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Tag Archives: 楊春龍

不知道為甚麼,一直沒有完成這篇2014年夏天的遊記。不過,時至今日,也沒有打算繼續完成了,畢竟時過境遷,心情有所不同了。

Somehow never got this one done. But I don’t intend to, as it’s been two whole years and the feelings would not be the same. My memory doesn’t work that well anyway 😛

滇貓神豬美歐咪2016年12月2日寫於新加坡

May Oh Mee in Singapore, 02-12-2016

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這麼多年來,超過一半的時間,我們幾乎都過著「單親」家庭的生活,特別是隻身帶著梅小獸搬來英國的這四年。也許是這個緣故,去年夏天結束後,我就一直很想度個「自己的」假,從容自在,不必理會撈什子母親、妻子甚至是女兒/媳婦的責任。

Had been wanting a holiday badly ever since last summer. A holiday when and where I could be myself, without having to worry about my duty as the wife, mother, and daughter. And, without  having to feel guilty for not revolving my day around others, for being myself.

當女人真的不是件容易的事,尤其在我們的文化中。結了婚,你就成為夫家的財產,可能連回個娘家探望父母都必須徵求同意 — 雖然,照理說,娘家父母本該享有公婆的平等地位(我常常覺得「百善孝为先」是騙人的,娘家父母除非是懂得強勢做人的,不然只有吃癟的二等公民身分)。很多時候,丈夫的經濟大權在握,成了控制我們這些全職媽媽的手段。說到底,不過當你是免費的女佣、家教、 保母和雞。

You see, sometimes, it can be hard to be a woman. Particularly in our culture, once you get married, your spouse and in-laws basically OWN you. Meaning, your every move is in their control and needs their approval, even a simple thing like visiting your own parents who’re supposed to be part of the newly-merged family (Merged? Really? It seems such a big lie to me more often than not, sadly. What about the old, old Chinese saying ‘Filial piety is one of the virtues to be held above all else’? So why aren’t my parents yours if you want me to treat yours as my own?). And for someone like me, a homemaker cum stay-at-home mum, the meanness with money is the way to manipulate  you. In other words, you’re not exactly treated as the ‘other half’. It’s more like you’re working hard as a maid, a private tutor cum babysitter and prostitute… All for free.

當年,醫生建議我們為爸爸安排安寧照護後,我就著手計畫帶梅小獸搬回台灣,希望能陪伴爸爸走好最後一程;爸媽為我們辛苦了一輩子,咱們母女又是最受寵的,現在正是回報這份恩情的時候。可是,媽媽和哥哥都問:「這樣好嗎?婆婆不會說話嗎?你結婚的人了。。。」

我懂這是基於愛護的心理,怕萬一被夫家藉口虧待了,遠水救不了近火(我還真的有過經驗:在公車轉運站無路可去 — 因為娘家遠在重洋外 — 只能抱著還不會走路的祥祥在原地哭)。

When the doctor advised us to arrange hospice care for Dad, I started planning moving back to Taiwan with Beam, in the hope of keeping Dad company for the last part of his journey after having been absent for ages. He’d given us his all and this was the least I could for my beloved Dad. Time to repay the love I owed. However, even Mum and my brothers made such remarks regarding this plan of mine, ‘Is it really alright? You know you’re married, a daughter-in-law. Wouldn’t it upset your ma-in-law and your husband?’

They were only trying to protect Beam and me, for they wouldn’t be able to reach out in time if my in-laws decided to pick on me because of this. Such as once, when I came to a bus interchange and realised I had nowhere to go since my family of origin was thousands of miles away; I was hit by the immense helplessness and just burst into tears with Beam, who hadn’t learnt how to walk yet, in my arms.   

這是我們文化裡「男尊女卑」的鐵證:女人上不了原生家庭的族譜,在夫家也是人人都比你高級的不知道幾等公民。最糟的是,這樣的歧視,女人們也就乖乖接受了。幸運如我,有娘家的鼎力支持;那些與原生家庭本就親情淡薄的呢?

‘Filial piety is one of the virtues to be held above all else’… my arse! You can flush that down in the toilet bowl once you get married, because your parents and other family just don’t count any more. In your  family tree of origin, you wouldn’t find your name, because you’re female. Then, in your ‘new family’, everyone’s above you, because you’re an outsider. Literally, you’re a second-class citizen. But the worst part is that many women just condone this shit…

Lucky daughters like me can always count on unquestionable support in all forms from our family of origin, but what about families that don’t function that well?

離題了。

I digress.

去年暑假過後,我和梅小獸就很堅定,明年夏天哪兒都不去!燦爛陽光、繁盛繽紛的花草,沒什麼比得上英格蘭的明媚夏日風情。但今年,左思右想,我還是訂了機票。。。

After last summer, Beam and I had made up our mind to stay put for the next summer. The lovely sunshine, gardens in full bloom… Nothing beats a fine English summer!

。。。在外的人,最苦的是記掛家裡,我對台北是一點也不想,但家中大小夜夜都來入夢,隔著千山萬水,如果有點什麼,我是要悔死了。。。

這出自三毛在1974年6月27日寫給姊姊的家書,讀來心有戚戚焉。坦白講,我們根本不會想回亞洲,畢竟英國才是我們胼手胝足打造出來的家。

所以,只要有預定回亞洲的行程,心情都是複雜的,與親友團聚固為人生樂事之一,但,在一個缺乏歸屬感的環境中,就是無法放鬆。也因此進而衍生出「行前症候群」,思緒只要一觸及此,整個人就懶呼呼的,超沒勁兒。

But, this summer, after much consideration, I booked the flights back to Asia anyway. Frankly, England is the only place where we call home, because we worked hard for it. The thing is Mum’s aging, meaning family is really the only reason that makes me move my butt. This is also why I always have mixed feelings and pre-commencement jitters  when it comes to trips back to Asia. It’s great to spend time with your loved ones, but I just can’t relax much in a place where I don’t belong. 

學校假期開始後,那股懶勁突然飆到最高點,雖然每天依舊乖乖完成分內事,內心卻空虛得很。

終於,某個夜晚,盯著電子信箱裡旅遊網站的廣告,心突然躍動起來;想想,母女倆一直以來相依為命,但似乎並沒有專屬的旅遊回憶。嗯,扳指頭算了算存款,決定來個四天三夜的迷你假期。

This restlessness reached a peak when the school holiday started. I tried to keep life as usual, calmly; but to be quite honest, I felt empty deep down. 

One night, when I stared at the pop-up ad by some travel website, all of a sudden, my heart skipped a beat! I thought to myself: You know, we’ve only had each other for most of the time throughout the years, so how come we haven’t yet shared any travel memory which is exclusively ours and ours alone?…

I did some calculation.

Cool! Enough for a three-night mini break!

So, I spent two nights planning and arranging the trip.

花了兩個晚上搞定住宿、交通,然後告知祥:「去倫敦喔。」

上電腦就一幅殭屍樣的梅小獸,沉吟了一會兒:「那希望我們不是住那種跛腳旅社。」

I announced proudly, ‘We’re going to London!’ 

Beam was on her laptop, and she always had a ‘zombie’ face at moments like this. She looked up at me and after a few seconds, ‘Well, I hope we’re not staying in some  crap hotel then.’

不怪她,倫敦物價高,我們幾次住比較廉價的 B&B,不但空間狹窄,浴室更令人透不過氣,讓我十分好奇那些高頭大馬的洋人究竟怎麼洗澡,因為連我這樣比他們小一號的傢伙,想轉個身都有困難。再者,人家現在已經是個小少女了,一點隱私是必要的。

I don’t blame her. London is an expensive city. We stayed in some cheap B&B before and the experience wasn’t all that great. It was cramped, particularly the bathroom. I’m very curious about how those who are of bigger body frames shower. We’re not as big but apparently had problem turning around in there. Moreover, Beam’s hit puberty and proper privacy is called for.

「去了你就知道啦,哼哼。」我露出勝利的微笑,想到也許能在倫敦大街上跟二號湯姆擦肩而過,不由得興奮起來。

「那我們可以去吃麥當勞嗎?!」

梅小獸的興奮點竟然在此。。。

‘You’ll know when you get there. Ho! Ho! Ho!’ I gave her a smug grin. To think that we might be rubbing shoulders with my IH No. 2 — Tom Hiddleston… I almost exploded with excitement.

‘Then can we have McDonald’s?! ‘

Huh? This was what got her thrilled to bits? Oh well…

Memory of our very own. 專屬的記憶

Memory of our very own.
專屬的記憶

Saxmundham, the starting point of our adventure 旅程起點

Saxmundham, the starting point of our adventure
旅程起點

 

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Somehow, this reminds me of the old train station in front of Grandpa’s village, which played a big part of my childhood memory 不知怎的,這畫面總是令我憶起南靖車站;公公家就在車站正對面的小村子裡。

Saxmundham 到 Ipswich 是不對號的,所以找位子要碰運氣,尤其兩個人不如獨身好辦事。出發當天是週日,所以人還滿多的,走到第二節車廂才看到零星的座位。正自忖約莫得站一段了,就見到一張桌子還有相對的空位,靠窗的位子已經被兩個老杯杯坐了,趕緊停步詢問。

Free seating for the journey from Saxmundham to Ipswich, therefore luck is needed if you’d like to have a proper rest. Travelling alone would be much easier to get a seat. It was a Sunday, so the crowd was expected.

Just as I was about to give up searching, suddenly, a table caught my eyes. The two window seats were occupied by two old gentlemen but both the aisle seats were vacant. I stopped and asked.

其中一個老杯杯笑著說:「請坐請坐,我幫你抬行李吧?」接著起身。

聽得我好樂,真不愧是我摯愛的英格蘭!大力士北杯起碼有七十歲了吧?而且據我目測,身高恐怕跟我差不多,雖然不是三比芭,但也是苗條苗條的,還沒有我這個北極熊皇后壯碩。

「沒沒沒沒關係,我自己來就行了,謝謝喔。」我忙不迭婉拒。

北杯說你確定喔?然後坐下,跟同伴繼續剛才被我無禮打斷的對話。

幸好我沒有讓北杯幫忙,因為我自己都不夠力,後來是對面的小鮮肉幫我搞定。

One of the gentlemen answered with a kind smile, ‘It’s not taken. Oh would you like a hand?’

Sir Hercules meant it. He actually got up, which really surprised me! From what I could see, he was at least 70.  We were of about the same height. He wasn’t skinny, but by standing next to the plump Polar Bear Queen, that is moi, he definitely looked like Pinocchio.

This is the good old England I love!! The older generation are the real ladies and gentlemen. Ever so courteous, warm-hearted and civilised.

‘It’s alright. It’s alright.  I’m fine. Thank you so much!’ I just couldn’t tell him enough  how appreciative I was of his kind gesture!

‘You sure? Alright then.’ He sat back down, and carried on the conversation with his friend which was interrupted by me.

Luckily I didn’t let him. Because, even I myself failed it. In the end, I had to ask a succulent  young man who sat on the other side of the aisle for help.

坐下來後,祥拿出素描簿,邊聽音樂邊畫畫,我也戴上耳機,稍微放空一下。我是那種沒辦法在車上或飛機上看書的傢伙(不過,看免稅商品就 okay,哈哈~我猜是圖片比較不需要用心理解?也或許是瞎拼令人放鬆?雖然我通常只看不買,作作有錢人的大頭夢還是挺爽的 ^_^),所以只能靠音樂潛入當下的自我。

After having settled into our seats, Beam started scribbling in her sketchbook while listening to music. I took out my earbuds too, trying to rest a little. Unlike many, I’m not able to read in a car or during a flight as it makes me dizzy, therefore music is the only mental  outlet for me at moments like this. Flipping through a Duty Free magazine is different though… (My guess is looking at colourful pictures doesn’t demand much of  your brain? Or it could be that shopping, even window shopping, is simply relaxing. Daydreaming of being a millionaire is always fun ^_^)

眼神隨著音樂東飄西蕩好一陣,才回到身旁兩位白髮老杯杯。對面這位非常特別,長相是英國版的楚原,大大的紅色鏡框,鏡片和西裝都是淡粉紅色,配上駝色短靴;我身邊的大力士北杯就比較尋常打扮,灰色西服。耐人尋味的是,兩人戴著一模一樣的老鼠領帶,衣領上還有個老鼠形狀的金色別針,然後呢,最顯眼就是大大的金色項鍊,墜子也是一隻老鼠。

chor

Chor Yuen, the HK-based veteran Chinese film director, screenwriter and actor. 楚原導演

I spaced out for quite a while with my favourite music.

When I finally came back down to earth, I noticed something unusual about this friend of Sir Hercules’. He had the face of Chor Yuen, pink glasses with an unnecessarily large red spectacle frame sitting on the nose,  dressing in a pink suit with camel ankle boots. Sir Hercules wasn’t as queer with his  conventional grey suit. They did have some things in common though — The identical neckties with the interesting pattern of rats, the identical rat-shaped pins on the shirt collars, and the most eye-catching items came to the chunky gold necklaces with rat-shaped pendants.

性好八卦的我,耐心等候著。。。終於,老杯杯似乎聊天告一段落了,趕緊殺入重圍。

「不好意思,我注意到你們的領帶和別針,很有趣,請問你們是隸屬什麼團體嗎(不知道為甚麼,我本來猜是扶輪社,其實老鼠應該跟扶輪社八竿子打不著)?」

大力士北杯開始熱心講解:「我們是 Water Rats!(台灣叫「河鼠」嗎?)聽過嗎?」

A master of busybody such as me waited patiently…

Finally, the conversation seemed to have come to an end and that was my cue!

‘Excuse me. I couldn’t help but noticing your necklaces and pins. Are you part of some special association?’ (Somehow, I guessed it could be the Rotary Club even though rats didn’t seem related to it.)

Sir Hercules declared, enthusiastically, ‘Oh we are the Water Rats!’

聽老人家說話其實是很有趣的一件事,所以我很難得不耐煩,除非是像我婆婆那樣淨說些五四三的捏造事實。最近老約翰才說:[我知道你說你害羞,但跟你談天真是令人神清氣爽,你可要多多跟我們說話喔!」經過這次才知道,原來老約翰在二戰服役,老約翰的爸爸在一戰服役。。。一戰已經百年了,想想真是不可思議,有時覺得自己好渺小,但事實是,我們每個人無可否認都是歷史的一部分。

總之,北杯們是 Grand Order of Water Rats 的會員,Water Rats 是由娛樂圈人士組成的兄弟會,已經成立超過百年,此行是去倫敦參加會員大會。我聽得很入迷,都忘了問北杯是唱歌呢?變魔術呢?腹語?還是演員等等等呢?

I’ve always enjoyed listening to the older generation’s life stories. Just a few days ago, John my beloved neighbour said to me, ‘I know you said you’re shy and socially awkward, but it’s always refreshing talking to you. So, do talk with us more, please!’

And from this conversation, I learnt that John served overseas in the WWII while his dad served in the WWI. To think this year is the centenary of WWI… Wow… We are all specks of dust in the  infinity of time. This fact makes me feel so small, but also serves as a reminder that we’re all part of the history of mankind nonetheless.

Anyway, they were members of Grand Order of Water Rats. It’s a century-old entertainer fraternity. The story of Water Rats is the story of show business. They were travelling to London for a member gathering.

I was so fascinated that I forgot to ask about their specialties. Were they singers? Magicians? Ventriloquists? Actors? Etc.? Etc.? Etc.?

我大讚楚原北杯的眼鏡好看(我自己兩幅慢跑專用的太陽眼鏡鏡框就分別是紅色和粉紅色),北杯不知怎的似乎有點愣住了(難道是覺得我眼光有問題?),幾秒後才終於說:「這樣走路不會撞到電線桿。。。」

所以。。。粉紅色會看比較清楚嗎?真是有點雞同鴨講的感覺,呵呵。

‘Love those spectacles.’ I said to Sir Giant Spectacles. My own sun glasses for jogging were of red and pink spectacle frames respectively.

This compliment seemed to startle him somehow (Maybe he thought I’d had interesting taste?)  and he went silent for quite a few seconds.

Finally, he replied, ‘So I don’t walk into lampposts…’

Mm… Does that mean pink actually sharpens your vision? Intriguing response, indeed.

到了 Ipswich 要換車,原本有些小緊張,因為通常轉車之間的空檔都滿短的,而且看新聞最近似乎鐵路常出包。不過,感謝 神,一切平順。

一回,第一段車程因故延遲了幾分鐘,終於到了 Ipswich 下了車,只見我們要搭的下一班車已經慢慢在走了。本來我急了準備拔腿就追,卻被眼前的世界奇觀驚到呆了:大夥兒跩著行李,一邊揮手呼喊「哈囉?!哈囉?!」,一邊不慍不火地向前走著。。。

而,火車,最後,真的,停了。

這個在台灣或是新加坡,根本是天方夜譚!我指的是旅客們的耐心,還有鐵路局員工的彈性。你說老人家可能活力比較差,只好採取這種手段也罷,可令人驚奇的是,年輕人也一樣,沒有人氣急敗壞衝上前去拍打車門之類的。幸好我當時走在後頭,所以能夠及時煞車,不然多丟臉,哈哈。火車停了以後,我們還等了幾分鐘車門才開,因為是自動安全裝置,無法手動。

We needed to change trains in Ipswich. I was a a little nervous at first because the interval between trains could be quite tight, and recently, there were quite a few unpleasant railway incidents in the news. But thank God, everything turned out to be fine.

Once, our first leg was delayed; when we finally got off the train at Ipswich station, the connecting train had already started to move. I could feel my adrenaline surging and was   about to charge! But, the sight before my very eyes put me in awe and halted my steps: A whole bunch of people — my fellow passengers who just got off the same train — were literally taking this incident in their stride, ever so calmly, with one hand dragging their luggage bags along, and the other waving, ‘Hello?! Hello?!’

And guess what! The ~ train ~ stopped ~ eventually!

I don’t think I would ever get to see this impeccable patience of the passengers  and the customer-oriented service provided by the railway staff in Taiwan or Singapore. At least, not in this lifetime. I understand if they did it for the old people because they may not move as swiftly; but what truly amazed me was how even the young people behaved just as calmly, no one got worked up and ran after the train. Luckily I was walking at the back, or it would be so embarrassing for me to charge and throw fervent knocks on the door.

We had to wait a couple of minutes for the doors to open after the train had stopped moving due to the setting of its computerised safety lock system.

說到這個車門,兩年前從巴黎回來的時候,也是在倫敦搭火車,到了 Ipswich 準備下車,突然發現,怎麼都找不到門把或按鈕之類的;本來我前面有個旅客下車,可是我走得慢沒跟上,所以沒見到她怎麼開的,門就關上了。急得我像熱鍋上的螞蟻,只差沒向天空伸出雙臂大喊「芝麻,開門吧!」

千鈞一髮之際,見到門旁邊有張圖。。。原來,你必須先把車窗打開,然後手伸出窗外,按壓外面的門把才能開門。說千鈞一髮,因為我腳剛踩上月台,火車就鳴笛準備啟動了。太幸運了~後來,我跟丹麥女友瞎聊到這件事,她正好過幾天要搭火車去倫敦;竟然也被她遇上了,她說真感謝你的分享!

所以說, 神的意念高於我們的,一切經驗都不是偶然、都有用處,呵呵。

Speaking of which, I didn’t know these doors were to be unlocked manually until two years ago. I was coming home from Paris, taking the train in London and getting off in Ipswich for the final leg of my journey. There was a passenger walking 100m before me; she eventually made a right turn and disappeared. When it was my turn standing in front of the door, I was shocked to find that there was no door knob or a handle in sight! I started panicking, pressing and clicking everything that looked like a switch. So desperate that I almost shouted ‘Open Sesame!’ with my arms open wide in the air.

Well, my God is a faithful God, always. Just as I was looking around frantically for help, a drawing next to the door popped in…

Oh wow! To get off the train, all you need to do is open the window, stick your arm out and press the handle on the other side of the door to open it.

As soon as I stepped onto the platform with my baggage, there came the train whistle, signalling its setting off again. *PHEW*! How lucky was that?!

I chitchatted about this funny incident with Coach Waba later on. And what a coincidence — When she and her family travelled to London few days later, they encountered the same train. After they came back from the trip, she thanked me for sharing the experience so they knew what to do. Well, yet another great example of ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ Ha! Experience, good or bad, there’s always a lesson to be learnt.

這是我的放鬆之旅,因此選擇了南肯辛頓車站旁的酒店公寓,南肯辛頓是全英國最大的文化藝術與博物館特區。我們的落腳處,距離主要目標 — 自然史博物館 & 科學工業博物館 — 只有兩分鐘腳程。

英帝國在十九世紀維多利亞時稱霸全球,國力超強,經濟最富。1867年,女皇為悼念亡夫艾伯特,在肯辛頓建艾伯特紀念碑、紀念廳和夫婦聯名博物館,使這裡發展成全英最大文化藝術與博物館場館特區。

~【倫敦地鐵 — 自由旅行精品書】 by 楊春龍(采葒初版社)

朋友說,維多利亞時代的富人們,為了這些博物館捐輸了很多,似乎那個年代的人,還是比較有社會良知,懂得回饋社會的道理,不像現在。

I booked a service apartment next to South Kensington Station because the purpose of this trip was to relax, and what could be better than staying here — home to large numbers of museums?(Our chosen destinations were Natural History Museum and Science Museum, which were literally two minutes’ walk away.)

A local friend told me that the wealthy Victorians contributed immensely to the museums. All for one and one for all, I liked that.

Home away from home. 難得度假,我想在預算範圍內住得舒服一點

Home away from home.
難得度假,我想在預算範圍內住得舒服一點

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I’ve always loved this kind of windows. 很喜歡這種形式的窗子

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Relaxing 好好放鬆吧

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The lovely English sky above the hotel opposite ours 對面的酒店看起來似乎也頗豪華

稍事休息,就出門亂繞了,順便找晚餐。

We went out for a stroll after a short break. In the hope of finding some nice dinner too.

I really wanted to cycle! Too bad, my cunning little elf doesn't ride. The moral of the story: Don't have children! 我其實很想騎鐵馬遊倫敦,可惜梅小獸不會騎。這個故事的教訓就是:沒事不要生孩子!

I really wanted to cycle! Too bad, my cunning little elf doesn’t ride. The moral of the story: Stay single and childless…
我其實很想騎鐵馬遊倫敦,可惜梅小獸不會騎。這個故事的教訓就是:沒事不要生孩子!

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I’m gonna make it next time! 下次我一定不會放過!

其實倫敦是個很適合步行的城市,有太多美麗的古老建築可以欣賞,多到常常忘記拍照~不過,最重要自然是當下那份感動,能夠鐫刻在腦海中的,反正老娘的攝影技術也不咂的。

In fact, London is great for strolling as there are an awful lot of magnificent old buildings to see. So stunning and so many that I actually forgot the existence of my camera! But then again, what really matters is that present moment, when the sight sends me into transports of delight and be etched in my heart eternally. I’m not a good photographer anyway.

This is Dora House. The best thing about having a teen is that you can embarrass / annoy them with almost anything! *evil grin*~As soon as I started singing 'Dora! Dora! Dora, the explorer!' Beam asked me to stop. 這棟建築叫「Dora House」。我故意唱起了「愛探險的 Dora」主題曲,把梅小獸窘死了,家有青少年就是這麼有意思,幾乎什麼事都可以讓糗他們*奸笑*~

This is Dora House. The best thing about having a teen is that you can embarrass / annoy them with almost everything and anything! *evil grin*~As soon as I started singing ‘Dora! Dora! Dora, the explorer!’ Beam asked me to stop.
這棟建築叫「Dora House」。我故意唱起了「愛探險的 Dora」主題曲,把梅小獸窘死了,家有青少年就是這麼有意思,幾乎什麼事都可以糗他們*奸笑*~

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Drayton Gardens 倫敦放眼望去幾乎都是這樣的古老建築。

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One in sight every 30 seconds. Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest, indeed. 平均每半分鐘就能見到飛機經過,希斯洛不愧是世界最繁忙的空港之一

我們從 Little Waitrose 買了晚餐,住的比較花錢,就從這方面省下來,小廚房有烤箱很方便的。而且,可以邊吃邊看電視,也滿爽的,家裡沒電視,所以有點「卯起來看」的可怕心態,哈哈。

一切看似圓滿,卻在近午夜時,接到好友的簡訊,又酗酒了。因著種種個人因素,好友沉溺在酒精裡企圖麻痺自己,四年了,好不容易在今年初才戒掉。我慌了,但是真的不知道我還能再做些甚麼,Pearl Bailey 說:『You never find yourself until you face the truth.』 只有當你勇敢面對現實時,你才能找回真正的自我。

除了禱告,還是禱告。

幸好沒怎麼影響到睡眠,將煩惱交託給 神就有這個好處。

We ended up getting ready meals from Little Waitrose. This is how we do it — If more money’s spent on accommodation, I just cut corners somewhere else to balance. It’s all about priorities. We had a mini kitchen with a proper oven so it was convenient. Besides, we got to enjoy our meal while watching TV. We don’t have TV at home, so, how cool is that?!

隔天的目標是自然史博物館。媽媽聽了開玩笑說,哇,偶女兒真是有氣質溜~事實是,我從小,就對於台北市的歷史博物館很有興趣,那些史前人類的模擬塑像,不知怎地,有一種莫名的吸引力。總之,算是朝聖之旅。

We were going to Natural History Museum the next day. Mum commented jokingly, ‘Wow! My daughter is sooooo  classy!’ But actually, I’ve been very into prehistoric stuff since I was small.

Shortly after breakfast, therefore no need to suck in yet. Ha! 剛吃完早餐,所以還不用吸肚子,哈哈

Shortly after breakfast, therefore no need to suck in yet. Ha!
剛吃完早餐,所以還不用吸肚子,哈哈

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Accidentally set off the fire alarm while styling my hair with the straightener. 使用直髮整髮器時,竟然不小心引發煙霧警鈴。糗!

National History Museum, opened in Year 1881 自然史博物館,正式開館於1881年

National History Museum, opened in Year 1881
自然史博物館,正式開館於1881年

時值暑假,人很多,入口處排長龍;幸好,出發前已經在網上訂好了幾個特展的票,所以看特展的時候,只要出示訂票的號碼,就可以昂首闊步大咧咧掠過現場排隊買票的群眾,長驅直入。

Summer holiday had begun, hence the long queue waiting to enter. Luckily, I bought the tickets online beforehand. We just produced the booking numbers and walked right past the big crowd into the exhibition halls, with them looking on at us jealously.

館藏品是19世紀將原藏大英博物館的動植礦物標本,移撥另行成立的專業展館。英國在自然博物、古生物、人種與考古研究領域一直握有全球最領先成就;達爾文進化論是建構生物學的金科玉律,牛頓引力學是天文物理的入門概念;而英國在其它自然學科研究成就像:【恐龍】【遠古爬蟲類】【早期人類】【人種生物學】與【生物考古證據】;從微生物誕生演化到龐然巨獸的鯨魚,館內都有主題展覽廳,真可說是『可學到最多知識的博物館』。

~【倫敦地鐵 — 自由旅行精品書】 by 楊春龍(采葒初版社)

Some mutant Dumbo 變種小飛象

Some mutant Dumbo
變種小飛象

我們在 Waterhouse Building 的 The Restaurant 吃午餐。套餐 12.95 英鎊,包含前菜、主餐及飲料。我們當時沒有那麼大的胃口,所以是單點。

We had lunch at The Restaurant in the Waterhouse Building. They offered a meal deal: Get a starter, main and a soft drink for £12.95. But neither of us felt like having that much, so we just ate a la carte.

The bun was too dry, but the hotdog was good 麵包太乾,但是熱狗本身好吃

The bun was too dry, but the hot dog was good. Beam’s carbonara was good… until she accidentally spilled the salt in it XD 我的麵包太乾,但是熱狗本身滿可口的;梅小獸的 carbonara 也好吃,但小人家不慎加了太多鹽。。。

Having a donkey or two is my dream! 一直都夢想能養驢子!

Having a donkey or two has been my dream!
一直都夢想能養驢子!

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Beam’s a pre-teen, so has lost interest in taking pictures. 進入前青春期的梅小獸,已經不愛照相了。

Take a moment to remember just how small we humans are compared to nature. 渺小的人類

Take a moment to remember just how insignificant we humans actually are compared to nature.
渺小的人類

Isn't he a darling? 萌~

Isn’t he a darling?
萌~

PoPo: Can you take a picture without making faces? 梅小獸的婆婆:照一張沒有扮鬼臉的好不好?

PoPo: Can you take a picture without making faces?
梅小獸的婆婆:照一張沒有扮鬼臉的好不好?

Dad gave me this necklace and it's become one of my most favourite ever since. 這是爸爸給我的美麗項鍊,我的最愛之一。

Dad gave me this pink necklace and it’s become one of my most favourite ever since.
這是爸爸給我的美麗粉紅項鍊,我的最愛之一。

自從廿年前讀了傑瑞杜瑞爾的書之後,就愛上了驢子和多多鳥。人類真的好可怕,這樣美麗的生物,就此絕種了。

Ever since I first read Gerald Durrell, I’ve been in love with donkeys and the dodos. Look at this beautiful creature…  Human beings are simply vile.

I love dodo because of Gerald Durrell. 因著傑瑞杜瑞爾,我愛上了多多鳥。

I love dodos because of Gerald Durrell. 因著傑瑞杜瑞爾,我愛上了多多鳥。

這個部分主要是介紹手繪紀錄;科技發達的今天,雖然照片同樣可以捕捉動物的形貌,但是手繪紀錄依然很重要。透過手繪,能夠將特定部位與構造突出加亮。

Images of Nature Gallery, ‘showcasing a selection of exquisite botanical and zoological watercolours, historic prints and paintings, alongside modern images created by scientists, imaging specialists, photographers and micro-CT scanners.’

老實說,就算不看展品,光是欣賞昌盛精美的建築本身,就已經很目不暇給了。

Frankly, even just looking at the magnificent building itself is worth the trip.

Magnificent. 富麗輝弘的巨構。

Magnificent.
富麗輝弘的巨構。

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This reminds me of the brilliant film “Paddington”. 電影【帕丁頓熊】就是在這裡拍攝的。

Lovely dodo again. 多多鳥標本

Lovely dodos again.
多多鳥標本

冰河紀猛獁特展的主角之一,是一隻於2007年在西伯利亞出土的猛獁寶寶 Lyuba。Lyuba 寶寶經測定,生存於距今四萬兩前年前,僅滿週月便夭折。Lyuba 寶寶身高85公分,身長則有130公分,大型狗的尺寸(歐洲的大狗真的好大!);想想,才滿週月就這個尺寸,不曉得媽媽生產的時候是不是很痛。

This is Lyuba, a female woolly mammoth calf who died c. 41,800 years ago at the age of 30 to 35 days. She is by far the best preserved mammoth mummy in the world.  85cm tall and 130cm long, about the size of a large dog (European dogs are truly huge!).

30 – 35 days old and this big… I wondered if it was very hard baby delivery @_@

Taking pictures of Lyuba is prohibited because she is too fragile. So I grabbed this photo online. Lyuba 寶寶太脆弱了,所以不能照相;這是我從網路上抓來的。

Taking pictures of Lyuba is prohibited because she is too fragile. So I grabbed this image online. Source unknown. 
Lyuba 寶寶太脆弱了,所以不能照相;這是我從網路上抓來的。

說到這個,不免憶起梅小獸的童稚趣事。一回,我們收看某動物園紀錄片,那一集正是大象媽媽分娩;當象北鼻終於「噗溜」地呱呱墜地,梅小獸顯然受到極大的驚嚇,回頭看我,眼睛有車輪那麼大:「Har? 我以為是蛋!?」

Speaking of which… Long, long time ago, one starry night, we were watching a documentary film about a zoo on TV. They were showing the elephant mummy in labour. It gave Beam a start when the baby finally dropped onto the floor.

‘What?! Not an egg?!’ She turned to me, with her doe eyes open wide.

我一直以為,猛獁是大象的祖先,再或者就是遠親之類的,想不到竟然不是。好玩的是,當我仔細端詳 Lyuba 寶寶時,一個華人爸爸牽著小孩走過來,說著廣東話:「哎呀你睇,baby elephant!」不知道是英文程度不佳,還是純粹來看熱鬧,所以沒細看解說。

All the way, I thought that mammoths must be elephants’ ancestors, or at least faraway cousins, but apparently not so according to this graph below. Funny though, when I was observing Baby Lyuba, a dad came over with his child and yelled, ‘Wah! Look at it! Baby elephant!’ in Cantonese (A Chinese dialect). Either his English wasn’t that great or just didn’t care to read the details, which I do too, sometimes XD

I didn't know that!! 原來,猛獁不是大象的祖先!!

I didn’t know that!!
原來,猛獁不是大象的祖先!!

我們還看了英國史前人類特展,梅小獸的評語是「還滿無聊的」,我承認動物一向比人類可愛多了,即使是史前時代;但我覺得很有親切感,因為展場有播放幾年前在 Norfolk 海岸的 Happisburgh 發現的八十萬年前人類的腳印紀錄片,而 Norfolk 正是我們 Suffolk 的鄰居。

We attended the ‘Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story‘ Exhibition. Beam commented, ‘Kind of boring.’ Well, I had to agree. Humans are not exactly that loveable like other beings to be honest, even during prehistoric times. But, this exhibition followed a team of scientists working on an archaeological site in Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast as they made a remarkable discovery of the oldest human footprints from Europe. (The elongated hollows found on the beach have been confirmed as ancient human footprints of probably five individuals, from more than 800,000 years ago!) And, Norfolk is our neighbour!

最後原本打算看看達爾文中心的 Spirit Collection(spirit 是酒精,存放這些標本的液體,是由95%的乙醇以及5%的甲醇組成),有2千2百萬個物種標本。可惜,一進門,娘倆就被毛毛的大蜘蛛和大蜈蚣驚嚇過度,夾著尾巴灰溜溜地掉頭就跑

The Spirit Collection at Darwin Centre was our last destination. With 22 million specimens, it is named after the alcohol in which they are stored, a mixture of 95% ethanol and five% methanol.

Unfortunately, we got stunned by the sight of giant furry spiders and centipedes as soon as we entered the hall. And off we ran… far far away.

Let's take a nice picture for PoPo. 為心愛的婆婆好好拍一張吧。

Let’s take a nice picture for PoPo.
為心愛的婆婆好好拍一張吧。

跟當初造訪大英博物館一樣,其實沒有全部看完,有待來日了。從博物館走出來,真有恍如隔世之感,意猶未竟。想想宇宙之大,身處歷史洪流中的我們,恐怕連一粒塵沙都算不上,要用不知多大倍數的顯微鏡才能看得見;如此渺小,卻如此驕妄自大,終日在我執的小圈圈裡打轉,可笑亦可悲。

Like British Museum, it’s impossible to see everything Natural History Museum has to offer at one go, so, WE’LL BE BACK!

A trip to places like this really puts life into perspective. Limited lifetime in an infinite universe… Yet, we humans are so arrogant, believing that we rule the world. Ridiculous.

Beam decided to have instant noodles for dinner that evening. 當晚,梅小獸決定吃泡麵。

Beam decided to have instant noodles for dinner that evening.
當晚,梅小獸決定吃泡麵。

And this was mine. 我的晚餐。

And this was mine.
我的晚餐。

當晚問了梅小獸對隔日行程的想法,小少女說想去 Hamleys — 世界最古老、最大的玩具店;1760年創立,1881年遷至攝政街現址。Okay,自己出門就有這好處,時間很彈性,不必顧慮太多。原本我的計畫是去科學博物館,但因為就在自然史博物館的後面,退房當天再去也還來得及。倒是 Hamleys 位處 Oxford Circus,距離酒店腳程有多久我沒啥概念,還是先去好了。

我們有地鐵卡,但是天氣晴朗,我一點都不想塞在地鐵裡,我就愛曬太陽。事實上,這些年來無論到哪兒,我們都很習慣走路,再不就搭公車,總之要把一切都盡收眼底就對了。出發前,跟櫃台帥哥問了路,帥哥給了張觀光地圖,幫忙畫了重點,說大約45分鐘左右的腳程。

During dinner, I asked Beam about her thoughts regarding schedule for the next day. Her answer was Hamleys. Hamleys is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world and one of the world’s best-known retailers of toys. Founded by William Hamley as “Noah’s Ark” in High Holborn, London, in 1760, it moved to Regent Street in 1881.

We’re always flexible about time as we’re not fussy travellers. I myself would like to see the Science Museum,  but  it sat right behind the Natural History Museum while Hamleys was at a further location — Oxford Circus. I had no idea how long that would take on foot from where we were staying, so better visit Hamleys first.

We do have Oyster Cards, but I prefer sunshine all the way. In fact, throughout the years, wherever we go, we’re quite used to travelling on foot if possible. It’s either that or by bus, because these are the two ways that can guarantee you to see the most of the place.

I asked the handsome receptionist for directions. He gave us a map and drew the route for us, concluding it would take approximately 45 minutes on foot.

Morning! 早安!

Morning!
早安!

迎著燦爛的陽光,開心出發了。

經過海德公園的  Serpentine Lake 時,見到了賣 gelato 的攤攤,決定解饞。一球2英鎊,我覺得整體來說算是合理,因為前一晚在酒店附近吃的,雖然也好吃(據說是得過獎的),但是分量小一些,價錢也貴了一些。

海德公園很大,給人一種天高地闊的神清氣爽感,嘴裡享受著消暑的美味,腳步施施然,真是一大樂事。吃得 high 了,我興沖沖跟梅小獸建議,不如來挑戰自我?從現在起,只要見到 gelato,咱們就攻擊吧?!梅小獸,用她打出生起就有的洞察世態的淡定眼神瞅著我:「I don’t think so…」

傷腦筋,怎麼會有對美食如此坐懷不亂的小孩?看來是當年在醫院抱錯了。。。

Embracing the splendid sunshine, off we went.

As we were passing by the lovey Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, we saw a gelato stall. One scoop for two quid. Reasonable, I reckoned, as this was London after all, one of the most expensive cities. We popped around a gelato cafe which was not far from our service apartment last night, it was good (And awarded, according to the poster on the wall), but the portion wasn’t as generous and actually cost more.

Hyde Park is a magnificent asset for London. Being in an immense place in nature like this  is my idea of sheer bliss. The sheer bliss teamed with our scrumptious gelato — Heaven! I got thrilled and came up with a brilliant suggestion: Let’s challenge ourselves! We’re gonna raid each and every gelato seller that comes into sight from now on! *fist pumping*~

My doe-eyed Miss World Baby gave me that look which was full of perspective insights into this big, big world: ‘I don’t think so…’

I love to eat, so how I managed to have such a self-disciplined child remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the century. Have I been given the wrong baby at the hospital??

Peach & cream and Vanilla. Both were lovely! 我選擇蜜桃奶油,梅小獸則是香草,都好吃!

Peach & cream and Vanilla. Both were lovely!
我選擇蜜桃奶油,梅小獸則是香草,都很可口!

出了海德公園,走在牛津街上,三五步就看得到 gelato,但是最便宜的也比海德公園的貴上20便士,小氣巴拉滴偶,正式宣告挑戰失敗。

We exited from Hyde Park and walked onto Oxford Street. There were gelato stalls everywhere, but even the cheapest one cost 20p more than what we had at Hyde Park. Fine! I gave up.

Donald is Dad's favourite. Being 'Daddy's Girl' means I take after Dad both in appearance and character, including likes and dislikes. 爸爸最愛唐老鴨了,身為爸爸的掌上明珠,爸爸的喜惡對我有著很深遠的影響。

Donald is Dad’s favourite. Being ‘Daddy’s Girl’ means I take after Dad both in appearance and character, including likes and dislikes of course.
爸爸最愛唐老鴨了,身為爸爸的掌上明珠,爸爸的喜惡對我有著很深遠的影響。

I like the design. Sleek and cute. 對這個設計很有好感。

I like the design. Sleek and cute.
對這個設計很有好感。

Cute rear end. 可愛的公車屁屁。

The cute rear end.
可愛的公車屁屁。

Nobody messes with me! 不要惹我!



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