One morning, before the conference began, I had time to wander around the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden at the edge of the UCLA campus. I was so glad I could go and was amazed at the difference in vegetation between that of Europe and that of California. Even though there is a certain roughness to the plants, obviously designed in such a way due to harsh climate and to enable their survival, I still found a beauty applied to them. The garden was superbly kept and I was surprised at how underused it was. There was hardly a soul about while I walked about. There were only squirrels for company. I hope I captured some of that beauty in these photographs.
I had never seen so many cacti before! I loved the many varieties and their shapes and sizes. Some looked positively lethal!
I came across this beast of a thing, which kind of left me in awe. It was a tree but had spikes on its trunk. I loved the symmetry of the spikes and the leaves. I decided to give tree-hugging a pass this time around.
There were many plants with vivacious colours such as these Californian poppies, which really brightened up the place.
When I think of bamboo I am reminded of the fight scene which takes place in a bamboo forest in the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Tall, vibrant green forests of the stuff. So I was amazed to see the bamboo below which has red berries, red rimmed leaves and is a smaller variety. It is known as Heavenly Bamboo.
This plant’s leaves felt so thick and surreal, almost cloth-like in texture. Some trees were very surreal. For instance, the tree on the left reminded me of a hand sticking up in the air, in salute, and the tree on the right made me think of the mythological character, Medusa, who had a head of snakes for hair!
I enjoyed watching the tortoises sunning themselves on the rocks in the stream and watching the world go by. Well for some, I guess :)
Last August, when I gave my first paper at an international Celtic conference, a great opportunity arose from it for me. I was invited by a professor to give a seminar in UCLA at another conference in March of this year. Of course, I accepted his offer on the spot! What a fabulous opportunity! The last few months have been spent writing and preparing for this and it was a nerve-wracking and stressful time. Hence, the absence from WordPress. My life was taken over by this. Thanks to my supportive husband, I was able to throw myself into the deepest depths of textual transmission and stemmatics (huh?!). There were many a late night spent in the 24 hour postgraduate reading-room in university and coffee and sugary sweets were a staple. There were many a time when I felt like throwing in the towel and trusting my own work and lacking confidence in my ability to present my work. But my supervisor and my husband were very supportive and egged me on! The hard work paid off and I pulled it together in time. The seminar was successful and I had positive feedback. Unfortunately, I did not get to see any sights and sounds of Los Angeles as I was only there for three days. But UCLA is a great campus and I loved being there. Here are some photographs.
The iconic building Royce Hall, UCLA, this is where the conference was held!
Royce Hall's Italian Romanesque style made it feel European!
The reception for the conference was held on the balcony which faces Powell Library
LAX - Next stop Rome, Italy!
After my whirlwind trip to LA, my next stop was Rome for a week-long workshop, but I’ll save that for another post :)
On a beautiful sunny afternoon we crossed the magnificent foot bridge known as Pont des Arts in Paris. It links the Left bank to the Louvre museum. I loved walking across the bridge and reading all the inscriptions on the love locks adorning the fencing. Seren loved playing with them along the way. We even saw a wedding take place on the bridge. Here are some photographs of a small selection of what seems to be thousands of locks.
This post marks my return from a foray into academic conferences and a week’s holiday in Paris. Both were enjoyable although I don’t think a trip to Paris with two children under four would exactly be described as relaxing! I have always been fascinated with doors of every shape and size and while in Paris, I took lots of photographs with the bestt intention to post on WordPress upon my return. But I can’t believe someone beat me to it with this beautiful post. So I thought I might as well add to the trend.
There are many big doors such as the one below:
or this magnificent door. Does anyone recognise what famous building the door below belongs to?
There are little doors dotted throughout the city. Blink and you pass by without even noticing them.
There are wide doors…
and narrow doors… (the mind boggles as to how people move bulky furniture in and out of doors like this one below!)
I came across several enchanted doorways such as this one. It looked so enticing.
Of course, then there is also beautifully painted and ornate doors such as these two. I love the grid-iron in both of these doors.
I can’t leave out the funky door! There is an Asian feel to this one.
There are also some very contemporary doors. This one is courtesy of my husband! Thanks Pete…
Some doors have been disguised…
You can’t have a door without a knocker! Here is one I came across.
Call me a geek but I am always saying there is a good coffee table book in the making from European doors. I am sure someone will beat me to that too!