30 October 2013

October - Pink #worldcolors #worldcolours

The colour for October is pink, so without any further delay here are my selection of photos.

Flowers at Uluwatu, Bali
Sunset over Bangkok, Thailand
Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Sunset in the desert near Dubai
Singapore Sling at The Halia, Raffles hotel
Glass of sparkling rose at a vineyard near Melbourne, Australia
Lanterns at the Mid-Autumn festival, Gardens by the Bay
Ice cream at the Dolce Vita brunch, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Pink tulips at Tulipmania, Gardens by the Bay
Meats, salmon and beetroot
Taiwanese lychee beer, Beerfest Asia, Singapore
Good food at Pita Pan

If you missed any of the previous month's colours, check them out here

22 October 2013

Red Dot Roaming - City Hall MRT - Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator

My latest Red Dot Roaming adventure took me to City Hall MRT specifically to visit the Armenian church of St Gregory the Illuminator on Hill Street close to the station.  This is the oldest Christian church in Singapore.

A photo in the church of the Armenian community of Singapore in 1917

The church is an unassuming building surrounded, as it is, by all the modern buildings but once you enter the church grounds it becomes a very serene one.  It was designed by George Drumgoole Coleman, an Irish architect responsible for a lot of the early design and construction of the infrastructure of Singapore, this though is often regarded as the finest example of his work here.  The land was granted to the Armenian community in Singapore in 1834 and by 1835 the church was built.  The church was gazetted as a national monument in 1973.

Beautiful writing on a plaque in the church, unfortunately I do not know what it says

Having done a little more research since my visit I understand that the church is modelled on St Gregory's church in Echmiadzin in Armenia.  It did not originally have a tower or spire but rather an octagonal cone with a small bell tower.  The present spire was put in place in 1853 after the original bell tower became structurally unsound.  Whilst being naturally church like in appearance its design also provided me and doubtless has many previously with welcome shelter from the heat on the day I decided to visit.  

In the grounds of the church stands a parsonage built in 1905 by a member of the famous Armenian family of the Sarkies, there are also a number of Sarkies' family gravestones in the memorial garden in the grounds of the church.  In case you didn't know, perhaps the most famous three members of this family were the three brothers (Archak, Aviet and Tigran) who founded Raffles hotel.  The memorial garden also houses the gravestone of Agnes Joaquim.  The national flower of Singapore, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, was named after her.  The memorial garden was never a graveyard though.  These gravestones were transported here from a Christian cemetery in Bukit Timah when that was exhumed in 1978.  There are also a number of more modern religious sculptures in the grounds of the church too but I've been unable to find any further details about them. 

The church is no longer used for regular services but is open to visitors and makes for a pleasant escape for a while and the opportunity to view a little piece of history right in the heart of the city.  

Gravestone of Agnes Joaquim.  The national flower of Singapore, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid (which she bred) is named after her.

If you missed any of my previous Red Dot Roaming adventures, check them out here.

City Hall MRT is on the North South line (NS25) and the East West line (ES13).

08 October 2013

Walking Around Grasmere and Rydal Water

Being in the Lake District for the week meant that, subject to the weather staying fine, we naturally had to do some walking outside in the beautiful countryside.  I'm not a hardened hiker or anything but before we went a number of family members let us borrow various walking books with a whole variety of walks in the Lake District, from relatively easy strolls through to all day hikes.  So there was no excuse for not at least giving one of the easier walks a go.


Our first attempt was thwarted by the weather.  It had been rainy on and off that morning and when we arrived at Grasmere (where our chosen walk began) it, of course, rained.  So we initially went for a coffee in the hope it would ease up.  It did for a while and we walked off to enjoy our picnic somewhere close by before setting off.  At this point the heavens opened again and a mad dash back to the car saw us eating the rest of the picnic watching the rain from the car and eventually deciding to give up on the idea for the day.  However the next day dawned much brighter (it was a beautiful warm summer's day) and so the plan was put into action again.

The poet William Wordsworth lived for most of his life in the Grasmere area and our walk took us past two of his homes.  The second providing a much needed rest and refreshing drink point.  Before reaching his first home we passed the 13th century church in Grasmere where he and many of his family are buried.  He was a very keen walker apparently so I'm sure would have walked many of the paths we took that day.  His first home, that we saw, was the 17th century former inn, Dove cottage in Grasmere.  Apologies I have no photo though as it was impossible to get one without also getting many random people in it too.  He lived there with his sister Dorothy for nine years.  Whilst living there he wrote much of his most well known poetry, got married and his first three children were born.  When the Wordsworths' needed a larger home and eventually moved out his friend and fellow poet, Thomas De Quincey moved in to the cottage.

Looking towards Rydal Water from under Nab Scar

Leaving Grasmere to follow the walk around Rydal Water we encountered the first slight climb of the walk.  It wasn't very steep but it certainly warmed us all up.  The walk we chose to do was five and a half miles and the book estimated it could be done in three hours.  Amazingly it only took us a little longer than that to complete and I think that was simply because we went a little off route at the end of the walk and we also stopped for a drink and rest half way.  The majority of the walk was in a circle around Rydal Water.  We firstly walked below the fell, Nab Scar with the water on our right before eventually arriving at Rydal Mount the second home of Wordsworth on our walk.  Here there was also a very convenient tea shop so, as I mentioned, we stopped for a refreshing drink and a breather.  What made our stop even more lovely was that the tea shop owners brought out to us some scones with jam and cream which they had left over.  As that type of treat is a rarity in Singapore and walking builds up an appetite they were enjoyed by me all the more!

Although we did not go into Rydal Mount (though you can do) you could see the house and the difference between that house and Dove Cottage.  It was a much grander and larger house which Wordsworth lived in until his death and which is still owned by a descendant of his.  After our much needed break we walked on past Rydal church on towards Pelter bridge in my photo below.  Pelter bridge is an old pack-horse bridge crossing the river Rothay and made for some very pretty photos.

Pelter bridge over the river Rothay

After passing over this bridge we followed the track around (past that ice cream van hidden in the trees above) past a few houses and eventually on past caves and through disused quarries.  We were now rounding the circle we were following so that Rydal Water was coming into view once again and as we walked we climbed steadily higher.  This gave some spectacular views over the water to the hills and mountains in the distance.  We were also able to appreciate Nab Scar, which we had previously walked underneath, from across the water.  The caves were also very exciting (though we didn't go in them) and full of birds which were flying in and out of them constantly. 

View across Rydal Water

As we carried on around our beautiful vantage point it was here that we made a mistake in the route we were following and missed the path we were meant to follow to take us down to the water's edge.  Luckily we found another route down and followed that one instead.  I'm not sure how much more, if anything, this added to our walk but thankfully we found our way back on to the route again and eventually back to where we started.

I was pretty tired by the end of our walk but I thoroughly enjoyed being out in the open air and getting to see such fantastic views on foot.  I would happily have done more if time had permitted.  I guess we'll have to go back again and try some of the others at some point. 

04 October 2013

September - Brown #worldcolors #worldcolours

Worldcolours time seems to come around so quickly, so fast in fact that I'm officially late for September's offering as it is now October!  I can't believe that after this there are only three more colours to go!  The year has gone so fast.  

This month the colour is brown and, better late than never, here are my collection of photos.

Bukit Brown cemetery 
Tree roots at Bukit Timah nature reserve
Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Brown buildings, the cathedral and trees, February in Lichfield, UK
Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire, UK
The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel 
The art deco looking Parkview Square where there is a fantastic bar called Divine Wine
Bumboats at Singapore zoo
Ambleside, Lake District, UK
Kew Gardens, London, UK 
My hair on my wedding day 
Kopi at Lau Pa Sat

If you've missed any of the previous month's colours, check them out here
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