protecting her.

Tan’er went back to her father’s mansion to nurse her bleeding heart.

Prince Mo liang Cheng confronted Liu Shang to ask him who he really was because he just found out that the real Lui Shang had already died.

Cheng Cheng has no recourse but to tell the truth,  He removed his mask and told the prince that he was him.

Episode 20

The Princess of Yoyheng felt so sorry for Cheng Cheng and guilty about Tan’er.  She doesn’t want to be the derail the course of true love so she went to the Yu Manor and clear the situation with Tan’er.  She told Tan’er that Cheng Cheng has only her in his heart.  It was because he was very sick so he pushed Tan’er away.

Tan’er went looking for Cheng Cheng and found him already blind.  Still, he tried to push her away but she gave him a good resounding slap that seemed to have woken him up.  They made up seemed loved up but not for long because Tan’er’s father who looked like he was possessed with something malevolent turned up looking for the soul suppressing orb.

With his magic/cultivation, he hurt the already weaken and blind Cheng Cheng.

Then Prince Mo Liang Chen turned up with his bodyguard and the Old Man.

Tan’er’s father had her taken by his soldiers with swords around her neck.  He asked for the return of the soul suppressing orb or Tan’er will get ‘it’.

The orb was given back to the father who took off with Tan’er with them.

Cheng Cheng was dying.

Episode 21

Prince Mo Liang Chen allowed the Old Man to transfer some of his energy to Cheng Cheng and in doing so, he learned a bit about Tan’er and Cheng Cheng’s love story and they were not from his dimension.

Tan’er had been manacled in a secret dungeon by her father to force her to open the soul suppressing orb.

But when she tried to open it, it would not budge.

Her sister came to visit her to give her food but she managed to convince her to bring Prince Mo Hi Yuhai.

Episode 22

Pan’Er told YuHai where Tan’er was being kept by her father. They went to rescue Tan’Er but the father appeared while Yu Hai was trying to free Tan’Er.

They had a fight and the father used his dark energy to stimulate the poison which Yu Hai already ingested during his wedding night with Pan’Er.

The poison is eating him from within and he has not much time to live.

Pan’Er went to her father’s study to get the antidote.  She swallowed the pill and then kissed Yuhai on the lips to suck in the poison into herself.  She lovingly sacrificed herself.

Yuhai got better but she was dying.

She asked YuHai if he ever loved her, even for a brief moment.

YuHai was very honest.  He said to her that in his heart there will always be Tan’Er.

To compensate for her devotion towards him, Yu Hai promised Pan’Er that in his next life that all the love he has will all be solely hers.  (Hmmm clue for the third season)

Cheng Cheng came to the rescue of Tan’er.  He had a sword fight with Tan’Er’s father who was possessed by the Soul Suppressing Orb.

Since Cheng Cheng was not really 100 per cent healthy as he was living on borrowed energy from Mo Liang Chen, he was not up to the strength of Tan’er father.

Thank goodness, the fully recovered YuHai appeared and took over from Cheng Cheng.  He managed to kill his father-in-law but not before Pan’Er had to sacrifice herself all over again.

YuHai told her off for being a fool.  Pan’Er confessed that she was dying anyway because she has now the effect of the poison he originally ingested.

Before she died, she whispered to him where her father kept the book and the soul suppressing orb.

As YuHai was leaving with the body of Pan’Er in his arms, he told Cheng Cheng that he might have save him but that does not mean they are friends.

They are just beginning, meaning as foes.

Cheng Cheng was very upset because one of his mission was to ensure that YuHai does not turn bad and die.

As Cheng Cheng and Tan’er were leaving the secret dungeon themselves, Tan’er asked Cheng Cheng about the inscription on the heavy wooden door.

Cheng Cheng said that it tells the story of his grandfather, Mo Yi Feng who died in a battle but his soul was absorbed into an orb which was kept by his friend, Yu???.  The dungeon was secretly built to house the soul suppressing orb.  But unbeknown to them another person followed them to Dongyue Kingdom and it was Yu Qiaotan who was the cause of the death of Mo Yi Feng.

This was the reason why Tan’Er, who is really Yu Qiotan, was being hunted by assassins even in the 21st century.

Episode 23

Prince Mo Liang Chen still has doubt about being one and the same person as Cheng Cheng.  He had been testing him continuously.

And add to the confusion, Yi Huai has guessed correctly that there are two Liang Cheng.  One is nearly blinded and one his brother.

But Tan’er is having the time of her life.  She wondered what she did so good in the universe that she is rewarded with two gorgeous men at the same time.

Episode 24

Prince Mo Liang Chen has been competing with Cheng Cheng over Tan’er’s affection.

Tan’er now complains that she was getting fat from the cakes made for her by Mo Liang Chen and Cheng Cheng.  She told them that she was on a diet but still they feed her.

Being one and the same, they always think alike.  They each bought her a house. She had to choose which one she wanted.  She asked if she can have both.

Yi Huai is really determined to confirm his suspicion about the two Mo Liang Chen.  He instigated a scenario where he will surely find out the answer.

While Prince Mo Liang Chen, Cheng Cheng and Tan’er were house-viewing,  Yi Huai arranged that they are ambushed by a masked assassin.

The fight ended with Cheng Cheng being stabbed in the chest and his real face revealed for Yi Huai to see.

30 November 2018 Update

I heard that Xing Zhao Lin and Liang Jie won’t be back for Season 3.  Xing Zhao Lin needs a bit of rest & relaxation from making back to back dramas for 2018 while Liang Jie, who is an engaged lady has had too much kissing in this season 2 drama that she wanted a bit of rest as well.

Oh no.  what would season three be like?!!!

Episode 25

Yi Huai had Tan’er kidnapped.  Then conveniently with the King and Liu Shang, someone dropped the unconscious Tan’er into a deep pond.  Liu Shang jumped down and swam towards Tan’er but dislodging his masked in the process.

The king called both the Prince Mo Liang Chen and Cheng Cheng for a serious talk.

Yi Haui said that it was obviously Prince Mo Liang Chen who tried to assassinate the King and had Liu Shang disguised as Cheng Cheng to cover up to the injured Prince Mo Liang Chen.

There is a lot of logic to this statement so Prince Mo Liang Chen and Cheng Cheng were thrown to prison.

One thing that was good being locked up together was that they had a chance to have a proper heart to heart discussion and resigned with the thought that they are really one and the same

The Empress Dowager, who had a soft spot for Prince Mo Liang Chen visited them in prison.  Though she can’t comprehend that there were two versions of the prince before her, she put a key to the bread she brought the prince.

Episode 26

Cheng Cheng got out of prison but Prince Mo Liang Chen remained as the guards came sooner than expected.

This is a very sad episode.

Prince YiHua staged a rebellion to take over the throne, he forced his father the king to issue an edict that he was stepping down and allow Prince Yihuai as the new emperor.

But the king drank a cup of poisoned tea.  He would rather die than be coerced into giving up his throne.

Prince Yihua was desperately sad that his father was dying.  He told him that he did not want him to die.  Prince Yuhai said that he just wanted the throne so he can make Tan’er his empress.

He then told the king that this rebellion would have not happened if he and TanEr were allowed to live a happy and peaceful life together.

The king said that he did not personally prevent the marriage.  It was willed by his father.  Taner was always meant for Mo Liang Chen.

As he was dying, the king hugged his son and said that all along he was the closest one to his heart and he will always be the one to succeed him.

I cried so much.

Episode 27

Prince Yuhai is the new emperor and first of this edict was the arrest of Mo Liang chen, Cheng Cheng, Taner,  Jingxin and the 14th Prince.

They got away except for Jingxin and the 14th prince.

Despite tortures, Jingxin refused to divulge the whereabouts of Taner, Cheng Cheng and Mo Liang Chen.

Cheng Cheng is getting weaker and he asked Mo Liang Cheng to look after Taner when he’s gone.

The 14th prince got away but had to leave Jingxin, who he promised to rescue.  They confessed to one another.  The prince said that he loves her despite her being only a maid.

Mo Liang Chen and Cheng Cheng did not trust how easy it was for the 14th prince to get away from his jailors.  They were right, it was part of a plan.

Mo Liang Chen and Cheng Cheng went into the palace with their men.

Epiode 28

Mo Liang, Cheng Cheng and their band fell into the trap of Prince Yuhai.

He said though he will give him a chance.  If Mo Liang Chen can defeat him, he will relinquish his claim to the palace as well as Tan’Er.

They had a duel and it looked like Mo Liang Chen was winning.  Prince Yuhai suddenly dropped his sword and used his soul suppressing orb power to defeat Mo Liang Chen.

He succeeded as well as Cheng Cheng had to stand in front of the cutivation power of Prince Yuhai to take the full force of the orb.

Old Weirdo appeared and took the weakened Cheng Cheng and Mo Liang Cheng was taken out by his bodyguard.

Prince Yuhai told Tan’er that they can now be together.  Taner told him that she was not his Taner.  She was from the future, the same as Cheng Cheng.

Poor Cheng Cheng died and Mo Liang Cheng was not very healthy either.



Autumn is here!

Autumn leaf, photo by PH Morton

Autumn is here!

Yesterday was the last day of the summer. We have had a glorious one this year.

And today, it is the first day of autumn, which is heralded by a great pouring of cold rain, almost all day long.

As autumn progresses there will be a lot of falling leaves from various shades of orange, brown and red.

UK parks, gardens, roads, and open spaces will be garland with these beautiful leaves that would be gloriously aesthetic at first but would soon enough turn into a slippery sorry mess.

Autumn though has a charm of its own.  It is harvest time.  Time to bring in the harvest from the garden.


Public Toilets Near Cutty Sark

Toilet break at Cutty Sark, photo by PH Morton

Toilets at Major Tourist Attraction


Public Toilets Near Cutty Sark

I was looking through our photos taken when we recently visited Greenwich, South East London, around the tourists-famous Catty Sark Tea Clipper museum and noticed this black edifice, which reminiscent of a Doctor Who’s TARDIS.  It seemed bigger on the inside.

Anyway, it cost £0.50p to use it.

A tip:  if you are going with a nearest and dearest, you could go in together.  If a small family, it could comfortably hold about six altogether.

The only thing is that you should all be so close as the toilet does not flush each time you use it.  It is only after you exit that it flushes and self-clean.  And you can only stay for a maximum of 20 minutes, which is more than enough time before it automatically open.

🙂 That does not mean you are trapped inside the toilet for 20 minutes, you can press the open button anytime, but the usage time is for 20 minutes only.

The toilet above is directly across the road from the Cutty Sark.

If you do not have a fifty pence or a chance, the nearest free toilets are inside the Royal Naval College which is about 300 yards across the road.  Or you could always stop for a beer at the Gipsy Moth and use their beautifully maintained loos.


Fury, The Hawk

Bird of Prey

Fury, The Hawk


Fury and his handler, photo by JMorton

In Profile

  • Name: Fury
  • Age: 9 Years old
  • Aves: Hawk
  • Occupation: Pest Controller
  • Place of Work: Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich, South London, UK


We met Fury and his handler recently whilst on a visit at the Old Royal Navy College to attend a tour of a once in a lifetime opportunity to be up close with the hall and ceiling murals, which is the most extensive work in the UK and can rival Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.

Anyway, Fury and his handler were promenading outside the building, alert to any uninvited guests.

Hawk is 9 years old and he regularly patrols the building and its surrounding areas for any marauding pigeons, rats, and other pests, who can create so much deposit of poos and upheavals to wherever they congregate.

Hawks are often used as guardians and mascots of large public building and areas as they are known for their keen eyesight and intelligence.

Fury at just 9, is still a ‘spring chicken’  Hawks in captivity usually live until 20 years of age.


Painted Hall Ceiling @ Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich


Painted Hall Ceiling @ Old Royal Navy College – Greenwich

Old Royal Navy College, photo by JMorton

Old Royal Navy College, photo by JMorton

Peter and I went to see a once in a lifetime conservation project at the Old Royal Navy College in Greenwich.

The last conservation was done in the 1950s and they reckon the next one will be in 100 years time.

There were scaffoldings everywhere, which are securely fastened and safe and convenient enough for the public to trod on to go near the ceiling and admire England’s most comprehensive and greatest decorative painting.

Close up dome ceiling, photo by PH Morton


Thus, it earned the sobriquet of UK’s Sistine Chapel.

They are currently cleaning and conserving 40,000 square feet of the most amazing allegorical work that used to deliver a strong political message about the monarchy, religion, navigation,  maritime power, and commerce, amongst other things.

The project was instigated by Queen Mary II, who died before its fruition.  Nevertheless, she will always be remembered for it as her image together with King William III, her husband, is depicted in the middle of the ceiling murals along several gods and goddesses.

A relatively unknown artist was commissioned to design the ceiling decoration.  He was Sir James Thornhill, who was knighted for his efforts.

He was paid a princely some £1 per square metre of work on the halls and £3 for the ceiling per square meter.

Thornhill did not work alone.   He had an assistant and hired specialist painters to finish the work as towards the middle of it Thornhill started to receive accolade and private works.

Our tour guide said that monies confiscated from an infamous Scottish pirate William Kidd, more known as Captain Kidd was used for the building and decoration for this project that was the Old Royal Navy College.

The old Royal Navy College was built as a mess hall for sailors, naval pensioner and those who used the Royal Naval hospital nearby.

The sailors and the wrens used the site as a dining area.  Inches of gravy and dried old food were cleaned up in the 1950s when it was first restored.

It is still used as a dining venue once in a while for a really grand special occasion.

Today, the building is a major attraction in Greenwich, Tourists from all over the world come to visit.

By the way, it cost about £10 for an adult and £5 for a child over the age of 6 to join the tour which will be wrapped up towards the end of September 2018.  The numerous number of scaffoldings will be taken down.

It is hoped that by March 2019, the Painted Hall Ceiling will reopen to the public in a different perspective: from the ground looking up above the high ceiling and walls.

Get down to Greenwich for this once in a lifetime privilege before it is too late.


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