A Jolly Good Easter Holiday In Paddington’s London [I]

Squinting your eyes, you say?! Well, do not be so meek and brave a double-click on the image for a more comfortable enlarged view! Honestly!

Dedication:

Just as a certain stowaway bear from Darkest Peru had once felt nerves deep in the pit of his tummy by the daunting future that lay ahead of him in our great capital, London, I too am always a little prickled by the disorientating hullaballoo of cities. I am, simply put, a country girl far more comfortable with leaning on muddy tractors than coiling around in the squishy spaces of the Underground Tube! Yet, as like the bear that has eternally enamoured my imagination and heart, I do not give in without a fair fight and always, thus, head out to the smoky streets of London with my trademark attitudinal suitcase of curiosity and thirst for extraordinary adventures. However, those innate sticklers aside what really clinches my life-long passion for this particular city is that I have the most lovable of family members living right here! They are the kind of good folk that can beguile you into thinking that you never had any other home apart from the one in which you find yourself in right now. Isn’t that a marvellous blessing to be gifted when indeed you are so far from home?! Each face that you shall come across in this series of reunion tales is no more a soul as warm and kind as the big-hearted Brown family who once showed my beloved little bear that there was a home to be found away from home.

Without stretching my powers of tedious verbosity any more than they have already, I raise my chipped teacup in humble thanks and heartiest affections to each and every one of you who stirred inscrutable magic into my Easter holidays and the memories that I shall carry in the pockets of my little red heart forever…

First up, we have the ever so bubbly and hazardously witty Nuha, my cutesy cousin of age 10 – or was it 11?! Yikes, what an infuriating time to fall victim to a horrid memory lapse! Nuha, my darling, if you are reading this I know I have committed an awfully gross and unforgivable sin of forgetting your age! I promise to make it up to you by, erm, signing you up to a lifetime supply of Haribos! Gulp! As for the photograph, I would have loved to have boasted that this startling piece of Roman tile mosaic is hung proudly in the cloak room of the house but that would be a big fat fib for its true home is in one of my most cherished sanctuaries on this side of the galaxy. Oh yes, you are rather clever when you want to be – it is indeed in the prestigious British Museum! Now, onto the matter of mosaics, I have stoutly treated the art with deep respect and appreciation since I first laid eyes on them and the reason for that lies within its paradox: painstakingly designed and pieced but it maintains a resolute insistence to deliver the full fruits of its meaning only when you distance yourself as far away as possible from the craftsman’s work! Ah, and there is another quite amusing side to it all – viewing a mosaic in an exhibition is as enthralling as riding bumper cars at the fairground, all those steps taken backwards for proper focus and you’re ready to be a hit – to the person behind you! Ooops – sorry did I make you spill your beetroot juice on that white shirt of yours? I suffer from the occasional urge to dye people’s clothes free of charge! Giggle, giggle!

How very rude of you to presume that these four youthful sprites are the human spyware employed by that faceless artist par excellence, Mr Banksy! On the contrary, may I have the pleasure of introducing to you my wonderfully cheeky cousins, Samia, Tania, Nuha and ‘King Tut’! Here our streetwise quartet add a touch of an impending storm in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. The busiest road junction in England seems to be upstaged by the sense that these four are about to sprint in each of the four directions of the compass and do something terribly anarchic, like sneakily puncturing the tyres of rowdy sports cars and setting the giraffe free from London Zoo! Me, the mastermind? Never!! Ahem, ahem!

What sad misfortune to befall this statue of a pharaoh from Ancient Egypt! As I stood underneath the shadow of his massive statue I enquired to myself whether the damaged beard was the work of the ransacking itchy fingers of Napoleon’s army or, could the community of mice living under London’s pavements have an appetite for ancient history? Let us reserve this question as a prime specimen of rhetoric because to find its answer would mean I being distracted for far too long and then facing the wrath of a cold cup of tea! Sacrilege indeed!

Yes, dear readers, it will take a whole Spanish Armada to shackle me down from escaping into the pleasant greeneries of the park! I cannot do a photo story without at least one visit! If you are thinking that I took this shot of my cousins BEFORE running at speed towards them so that I had enough kinetic pump to run vertical up the trunk and then land with a double flip then, well, you’d be quite right! Giggle, giggle!

Ah, one of my favourite photographs from the bunch makes a dazzling entry next in my commentary! The cuddly lady with the strawberry cheeks whom I know you are dying to hug is of course my Mumsy, my boss 24/7! She is stood with my Aunty on the end whose heart is as golden as summer honey and she packs a punch when it comes to rustling up delicious food! The broad sporty chap with the beautiful head is my Rana Mama who is desperate to get me to enrol into the world of Smarty pants phones but I reckon my iron-clad refusal to do so has sent him into new worlds of dizzying headaches! Sorry Uncle, thou are defeated but at least you tried and that counts for something! Ah, and now to welcome you to the newest addition to our family and the better half to Rana Mama,  a stunning lady with a radiant smile and who has taught me the magic of the ice-breaker, “Khem-Choo”, for she hails from Gujarat, India, is my gorgeous Aunty Apeshka! I like her all the more after she approved of the dangerously handsome and brooding torment that is Mr Poldark! An encore of giggles I say!

Tania, modelling the brightest red jumper ever to have come off the garment industry, enjoys testing the safety quality of the bridge chains in the park. She is in no way engaged in any form of play despite the maniacal smile on her face!

‘King Tut’ is one of the most conscientious teenagers I have ever met. Sample here how he utilises a plastic replica of a Viking horn to summon our group to re-band at the predetermined assembly point in the British Museum! I have a strong suspicion that this tall chap may just someday blow into his toy device and the next minute you know you’re inexplicably stood in front of him! If ever your feet twitch in directions that have no relation to you then halt a moment and hold onto something. We cannot be held liable for the open frequency of the horn’s audio! Hehehehehe!

Meet Mr Hoa Hakananai’a, an Easter Island statue, whose name means ‘Hidden Friend’. On his back there is a ring motif and at this point I am sure the cogs in your imagination are whirring away at rapid speed to decipher the message…  :))

And last but not least, here is the highly decorative and gold painted coffin of Lady Henutmehyt from the 19th Dynasty, Priestess of Thebes and Chantress of Amun. A highly influential woman of her time, her mummy has not survived but tests based on a small fragment of her skull that remains inside reveal that she had curly reddish hair. I love the way in which a single colour can defy the prisons of time and space…

A Jolly Good Easter Holiday In Paddington’s London [I]

“… Yes, dear readers, it will take a whole Spanish Armada to shackle me down from escaping into the pleasant greeneries of the park! I cannot do a photo story without at least one visit! If you are thinking that I took this shot of my cousins BEFORE running at speed towards them so that I had enough kinetic pump to run vertical up the trunk and then land with a double flip then, well, you’d be quite right! Giggle, giggle…!”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Spring Reunion Series | London | UK 2015