Eid-ul-Adha 2021/1442

Eid-ul-Adha has visited us again. All restrictions have been eased here in England but we still need to be careful as the pandemic isn’t over yet, not for us, not for the world. The pilgrimage (hajj) in Saudi Arabia was limited to just residents again this year, but we can all mark the days as special wherever we are. I pray that the pandemic eases for everyone, that we cherish the time we have with our loved ones and Allah has mercy and bestows forgiveness on us all. A reminder to also think of those in hardship across the world and hope that their prayers are answered.
Eid Mubarak everyone, I hope you all enjoy this blessed day wherever you are. Taqabbal Allahu Minna Wa Minkum (May Allah accept it from you and us).

RHS Garden Hyde Hall

It was really hot and sunny in the UK recently so to make the most of it my family and I wanted a day out. The place we chose was RHS Garden Hyde Hall, which is an outdoor space with various types of gardens.

There were so many different types of plants and flowers, some I’d never seen before and most that I’d never be able to name. We started off looking at a little garden that had a variety of flowers, my favourites were the huge, eye catching, red poppies. I’ve never seen them that size before.

We then walked down to the fish pond that also had water lilies.

As it getting quite hot, we stopped for ice cream and a little rest. Nearby was a dry garden that overlooked the far reaching green hills below.

We walked on and saw beautiful flowers wherever we looked. It was amazing to see such a variety of flowers in every shape and colour you could imagine. Although I seem to be drawn to the purple ones the most.

I also spotted some light pink poppies, again I’d never seen this colour before and never in this size (they were about the size of a melon). Maybe there’s something in the water here.

We then took a path that led us to the Sky Meadow. Curious as to what this could be we came to a field full of wildflowers and a lovely calming view. I imagine the name comes from the fact that the sky meets the meadow and that’s all you see.

After resting for a while we made our way past a huge lake and a lovely green expanse which was lined neatly with tall trees and an interesting sycamore structure in the middle. The kids wanted to play so we headed in the direction of the play area that also had some fun animal structures .

The last part we saw was the Winter garden which consisted of foliage that would keep growing and survive the cold. There were some figures of leaves, showing stages of decay as you walked along, that I really liked. Nearby was also a pathway lined with hundreds of foxgloves.

We then made our way to the shop, where we picked up some lovely plants for my mum. My favourite being these Galaxy sky petunias that were quite striking.

The visit to RHS Garden Hyde Hall was a really nice one, there was so much to see and so many winding pathways that lead to unexpected spots. I felt a little rushed on this visit and the heat tired us out too, but I’d like to come back again in another season, see what else is growing and hopefully take it a little slower.

Visit to Maldon

I went to Maldon recently with family as the weather was nice. We headed to Maldon with Hythe Quay nearby. There were lots of sailing boats, the masts and sails high above our heads. I love the colours and details of the embellishments of the boats.

There were boat trips being taken down Blackwater river, which looked quite fun.

We opted just to sit and watch, enjoy our picnic and the cool breeze.

We didn’t spend too long here as there wasn’t much to do, so having rested we made our way back to the car. It was nice to see the calming blues of the water even for just a short while.

Protesting for Palestine

I have been passionate about supporting the rights of Palestinians for many years now so when violence broke out in Gaza in the last few days of Ramadan it was difficult to see. In the weeks that followed there were many protests in support of Palestinians and against the abuse of power displayed by Israel, across the UK and across the world. I joined one protest a few weeks ago to show my support.

The route for the protest was along some of London’s famous backdrops. I joined them at Trafalgar Square and we made our way past Piccadilly Circus.

The route of the protest took about an hour to walk. We then all congregated in Hyde Park for speeches from politicians, organisers and academics. Even a heavy downpour wasn’t enough to scatter the crowd.

This protest is said to be the largest ever held in Britain for support of Palestinians and their rights. An estimated 200,000 people marched in London on this day. I pray that Palestinians are given their human and civil rights and that they are able to live in peace and freedom like so many of us take for granted.

I have Jewish colleagues and friends that I respect and I know that Judaism is a religion of peace. It’s Zionism that Israel promotes, a political ideal that leads to racism and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. I’d also like to point out there is no room for anti-Semitism in support for Palestine.

Windy Southend

I had a few days off after Eid so I decided to take a trip down to the coast. The easiest coast for me to get to is Southend-on-Sea, and on this particular day it was grey and windy but not wet like it had been all week.

The first thing I did was walk along what Southend boasts as having the longest pleasure pier in the world, at 1.33 miles. I always enjoy the long walk to the end where there are a few souvenir shops and a restaurant.

At the end of the pier I walked around and then went in to one of the shops to look around and warm up as it was really windy out on the sea.

After having enough of being blown about at the end of the pier I walked back down to the shore to grab some lunch. Having had a sit down I was ready to venture out again. I made my way to the sea front, which it seemed I had all to myself! I found some really pretty shells as I made my way up the pebbly beach.

There wasn’t much else to do at the sea front, so feeling windswept I made my way back to the station, doing some window shopping as I went. I did come across some cool street along the way.

I always enjoy my trips to Southend, I love the long pier to walk along, and being by the coast always feels relaxing, although less so on this visit as the blustery wind and grey skies made the coast seem more dramatic than usual.

Eid-al-Fitr 2021/1442: Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak everyone. A month of fasting seems to have sped by this year, I hope that everyone was able to make the most of the blessed month of Ramadan. May Allah accept our fasts, show us mercy and forgive us our sins. I hope that Muslims everywhere have a day filled with family, friends and good food and let us not forget those all those across the world that are experiencing difficulties, like those in Palestine, the Uighur Muslims, the Rohingya people and those still battling with the pandemic. May Allah protect all of us and accept our prayers.

Colours of Spring

Spring is in full swing here in London so went to our local parks and into my garden to see what kinds of flowers I could spot.

The earliest flowers to be seen are the daffodils and croci. There were swathes of bright yellow daffodils in some parks that I visited, which was always pleasant to see. The flowers blooming early in my garden was a huge camellia tree with vibrant perfect looking pink flowers and magnolias. These magnolias were on a huge tree I spotted in someone’s front garden. It was quite a magnificent sight.

Later the flowers that opened up were varied and some I haven’t seen before like Blue Pasque flowers which I thought were quite fascinating. And as always a tree full of blossoms is a sure sign that Spring is here.

I’m lucky to have a few parks where I live and am able to go for long walks with lots of visual stimulus to enjoy. I always find myself stopping to tale a closer look at flowers I come across, each that brings it’s own beauty and joy.

Blue poppy

I haven’t taken any macro photos in a while, so when I bought my mum some flowers there were some lovely rich violet anemones also known as blue poppies that I thought were stunning and deserved a closer look.

I love the detail and texture of the petals and the indigo pollen that has fallen on to some of them. The small cluster of stamen in the centre create a balance against the smooth simple petals. And the yellow stigma is a nice contrast to the violet.

Even before fully open the petals seem to look like they are hiding a treasure in the centre.

These flowers are a real joy to look at and were a real pleasure to photograph. I hope to do take some more macro photos soon.

Ramadan Mubarak 2021/1442

Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims fasting during this holy month. We’ve just had an easing of restrictions here in the UK so while we are able to see family and friends outdoors we still aren’t able to fill the mosques at prayer times or gather in each other’s homes to open our fasts. But I’m grateful that we can see each other somehow, which is a big change from last year. I’m grateful that my loved ones and I have been able to stay safe and see another blessed Ramadan. I have also been lucky to have been sent some Ramadan treats from my friends which I will enjoy; a box of delicious medjool dates and a package including prayer beads, a scarf, rose scent and some chocolate.

Ramadan Mubarak, may this month be one where we can come closer to God, break old habits and form better ones, and I pray that we are forgiven our sins and that we all continue to help each other through what has been a tough year for everyone.

Local Streetart

My local borough has been trying to create a cultural area that celebrates art. To kick things off they invited a couple of street artists to do some work.

This first piece is by @einsigns and is a word that has a lot of meaning due to the pandemic that has been with us for a year now. I love the font and colours against that black backdrop.

The second piece is by @dotmasters. I love the print on the background and the blue and white contrast. I like the playfulness of this piece too.

I think these pieces of streetart are great and a joy to look at. I hope that we get more talented artists showing us their work too.