Tag Archives: discover

I’m Flying

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Picture of sunny sky with clouds

Enchantment and excitement reign as I lean over to see Earth has become a toy land below with its lush emerald pastures, delicately placed fences and fairy tale cottages.  I’m gliding in the air, so high, with half of me one with the elements.  There is no window to lock me in, no cabin to contain me.  I’m flying.  I close my eyes and realise its real.  The dream unfolds in reality and its real.  I’m flying.

 

I hadn’t grown wings.  I was on a microlight, an incredibly “fragile-looking” aircraft with seating for two.  There are essentially two types of microlight aircraft – the fixed wing and the flexi-wing.  The former has a closed cockpit and more or less looks like a conventional aircraft albeit a lot smaller!  The latter, on the other hand, has a wing that looks similar to a hang-glider, with the seats and engine suspended below and an open cockpit.  Of course, I chose to fly on the flexi-wing and experience the exhilarating thrill of flying in an open cockpit!

 

As I first walked towards the aircraft, it’s “fragility” hit me and I wondered whether it was safe.  I wondered how such a “fragile” aircraft could actually fly and stay up?!  I cannot remember how many times I thought about turning back and going home.  I was torn between staying on firm ground “where it was safe” and the thrill of flying and conquering my fear.  Of course, the latter won… or maybe I rationalised that it really could not be that “fragile” since no one else was falling out of the sky!  

 

Just prior to and during take-off I felt very vulnerable.  I prayed.  I held my breath.  And yet I was also brimming with excitement.  Just a few seconds later I looked down and around in complete astonishment.  It was absolutely incredible.  It was surreal.  I was high above the Earth, I could feel the air and I could look down and around, all without any barriers.  I was flying.

 

For more information and for photos of the aircraft, you may want to check out:

http://www.intotheblue.co.uk/

http://www.microflight.co.uk/html/microlighting.html

 

Copyright © 2012

All rights reserved

This blog and all of its contents* (including written contents, art work and photographs) are original works by the owner of this blog.  No material on this blog may be reproduced, distributed, copied, published or downloaded in any way without the prior written permission of the owner.

* Only exceptions are the theme which has been appropriately credited and music videos.  

 

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A Rebel’s Grace

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A Rebel’s Grace

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.” (Albert Einstein).

A totally different and arguably rebellious way to use imagination is through the creation of graffiti.  Now i’m not advocating that you write, draw or paint on (or in any other way alter) the surface of public buildings / property.  Instead, I thought I’d share my legitimate initiation into graffiti art through participation in a 2.5 hour, practical graffiti workshop.

Protected by a mask, goggles and pair of gloves, I chose a spray can from the wide range of colours sitting on the table top and started practising.  For those of you who have never used a spray can to paint before, I can assure you that it is harder than it looks and it certainly takes getting used to!  However, it is a fun albeit messy experience.

We were given several pieces of A4 sized thick card to work on and shown different techniques of using the spray can to achieve various effects.  There were templates available which we had the option of using if we wished, as well as small objects to scratch into the paint to achieve a desired effect.

I don’t know if it was the fact that the art form gives connotations of rebellious expression, but I felt more “free” to play with ideas and express myself without any pressure to conform to “accepted norms” of what is considered “acceptable art”.  It felt so different to art class at school where we had to draw the object in front of us and follow a list of rules.  Painting graffiti is an immensely creative and liberating experience.  I was able to search within myself and explore ideas.  Indeed, as Claudia Lady Bird Johnson (First Lady of United States during presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson) said “Art is the window to man’s soul.  Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within.”

When the soul bows...

When the soul bows…

When the soul bows... close up

During the workshop I managed to complete three pieces.  I was disappointed to discover that my work has become slightly damaged (colour transfers, scratches, paint removal) through being moved around since I brought it home (during refurbishing).  Nonetheless, I have (bravely) included it on this post!

Apart from the experience being a fun introduction to graffiti art, it also enabled me to realise that, like everyone else, I have something unique to contribute to whatever I do – that uniqueness is what makes “me” me.  It has also given me the confidence to believe that even in cases where an activity is new to me there is a possibility that I may have something different to contribute.  Furthermore, this experience reminded me that art is a great way to focus on something completely and forget about everyday problems.  Indeed, as Thomas Merton (Writer, Catholic Priest / Trappist Monk, Social Activist and Supporter of Interfaith Understanding) said “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”.

Compassion's Light
One?

The usual price for this workshop appears to be approximately £75, inclusive of all required materials.  I had managed to purchase a discounted ticket through a group-buying site for £28 (after receiving £2 cashback) for a graffiti workshop at Graffik Gallery on Portobello Road, London W10 5TE  ( http://grafikgallery.3dcartstores.com/Graffiti-Workshops_ep_56.html ).

Groupon recently had a deal for a graffiti workshop, although this appears to have now expired.  However, in case you are interested please find below a link for Groupon and my favourite cashback site:

I hope you have found this post interesting and maybe it has inspired you to attend a graffiti workshop and/or have a go at creating (legitimate) graffiti or (if you are keen to be a one hit wonder) a graffito!

Forthcoming posts over next few weeks: Unusual experiences, socially beneficial experiences, a really happy story and of course several mystery posts…

Copyright © 2012

All rights reserved

This blog and all of its contents* (including written contents, art work and photographs) are original works by the owner of this blog.  No material on this blog may be reproduced, distributed, copied, published or downloaded in any way without the prior written permission of the owner.

* Only exception is the theme which has been appropriately credited.

A Sizzling Experience

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The golden sunshine is finally pouring down on us in the UK, after a rather chilly Spring.  However, according to the weather forecasts it will be getting cooler and wetter as the week progresses.  So to help compensate for the heat deficit of the past few months and in anticipation of forthcoming cooler weather, I thought I would share an interesting experience that may significantly increase the heat. 

On one of the hottest days of 2011, I chanced upon an unusual discovery that included fiery Trinidad Scorpions.  That is, I toured a chilli farm in Bedfordshire (http://www.edibleornamentals.co.uk/tourbook/) and participated in a chilli tasting session.  When I first found out about this place I was surprised – a chilli farm in the UK?!!  However, there are actually several across the UK – from Devon to Cambridge to Wiltshire to Northumberland.  Nonetheless, a chilli farm tour and tasting session is certainly an unusual activity in the UK… 

We started with a tour around one greenhouse, during which we were told about a scale used to measure the hotness or heat of chilli.  As we came across each variety of chilli we were told about its score on the scale e.g. the jalapeno scores 2500 – 5000.  What was astonishing – actually – what was shocking about this was that there are chillies that score 200,000…even 300,000…even 500,000…even 800,000…even 1,000,000…even exceeding 1,500,000!!!  Apparently, the hottest chilli in the world as at Summer 2011 was the Trinidad Scorpion Butch which scores between 1,400,000 – 2,000,000 depending on environmental conditions.  I silently wondered what a chilli with a score of 200,000 (let alone 2,000,000!) would be like if a humble jalapeno scores only 2500!  Well that certainly puts the jalapeno in its place.  In fact, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch is so hot that it cannot be handled with bare hands and it has even burnt through gloves!!  However, since February 2012 a new contender has been ranked the hottest chilli in the world – the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which scores over 2,000,000!!! 

After this fascinating introduction to the “chilli scale” (technically referred to as the Scoville scale), we ventured outside to be slowly grilled by the flaming sun.  The distinctly pungent yet smoky, musty yet earthy smell of chilli lingered in the still air.  It was a dense scent that somehow managed to appear understated. 

The tour guide handed each of us a clear, plastic “pick your own“ bag so that we could take home a sample of the chillies we encountered on the tour.  Then we entered another greenhouse and resumed our tour.  For each variety of chilli the tour guide told us about that chilli including its score on the Scoville scale and what to look out for when we pick our own (e.g. the darkest or the biggest).  Then we were given a few minutes to pick our own chilli, which inevitably delighted the child within me.  The tour progressed in this manner, providing an interactive way to learn some surprising facts about various variety of chilli.  We moved from one greenhouse to another, each with a different temperature but all hot and humid.

The tour was followed by a tasting session, during which we were told to drink milk if we found any chilli too hot because it cools the mouth down by prying away the capsaicin (substance in chilli that gives chilli its heat) from the mouth’s taste buds.  There was also an opportunity to try various chilli sauces.   

This multi-sensory experience truly engaged all of my senses from the auditory learning to the taste of a “watermelon flavoured” chilli…from the different textures and physical act of picking chillies to the smoky and earthy scent…to the visual colours and shapes.

 

A chilli farm tour and tasting session for two people can cost between £29.50 – £35 depending on discounts available at the time (e.g. currently Virgin Experience Days is selling a chilli tour and tasting for two for a discounted price of £29.50).  Contact the venue directly to find out about single tickets.

 

Personal recommendations: 

  • Unless you really really love the scorching heat, don’t go on a day that is already very hot.  
  • Wear layers (e.g. a light cardigan or jacket over your top) so that you can remove a layer if you get too hot in a given greenhouse.
  • Each individual is given one bag for chillies they pick on the tour.  As quite a few chillies are covered on the tour and many look similar, it may be difficult to distinguish between them afterwards.  Since the chillies can vary so much in how hot they are, it may be an idea to take along some small labels.  For each chilli you can then quickly note the name of the chilli and its score on the scale and stick the label on the chilli. 
  • If you refrigerate the chillies you pick then they may keep for up to one week (possibly longer).  Then another idea would be to have an at-home tasting session with friends and family.  This is a great way to share the experience with others.
  • You can have fun cooking with the different chillies by researching the dishes or recipes each variety is best suited for.

If you plan to have a mini-break in the area, then other nearby attractions you may be interested in include:

  • Woburn Safari Park (less than 40 minutes away) – Includes drive-through safari. 
  • Go Ape! – Situated within grounds of Woburn Safari Park.  Outdoor tree-top forest adventure park. 
  • Woburn Abbey and Gardens (less than 1 hour away) – Includes historic house (including vaults and art work), antiques centre, opportunity to enjoy a traditional English tea (apparently this tradition originated here), an open air theatre, landscaped gardens and deer park. 
  • Whipsnade Zoo (less than 1 hour away) 
  • Roman Theatre of Verulamium (less than 1 hour away)
Next weeks post: Discounts at London West End Theatre
Forthcoming posts over next few weeks: Unusual experiences, socially beneficial experiences, a really happy story and of course several mystery posts…  

Copyright © 2012
All rights reserved
This blog and all of its contents* (including written contents, art work and photographs) are original works by the owner of this blog.  No material on this blog may be reproduced, distributed, copied, published or downloaded in any way without the prior written permission of the owner.    

* Only exception is the theme which has been appropriately credited.


Hello world!

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Hey 

I’m Mira.  I’m on a personal journey to treasure, explore and relish the different facets of life: to stop where we normally rush past, to see where we never look, to reflect on the experiences that are collecting dust on the shelves of my memory, to venture to little known realms and savour unusual experiences, to inhale, exhale and live the diversity that is “life”.  Some of the things I will be blogging on include:

  • Unique and interesting experiences
  • Things in and around London
  • Real-life stories demonstrating acts of kindness and compassion
  • Real-life humorous stories
  • Overcoming obstacles

…plus more.

So lets raise a half-full glass to skipping through a life less ordinary!

Copyright © 2012

All rights reserved

This blog and all of its contents* (including written contents, art work and photographs) are original works by the owner of this blog.  No material on this blog may be reproduced, distributed, copied, published or downloaded in any way without the prior written permission of the owner.

* Only exception is the theme which has been appropriately credited.