Monday, 31 August 2015

Two. Magnificent Seven.

The Team // Our name, the Magnificent Seven : Feyi, Ye, Steph, Nick, John, Kevin & I. In the mornings we would do a cringe-y warm up jog, stretch & hands in as we chanted, Maaaaaaaag 7! Not a usual student sight. Through the days of walking, everyone was encouraging and we somehow managed (probably thanks to Steph) to stay on route without getting lost! 

The other 6 of us also fell quite naturally into roles; Kevin - the one who kept everyone positive with his incredibly seagull-like laughter, Nick -who never missed an opportunity for a new profile picture, Ye - our paparazzi professional & teacher of all things Malaysian, John - an intellect with hilarious comments & Feyi - my campmate and our mother away from home, always helpful and putting others first. As for myself, you'd have to ask the team but haribo eater would probably pop up.......

The injuries // The main challenge for our team was the day we climbed Snowdon. Not due to navigation or difficulty but to injuries. Steph had managed to persevere with the first couple of days walk despite constant cramps but this was one walk too many and half way up Snowdon the cramps became too much. Nick & Kevin were swiftly in to help, carrying the rucksack and suggesting stretches but the pain was too much and a leader had to meet us to help her back down to the minivan. Having lost our best navigator and good friend, morale was a little lower and just before we reached the top we lost another member. Feyi had powered through the days but the final steep climb to the peak (which we had to literally run up to keep in time) was an extra she preferred to quite wisely bypass. 2 team members down, we ran to the peak & did a rushed photoshoot before picking up our pace to catch up Feyi and the other team by the lake. Not an easy day.

The last day // It was wonderful. As this was a practice expedition, Rick & Keith (our leaders) decided to treat us to a walk without our backpacks and only half the planned route for the day. By lunchtime we were 14kg lighter with a reunited team, sky high morale & the end in sight. We even managed to finish our walk by lunchtime, and substituted our pittas and honey for a well deserved full english (vegetarian for me) breakfast. The following 9 hours consisted of playing mafia & a long mini bus ride back to London with plenty of singing, hysterical laughter & haribos. Ready for hiking round II!

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My friend recommended this from Banksy's Dismaland, I like it a lot - The Employment

Thursday, 27 August 2015

One. Starry Nights & Steep Ascents.

4 days. 7 students. 70km. Duke of Edinburgh award brought my team to Snowdonia for a week as we hiked over mountains with everything we needed on our backs. For months we had been meeting up, learning first aid, how to cook, the best way to plan our routes. We had learnt a lot but we weren't quite sure how things would translate into reality. This was our practice expedition. 

Devil's Kitchen // The hardest ascent we faced. We navigated our way up the mountain clouded by mist and rain. Everything suggested we were on the right path - the map, contour lines, environment, timing, compass readings, everything. Except there was no path. We could see where the path was meant to be and where we were meant to go, but it was going to be a scramble to get there. We ascended one after the other pulling ourselves up using our hands & trying to balance our rucksacks. Once in a while we would call out numbers in order, to check we were all there (kind of a joke but actually kind of needed it on this climb). Half a day after we left the campsite, a bright red man emerged from the fog. We had been on the right 'path' all along, it was our assessor! Celebratory bagels and a nutella squeeze later - we were ready for the rest of the 18km.

The Food // This was probably the most important part of the trip for our team. When we were planning, food always came first. And when I say food, I mean snacks....... HARIBOS. Literally my favourite. My team soon found out the amount of motivation a haribo brought me. Sore feet, cold fingers and sleepy eyes all vanished as soon as the haribos came out. Definite highlight. Not to mention the hysterical laughter all that sugar can bring a team - mainly myself and Nick (also a Haribo addict......)

Starry night // On the second/third/first/fourth night (I lost track..), and after a small detour around some King Arthur filming, we arrived at a beautiful but incredibly windy campsite. We were freezing cold, our feet were numb and our campsite was located in a deep valley with wind howling through. After a battle against the wind to keep the tents up, we had another to keep our gas flames going for the food. No flame = no food. Despite all our head chef's best efforts (Kevin), nothing. A few hours later we discovered the gas had run out so our DofE committee came to the rescue with a replacement for the night. And so we cooked a FEAST. Any extra food we had was cooked and even the simplest of foods was beautiful. A few hours later after a cramped game of cheat & a warm shower, I walked back to my tent and literally gasped at how incredible the stars were. The sky was full. I have literally never seen such an amazing view, framed in the valley.

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A beautiful cover // He Lives in You - Durant
I like this music video more everytime I watch it // Crystals

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Barbican on Sundays.

The Barbican is the place I discovered my favourite film. The place my parents visited before they had children. The place my mother brought me to find out more about architecture. The place to meet good friends, old friends, family.

On Sundays, the Barbican also becomes host to one of London's most beautiful botanical gardens.

When I arrived in London, the busy days and restless activities were so different to my previous village life. I loved it. It was what I needed. But after a year of London I've found that my favourite spaces in London are the quiet ones. The parks, hidden streets, gardens. The Barbican is one of these places.

p.s. the restaurant is lovely too. we spent a whole afternoon and evening there. genuinely.

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