Friday, 31 October 2014

USA in October

Thoroughly enjoyed a whole month away from the computer, well I did manage to write a poem! USA in October, 'the Fall' is worth visiting just for the amazing colours, nature at its best before the bleak winter sets in.

I also managed to go to San Diego and Las Vegas( to get to the Grand Canyon), my first trip to the West Coast and was blown away by the sheer beauty and lifestyle in the balmy Pacific Coast. Watching early morning Yoga and surfing on the beach in San Diego was calming and exhilarating in the same breath. The old Spanish town and the colours, culture and art of Mexico was another gorgeous sight.

I had a prejudiced view of Las Vegas, thought a quick stay and get off to see the Grand Canyon, but mildly surprised at the gambling city that is OTT but totally like what you'd never see anywhere else in the world. Money yes, bling yes, but what money can achieve in quite an aesthetic way. You have to be there to appreciate it. From the perfumed air blasting from the Luxor Hotel where we stayed to the Wynn which had luxury oozing from every bit of marble and gold plated stuff( even in the loo!), it is something to experience once in a lifetime. What man can achieve in a desert by building a fantasy oasis is quite something. As for Grand Canyon, no need for words. Walking along the South Rim for 2.5 miles was a privilege and something I'll never forget.

The highlight of my visit in Buffalo( as I had spent 2 months there last year) was meeting the writers at Just Write Buffalo Center. GE Ross an Emeritus Professor chaired a rather interesting writer's workshop, work that had novel extracts, poetry and sci-fi genres. I enjoyed the whole evening. I envied the fact that they had a wonderful little building funded by sponsors! The literary scene is vibrant even in this city that is often overlooked as nothing more than a dying second city of New York State, or one to cross the border into Canada to see the wonderful Niagara Falls, another wonder of nature. There is so much more to Buffalo and its parallels with Glasgow inspired me to write a wee poem.

I was hoping to get back to writing as soon as I arrived back. I had a nearly finished short story on my old lap top. The new PC is great but Windows 8 needs a proper tutorial from an expert. I can't find the short story that  I was sure I had backed up a copy, copied onto an USB or put it in my DropBox. Learnt my lesson. Must re write it again!!

So on OCT 31st let me wish you all a 'Happy Halloween' or should it be a 'Scary Halloween.' Till the next time!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

September

1st September, my birthday, so autumn begins with a bang. Loved having a quiet birthday with calls from my daughter, lovely card from her and all the family.
Maybe not such an elaborate cake but cake was had! A quiet month, with all of us getting settled into the routine after the summer holidays. I had various attempts at the my third novel, the crime one and just could not get into it the way I wanted. So for the time being it goes into a back drawer, for it to stew. A few months away may refresh my own mind and help plan the whole book better for a new start.

Meanwhile the Scottish Referendum and its political arguments held sway. I felt deeply involved as most of my friends and own dear husband, backed the No campaign, while my feet was firmly in the Yes side. I did got to a few rallies, at least for a short time, and felt inspired that this small nation could rise again and be Independent. I was surprised and happy to be invited by BBC World Service to take part in a Google Hangout Scottish Global Citizens debate on the Referendum on the 15th. It was fascinating to share and debate rationally and with passion with some of the people from other parts of the world. From Malaysia, Nigeria, Canada and Taiwan, the debate was conducted with facts and emotion, an enjoyable hour where I could contribute to this important historic event in a small way.

If you are interested: BBC Scottish Global citizens decide on the Sc. Referendum: You Tube:



From Ganga to Tay, a wonderful poem written by Bahshabi Fraser, an Edinburgh poet, was adapted to the stage in the form of Classical Dance styles of India and the Scottish ballet. The dance at the Mitchell Theatre was a world première, a thoroughly new way to showcase the connections between India and Scotland and poetry in such a unique fashion. That was an enjoyable evening.




My friend and I tried the rather hyped-up 'Hyndland Fox' for a coffee and cake and was not impressed at all. Poor and slow service, we wouldn't go back there in a hurry! Many more good coffee shops around the West End that are much better!


The Referendum vote is over and Scotland remains part of the UK despite a 45 % vote to be Independent. Democracy won the day as more people from 16 year-olds who voted for the first time to the well seasoned ones, to ones who had never voted in their lives were energised and motivated enough to use their right to vote. I feel so privileged and proud to have participated in this historic event. I must admit I was glad the very next day I had over a dozen friends coming for dinner , so keeping busy was the best thing, as the result was not what I wanted. I feel crushed and sad, but one has to move on and work for a better future.
Moving on to next week ,we're off to visit family in USA. A whole month away will be refreshing for the soul. I may even get some new writing done. I do hope to meet some writers in North America. One of the reasons for getting this September blog written now, rather than the end of the month, is this exciting trip. Till the next time!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

August

Started with a rather nice reading on the 10th of August
with the SWC writers hosted by  Appletree  Writers as part of the #edfest Fringe programmes. It was just off the Royal Mile in Jackson Close,  a beautiful building that was used for alternate therapies. A warm, cozy and  beautiful room filled with interested people. Rob Burdock a kind friend from Twitter took some photos and here is one!

The month got better when I was invited to be on a panel for the Referendum debate on BBC's Asian Network Radio programme at the Edinburgh Pottenrow. I met Fred Mc Caulay and Susan Calman whose programmes I listen to often. Great comedians. The debate was superb with Nihal the chair very ably keeping us all calm and the debate was intelligent
and done with passion.


I attended a rather nice Indian cultural programme in Lanarkshire with classical Indian dance by a doctor and her young daughter who is doing her A levels. A very enjoyable evening indeed. 

On 20th August GWL hosted a wonderful afternoon with Palestinian poet Maya Abul al Hayyat and Abla Oudeh and poet Makar Christine de Luca and chaired by poet Magi Gibson.

The next afternoon I was at a friend's 70th birthday lunch at Citation which was most enjoyable.

On the following Sunday 24th August, with an Indian group, we headed out to Edinburgh for a bit of culture at the National Museum followed by a lunch and a wee shopping trip at the Livingstone Outlet mall. Got myself a pair of comfy shoes.

This month is ending with a rather spiritual puja in Stirling for Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed god who is supposed to remove all obstacles. Well, I hope he will help me get my poetry collection out soon!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

July 2014

July started with a bang with A free ticket to Kevin Bridges comedy show at the Theatre Royal. Friend Alison was kind enough to let me join her in the fun show on the Commonwealth and the Referendum. They were filmed in front of a live audience so it was super to see one of the shows, the Commonwealth one edited and on the TV. He's a brilliant young comedian and I really enjoyed the show despite being bothered with awful hay fever.

Paid my membership to the SWC, was lax in doing it on time, sorry folks in the SWC admin! Oh, and the gym membership has also been renewed, though I do feel guilty using it so little.

Lovely to see that my poem 'Pearl' set in Ansthruther has been added on to the Poetry map of Scotland , a wonderful new project by Stanza.  Here's a link to the map: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/embed?mid=zlqrqfPpHmPI.ki3k4OoDqFXQ

Had a lovely meal with a Sri Lankan friend Rani at the new South Indian restaurant in Hope Street 'Rishis'.  Good quality food but needs a bit of TLC with the decor and on customer treatment etiquette.

Glasgow was buzzing with the Commonwealth Games and had to go along to Milngavie town centre to see the Baton arriving here.



My regular meeting with my KSS friends at Dobbies went ahead. It is so good to meet up with ex colleagues, now good friends and see how their lives are filled with family events,and trips abroad.

We had a lovely trip to Oslo, my first visit to a Scandinavian country. Stunning scenery all around, it was heightened by the fact that my nephew's flat had views of the Fjord. I also loved the 80 degree hot sunshine. The best thing was my hay fever subsided. Yay!



Not great news on the health front had to have two blood test, feeling quite lethargic and little energy to do anything worthwhile. Looking forward to August and the EBIF!


Thursday, 26 June 2014

June- a diary

Rabbie Burns famous lines on love and June:

O, my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my Luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

Sets one's mood for the month of sunshine, and happiness to look forward to. Well, mine started with a visit to Glasgow's Mela on the 8th of June. A lovely few hours spent walking around Kelvingrove Park along with the 40,000 other revellers, food, music and dance, what more could one want? The Mela grows bigger each year, a real multicultural event, with the Parade snaking down Byres Road setting the tone for a happy day in the sunshine.



On the 12th I did a reading with others at GWL's Poetry at the Botanics. It was most enjoyable to see seasoned poets and beginners reading their work. 

On 14th I attended Indian function in Lanarkshire with Classical dances and fusion with Thai, and Scottish country dancing. A wonderful evening. 

19th was the book launch of Sue Reid Sexton's new book 'Rue End Street' at Waterstones. It was really good with a little drama added to the reading, which spiced it up. 

Hay fever really is a downer in summer months for me and this year was no different. Suffering on and off with bouts of it. 

21st dawned with my short story published in the National newspaper 'Scotsman.' I am well chuffed. Not only was my mug on the front page but the story was a double page spread with a superb illustration. Made the whole thing amazing! 

On 24th I was at the CCA where SWC had an interesting talk by Lesley McDowall on Feminst Literature. 

This evening the 26th  I'm off to see my friend June playing Lady Bracknell in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. 
June has been a full month. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

April/ May

Time flies! Yeah, true when you are so busy that the blog gets neglected. I promise to have a few words and pics every month on my blog. It is a great way to keep a record of things I have done that month and maybe it will interest my little band of followers!
 So let me start with April. I got my first pair of vari-focal glasses, a rather strange experience to get used to it. They are fabulous to use, I can walk into a shop and see in the distance as well read the print on packets. Unfortunately, they are no good  for reading books or for my writing, especially at the computer. So I am that I didn't throw away my old ones!
 On the 9th I was at the Aye Write Festival to hear Kamila Shamshie and Elenor Catton, the Man Booker winner reading from their works. Both were superb and I was pleased to get my copy of The Luminaries signed by E. Catton.

A family friend's son's wedding reception at Mar Hall was a nice diversion. It was a stormy night and the marquee nearly blown off but it was good to meet up with a lot of old friends and enjoy the stunning Mar Hall as a wedding venue.



A surprise this month was to meet Salma a Tamil poet from my own birth city of Madras in Glasgow. The Glasgow Women's Library had invited her as part of the Commonwealth celebrations. It was a privilege to meet this inspiring woman and hear her poetry.

The World Book Night was on the 23rd and as a book giver I was happy to distribute 'The Confessions of a GP' by Dr. Benajmin Daniels, a funny light book and hope the new readers who received it are having a good laugh and more importantly gets them into the reading habit.




Celebrating the 60th birthday of a friend at Oscar's in Newton Mearns was fun and an afternoon cream tea at Snuggle Muffin was another foodie outing. Which brings us neatly into May.

Appearing at the Booked Festival of Words and reading with fellow writer Anne Donovan at Clydebank Library for the GWL was a pleasure. The crowd was appreciative and it is always wonderful to get
feedback from readers.




Another afternoon tea (this time a strawberry tea in the West End) with a dear friend helped me make a note of good  afternoon teas on offer in Glasgow.

I also enjoyed three rather good poetry nights one at Oxfam shop in Byres Road and another at the CCA organised by Glasgow's Mirrorball. Last but not least was Marion MC Cready's book launch at the new 'Tell It Slant' evening.  'Tree Language' is a choclatey looking book with  poems that are like little gems. I am still relishing reading her wonderful work.






The month of May was nicely rounded off meeting with a prizewinning author who wanted a wee chat about Glasgow in the 1970's and the immigrant experience for his new book, the premise of which sounds fascinating.


Meet you soon in June.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Photo Blog Feb/ March

It has been rather busy after Christmas 2013. The weather was bleak and grey but being with family made it a wonderful Christmas. A time to share, relax and chill with gifts,good food,wine and lots of chocolates! Soon the book promotions of the GWL's wonderful publication and other bookish events took over in the next few months as UK lay under rain and floods especially in the South. I have made this a photo blog so you can see how many different events kept me busy over the last few weeks. I have even managed to write a short story and  am still working on my crime novel. Both need a lot of work to get it right.
The Commonwealth Day  at the Andersonian Library of Strathclyde University with Nalini Paul and Magi Gibson. A great afternoon of  reading poetry and prose from all over the world. 

At Bridgeton Library on a Saturday afternoon  enjoying my first hold of the coffee -table lusciously produced book the '21 Revolutions' 

Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland gave a stirring speech at the Engender Conference at the City Chambers in Glasgow, in the lavishly decorated ballroom, of the 1880's. Interesting fact that 'the central apex figure of Truth is popularly known as Glasgow's Statue of Liberty, because of its close resemblance to the similarly posed, but very much larger, statue in New York harbour'


At Punjab Restaurant in Covent Garden for a tasty meal with family.Some of the photos in that place harked back to an older era. 

At the Scottish Asian Women's Award night, a  photo with Johann Lamont the Shadow First Minister of Scotland. A finalistin one of the categories I didn't win but had a wonderful evening meeting some amazing Scottish Asian women.
This was me  reading my short story at the GWL's  '21 Revolutions' book launch  at Dundee Central Library.

So all in all a busy and happy Feb and March. Wonder what's in store for the next few months? 


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