The locks of love, part #4

You might remember from previous posts that I’ve got a little bit of a thing for the modern tradition of love locks; that is, people declaring their love for each other on a padlock, and locking it to (usually) a bridge in a public place. You can read more about love locks I’ve found before in these posts: part #1 (Brooklyn Bridge, New York), part #2 (Hungerford bridge & Tower Bridge in London), and part #3 (Shoreditch, London).

Now I’m back with part #4, because this weekend I visited the British Heart Foundation Love Installation at Covent Garden.

Love locks in Covent Garden

For a suggested donation of £3, Joe Public and his adoring girlfriend/wife/lover have been able to declare their undying love for each other on a red padlock this week, and lock it to a giant installation reading ‘LOVE’. Actually, looking at the love locks, it hasn’t just been romantic love that has been declared – there have also been friendships, family love, love for places, and memorials to loved ones.

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

I visited the installation on Friday night, but it was too dark to get good pictures. I went back on Saturday, but it was too crowded. So, not wanting to miss out, I decided to go  into town again this morning before the shops opened and get some more photos. I was really moved by some of the declarations I read, and even left one of my own (see if you can spot it).

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

Love locks in Covent Garden

The installation (and a similar one at Camden Lock) were in aid of National Heart Month (February).

Visit Flickr for my full collection.

Music in Pictures Contest: Better Days

This week’s Music in Pictures Contest is on the theme of one of my favourite songs: Better Days by Eddie Vedder. Whenever I think of the song Better Days, I think of this:

View from Enoshima Observation Lighthouse

View from Enoshima Observation Lighthouse looking out towards Kamakura (Japan)

I first heard Better Days in the film Eat, Pray, Love, and so I will always associate the song with that movie. In the movie, and the book it’s based on, the main female character decides she likes the Italian word “attraversiamo”, meaning “let’s cross over”. That phrase could also be applied to this picture of a bridge connecting mainland Honshu and Kamakura to Enoshima, in Japan.

Here’s to Better Days

I feel part of the universe open up to meet me
My emotion so submerged, broken down to kneel in
Once listening, the voices they came
Had to somehow greet myself, read myself
Heard vibrations within my cells, in my cells
Singing, “Ah-la-ah-ah, ah-la-ah-ah”

My love is safe for the universe
See me now, I’m bursting
On one planet, so many turns
Different worlds
Singing, “Ah-la-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah, ah”

Fill my heart with discipline
Put there for the teaching
In my head see clouds of stairs
Help me as I’m reaching
The future’s paved with better days

Not running from something
I’m running towards the day
Wide awake

A whisper once quiet
Now rising to a scream
Right in me

I’m falling, free falling
Words calling me
Up off my knees

I’m soaring and, darling,
You’ll be the one that I can need
Still be free

Our future’s paved with better days

World Photography Day – please vote for me!

I’ve been jostled into entering another photography competition (my third one this year), and would be delighted if you would all consider voting for my entry.

The voting period is 19th – 26th August (so I need to catch up!). All you have to do is visit the World Photography Day website, register and log in, and then click on the big VOTE button next to my entry. You won’t see the vote button if you’re not logged in. Registration is free and only takes a moment!

Please share the link with your friends too – the more votes, the merrier I’ll be! Thanks everyone! 😀

Music in Pictures Contest: What a wonderful world

I’m in the mood for responding to blog themes today, so I’ve decided to participate in Autumn in Bruges‘s Music in Pictures Contest. Each week, Autumn in Bruges sets a theme based on a song, and this week’s song is “What a wonderful world”, originally recorded by Louis Armstrong. I also quite like Joey Ramone’s version:

So, with that in mind, here are my pictures on the theme of “What a wonderful world”:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Dale Grimshaw

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Jo Peel

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by

Street art

I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’ How do you do?
They’re really saying I love you


I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know

DON in Shoreditch

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Street Art & Graffiti in Shoreditch - Let's Adore & Endure Each Other

Oh yeah!

Travel theme: Sunset

I find myself dreaming about running off into the sunset recently, so I decided to join in Where’s my backpack?‘s Travel theme this week. Here are some beautiful sunsets I’ve had the pleasure of viewing…

Red sky at night...

London sunset, 5th March 2012

Sunset in Nagoya, 28th March 2011

Sunset in Nagoya (Japan), 28th March 2011

Sunset in Finchley

Sunset in Finchley (North London), 24th August 2011

Laguna sunset

Laguna Gamagori sunset (Japan), 14th December 2008

London sunset

London sunset, 6th May 2012

Chasing sunsets...

Brighton sunset, 2nd January 2011

Thanks to Autumn in Bruges for introducing me to this blog and weekly travel theme! 🙂

Snowmen and snow angels

I did it – I went out to play. I set my alarm for 6.30 this morning and went out just before sunrise. The snow was so thick and clean, and ready to be played in!

I decided to walk to Friary Park, which is only about 20 minutes away from my house (well, 30 minutes in the snow). On the way I passed a few men out scraping their cars. We exchanged good mornings and I marvelled at how snow makes people more friendly.

As I reached park, I couldn’t see another person. It was mine.

Snowy North London

Snowy North London

Armed with a few accessories, I built a little snowman:

Snowy North London

It’s actually quite hard to build a good snowman and, as you can see, I’m not very skilled when it comes to snow sculpting!

Snowy North London

I liked my quirky little creation though.

As I stomped through the snow I saw a couple of other people, but it was still very quiet. When no one was looking, I made a snow angel:

Snowy North London

(Not easy to take a photo of it though!)

There was one dog in the park, and he was about as excited as me!

Snowy North London

As I crunched back home I felt very satisfied and happy (and wet). Playing in the snow – fun and free! 😀

Being a tourist…

One of the things I loved about living abroad was that I could be a tourist all the time. It didn’t seem strange to whip out my camera every five minutes and take photos of buildings that locals just walked by. It was perfectly acceptable to spend my day off in the museum, or visiting the nearby tourist spots.

When I returned to England, one of my biggest fears was that I would lose that spirit of “being a tourist”. One of my good friends reminded me how important it was not to lose that quality, and so I decided to start my daily photo blog, Picturing England.

It was more difficult to keep inspired when I first came back to England and was living back in my hometown, but now that I am living in London I’m finding that all I have to do is hang my camera around my neck and step out with my tourist head on.

I can be anyone I want to be in London. I can be a tourist, I can be an art student, I can be Ali, and it’s ok. London is such a diverse melting-pot of people, and you often can’t tell by looking at someone if they are a tourist or not.

Today I was a tourist/art student as I wandered about my city. I went on hunts for famous graffiti, aided by Internet searches and the GPS on my phone, and I visited the British Museum. I’m lucky to live in London where there is so much free stuff to do. Most museums and galleries are free (except for special exhibitions), and there are interesting things to be found if you look up at the roofs or down at the corners of buildings, if you’re in the right part of town.

So, wherever you live, if you’re starting to feel bored, just grab your camera and get out of the house. Go to where the tourists are, or wander around the back streets. You’ll be surprised what’s been under your nose all this time.

British Museum