content top

Les Ecureuils

Three times the squirrels messed up our journeys: in Leamington Spa, in York, and at Greenwich. In Leam, we met them in the late afternoon, after we finished having our meal in the city park. Walking for a while, we saw some small grey squirrels playing on the grass. We were so engrossed in playing and chasing them, forgetting that we should instead chase a coach from Coventry to Leeds. Finally we got to Coventry before it was too late. But we must draw our luggages at high speed into the Pool Meadow coach station.

In York we were deliberately looking for the squirrels. Nine years before, I found a park where I could easily spot tame squirrels. But the park was not easily found. I forgot the name of the park, and I didn’t want to ask about “the park with squirrels” to the citizen :). At last I found it when I compared the photos I took 9 years ago with tho location of the York Minster. When we managed to find it, we spent some time to play with them, until almost too late to pursue the coach to Thirsk. In the late afternoon after returning to York, the squirrels there were already reluctant to play. Seems that they have more confidence in the clock in their nests than the sun that was still shining at 19:00.

In Greenwich, again we encountered the squirrels, wkwkwk. This was not a part of our plan as well. I didn’t even know that there are so many squirrels like to live in a city as big as London. Indeed at that time we were not chasing the bus, coach, or train schedule. However I think the squirrels were making our time at the Royal Greenwich Observatory became much reduced. Naughty squirrels.

I’ve read that peanuts are not good for squirrels. Peanut consumption make the squirrels get deficient of certain essential proteins, which ultimately makes them susceptible to disease, and their growth is also affected. Luckily we have always brought some nuts and seeds. Hey, we also like seeds :). There were many kinds of  seeds, which we purchased everywhere: from a traditional market in Cardiff, from Tesco Supermarket in Coventry, and from Sainsbury in York. Chris, our friend who we visited in London, commented that we gave too expensive foods for the squirrels. I had no other choice. I could not possibly give them peanuts.

Here are some nuts that we gave them:

You can judge how we pampered those naughty squirrels. Never mind — it’s not for every day. And the way they greatly cheered our journeys had given more value than the price those nuts.

Well, unfortunately, we could not also meet the red squirrels, which are actually the native squirrels of the British isles.

Read More

Coventry Revisited

Coventry welcomed me with a familiar aroma of frozen air. Quite startling, presenting the illusion as if I’ve just left this town only a few months ago. Many things were seemingly frozen by the time: the buildings with the same labels, the same texts, the same smells, and the same tones. Even the the sun that has not been set at 20:00 was so Coventry :).

But actually many things have changed too. The lower precinct had been renovated, and now become a neat mall, which is linked to the upper precinct that is not changed. I read somewhere that this is the first pedestrian precinct in England of this kind. It was then copied in many other cities. The new millennium arc has also been completed, adding an attractive area around Pool Meadow and the Museum of Transportation.

We started exploring my Coventry from none other than Coventry University. We stayed for two nights in Ibis Hotel, which is just behind the Technocentre of the University. This campus shares a phoenix as its mascot as the city, as the symbol of reawakening after a catastrophe. The phoenix always re-creates itself from its ashes, and presents a new shining life to fulfill its purpose to safeguard the world. The university itself becomes another symbol of the city, that reawakens and reshapes itself by the capabilities and pioneering in technology. We started exploring the technocentre, the Lanchester library, the Jaguar building (where I got my lectures nine years ago), and also the headquarter. The new logo (i.e. the old logo that is mirrored) now adorns almost every buildings on campus.

Herbert Museum, the cultural and historical centre of Coventry, was the next target. Coincidentally there was an exhibition about the origins of Coventry here; from its prehistoric times, the formation of the city, the story of Lady Godiva, the civil war, the industrial revolution, and the reborn of Coventry after being were destroyed by the world war.

We spent the time also to visit Waterstone’s bookshop, to walk around the city centre and the famous precincts, and other areas around the city. Seeing the sight of the city, one would understand another pun of Coventry. “Coventry inspires” as I blogged earlier, does not refer only to the phoenix and the high spirit of the city :), but also to the fact that this city has three spires as its landmarks. Yes, Coventry in spires :).

We spent the second days in some cities around the old county of Coventry and Warwickshire. Stratford-upon-Avon with dozens of large white swans on the river Avon. Hey, you know that in Welsh (Cymraeg), the word Avon or Afon itself means river :). We also took a sight to the magnificent Warwick Castle. The last city we visited in the old county was Leamington, where we had a rest in a green park. Also we spent the time to played with the cute squirrels.

But I had to leave my city. Again. I had to visit another city that marked my history: Thirsk :).

Read More

Thirsk or Bust

Some days ago, the prominent blogger Iman Brotoseno suddenly asked me whether I have an interest of flying to London. A crazy question. I almost considered nothing before answering with only one word: Deal. In the following correspondence, Iman told me the T&C. Air Asia will pay the flight ticket for me, and only the ticket. I will have to pay all the taxes, the accomodation, visa application, and anything else. I must also plan the travel, and I will have to blog it, with a link to Air Asia. I might go with a partner, but the partner I chose must be a non-newbie blogger, who must also report on blog. Coincidentally, my partner is a long-time blogger too. Here we go!

It needed days before I could actually get  the ticket from Kualalumpur to London Stansted and return (I had to pay for the airport tax to confirm the ticket). Until now I haven’t received the ticket from Jakarta to Kualalumpur and return. But today I have submitted the UK Visa application. It will need about 10 days for approval. Wow :).

Meanwhile, here is my brief plan: London -> Thirsk -> York -> Coventry -> Cardiff -> London

  • London. Air Asia will terminate at Stansted around midnight. We will need a rest before our terrestrial journey. So, Day-1 will be occupied by short cultural visits in London. British Museum, or London Symphony Orchestra, or others.
  • Thirsk. All started here. In this tiny town, the late Alf Wight used to work as a veterinarian, and then wrote his book If Only They Could Talk, with his pseudo James Herriot. Thirsk was altered as Darrowby. The translation of this book in Indonesian — Seandainya Mereka Bisa Bicara — started my interest of writing my diary — and then blogs. Anything Andrea Hirata wrote, Edensor has nothing to do with James Herriot.
  • York. The voted best UK city. The cemetery of James Herriot. And the squirrels.
  • Coventry. In english, the idiom sent to Coventry means excommunicated. But here in Coventry I pursued my master degree in telecommunications. A reunion with my alma mater and the city I lived years ago must be interesting.
  • Birmingham. The perfect couple of Coventry, it is also the biggest city in the UK after London.
  • Cardiff. I have visited Scotland, including the capital Edinburgh and the highlands. So I decide in this session to visit Cardiff (Caerdydd), the capital of Wales (Cymru). In Wales, they speak both English and Welsh (rooted in celtic).
  • London. London has many uniqueness worth another visit, before the return fly to Indonesia.

Oh, if anyone wants to sponsor the travel: to pay the hotels, the train & coach tickets, etc, don’t hesitate to contact me :).

Read More

Coventry Inspires

As you might know, this is not my first blog, nor my first english blog. But on recent days, when you search «coventry» in images.google.com, you will find the first picture refers to my first english blog: koen.telkom.us. Here’s the picture:

coventry_lighting

The first time I read about Coventry was when I read «The Secret Seven» by Enid Blyton. The idiom «being sent to Coventry» according to the book means being excommunicated. There is a real history about that, actually. But interestingly, then I lived in Coventry to study communications :D. I lived one year in that historical town to pursue my postgrad in telecommunications technology in Coventry University.

Both Coventry and Coventry University have a phoenix as their logo. Also there is a history about that. In World War II, The Luftwaffe has bombed almost all essential part of the city. The city was totally destroyed into dust and debris. But from the ashes, a new Coventry was born. Like a phoenix, it was born from its ashes, created itself with greater spirit. It tied itself with Stalingrad as sister city for solidarity, but then also with Dresden for reconciliation. The spirit of Coventry makes the world believes that even from a great catastrophe we can rise and shine the world. Coventry inspires.

Sometimes I use or wear the picture of the Coventry’s phoenix. It inspires to see the phoenix in me. I am not an all-time winner. But I surely know that each time I fall: I will rise, and I will shine.

Read More
content top