I decided to give this one its own space, as it was such an intensely magical adventure. While Mum went to Bath, Sarah and I delved into the New Forest near Brockenhurst, and found a childhood dreamland. The photos kinda speak for themselves…
We spent about 5 hours just wandering wide-eyed through the forest. Then we hopped back on the train down to Lymington, where we found a totally different landscape, but similarly charming! We stopped at a strawberry farm we happened to come across while looking for the path to the beach.
At last, after some local help, we found the walkway to the beach, via this amazing path lined with flowers!
Finally the coast, complete with a view of the Isle of Wight.
That day is a precious jewel I will treasure for ever.
After our brief but enjoyable few days with the Owlers, we headed down to Southampton to stay with my very dear friends Sarah and Lloyd in their little home. I was so so excited to see them, as we are very close, and it has been really tough for all of us to be apart from each other.
The week we spent there was so beautiful, such good weather and wonderful adventures, interspersed with picnics and impromptu music practice. I was very very sad to leave.
We went on some outings with Sarah. (Lloyd had to work, of course, but we saw him in the evenings and weekend) We went to Salisbury and out to see Stonehenge! It was pretty surreal. I thought we might have to stand miles away, or the surroundings would be all “touristy” but actually we got quite close, and the whole presentation was pretty tasteful! I’d love to go back and explore the surrounding area. There are miles of walking trails and old barrows to roam around. You could spend a whole day there easily!
Also during our stay, Sarah and I seized the opportunity to take some portrait photos of each other, which was great, and resulted in some photos of her that I’m very happy with, and some photos of me which are the best ones I’ve had for ages!!
(Apologies for the lack of pictures of Lloyd. He doesn’t really like being in front of the camera much so I try not to do it unless it’s really necessary. He is in the film journal though!)
An account of the first leg of my 2016 Adventure through the UK and to Canada with my mother.
In this entry, we fly to London via Singapore and meet with some extended relatives, who take us on an outing to Cambridge!
This is going to be a (mostly visual) account of my Adventures with my Mum in the UK and in Canada, 2016.
We are headed to England to visit some family, and some friends who might as well be family, and to Scotland to see where our family came out from. We’re then headed over to Canada, to Prince Edward island, for the biannual L.M.Montgomery conference, which my Mother has attended the past few times.
We came to England via a stopover in Singapore, where we spent a leisurely few hours wandering through the indoor gardens and napping in the rest areas.
Our flight from Singapore to London (13 hours) was pretty unpleasant. Mum was feeling very nauseous even before we got on the plane, but the turbulence didn’t help. We did our best to sleep but to no avail. We followed the sunrise for the last few hours and arrived in Heathrow at 5:55am.
When we arrived we were met by David and Janet, some very extended relatives, who live in nearby St Albans. They took us to their place where we had a lovely nap and a wash and then some delicious soup before heading out to Cambridge for the afternoon.
We had dinner at a pace called Carluccio’s and arrived home around 9pm, just as the light was fading. The weather had been quite cold and blustery and not at all summer-ish, so David and Janet lit the fire and we sat by it for a while drinking Chamomile tea before collapsing into sleep. The following day we woke feeling a little more like human beings and set out with a mission of exploring St Albans.
One of our most significant stops was the St Albans Abbey, a very very old and very impressive piece of architecture.
We stopped in the Abbey cafe for a cup of tea and a scone, then headed out to the nearby park where many sections of the old Roman wall which used to surround the town have been excavated. On the way we saw this cute little building, originally a pigeon house.
We managed to fit in some more Roman ruin exploring, and a circuit of the Roman museum, before a late lunch and then straight home to pick up our luggage for the train trek to Southampton.
So my lovely AirBnB host suggested a few shrines and temples I should visit, so somehow I decided to visit them all in one day. Not so crazy considering there were only three, but they were pretty far apart, and given my tendency when travelling to start walking and just keep walking, by the end of the day my feet hated me. But it was worth it.
First of all, I visited Yasaka, a huge Shinto shrine complex, with many different buildings with numerous purposes, and small shrines to different Kami.
Persimmons are one of the Japanese symbols of Autumn, along with chestnuts and sweet potato. I can see why because these beautiful looking fruits are everywhere!
Next was a Buddhist temple; Kodai-ji. This one was a bit more of a tourist spot it seemed, and there was a very strict route around the grounds that the staff wearily directed us along. I felt like a bit of a burden, but still, the autumn colour was lovely.
My host’s favourite was the Zen shrine, Kennin-ji, which I visited last, and I have to agree with her, it was my favourite too. It had a beautiful atmosphere, and long covered corridors where red-slippered visitors wandered peacefully, making the old wooden floorboards creak. The rails and steps were worn smooth with much wandering and sitting.
One of the most amazing things was this incredible painting on the ceiling of the largest building. It is actually on thick paper, painted with ink by Koizumi Jinsako, and it’s roughly 11.5 meters long and 16 meters wide! It’s pretty awe-inspiring.
On the trek home, spotted this extra tiny shrine by a street corner. Nice. :)
So as one does when travelling, I decided on a whim to stay on the train late one afternoon and visit Nijo castle, as it was on the same subway route. I got there around 3:30 in the afternoon, which allowed an hour and a half before closing time to wander around and take in the gardens.
I noticed a whole lot of people running about in big red raincoats, and worked out that there was an art event on in the evening, after closing time, so I got in line and bought a ticket. The installation was called “Art Aquarium Castle” by the artist Hidetomo Kimura. It was all these really interesting glass sculptures filled with water and koi fish. He’s been making similar installations all over the world. There’s a website here if you want to see more about it. Definitely worth it, the atmosphere was so magical. There was some really good music playing and a beautiful vanilla-incense kind of smell.
So just a little update from today. I had a great day of interview shooting with Scott, and afterwards I decided to stay on the train to Kyoto station and do some evening shopping! (Because in Japan shops always stay open late!)
I found this gem of a store; full of traditional Kyoto sweets. My immediate thought was “Christmas presents!!”
I bought a selection of pretty looking things, with no idea what any of them tasted like.
Seeing as tonight is editing, I suppose I really have no choice but to eat them. You know, for research! Can’t go giving my dear friends and relatives bad gifts, can I?
Hullo again from Japan! I thought I’d share a few pictures from my first day of exploring.
This is the area where I’m staying.
On my first full day (Wednesday) I decided to catch the subway into the main city area. The subway was surprisingly easy to navigate! I got off here, on the hunt for something in particular…
It was a cat cafe!! If you aren’t already aware, Japan has a number of these amazing things. It’s basically a room full of cats and cat things where you can have tea and coffee and play with cats. Pretty much the best.
This one, Moka, has bad allergies so she has to wear clothes all the time.
After I managed to tear myself away from the cats, I wandered down an interesting looking street and found an amazing network of alleys and arcades. This shop was particularly incredible. It was paper goods and art supplies. There was an entire wall of brushes!
And all the cards, envelopes, papers, notebooks you could ever possibly want.
There was also a lot of shrines which had their gates right in the arcades.
After more wandering I found the river. A man was flying this beautiful kite in the evening light.
I also saw this fantastic specimen. Maybe it’s from watching too much anime, but I always associate this kind of wire pole mess with Japan.
So! For my first post in ages: I’m in Japan! I’m here to make a short documentary film about Scott Groom, an SA scientist who is based in Kyoto studying bees. I’ll be here for 10 days, thought I’d try to bring you along for the ride. Apologies for the low quality phone photos, I just haven’t felt like being the huge-camera-tourist yet.
Ok so this entry is about travelling. Let’s start with an obligatory plane photo:
Followed by an obligatory Singapore airport koi pond photo. (Really big koi!!)
I had a stopover of about 9 hours in Singapore, so I pottered about a lot, had some delicious dinner:
And a really good massage (but it resulted in a serious case of “massage-chair-face”)
This is my first glimpse of Japan, flying in to Tokyo airport!
Was pretty wiped by the time I got to Tokyo and had another 8 hours to kill. Spent a lot of it napping on chairs. Had a good comfort meal of chicken soup, rice and iced chai.
Eventually it was time to fly to Osaka. This is Osaka airport, where I was picked up by a shuttle bus and delivered another two hours away at my AirBnB host’s home!
This is my comfy room! Complete with sliding doors and tatami mats and futon!
In a crumbling church on the main tourist drag of Vilnius, Lithuania, a deaf man lives alone, battling with time in his efforts to keep the building standing long enough to uncover the story of it’s life, and the story of his family.
Working Title: Vytautas
Directed by: Mahalah Ebony O’Malley
Type: Short Documentary / Installation
From the Director:
7 months ago I went to Lithuania for 2 weeks alone to chase some family history close to my heart, continue my attempts to a very challenging language and make some sort of documentary from whatever I discovered or was inspired by on the trip. I never expected the story I found though and have been so indescribably moved by it, that it has driven me to make this my passion project.
I came across an architecturally striking seventeenth century church run by a kind hearted deaf ex-army general who has silently spent the last decade odd of his solitary life fixing up this building single handedly. What at first appears to be a gloomy, low ceiling church, sectioned off from the public actually houses a centuries old neglected theatre upstairs that Vytautas has been trying to restore with no funding or assistance of any sort. Beneath the building in tunnels he has excavated himself, lie two dozen skeletons, four of whom are members of Vytautas’ own family, murdered during the Soviet occupation. Vytautas sleeps in a cot under the stairs surrounded by books and his research on the church and it’s war torn history. By day he makes candles and runs the small side wing of the church which is the only portion that remains open to the public, and in his own time he fixes this building, memorising every brick, clambering over every inch on his handmade ladders and peeling back paint to reveal colourful artworks in the theatre ceiling.
I spent three days with this man. Communicating was at once complex and primal. Our knowledge of one another’s written language was limited so much was occasional emotive sounds, expression and gestures.
This past month, I have met with an editor by the name of Emily McAllan, who now feels more like my partner on this project. Aside from producing a short “festival cut” of the documentary, we are now in development on what will be more of an installation experience to help an audience grasp the layers of this story in a more intimate way through projections, spaces, objects and bone conducted sound that even those who are hearing impaired can experience. It is my hope that we can put the audience in my shoes exploring this overwhelming space and this man’s story.