Sunday, October 30, 2011

Leaping Salmon

The first time I heard about leaping salmon was many years back when watching National Geographic with my Dad - it is so intriguing watching the salmon fighting its way upstream to spawn and sadly to die as well.  I also remember seeing physical changes to the salmon as it makes its way from the ocean to the spawning ground.

So, during my first Autumn in Dundee when I heard that there are a few spots in Scotland where we can watch leaping salmon, I was so excited but somehow I couldn't make it then.

Anyway, I finally managed to do so last Wednesday (Oct 26, 2011).  And what an experience it was!  Though there are are few spots throughout Scotland, we went to the closest to Dundee. It's at Buchanty Spout somewhere not far from Crieff (What a lovely town it is!). I think it is one of the best kept secret Perthshire ever have. I am still very tired of the journey as such, do enjoy the photos.

The sign to Buchanty Spout

It's an awesome view, trust me!

Our first leaping salmon!

The second!

The view from the bridge

Till then - Enjoy your weekends :-D

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Look who's talking....

Just as I was about to lie down and have my own me time that fine Saturday afternoon, Aqil and Damia rushed into my room.

"Are you married to Baba?" asked Aqil snuggling beside me.

"Of course I am!" I said

He sit up, faced me and said, " If I am a boy and married to a girl and a baby come out, will the baby knows the boy and the girl is married?"

"Ok. I get what you mean..."

"Exactly!That's why I never know if you are married to Baba. I never see it!"

Goodness me! Just what are they learning at school nowadays?

I haven't yet quite getting into responding to him when Damia who pulled herself closer to me started asking.

"Do you love Baba?"

"Yes I do."

"Are you happy with him?"

"Yes, I am."

"Do you know that if you are ever fed-up with him you can divorce him?" (Well, she's asking me this so gently and so full of  innocence.)

I was shocked actually but I simply asked back

"Will you define divorce for me, please."

"When a party brought a flower to another party and say I'm sorry, and the other party who supposed to answer said No, then you get a divorce." She responded triumphantly. I don't know if I have to cry or to laugh - I mean seriously!

Oh my Dear God! What are these young children exposed to nowadays? Is it simply freedom of speech? I can't remember discussing marriage or divorce with my parents when I was 5 or 7 - I don't even think about these words. And I can't imagine what trouble I will get into if I do ask these or even suggest these topics when I were at that age!

Anyway, I am very glad that I didn't faint that day. Is it because we are lenient with our children that they know they can discuss anything with their parents. That reminds me of what happened a week ago.  I was in the kitchen with my husband preparing lunch when I asked my eldest to go to the shop and get me a copy of the "People's Friend" magazine - oh yes, call me whatever you like but I love this magazine. 10 minutes later he pushed open the kitchen door, magazine in hand in what I can described as shock and anger, "Oh my Goodness!I think I lost my virginity!" Both my husband and I were so shocked we cannot respond immediately.

"You're gone for 10 minutes and lost your virginity?! What happened?" I finally asked when I finally found my voice - better be an explanation.

"There no People's Friend at the Cooperative so I went to Nisa! I was flipping through the magazine, yeah, and not one! but two! Can you imagine? Two magazines with topless women as cover! Oh my God!" he rushed the words with one breath in pure disgraced.

Oh Dear! One of these days both my husbands and I are seriously in for heart attack!  I'm not entirely sure nowadays which is more shocking - to be a child or a parent. At times, I felt so exhausted by these children, I started to wonder if they are really mine? Ours?

Anyway, in case you are wondering about Damia's suggestion, my husband and I are still very much in love with each other. You can ask him. He's beside me now.

Till then :-D

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ramblings ........ Oh No!

Salam & Great Evening Everyone :-D

Again, it is a very long while before I am here again but Thank you Kindly, for those who visit this space of mine.  Today, I reached home early - not because I turned over new leaf like it's my new resolution or anything but because I have to attend my daughter's Parents' Evening.  Since my husband works evening, I have no choice but to go - at least before the teacher thought that my daughter has no Mum! Damia joined this school on September 5 this year and I have never been to her morning coffee, assembly, etc,.. So, today is the first for me to meet her class teacher - Mrs W.

My slot was set at 5.30 p.m.  So, in order not to be late I left the office at 3.15 p.m - acting like the irresponsible employee who couldn't care less if she meets the deadline (that's on the surface - deep down, my mind was in turmoil!). The first part of my journey - by underground from Hyde Park Corner to King's Cross St Pancras went well.  As I stepped into the National Railway station, there was a lot of people waiting and queuing! My heart skipped a beat! Not again! The train to Bedford is delayed due to signalling problem! Gladly, after about 15 minutes, the train finally approached.  And 15 minutes later it stopped! This can't be happening! Not on the day when I was about to meet my daughter's teacher! I was getting very restless when the train was moving again! Thank Goodness!

Well, you see, I am the kind of person who should not be left alone without anything to do.  Such, I always carry a book with me so I can read during my train journey. Now, as it happened, I didn't carry any book at all. Not even a note book to write something on.  Reason behind this is, other than my love for reading and so-called vocabulary enriching, to stop my mind from wandering.

You see, as I don't have anything to do - though I did try to close my eyes to catch up on sleep - forget it! after 3 minutes, pretending to sleep can be very tiring - so, my mind started wandering.  It is already 4.18 and I haven't even reached St Albans yet... Hmm... and the bus interval to where I stay is every half hour. Oh Dear! Looks like I don't have time to fetch Mia from home.  Maybe I can just turn-up on my own - put up a string of apologies to the teacher for not having time to get my daughter in order to keep my 5.30 slot? Another thought comes to mind - what if Mrs W is not convinced that I am Mia's Mum? And she refused to discuss Mia's development at school with me? What if she thinks that I am an impersonator? What if she thinks that the real Mia's Mum paid me to go instead of turning up herself? I mean just in case Mia is doing very badly at school.  To help ease my mind, I text my husband - as usual there's no reply. So I text my friend at the office, " Is it alright to turn up without my daughter?". "It's ok." came the reply. "Won't the teacher thought I am an impersonator or paid to go?" I asked. "Actually I have never been. Not sure!" You should by now why I love my friend/s! :-D

Just as I was trying to figure out what to say to the teacher, there was an incoming text - just a simple "Yes" from my husband. Oh Dear! At the rate the train is going I can say goodbye to my 5.30 slot. But somehow, by some twist of luck - more likely just trying my patience, I managed to arrive at Luton Station at around 4.30. I rushed out, walking like a madman (madwomen in my case!) to the bus stop. But, you see, the short cut to the bus stop is through a shopping mall. And woman being woman - though I was hard pushed I managed to dropped by Boots to purchase 2 concealers - I know you must thing that I am mad! For that few moments at Boots, I was.

Not a few steps after I left Boots, my phone rang - Oh no! My home no!
"Mum, where are you?" came the voice of my eldest.
"I am on my way to the bus stop, Darling! Why?"
"You know your slot is at 5.30, right?"
"Yes Darling. Why?"
"Well, it's 5 to, now. you better be quick." like he knows of his Mum's detour!
"OK. I am running now - there's a bus at 2 past! I'll be there Darling. Just tell Damia to get ready, OK?"
And I was running - I mean really running like my-life-depend-on-it kind of running! Especially when I saw the bus was about ready to leave. I made it somehow! By the skin of my teeth!

Maybe, it is good for you to know that both Damia and I managed to make our slot.  I won't discuss in detail what Mrs W informed me about my daughter but she said I should be extremely proud of her. And for Maths, she is doing Year 4 work despite being a Year 3. Well, I just hope she keeps up the good work!

Till then :-D

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ramadhan Kareem Everyone :-D

I received through my office email a few days ago a message from a friend of mine in KL ,"when are you going to update your blog?  It has been a long time!"  Oh Dear, if he knows that I am practically killing myself to cope with everything!

The children is on Summer break now.  As my beloved husband landed himself in a part-time job (evening job), I am technically on flexi-hours.  Well, over here if you have school going children, you can actually opt for flexi-hours.  I said "technically" as on paper, my office hour is from 7.45 a.m to 3.45 p.m.  It is just that somehow, though more often I arrived the office before 7.45 in the morning, I found it hard to leave at 3.45 p.m not that I don't want to! Just how could I simply leave everything especially when it is only done mid-way? Beats me even thinking about it!

A lot happened since my last entry - the saddest being the passing of my M-I-L after nearly two years battling with the Big C - never being one asking to be pampered she fights through until her last breath - leaving us all in her sleep.  No more bubbly chat, no more asking for recipes, no more expecting her here this Autumn.....planning a trip up north and no more expecting the exceptionally tasty food she always prepared for us... This Eid, there'll be no more calling her seeking for her forgiveness and prayers - she's in our memory now with a very special place in our hearts. May she be in peace with her Creator, in His loving embrace...Amin...

For us who were left behind, life has to go on.  Until the day when we too will be summoned...

Back to my friend Idzni's (the Irish guy) email. He was asking about the Ramadhan over here - besides no    Pasar Ramadhan and no mums and aunties, sisters and brothers to tumpang berbuka - Well, we go through our Ramadhan very moderately really.  And since there are a lot of Muslim populations here in Luton, our Tesco and Sainsbury put up Ramadhan Mubarak posters and stocked in more Halal Meat and Halal Chicken" sections - and though we cannot get stall-bought mee goreng, kuay teow and the like, we still can buy the ingredients and cook them ourselves - Bury Park is never short of briyani, pilao and kebab - we have Halal KFC here too. As for Tarawikh, we have Islamic Centre, Jame' Mosque and no less than two others - all in all, it is about the same except perhaps the length of fasting that we have to do daily now that it is summer - the early days of Ramadhan, it is from around 3.40 a. m to around 9.00 p.m but I am really glad my Damia has been fasting in full except for the days when 1. it was so cold and her tummy ached, 2. she accidentally took the offer of peanuts from her brother Aqil (cheeky!) and cried when she realised what she did; 3. yesterday when her tummy ached and her Dad asked her to break her fast.  All-in-all it is quite well done as she's only 7.

Eid? Maybe this time I will take a day leave.  If not, I will go to work imagining in my head the song "Dari Jauh Ku Pohon Maaf" from the moment I stepped into St Pancras.  Or maybe "Dendang Perantau"? Well, that depends really.  Oh yes, talking about Eid, I have yet to give my Sister the details for the Baju Raya that I need for the Office's Eid Reception! Wait aah... Along! I love you :-D

Till then! Have a Great Ramadhan and a Great Weekend Everyone :-D


Source of image : Moon over Uni of Dundee from the Dundee University website

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Last Weekend

It was a very fine Saturday last weekend. The weather was really really good and since I decided not to go to work, we have quite a fun Saturday together.

Since moving down here, our Saturdays were no longer filled with trips to the farms or sea side like we always did when we were in Dundee. Anyway, after reading from the newspaper a fruit farm located around 30 minutes from where we stay started opening its door for strawberry picking - so, we decided to check it out. And what fun it was! For not only the fruit farm also has an adjoining area for car boot sales, it has a good size play area as well - of course the children are overwhelmed! So, let me just share some of our photos!

Ready for a good harvest. But where are the others? Well, they never learn that you can get good strawberries at the nearer plot. Even in this case, they always thought that the grass is greener in the farther field - in this case, the strawberries are redder at the farther plots

Post harvest

Farm Worker - under protest?!

Danish! How do I get down?!!!

Hmm.... Not a high as I imagined!...

Where do I go now, Danish?

All four in the various stages

Here I go...!


Join us Mumsie!

Kids and climbing goes hand in hand.....

So, where are the parents? Just waiting while enjoying the strawberries?... Hmm.... no wonder the abdomens are getting bigger!

We are on top of the world!

Nope! This is not the Statue on top of the Empire States Building! Nor a participant of the Olympic run

Busy up there? What? congestion? Hmmm....

Well, it is just a few hay.....

When we reached home, still with the fruit-picking spirit, the children asked their father if they can pick the cherries to which their father succumbed to.  Well, the photo below, though it looks like we are nicking the neighbour's cherries, we're not! Take a careful look of where the tree is. It is our side of the fence. It is ours - errr... our Landlord's actually - but mind you, we were given the permission.  You see, there are more ripe cherries at the branches where it grows to the neighbour's side of the fence.

Father & son team - trying their hardest for a good harvest! It is dangerous for the Father to climb the ladder and "rest" against the fence. Err.... let's just say, it is not good for his health - such the service of the Son was very much required.

Why do you have to go to the other side?

So, these are the result of our pickings last Saturday.  And in case you wonder what become of the strawberries? Well, here it is ....

Turned into Strawberry Cheesecake

Care for some? :-D

Hope you have enjoyed your Saturday like we did! Sunday? Well, that'll be a different story....Cheers!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Here They Are...

I have two sets of children - the going pre-teens and the kids. Well, I don't know if there are such classifications but there are 4 years gap between the younger pre-teen and the elder kid. If there is one thing that I found I am not "quite getting at yet" with my two sets is communication.  No! Don't get me wrong - We are very close to our children but somehow their jargons make us feel so lost and of course, old.

The other day after a few cuddles, I asked Aqil, "are you my Baby?", Danish butted in and said "No, he's not, he is a dude!" "No, he's not - he's actually still a toddler - a 60 months old baby if you like." I said. "No! I am not a toddler! I am a kid!" declared the kid in question. "I don't care," I said, "you will still be my Baby - all of you are my babies!" Hakim apparently couldn't take it anymore,"Oh shush Ibu, get a life..!" in what he called his "grown-up" voice. You see what I mean?

A few months back we watched Shutter Island.  I was saying, "Why do they have to go through that hassle of getting to the island by boat? Can't they just hop on a helicopter?" To which Damia said, "Helicopter is not invented yet during that time." You see? Now who's the mother? I used to be the one giving that line to her.

Last week, Danish accompanied me to the office so that he can enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet - to revise for his Science test.  around 4.00 pm my collegue Aidil announced, "It's already 4 hours.I am leaving shortly." To which I responded,"Funny how our hypothalamus works - somehow it is set to 4 hours, and we sort of "not here" anymore - our in-built alarm clock is working it seems". Of course Danish added, "I thought hypothalamus is your wake up system". "No it does not only just do that!" I defended myself. "I learn that at school Ibu" "Oh yes, and I took Biology as one of my subjects in my Degree" (Mum can be so sad nowadays especially in the defensive department).  "OK. Let's google it." And as it is of course it says among others,

Quote."The main function of the hypothalamus is homeostasis, or maintaining the body's status quo. Factors such as blood pressure, body temperature, fluid and electrolyte balance, and body weight are held to a precise value called the set-point. Although this set-point can migrate over time, from day to day it is remarkably fixed" Unquote.

Well, I rest my case.  Yesterday, we have a skype session with my Mum and many of my nieces and nephews and their children.  It is a very happy occasion.  It is a relief to see one's Mum looking happy and we  talked about nothing - well, if you asked me, I can't really remember anything very serious in our conversation.  We let the children sing for their Granny and told her things they did at school, showing her their certificates won at school.  Oh yes, we were also discussing some business proposals with my nephew, Said. Well, I hope he didn't forget the research that he has to undertake.

Everything went well until Danish blurted to his cousin, Khansa' (to be frank, both of them are fond of each other, hence the frequent teasing between them!), "language, Khansa', language" said him.  "what did I say wrong?" asked Khansa'. "You are an English teacher, c'mon, you know where you make your mistake." Danish kept on, Finally, not taking it anymore, Khansa' just blurted out,"Damn you!" And we take it in good manner. "You are sick, Khansa'" said Danish,... another of their jargon. "Sick?" To which I have to butt in. "It means, Cool, Khansa. It gets into my nerves when they first use that word. Not a single connection, but that's it!"

Hmmm... I am not sure really whether how I tackle the "language" problem with my kids are right.  But we are always very close with our children.  We talk about everything - though sometimes the topic are not to my taste, but I get along. I want soo... much to be their Mum and at the same time their friend.  I want them to come to me first when they encounter any of those teenage problem or problems... such, I have to instill in them the feelings that they can trust me. To build this, I need to understand them and to be in constant communication with them.  Praise to the Al-Mighty for all parents who has done the right thing in bringing up their children.  It is a hard hard work.

Till then.

(Sources of images : cartoon from Wikiedu; hypothalamus from psychedu; lavender with bumblebee from

Saturday, May 14, 2011

City? Nope!

Many times I was asked why do I not move down to London.  I put in long hours, I have 4 schooling children and by staying where I am now, the journey to and fro can take around 3 to 31/2 hours each day.

Well, my answer will always be I cannot afford to live in London. This will normally be followed by, "But the fare is expensive, isn't it?". To which I answered, "Yes it is but still, expensive it may be, when I add all my core expenses like my rental, council tax, utility bills, my broadband, tv license, etc,..., it is still much cheaper than staying in London".  But sometimes other questions will follow, "But if you move here, there will be more opportunities for your husband to get a job" to which I almost asked, "and who will take care of my children, then?" which I didn't.

Anyway, there are many reasons why I do not want to stay too close to the City other than it simply is beyond my means.  Sometimes I also wonder, why can't people just mind their own business without prying into others.  My choice of where to stay has nothing to do with them and I sometimes wonder if I  were to follow their suggestion to move down, will they contribute to some of my monthly expenses? I know they will never ask me again if I do that but well,...

Come back to the main issue.  Our house is basically close to everything - By everything, it means a GP, a pharmacy, grocery store, schools (nursery, junior and secondary), laundry, chippy (during emergency), two convenient stores, a charity shop (most important to satisfy my reading desire), a large park - all these within 5 to 10 minutes walk.  And when at other places, it is difficult to set an appointment to meet a GP, here, we can simply call in the morning and normally we are already sitting in front of the GP at around 10.00 a.m or 11 a.m at most, same day.  So why should I leave?

Yes, I admit, there are times when the thought of having to endure the one hour or so journey home after a long day (errr... night) is sooo... daunting and discouraging but still, it is a very minor problem.

To be frank, among the more important reason is that I am simply not a "City" person.  I enjoy a peace and quite setting (like a library? my daughter asked). I couldn't really stand the hustle and bustle of the City. To me, it is all right as a "work" place but not a "stay" place.  But that doesn't mean I do not like civilisation. Those are two different things.

Like last week, as per every Sunday we went to a Car Boot sale.  Not the one at Leighton Buzzard as it is closed due to the forecasted heavy rain.  So, we went to the one in Tring, Aylesbury somewhere in Buckinghamshire about 30 minutes away- oh I just love the countryside with trees lining the road and farms along the way - it is heavenly to me when I see miles and miles of rapeseed, acres and acres of sheep farms.  We stopped at the Wilstone Reservoir and enjoy the peaceful scenery, we dropped by Burbourton and walked along the canal with narrow boats moored by its sides. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but it is for us or at least it is for me).

Sources of images : canal boat from; poppy anemone from

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Oh Really?

We had a 4-days weekend last week. And as if that is not enough, it will be repeated this coming week.  Hopefully the good weather will be as good as it was too though the temperature dropped from 28 Degrees on Friday down to 16 degrees on Monday. 

We went to Stratford-upon-Avon for a day trip  - just to stroll by the River Avon - too bad - we forgotten to charge out batteries, so no photos. The children ran around happily like wild bunnies.  People everywhere - sun bathing, boating, river cruising - everyone sharing the warmth of early Summer - by right it is only Spring.  But we didn't stay that long.  It is very hot and after strolling along one side of the River, we decided to find somewhere shady to pray and to have lunch.  Over here, basically, whenever we were out, we will just pray anywhere - anywhere as in, under the trees, somewhere in the parking area (grassy area preferably) or any space under the stairs - as long as it is clean, no problem.  Compass pointing the Qiblat is very easy to carry - no problem at all  - praying mat? OK if we remember to bring it along. If not? No problem - the field will do. Or perhaps our outer jacket - Oh C'mon! 

Anyway, sorry for having diverted from what I was planning to share.  I had quite a long conversation with  my Sister last Sunday.  Among the many topics, we were talking about rice.  I was telling her that before I left Malaysia (or Bolehland, borrowing the term from DrSam of Archive of Time), the price of a 10kg AA was around RM30. And I was quite shocked when she said it is RM41 now.  Wow! And the so-called healthy rice is at RM6 per kg? Oh Dear! What is happening really?  So when I told her the price of rice over here, she was saying, "You are better off there, really."  You see, currently the price of basmati rice is at £5 per sack of 5kg. And if you purchase 3 sacks, the price is £10 - it is 3 for 2.  And believe me, rice is among the items that are always on sale.  I am not quite sure why  -  as the staple food of this country is not rice.  Is it to keep the stock moving? Or is it because rice is considered perishable?  Perhaps you can tell me - But whatever the reason is, it is quite comforting as we are among the minority household who eats rice quite regularly - Well, we always purchase a 10kg rice on a monthly supply.

Now, when I am thinking back about the price of rice in Bolehland - it is quite disturbing isn't it? For whatever sake it is, Rice is a staple food.  Why is the price going upwards and not down? Something wrong with the distribution line? Though only 45% of the Bolehland's rice is supplied domestically, it still does not seem right. What quality of life can be enjoyed by those with lower income bracket if they are struggling to purchase their staple? Forget chicken, fish, etc,... If I tell you that we can get 3 baby chickens for £5 here and a kg of chicken wings for £1.99, will you believe me?  You have to because it is true.

Anyway, if the price of rice is so high, what is the price of Nasi Lemak now? I can only imagine....! Oh Dear!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Good Evening Frank!

Hmm... I am quite unsure whether I should share this story.  I do not know how I will be thought of after I share this with you.  You may think that I am a bit crazy or perhaps, at least a little insane (am I barmy?). But before I share with you whatever that I wanted to share, let me ask you a question.  Have you at any time meet a person and think that he looks like a George or she looks like a Lina or something? Sometimes you just feel like a certain name should suit this person - have you? Or not? No? Not at all? Well, then, I may be in the verge of insanity.

You see, I sometimes have that feeling.  Please don't think that I have been giving people names that I feel they should be named along my train ride everyday - well, I will be running out of names before I reached St. Pancras from Luton - regardless of some can share the same name.

Anyway, let's get back to what I wanted to share. There is this Security Officer on night duty at the building where my office is.  Every sense of me is telling me somehow, he looks like a Frank, and so before my brain can stop my mouth from addressing him, I called out "Good Night Frank. You take care." I know! I know! I should have checked with my colleague.  But since he is always on night duty and I am almost always the last to leave the building, I always forgotten to ask.  And good natured as he is, he never try to correct me. (You see what I mean when I feel that he looks like a Frank?) He will always respond, " And you!" Sometimes we engaged in a small talk but all the while, he is Frank.  And so, what's the problem, you may ask! Nothing, really..... until the night before I suddenly feel that I need to check with my colleague if my guess is correct. I sent a text to him and he responded, "You mean the guy who is on night duty? But his name is Brian...!" Of course he text me more than just that, but let's not share it.  So,... my hunch is not right after all. You see, the problem is, I have been calling him Frank since last August.....! Hopefully, it is still not too late to make amends - So, tonight, as I emerged from the elevator and saw him sitting at his usual place, I put on a big confident smile and finally said, "Quite an early night tonite, Brian - you take care now and have a Great Weekend!" "And you! Let's just hope the weather is as good as it was last weekend." he called out in his usual good natured manner. He deserved justice, that man.  Perhaps he is saying "At last!" or may be I am really getting barmy!

By the way, you have a Great Weekend too! :-D

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Back Garden

It has been quite some time before I really explore my own back garden - narrow and small though it is. Despite always wishing that I can spend more time in the garden - digging, weeding and whatever it is that needs to be done in a garden, the cold weather always put me off.  Now, last weekend the weather was really great. It was beautiful. The air is crispy (if you can call air that) and fresh and nicely fragrant. Aah...! The feeling of fresh air!  

Anyway, let me walk you through my long and narrow back garden :

The flowering apple tree - looks like it will be quite a harvest so long as we manage it on time

Close-up of the soon to be budding apple

My flowering grass

Another flowering grass

My vegetable patch - that's the broad beans

Well, maybe I will share more snaps when it gets prettier in Summer.  Anyway, just so that my tiny patch of front garden (if it can be called so) not feels left out, I will share with you the snaps of my red and yellow ramunculus. Excuse the yellow ramunculus. I have yet to transfer it.  

Hopefully the weather will turn out to be better.  I can't wait for every plants to be flowering and bearing fruits.  Well, when the rosehips are flowering and of course my begonias are in full bloom, I will take you for another visit to both my tiny gardens.