this picture was taken in 2006 and come back to me now.
For me it expresses so well the wonder the children have looking at Christmas displays!
Of course, for the happiness of having received gifts, I would have to make a video of my grandson jumping and dancing around the tree full of joy, a mere picture of it would not be enough.
From the time my daughter arrived in London, all seems to go so well!
Also I was very tired yesterday afternoon, after a short sleep and a warm shower I went with the family to Christmas diner to a family I did not know before. Their daughter, friend of my grand daughter.
A wonderful English Vietnamese Christmas diner!
I was a bit too wired up and spoke perhaps too much, after a half cup of Champaign and a quarter of cup of great red wine, all that great food. Even the Christmas Pudding was great!
Two years ago, I have decided that I like everything British, but the pudding, but I was wrong! It depends which and how.
I am happy I did not stay home, when I felt tired!
I do hope, at least for a few days, it does remain like this, so the Airports can remain open and my daughter arrive here.
A white Christmas is beautiful, on postcards.
A white Christmas was great in my childhood.
We were send out to play on slides on our sloped streets nearby, while the Christmas tree was put up to surprise us, and coming back, we found it there.
I was never thinking of icy snow, or someone opening or closing the airport - we did not have any in our city, and the bus took us later up the hill, so we can ski down on the specially arranged long way:.
In Kolozsvar (now Cluj Napoca) we had snow from end October to mid March, and it was normal and great. I did mind it only once that I had broken my leg, to show off to my father my skying ability going through an field not "broken". But that was not the snow's fault.
I remember wonderful Christmas eve's, in Kolozsvar, all the other children came to my house, they did not have the great Christmas tree my own St Nicolas brought me every year, with the special bonbons on the tree and gifts under it.
Today, it is a blogger that offered a gift: the possibility to see what were, what are, the most looked at entries in any of my blogs!
The naked presenter by Garr Reinolds, a book about how to present before public, staying, somehow like in a Japonaise commun bath, "naked" open, vulnerable to communicate more effectively, with more power. Allowing yourself to be exposed.
Expressing freely, washing away before all it is not necessary, nothing letting come between the audience and the presenter. Removing the walls and barriers. Confident yet vulnerable and flexible.
Being totally in the moment.
So much good ideas in this book! Those are just a few from the first chapter.
I do not wear or have many hats, but I realise their importance more and more.
This one, was given to me by my grand-son last year.
I looked at the mirror yesterday morning, my hair got too long, will not stay any longer in its place, but this hat hide all that.
I could take a "first winter day" picture for a flickr group that ask us to take pictures at four days separating the seasons of the year.
Taking a picture of myself, nothing new. So I tried to add to it different expressions. This one of surprise with eyes open big, is my favourite.
Continuing to like playing, like a child, even at the "respectable age" of 76, is useful not only. for my future storytelling, about which I thought taking the picture, but also my own soul. I am responsible as an adult but playful as a child. At least, I try to be both.
The British Airways decided to cancel the flight, also this morning some planes do arrive to Heathrow.
I was wondering how come a huge city's biggest airport can be frozen with a bit of snow, until I heard the speaker on the television explain: they did not have the equipment necessary to clean the runways. They did not think it is worth the money.
I feel it is a shame.
We do not prepare enough for emergencies. Even when they do arrive year after year!
For the moment, I am not sad, my daughter could not arrive, in time or at all, I am furious. Of all those who do not take their responsibility of country, town, airport, airways seriously. They do take extra money for people to travel at holly days, but do not ensure they could do it.
Reputation is more easy lost then money and more difficult to gain back!
This old bridge, traversing more a stream then a river, nevertheless very necessary, seems very old.
It was last year, in Granada, South of Spain.
Somehow, this morning I see it as the most important part of communication between the presenter and his or her audience. Being able to establish a bridge through which then the communication may pass from one to the other.
I see myself also looking at this bridge on the very narrow street near it, last year this time. It was a wonderful time, it was also a sad time. I lost a friend, the communication between us deteriorated by the trip instead of ameliorating.
I hope very strongly this year it will be very different, and end of year will bring more and not less near me those I like or love.
Yesterday I heard a wonderful Inspirational Speech by Richard Green, alas I was so much taken by it that I did not take it in video, not even a photo of it.
Perhaps, tonight I may do it.
Richard"s (not here in photo) speech from heart and very much toward to the audience to which it was addressed. Its title was "Facing the Dragon or was it the Giant?" if I well remember the title. Yes, facing it he becomes smaller and smaller, running from it bigger and bigger.
And another one, also telling almost the same "how to overcome", but using others experiences. It showed me how much more powerful a personal story makes a speech, confirmed it to me how much we should use it, indeed.
This morning, I listened on Ted.com to Tony Porter's speech "Call to men" (it is his photo in this post) an example of a very strong inspirational speech, again, with not one, but many personal stories in it. It did inspire me so strongly that I decided not to let drop my intended subject but take it from another angle.
Not "abuse of a woman by a man" but about "wife and husband relationship in family."
This photo is taken in Ireland, Connemara Roundstone in summer, but the beer culture and pubs are general in England, Scotland and Wales too.
So much, as I heard a whole hour the recent governement deputies discuss "how to save the local pubs" and beer companies, too!
No one to speak about the pubs and alcoolics, no one to speak that those are places where mostly men go and only more rare occasions women and families.
Also, I have to admit, in Ireland and some pubs in London I have seen families going too, and of course, not only dirnking but eating.
Still, pubs in Brittain are more beer drinking, and not only one cup, then socializing, as I see it still now. And not really, most of them, for gathering with other families, as they seemed to speak the MPs!
Honty Hanna was one of the biggest stars of operette in Hungary for long time and the operette Gypsy princess, as it was translated wrongly in Engish from La reine de Csardas by Kalman, composed in 1917, one of the greatest operetta.
I just have bought an Australian film by opera house, alas with opera voices, and not all very acting singers, but it was a pleasure anyway.
Here is just one example of how it should be played, here the hero's mother, who in fact, even now is Princess, was a cabarette singer in her young days.
The barometer is on rain, and pain
all is not shiny today,
but let's forget all sadness
soon the good weather will return
let us forget all sadness
soon there will be sweet grape and fresh bred again
This is how an operetta should be played and sung!
I do not know, how much "tradition" is to have Christmas Partys in England, but in France and Romania and Hungary, wherever I lived, Christmas was a Family affaire.
We gathered together, to celebrate it in family, inviting friends too, dear and near friends and relatives.
We did not go "out" !
At the end of the year, for the night of 31 it was different. We did gather with friends mostly of our age to dance, drink and eat, "so we be so happy as that all next year" and there were some parties outside also, even if in my youth, as we did not have much money, we mostly gathered to one or others house, bringing each of us something to contribute.
"We have to have a Christmas Party!" Do we?
Do we have to spend money for the restaurant diner, more then usual, just because it is Christmas coming?
Can we not spend our money more wisely or meet to someone's place without paying extra?
I did not stay long, but I went nearer the river, first, as soon as come out of the Temple station, to admire the lights on the river.
The camera I had does not zoom a lot, but my eyes, remember.
I will have to go out at the same place, when the sun sets. In the spring or summer it does set a lot later.
I am happy to join a new club, a flexible club, and a welcoming warm and interesting one too. Already yesterday, I learned. Learned how to do, and how to improve doing too. I will have to introduce more my readings, and tell also what I liked about it and why I choose them.
I am less sure to tell why they should like it.
Each should choose why they like, not? There are so many different things we can take away with us from a poem or a story!
You asked me to take some pictures of Christmass decorations on the streets of London for the pupils learning English in Canary Islands.
When I know, it is for someone, there is interest, I am more enthousiast and willing to go out, even in cold weather to take images.
This morning, I ressembled some old ones, in 3 sets, on flickr: Christmass in England, Christmass in France and in Spain. Here some from France, Paris and around it mostly, assembled thinking of children.
Between all in England to which I still have to add this month, and some old ones that I have to find yet, this drawing on the wall in Rochester, at the begining of this note and one in the park near my place where "papa noêl" came on huge byke to see the children.
Here are a few "last" pictures from Dublin, taken the day I come back to London.
I decided to show it in bigger size, to view it better.
It begins with the statue of a speaker, of course, we went to Dublin to speak and listen to other Toastmasters, and this shows that Dublin honours speakers!
Also regrets: I did not go in the small bookworm shop, I knew if I do, I cannot resist to add to my bag's weight. There are a few scattered man size sculptures in the city, telling all I think a tale, reminding of - for me unknown - tale. One day, I have to stroll in Dublin with someone who does remind it to me!
My great grand-mother, Paula, my grandmother Sidonie, and also my aunt, my mother"s youngest sister, and her daughter, 2 y older then me,
So different in dress and appearance!
but not so different perhaps in character.
also Susanna, my oldest cousin was softer, then perhaps her elder, and definitely then me, probably just born at the time.
Paula was a very warm, optimist, but very strong woman.
Widowed early with 7 children, the eldest, my grand mother only 14 at the time, she took over a factory, distillery, and managed it in a time when few women did such things.
She was also the one that taught me, 11 years after this photo, that "something good comes from every coup that descends on us".
Sidonie, very brave, very quiet, very cultured too, who had the courage to write a journal through her and her family's ordeal in the German camp of Bergen Belsen, wrote from the moment they were taken from home throughout and even, after.
I translated it in French and English, also it had cost me, as it is not easy read, but it has sunny and even funny moments in it too. Sidonia also welcomed and helped me when I emigrated from Romania and was waiting a baby. Me, and later, my husband too.
My aunt did not have an easy life, but under the appearance of fragility, she was of steal and forged out a life for herself and her two children. Her first husband died as they were yet young and she did not remarry until late. But even when 90, she still found a friend, she could be so fragile, attractive and intelligent too.
Courageous women, life did not deal easy for them, but they did the best they could with it.
They reminded me the creations of my my friend, Stephanie.
She was not "commercial" and made one by one what she felt, not so much with painting on the stones as carving them, long time.
But I really liked what this stone told me
Do not ask me what, it speaks to me still. Today, I come back to it, after month because on flickr someone has discovered this one and 'favourite' it. Put it between his favourite images.
This is a version where I worked on the original image, made it to look stronger, more like I remembered it.
This is also with memories.
We have first a fuzzy memory then we try to recreate iwhat we felt it happened, in a story. Giving it more outline. Isolating from all the clutter that in real life surrounds an event.
These were taken around Veteran"s day, before St John's Church square. I took four pictures, one of the four crosses very near and one of the fallen leaves on the green grass only, and the forth one from another angle.
Fallen. And then, I thought that the trees cry also for the leaves that left them.
Somehow, often the photos I take have more sense to me then just people or nature, they express something I feel at the moment, weather I am aware of it or not. The fallen multicoloured leaves expressed for me the same sorrow as the crosses, for those fallen in different wars - or persecutions.
I waited, looking from lateral point of view until the steam was rising the highest.
This is not a portrait of the cooker, but a picture of "cooking" outside in cold weather.
Of course, clear could have been ever better - could it? I am not sure that in this image it could have been.
This IS a portrait, and I think it is not bad at all, with my photo-partner who came from Australia, and come with me to visit the Bourough market of London.
First time we met, we visited Butte Montmartre together. Another time the Greenwich's painted hall and market.
And here are two sellers continued to sell while knowing I was taking a photo of them. Photos.
The three images each tell something different. Perhaps together, they tell a bit more then each separately, as my sets too more then each photograph one by one.
I am well covered in the London flat I rent and I have put the temperature higher this night, when I woke up cold.
This morning, it is nice to be inside.
Even nicer to dream still at my three walks through Dublin streets, and yet again its colours to attract those passing bye.
But some walls were not done specially to attract but to tell "no" do not come here!
or this one Sometimes, more often, the side streets attract me more then the big boulevards and, of course, there are also more easy to take a photo of, or to find something "different".
Each with its different colours And then the small bench that made me dream - and still does. Wrapped warmly inside, also today I'll have to go out in for a few hours later, in my mind's eyes I am still strolling through some nice streets of Dublin that I discovered going away from the boulevards.
I met first this old bookshop owner / seller towards 1981 but he was already there for some time. He is still there!
Surrounded then as now by lots of lots of books barely someone can pass through them, he has read so many of them. Not so many people go in so sometimes I wonder how he succeeds to make a living.
But he is always cheerful to me.
Once, toward the beginning we did have an argument - I do not remember about what - but then both of us get to speak really to each other and after that we become almost friends!
We both love books and reading.
I am sure, if I go and ask, but I have to go to Paris for that from London; he would give me a release not for this photograph, as the Getty Agency ask me... He would see the humour of it.
It was not easy to make this one because the light was dim and I wanted a photo where you can see the most of books as we enter.
The old book's shop has two aisles, but this one has the best and more recent books, and outside are the romance and detective novels, that 30 years ago could also be changed, now there are only sold. The classic books are on the back, because he has all kind and also in a small box some in other languages.
He does prefer the classic books and knows them well but he never tries to push his taste on the others.
My small B&B was near the hight pole in centre of Dublin, under it the statue of someone speaking; declaiming.
His body language similar to those of Toastmaster speakers I listened to and, more and more of mine who learned to make larger gestures.
I do not know if this statue was there long time ago and they have put the hight pole recently or if they were both put at the same time. But together they make a declaration, a statement.
I also took picture of the pole but then the statue is almost not visible, the difference in hight is so huge.
There are many funny statues; probably from popular tales, here and there in the city, most of them of human hight and people speaking together or doing something. I have to learn more about the city and its legends.
Near O'Connelly and on the street only to walk, the small B&B where I stayed.
It is clean and not very buzzy and during my stay it was also quiet.
For 35 Euro they bring the breakfast in your room also, probably because there is no dining room, also you can have it also in the big kitchen.
The shower room was near my room also I had to go outside mine for it, but all clean and in working condition. I did not have a lot place to move in my room but when I asked I was given towels and a chair a day later when I needed it.
And whenever I asked I could use their computer and internet.
Near all the bus and in the centre, it was a good find!
A picture can tell more of a story then many words and when you take a candid one, a moment in time, it could even tell more then a posed portrait or a formal one.
Here is a moment of the Toastmaster conference.
On it our present District Governor laughing, in good humour.
In the background the immediate past governor preparing to speak near the district flag and in the foreground someone clapping hands.
It tells a lot about the mood at that time!
Here is another. The toastmasters speak a lot with their body hands expression and this is also a picture taken on the spur of the moment. He was one of the Humorous contesters whose performance I enjoyed a lot.
Friday night we were supposed to come to diner dressed, costumed in personages from old films - and there were many to have found what to wear or put on.
It was a fun night - even if I did not stay for long. When the dancing begun I went to sleep, to be fresh in the morning.
Others told me there was, after dancing, a sing a long until more then 2 hours in the morning!
I was at a table with many Toastmasters from the Dublin club, as one of them nicely invited me to sit with them; Here he is: you can see how a nice guy he is! He did welcome all who felt alone, I think, or seemed lost...
Across me the President of the club from Dublin.
I am not sure who he did represent, but he did work to get there1
and him too - I asked him if I could take a photo while he went from the buffet to the table
All were happy to pose in their costumes.
It was a cheerful event!
The next day, the Humorous Contest begun, at 14pm and before it we had great interesting workshops; how to find or retain members and 7 steps to prepare a great speech.
What I remember most is that instead of writing then telling and learning, first tell then write it down - then it will sound more natural.