Dressed to impress 3

Jack in the Green 2015

May Day has been celebrated in the UK since the times of old and it’s no different in the Sussex coastal town of Hastings.  Every year the Old Town is awash with green to welcome in the start of summer. Jack in the Green has it’s roots in the 16th and 17th century. To celebrate May Day, people would compete to see who would make the most elaborate garland until, by the 18th century, garlands created by chimney sweeps covered an entire person and thus Jack in the Green was born.

The straight-laced Victorians soon put a stop to the May Day drunken shenanigans. A law was also passed which banned boys becoming chimney sweeps and gave Jack in the Green the death knell in 1889. It was revived in the 80’s by the Mad Jacks Morris Dancers and now groups from across the UK come annually to help the town continue it’s tradition.

The celebrations are a four-day affair, starting on the Friday and ending in a procession that sees Jack being stripped of his leaves on the Monday, with morris dancing and drinking in between. It’s said that if you manage to grab some leaves off Jack, you’ll get good luck for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, I only managed to get down for the last day when everyone was waiting for Jack to appear. I also didn’t get any leaves this year either. I hope I’m not doomed for the rest of 2015!

Oh my Goat!

It was a wet and cold Chinese New Year in London today. Grey the city may be, but Chinatown was awash with the traditional colours of red and gold. The one thing about the rain is that it tends to put people off. That’s not to say it wasn’t busy. It was. Outside of China, London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest.

It’s also a noisy time. Children throw bangers on the ground while the constant thud of drums and cymbals help the lions dance and chase away bad sprits and bring good luck. The Chinese are very superstitious. Before the new year starts, houses must be cleaned from top to bottom. If you clean your house for the first few days of the new year, you’ll sweep away all the new luck.

Chinese New Year is a time for families to get together and eat lots and lots of food, mainly dumplings which is thought top bring prosperity. It’s also a prosperous time for children as they receive ang pows – red enevelopes containing cash – from their relatives. I still do even though I’m a fully grown adult! Red and gold are auspicious colours with red symbolising luck and joy and gold for wealth and prosperity.

So gong hey fat choi to one and all. Happy New Year. I hope the Year of the Goat will be a happy, healthy and prosperous one.

Photos taken on the Panasonic GX7.

Picture of a map and jam sandich

A nighttime cycle from London to Brighton

A few month’s ago I took part in the London to Brighton’s Night Ride for the British Heart Foundation. It’s was the second time that I took part in this event and I love it. Even at 4am and I’m cycling up a hill!

It took me around 7hours to compete,  a mere 60miles down to the coast through the streets of the capital and through the country lanes of Sussex, eventually hitting the hideous Ditching Beacon to enjoy the speedy downhills to the seaside.

View from the top of the O2 of the city of London

Ping pong on the O2

It’s not everyday that you get the chance to play ping pong on top of the O2. When the email came through, I jumped at the chance. Climbing the O2, ping pong, views of nighttime London… hell yes!

This wasn’t the place to take up my dslr, nor my G12 (not that I was able to take photos while on the climb anyway), so out came the camera phone which, to its credit, didn’t bad job considering I was only using the light available to me.

It was a surreal (and gutting) feeling to know that I was standing on top of the O2 with Fleetwood Mac directly underneath us. That would have been an amazing gig to have gone to.

Nivea Big Dip at Covent Garden

Random events in London

You stumble across random things in London. That’s what makes it a great city to live in. Something is always happening. Really, I should have my camera with me all the time but I don’t. However, on this particular day, the boyf and I decided to have a photo geek out and make our way over to Covent Garden for a Punch and Judy festival.

This post is not on the Punch and Judy festival.

Instead, I’m posting a couple of photos I took before we finally found it:

Nivea Big Dip

Famous for it’s various creams, lotions and potions, Nivea was asking us ladies to bare all and take the first dip of the summer. As well as us mere mortals taking the plunge, there was a team of synchronised swimmers doing their thing for the crowd.

Women doing a synchronised swim in a tank in Covent Garden
Maybe if I hold this pose the people won’t be able to see me…
Nivea Big Dip at Covent Garden
No-one will ever know that I let one rip…

Meditating at Trafalgar Square

We came across a group of people practising Falun Dafa and is a spiritual discipline using slow movement, moral philosophy and meditation. I have no idea how long this group was here for, but everyone needs a lunch break.

Falun Dafa: A traditional practice to improve physical and spiritual wellbeing
Meditating is hungry business.

Don’t fear, there will be a post on the Punch and Judy festival soon.

Buddha’s birthday celebration

Yesterday I stumbled across a birthday party for Buddha. Ok, so it wasn’t a birthday party in a conventional sense where there were balloons, cake and ice cream – it was more of a celebration with serene blessings, performance and music at Leicester Square Garden.

Sadly I missed the parade but did take a few snaps using my iPad. It was a bit awkward but thought I’d share my results.

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