Saturday, 28 September 2013

Remittances: Help Save Somalia's Lifelife

SRDF's been working really hard to spread awareness and campaign in support of Somalia communities on the ground who rely on funds sent through money service transfers to meet their basic human needs. On Friday 27th May, a number of representatives of various Somali groups came together outside DFID wherein an important meeting was held on the remittances. Following the meeting it was made clear by a representative from SOMSA that Barclays would not be reconsidering its decision. More than 40% of the Somali population will be affected by this decision, further there is a very real risk that the country will fall prey to another humanitarian crisis. I've drafted a couple of press releases on this issue; have a read and learn more about the remittance issue and what SRDF has been doing to make sure the Somali voice is heard: Press Release I & Press Release II

Support the campaign! To find out how you can help email


Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Joys of Being (dis)Connected

People always seemed surprised when I tell them I'm not on Facebook, and even more so when they see my mobile phone, a cheap bruk-up pay-as-you-go Samsung which I mostly use to drop call (and sometimes text) people... How do you live? some ask, well pretty happily, I usually reply. There are so many joys to being (dis)connected, from having more time to do what you love to actually keeping connections real by making an effort to see and spend time with loved ones. Below I've listed #10 blessings of being disconnected....

#1) You become more in tune with 'real' life; signs, serendipity, synchronicity. People will naturally come in and out of your life- and through experience I've found that those real connections you've formed, those worthwhile ones will find a way of sticking, they'll always be sustained... somehow, even if you vanish from each other's separating lives for a time, you'll mostly find a way of coming together again- if it's in your fate.

#2) Chance Encounters. You'll have a lot more of these and when you do they'll be so much more magical! I often see people from past lives in random places and when we talk, everything is new! Time becomes a reality; you don't know where they've been or what they've been up to so you actually listen and are receptive. You're given another opportunity to build that relationship or just move on from it, whilst at the same time appreciating the fact that they must have re-entered your life for a reason.

#3) You'll receive emails and text messages from people out of the blue. I love this. So often, I think more this year than ever before, I'll get people email me or text me asking to meet up, wandering what I've been up to and so we'll meet up again and it will be glorious! We'll share stories, experiences, ideas, we'll be able to open up in ways that we might not have if we were constantly keeping track of what the other person was doing, who they were with, how they'd arrived at a certain point in their life, the obstacles they had to overcome etc...To me it seems that Facebook, and being constantly connected kind of takes the mystery out of life...

#4) You don't need to worry about putting up a front or maintaining an image of yourself. You have nothing to compare yourself to, you can live your life in any way you please and not worry about what others think; or whether or not it's the right way, if there is one. You don't have to live within the rigid confines of 'normality' or what others deem to be normal. You're free to be whoever you want. You become more aware of the things that matter, and less so about things that don't; more so the people that matter, and the people that don't. Because those you really love and love you will find ways of forcing themselves into your life, even if you want nothing more than to be invisible and alone in misery.

#5) Connections will mean so much more to you and you'll appreciate them so much more with the knowledge that you might not see someone again. I have so many  friends who have moved to the different corners of the world, and on the off chance that we're in the same place, at the same time, even if that's for a day or a few hours, you appreciate your time together so much more! And you make the most of it too. I've found this to be especially true when you meet a stranger under some fateful circumstance. In life you don't have to keep in touch with everyone you meet, you can just appreciate a few moments you spent with them, and that time you had together.

#6) It's easier to remove people and be removed from others' lives. Sometimes good, sometimes bad- but it happens, for a reason, for many reasons, for none at all. It happens. I've wasted so much of this year worrying about all the people I've cut myself off from, because of what I was going through and its only now that I've come to the conclusion that well, life's too short and it doesn't matter so much. Shit happens and sometimes you can't go back, it's too hard and that's okay. That's life.

#6) So much time can be wasted on Facebook or Whatsupp or whatever. Imagine what you could achieve if you used  that time to do what you really want to do. The sky's the limit. There isn't one.

#7) Relationships are more organic. You discover through talking, not stalking. You can really connect, but only if you're brave. If you want to talk to someone who you think is interesting, talk to them! Use your voice, not your fingers! What's the worse that can happen? You don't get on? At least you realise that early on instead of wasting all your time trying to suss out who they are through an (empty) web page!

#8) It's easy to disappear. So easy. I disappear a lot.

#9) Life is beautiful. And real. More real and more beautiful than it is on a screen. Seek it out; beauty and reality and (un)reality; the trippy. People are so much more than they think themselves to be, they have so much more to offer the world than they could possibly imagine. Believe in yourself. Just DO IT! Whatever it is you need to do. Stop searching, stop wasting time, stop making excuses for yourself- disconnect to the cyber world of un-reality and seek it out---- life, it's yours for the taking!!

#10) At the end of the day we're all going to die. Do you really want to spend parts of your precious life seeking approval, and sharing nonsense on a page that in reality means very little (kind of like this blog...) I don't think so.

Try it and find out for yourself...... (dis)Connect!--------reflect---------see what happens....

Sundown at the River Arun

Arundel Castle at Dusk

The River has Run Wild

....the river has run wild, the river has run wild tonight
the birds have stopped singing and I've lost my sight and you, 
you're not around, I keep my ground. Just quiet...

Escape to the Country

My little sister Riggy and I quite spontaneously ended up going for a two day trip to Littlehampton and Arundel in West Sussex. We got to the bus stop in Tooting in the morning with our rucksacks packed and no idea where we were going! (we never did plans)... When we got to Balham station we bought two open returns to Littlehampton and got on the train. When we got to Littlehampton we followed the foot bridge over the remote West Beach Nature reserve, a beautiful beach with butterflies, wild flowers and dunes. 

We then walked all the way back into the town, hung out by the markets where I bought a SD card for my camera (left mine at home) before we bought fish and chips from a local chippie and ate lunch by a big pond not far from the sea front. After lunch we decided to go for a ramble, our vague 'plan' was to walk to Arundel, though we had no idea how far that would be and how long it would take. While walking up the river we fatefully spotted a boat which was actually going to Arundel, perfect! We hung about a bit before boarding the boat.

On the boat we met some mates from Mitcham (of all places)!! My OAP soul surfaced and I found myself really connecting to four interesting and wonderful old people on the boat. It was a magical boat ride under the chalk blue sky, with stunning pastoral views, all the while I was talking/ really talking to our new friends about everything, hikes up the wandle, places visited, Joyce's son who is a Muslim! Anyway it was really great to converse and laugh and to learn, when we finally got off at Arundel our friends all waved us goodbye and shook our hands and told us to have a lovely journey and I began to wonder as I sometime do whether we would ever meet again, and how great it would be if we carried on all the way to Timbuktu, what a riot that would be! Ahhh I love England, This is what my blog is all about; depicting every day life and every day connections on our small but very special Island. Truly blessed.

...pastel blue....
...say hello, wave goodbye....

When we got to Arundel we walked around for a bit before trying to find somewhere to stay for the night. The hostel we thought might be a good idea had been converted into a Christian academy or something. We tried a few B&Bs before finally managing to get a room at Arundel park hotel where we dumped our bags and then set out for another long sunset walk. After our walk we went to the local Pizza Express, before buying some junk food from Costcutter (-a strange moment when I saw someone wearing my same WWT wetlands uniform!-) we then headed back to the hotel where we watched Miranda and had a cup of tea before calling it a night.


The next day we woke up early, had breakfast and checked out of the hotel. It was gloomy and grey outside but quite atmospheric. We headed up to the beautiful cathedral where we spent some time being quiet and admiring the stunning architecture. We then headed to another church before following the river Arun again, this time cutting through parts of a forest.

...downs, in the glum...

After we got back we decided to start the long journey home. The trains were delayed and so somehow we ended up in the town of Horsham. We hung out in Horsham for a bit before finally getting the train via Boxhill all the way to Clapham Junction, it took more than 3 hours! and from there we got the bus home... finally... Tooting sweet Tooting....


Horsenden Hill Sunset

Grand Union Canal

Twilight City

aisha G

my mate aisha recently wrote an article on the niqab, check it; 

The Saison Poetry Library post-work hangout...

the philosopher

-in rain, in colour-

...dejevu, the days blur, 
events occur, one after the other...
like the sunset, after rain (not on the same) day


Sunset Silhouette

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Fried Chicken Shop

....ode to the fried chicken shop....

spot on 
the fried chicken shop
course it had to be clapham
                       wonder what               happened
to all them people,
to all them wings,
to all them legs, breasts and other tings
like a hundred thousand feathers
-small pleasures-
                      freshie dreams   fleshy themes           they call it,           yeah           they call it
grease, bone and flesh
yeah they call it  
         clapham -sense
common hence, 
              it's        < funny >
it's the clapham we all knew
dressed-up yuppies, chunder and G's too
           and don't forget the               misfits
this takes the biscuit   
<hahahahaha> but its true-
its clapham through and through
the fried chicken shop
                           sometimes you just gotta      stop
and take it in//////-----

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Rainy Days in London

Hmm, the ability to make the most out of a grey and rainy day, it's an art that I think most Londoner's have mastered. I really love London, I think it's one of the most beautiful and imaginative cities in the world... there's always something to do, something to see, something to experience, someone to talk to.... 

John Singer Sargent, ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ 1885-6And even on the most miserable days you can find ways and places to make you feel light and colourful within. Below I've listed 5 great ways to spend a rainy grey day in London, all of which can be enjoyed both alone or with company. The great thing about London is it's very accommodating, you can be both a socialite and a loner, either or neither. And you can make the city your own in so so so many ways...! Here are a few of my favourite things to do on glum and wet days (aside from walking)

 1) Sketch in the Tate Britain

On a rainy weekday afternoon its an especially wonderful place to be. I love the Tate Britain a lot more than I do the Tate Modern. It's much quieter and houses some truly beautiful, timeless and inspiring pieces of art by some of my favourite artists including William Blake and J.M.W Turner. 

Spend the afternoon taking a tour of British art, get lost in the paintings, in history, in the brush-strokes, the colours- don't just look at the art, experience it, put yourself in the painting. Or take out some pencils and a sketchbook and sketch a picture or two, jot down some ideas, create something new, create something just for yourself, just because you can...

2) Catch the Matinee at Riverside Studios

I love Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, it's a really unique and interesting space with lots of do and see. I remember the first time I saw a film in the theatre. It was a grey and rainy day and I went to see Grand Hotel starring Greta Garbo. I think must have been sixteen years old- I distinctly remember being the only person in the whole theatre who wasn't an OAP. I had a really great time alone, and even made a few friends. I went back a couple of years later with a Korean friend, Chanmi, to watch this Italian film called Uno Su Due. It was raining that evening too!

Riverside Studios is a lovely place to spend a grey day/ evening. Watch a play, check out the art, catch a double bill in the cinema. Riverside Studios shows an array of films from cult classics to black and whites, to foreign films from around the world.

3) Immerse yourself in books at The Saison Poetry Library

Spend a rainy afternoon or evening in the amazing Saison Poetry Library in the Southbank Centre. The library holds an impressive collection of poetry magazines, manuscripts and poetry books on all subjects, written by a number of poets (past and present/ known and unknown) from Benjamin Zephaniah to John Keats.

Absorb yourself in the world of words, lose yourself through reading, let your imagination run wild. I visited the library today with a good friend (after wandering around the tate britain and by the river) and found myself reading poetry anthology books on the subject of London. In particular I really loved Zephaniah's City River Blues.... I could spend forever in the Saison library.

4) Share a conversation over a cuppa at the Candid Cafe

I love the candid cafe. It's such a cosy and pretty haven located in the heart of Angel. The perfect place to catch up on reading, share long conversations with friends and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. The cafe is open till late most days...

5) People watch from the top deck of a Bus

Perhaps my favourite thing to do of all the things on this list. I could spend hours just sitting staring out of a bus window on a rainy day in London just watching people from above; an old lady pushing her trolley, countless passers-by with hoods over their heads walking briskly towards their chosen destinations; work, a meeting, a friends house, the supermarket, the library. 

I love watching the rain, listening to the sound of drops hitting the windowpane, the concrete streets, watching people wrestle with their out of control brollies, while at the same time soaking in a feeling of melancholy and certain inspiration. The 155, 44, 436 and 88 bus journeys in my opinion, offer the best sights (social and otherwise)....

-autumn/ annual decay-


-a question-

Friday, 13 September 2013

Portrait of Edison

...hmm this strange painting by jean crotti caught my eye at the tate mod tonight...the creation of light, brought to life by a man, a 'mad' man, with a mad vision, a visionary idea- 'perseverance' the alchemy that renders dreams absolute; set against the darkness of another wet, gloomy and grey london evening, umbrellas and electricity.... kind of a strange premonition....

Jean Crotti, ‘Portrait of Edison’ 1920