This photographic journal is by Maria Pavlik, co-creator of With My Umbrella, I Can: The Magical Journey of Penelope Puddle, in B.C., CANADA. (Header shot is by NASA.) “Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” - Yousuf Karsh
London's Festive Chinatown
"A smile will gain you ten more years of life." - Chinese Proverb
The lanterns weren't lit but they ignited a spark that uplifted our spirits. Perhaps it was the decorations or maybe it was my mood that made Chinatown distinctly cheerful.
People gathered all over London, including Chinatown after the Queen died, as if in instinctual group therapy to console one another and also to acknowledge a long life well lived is something to celebrate. Not everyone has the luck to live long and well.
With dangling paper lanterns overhead we gladly signed a book of condolences that would be presented to the Queen's family. We saw a lot of heart in Chinatown, which began in the 20th century in East End London by the docks where businesses catered mostly to Chinese sailors and their families. The enterprise eventually moved West.
Chinatown nowadays is prettily situated in Central London and, although affected by earlier pandemic restrictions, typically caters to millions of visitors each year who want to savour the many delicious foods, explore the arts, gift shops and more.
A striking not-too-scary dragon mounted on the wall of a building grinned at passersby.
The relatively new gate completed in 2016 was stylized after the Qing Dynasty, the last orthodox dynasty in Chinese history. I learned Prince Andrew officiated at its opening.
Snake depictions at the British Museum in the Asia section seemed a bit like what I saw on the gate's design. Was that a dragon's head on a snake's tail, I wondered?
From the regal entrance of a towering gate to the obscure alley away from the bustling crowds, each corner I turned and nook I spied held some delight or sweet surprise.
Surviving devastation is a reason to smile but there is also great sadness. Mine and many hearts go out to Floridians experiencing loss and trauma in the aftermath of a wildly damaging storm. Ian tested the imagination of how extreme weather can get.
"On the Web we all become small-town visitors lost in the big city." - Alison Gopnik President Joe Biden's inauguration was bursting with inspirational speeches and events. Heaven knows many who now breathe a sigh of relief also needed a good laugh. That's when Bernie stepped in with his cool attitude and awesome mittens. I couldn't resist joining so many others who included him in various ways in different spaces. I think he looks super cute and cozy on a sofa designed for the cover art of my Couch & Company story. Hope you enjoy it and explore more of the artistic side of life at Paint Party Friday . Still the kid I used to be Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle and Penelope Puddlisms: BC Life Is A Whale Of A Ride to view more West Coast scenes. Because the state of our planet is the most pressing issue of our time, link up and learn about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report .
There it was ... a bright dollop of sunshine in a tangle of forest greens, browns and silvery grays. The yellow door snuggled against a tree said Fairy Hall and, in tiny faint lettering beneath, No Trolls . Oh, how I'd love to know what goes on inside Fairy Hall. I wanted to tap on the door but, a giant by comparison, I didn't want to cause a scare. I often take the Sandy Trail with its gravelly path, woodsy stumps, well-trod stairs, rabbits, birds and squirrels. I know every twist and rustling sound. But I hadn't noticed the small door before. This unexpected bit of whimsy magic tucked into the forest floor made me curious about what else was in the mysterious thicket I'd yet to explore. When I continued on my way, the trees leaned in ... as if they had something to say. Later, I found another fairy door (below), welcoming but only to a select few. See OUR WORLD to explore more sights from around the globe and SIGNS, SIGNS . Still the kid I used to be
Rain puddles vanished and a blast of scorching heat settled over B.C. recently, including in my region which reached 105 ° F at one point. Records were broken. (About 145 miles northeast in Lytton it was over 120 degrees; the entire village caught fire.) The air outside felt like a thick wall of hot steel. All fans were on duty indoors. The weather foretold of the wasteland that will arrive sooner rather than later if carbon emissions are not majorly reduced. Dozens of mostly elderly didn't survive the wake up call. At this writing, the heat is far less intense, thankfully. A sweet sense of normalcy has returned and the slight morning chill sits on my shoulders like a delicate shawl. In my neighbourhood, the birds are singing again and searching for treats. A different kind of wave also hit us all. I was relieved to get my second shot "to knockout Covid" on Canada Day . It was a perfect way to celebrate July 1st. Explore more at OUR WORLD . Still the kid I used