Sunday, 5 August 2012

Azores Revenge

Finally, summer had arrived. The jet stream had changed course and ended UK’s spell of miserable weather. It was drier and warmer. So far, this year had seen the wettest April, the wettest June and the wettest April-June period on record. The culprit was the unusually southerly location of the jet stream which was a high-altitude belt of wind. According to the Met Office, an Azores High (also known as the Azores anticyclone) was built returning the country to a more normal summer weather flow. Babe took this lovely photograph of the dragonflies taking advantage of the lovely weather and making sweet music.Brandon Marsh D7000 M  26-07-2012 12-17-17Everyone’s smiling. It was heaven for sun worshippers but hellish, for moi and thousands of hay fever sufferers. The see-saw summer had created the perfect storm for allergy sufferers. The seemingly endless weeks of downpour since spring had seen pollen-bearing grasses and weed flourished. As the weather turned warm, dry and breezy, the pollen were dispersed and then the symptoms kicked in. 
I was on leave on Monday to accompany Babe for his appointment. I was sniffling by this time and asked the doctor for anti-histamine tablets. Then we went around the supermarkets and garden centres to find an outdoor sitting set, in anticipation of long balmy evenings, dining outdoor and barbecues. As usual, the outdoor stuff had been removed/stored away because after 2 long months of not shining, no one expected the sun to finally turn up. We managed to get a set from B&Q. Babe had set them up and so far we’d not had the chance to have the outdoor dining experience, yet.
The next day, I could barely get out of bed. My head was pounding. There was a wood-pecker trying to get out. My eyes was so swollen and I was sneezing for England. I croaked on the phone to inform them that I’m not coming to work. I laid on Babe’s reclining chair to get some much-needed sleep with the curtains closed. After taking the anti-histamine tablets and paracetamol, a box of tissues, a hot-water bottle, and vapour rub became my constant companion. I felt and looked like what my next door cat dragged in. It was bleugh…
Nature does require
Her time of preservation, which perforce
I her frail son amongst my brethren mortal
Must give my attendance to.
~William Shakespeare~
It was buzzing in Coventry on Wednesday as the city became host to the Olympics.  In 2009, the Ricoh Arena won the bid to be the only Midlands venue to host the London 2012 Olympic Football Tournament. The Arena became the City of Coventry Stadium for the duration of the games, hosting 12 games over eight days. The first game was the women’s first round Group F matches. It was double header fixture where Japan defeated Canada 1:0 in the first set and Sweden defeated South Africa 4:1 in the 2nd. We were warned of heavy traffic but thankfully it wasn’t that bad. From the tweeter feeds, I knew that the atmosphere had been amazing. I managed to watch the 2nd game on tv and was proud to know that billions of people around the world too will be watching the same game from the City of Coventry stadium. Coventry Olympics 2012 S40  23-07-2012 10-01-05
I was over the moon when I won a pair of tickets to see the men’s football Group D match between Spain and Morocco at Old Trafford on 1 August. But I came down with a bump when Babe wasn’t well enough to make the trip. I asked my colleagues if anyone was interested but there were no takers. I was gutted to email Warwick Sports to inform them to give it to someone else. Boo-hoo…  Coventry D3100  27-07-2012 07-29-35
On Friday, I took the bus to work to give Babe a rest. As we drove past the Coventry Transport Museum, I noticed a group of cyclists huddling and waving the Union Jack outside the big screen. They were being filmed because they could see themselves on the screen. As soon as I arrived at work, I googled (as you normally do) .Coventry D3100  27-07-2012 07-14-09
100 people in Coventry gave a ringing endorsement to the Olympic Games by taking part in a bell-ringing event to mark the day of the opening ceremony. They were at the London 2012 Live Site, outside the Coventry Transport Museum, at 8.12am to celebrate the first day of the Olympic and Paralympic Games by taking part in All the Bells, an event which was part of a new work by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed. It was part of the London 2012 Festival which saw thousands of people across the UK ring a bell as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes. The Olympic Games was already well and truly underway in Coventry, with the Olympic Football kicking off in the city two days before the Opening Ceremony.
I attended another meeting with the Library International Students Working Group. We compared notes regarding the pre-sessional tours that we conducted last week and see if there were anything that needed tweaking. So far so good. We planned for the next tour in September which will be more intensive. We also discussed about upgrading our website and one of the idea that everyone agreed on was having the word Welcome translated in different languages. The group too were thinking of putting the idea forward to the Library Management to have them on the overhead screens.
At home, I spent time in the garden. More weeding needed to be done. The weeds and grasses have been growing prolifically and needed to be mowed again. The sweet peas were flowering and they smelt heavenly.  The broccoli had already being harvested but I’m leaving them for the Cabbage White butterflies to lay their eggs. I was very excited when the pumpkin started flowering. The vine was rushing along the ground, like a jungle creature, creeping steadily. Coventry D7000 M  25-07-2012 11-40-03
Here are sweet-peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.
~John Keats~
I made myself comfortable for the greatest show on earth. It was the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, also known informally as London 2012, and will continue until 12 August 2012. Titled 'Isles of Wonder', the Ceremony welcomed the finest athletes from 205 nations and marking an historic third time London had hosted the world’s biggest and most important sporting event. I didn't totally follow the story, but I got what they were trying to do. 
The Opening Ceremony reflected the key themes and priorities of the London 2012 Games, based on sport, inspiration, youth and urban transformation. It was a Ceremony 'for everyone' and celebrated contributions the UK has made to the world through innovation and revolution, as well as the creativity and exuberance of British people.
For the first time in its history, Malaysia had afforded a female athlete – diver Pandelela Rinong – the honour of bearing the country’s flag at the opening ceremonies. 27 other Malaysian athletes too will compete in events including fencing, cycling, archery, swimming, badminton and track. I wasn’t pleased when the Malaysian contingent parade was cut short  with a scene of Chris Choy getting ready for his torch relay.
The spectacular finale of the event saw the Olympic Cauldron, formed of 205 copper petals representing the competing nations coming together in London for the Games, ignited by seven young torchbearers. The petals lit first and then rose, coming together to form the cauldron. This was followed by a magnificent fireworks display that lit up the stadium and the surrounding area, set to Pink Floyd's "Eclypse." Paul McCartney closed the show with a performance of "Hey Jude." Not exactly an Olympics-themed song, but what a way to end the night. Now, let the games began….  
The days of Ramadan whizzed by so fast. It was also the time when I’m yearning for the delicacies that were often sold in the night bazaars of Malaysia. But thanks to the Internet, I was able to satisfy my cravings. This week I made kuih keria which was sweet potato doughnut. The first time I made it and I was so proud with my attempt. Just like my Mamma used to make.   Coventry D3100  28-07-2012 16-57-53When I was making this doughnut, I couldn’t help thinking of J. F Kennedy. He made a major German language blunder  in his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in Berlin in 1963. The story goes that he should have said “Ich bin Berliner” (I am a citizen of Berlin), and that “Ich bin ein Berliner” meant “I am a jelly doughnut.” A “Berliner” was a jelly doughnut made in Berlin. Coventry D3100  27-07-2012 07-36-41
I walked past this statute every morning when I took the bus to work. She looked very lonely and hidden away among the flowers and shrubs. Then I saw this plaque. It was very fitting. Thousands of people drove and walked past her. Did they know she existed???Coventry D3100  27-07-2012 07-37-12

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