Wonderous winter worlds at Stonehenge

Wonderous winter worlds at Stonehenge

Yesterday, thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to watch the sun rise on the shortest day of the year when daylight on 21st December lasted for just seven hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds.

Beneath a misty sky, blanketed with clouds, crowds of pagans and druids were among those to flocked to visit the ancient Neolithic monument late on Tuesday night.

The welcoming in of the Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time filled with ad hoc celebration bringing together England’s New Age Tribes including druids, pagans and Wiccans with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people – in droves! Anyone who has been witness to the breath taking energy that washes over the crowd drawing to an awestruck silent hush as the sky begins to brighten.

Stonehenge is carefully aligned following a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset as opposed to other sites such as New Grange in Ireland, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle in Germany, aligned to both the sunset and sunrise.

Newgrange by Shira

Newgrange by Shira

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC and it is thought that winter solstice was of greater significance than the summer solstice to the people who constructed Stonehenge as the pagan calendar marks the “re-birth” of the sun for the new year.

The winter solstice was a time when cattle was slaughtered (so the animals would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.

The solstice can happen on December 20, 21, 22 or 23, though December 20 or 23 solstices are rare.

Join our host Justine Shapiro as she explores the mystical site of Stonehenge

Main image: Stonehenge winter solstice in the 80’s

Designs on the Museum

Designs on the Museum

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years. The Museum holds many of the UK’s national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance. And every year, the museum is the central hub for the mammoth affair that is London Design Festival (LDF) staging an array of specially commissioned installations, talks, projects, experiments and workshops.

This year there were over 25 installations ranging from a ceramic display by the museums Ceramics Resident Matt Smith to intelligent living objects using the property of light colour to convert light into energy like plant photosynthesis.

london-design-festival-_foil-1-benjamin-hubert-x-braun_

Also showing was an immersive installation in the Tapestry Gallery entitled Foil by Benjamin Hubert of experience design agency Layer in collaboration with the German brand Braun. The installation was a 20-metre-long undulating ribbon comprising 40,000 individual metallic elements reflecting and bouncing light off the tapestries.

ldf16_greenroom_glithero_panerai-05_1

In Stairwell G, a lesser frequented area of the museum that boasts large round windows and a dramatic high ceiling, London-based design duo Glithero has partnered with luxury watch maker Panerai to create a time-based installation emulating the circular motion of the arms of a clock. Veils of colourful strings are lifted and dropped in a series of slow, choreographed movements controlled by a motorised arm.

French designer Mathieu Lehanneur installed the next piece from his Liquid Marble series in the V&A Museum’s Norfolk House Music room. Following on from his previous installation in the courtyard of a French chateau, it is made from a single piece of polished black marble sculpted to resemble a rippling pool.

london-design-festival-roundup_mathieu-lehanneur_petite-loire-marble-river_

 

And for more sights of London, check out our Bazaar London episode in which Kate Comer explores all that this great city has to offer; a vibrant, creative, and stimulating melting pot in which culture, arts, architecture, gastronomy, economics and politics thrive together.

Lights, Action, London!

Lights, Action, London!

Once again, London displayed its reputation as a city of intrigue and wonder as a cacophany of light beamed across the city.

lumiere6

Over the course of a chilly weekend in January, throngs of visitors  flocked to wander the streets and join the hunt in and around the city’s central spots to seek out luminary gems.

lumiere4

Luminous fish kites hovered above the popular shopping district of Regent Street, gigantic flowers resembling triffids swayed in the gardens of Leicester Square, and a series of mannequins formed by netted structures set in various poses; flying above or seated atop rooftops in St.James, near the Piccadilly Arcade.

lumiere5Elsewhere, blinking match stick men shifted rhythmically towards and away from the crowds, the sonic effects of Elephantastic and her baby elephant swinging in her trunk reverberated through the crowd whilst Westminster Abbey was intricately lit by light that integrated with its structure entitled called ” The Light of the Spirit.”

Lumiere was presented by Artichoke, the production company who brought London to standstill with The Sultan’s Elephant.

Thanks to Neda Dorudi for the images

lumiere

Travel ‘Appy Part 2: Connect

Travel 'Appy Part 2: Connect

Finding your bearings with the local currency, lingo and lay of the land is always a good idea and these are the apps you need…

CONNECT

Trip Advisor
TripAdvisor has flocked toward rising popularity with its honest user-based reviewers,
all critical of hotels, restaurants, tourist hotspots, and more. The user-based reflections show the
current number of reviews that like or dislike any location destination you’re heading towards. Users
are known to be brutally honest, keeping to their high standards. This gives you a sneak peek into
the best of what your destination has to offer, giving you a better chance for a more enjoyable
vacation.
Available on iPhone (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

GoogleGoggles
When you’re getting lost in a new city but then come across a famous landmark
you’re unfamiliar with, what do you do? Google has an answer for you, yet again. GoogleGoggles is
an image recognition app that allows you to take pictures of famous landmarks and unknown
products, and will then redirect you to more information about your photograph. You will quickly
become the fascinating world traveller who can offer up historical information in seconds.

Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)
Convertor Plus

To the avid traveller, converting money is not enough when it comes to visiting a
different country. All different units of measure have to be taken into consideration, which
Convertor Plus accomplishes. Convertor Plus has the most extensive list of currencies and units in
categories such as loan, tip, fuel consumption, temperature, and hundreds of others. This app also
includes a built-in calculator, making splitting the bill easy for once.
Available on iPhone (free) 

iTranslate
The iTranslate app makes translating clear, cut, and concise. iTranslate has continually
kept up with the millennial age as it continually revamps itself with a simplistic style on how to
communicate with other nations. With its ability to convert over 90+ languages, iTranslate can
translate over voice recognition, copied text, phonetic spelling, and much more. It will even speak
back to you with the correct pronunciation.
Available on iPhone (free), Android (free), and Windows Phone (free)

Wi-Fi Finder
Wi-Fi has become a necessity to access since data roaming charges keep rising. Wi-Fi
Finder allows you to look for a Wi-Fi hotspot using your GPS function on your phone. The app will tell
you where the exact location of the Wi-Fi hotspot and how to get there. In over 650,000 locations
and 144 countries, Wi-Fi Finder can help you save your data for real emergencies.
Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)

Beware the Baggage Squeeze!

Beware the Baggage Squeeze!

For many years now, travellers in Europe have bemoaned the stingy luggage allowances of budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet. But now, airlines are tightening even hand baggage allowances with British Airways reducing the size of a second item passengers can take into the cabin. Be warned!

In the past, those carrying more than allocated cabin baggage allowances have caused controversy. In one incident earlier this summer, a young Scottish man collapsed with heat exhaustion after and needed to be given oxygen on board an EasyJet flight from Stanstead to Glasgow after wearing 12 layers of clothing to avoid paying a 70 dollar excess baggage fee.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Visit Glastonbury Festival 2015

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Visit Glastonbury Festival 2015

This year’s Glastonbury Festival is welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday 28 June to give a talk to festival goers in the Green Fields area of Glastonbury site on Sunday, before travelling to Aldershot in Hampshire, where he will open a Buddhist community centre.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is a guest of the Festival as part of a four day UK visit. The key themes throughout the visit will be the promotion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity.

The visit is not however, without controversy.

China have expressed disapproval and Lu Kang, a foreign ministry spokesman, told a daily news briefing that he was not aware of the details of what the Dalai Lama was doing at the festival. He said, however, that “China resolutely opposes any country, organisation, body or individual giving any kind of platform to the 14th Dalai Lama to engage in anti-China splittist activities.”

Tibetan-exile media reported on Friday that China has arrested a Tibetan man for sharing a picture of the Dalai Lama and the banned Tibetan national flag on the messaging app WeChat.

Since the 1950’s China has been engaged in what they call ‘incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China, the process by which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) gained control of the area comprising the present-day Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

In 1959, the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans fled Tibet and both he and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government in Tibet subsequently repudiated the 17 Point Agreement and the PRC government in Tibet dissolved the Tibetan Local Government.

India designated land for the refugees in the mountainous region of Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile are now based.

The visit will also be marked by protests by the International Shugden Community (ISC), which claims the Dalai Lama is involved in the persecution of Shugden Buddhists in Tibetan exile.

Shugden Buddhists say they have been mistreated in Tibetan exile communities because the Dalai Lama has banned them from worshipping the fierce spirit known as Dolgyal or Shugden and claim that he has had escaped media scrutiny because of his “cult celebrity status.”