Feeding the Soul: A Spring journey . . .to be with family in the Northern Hemisphere

Waking up in Singapore. Out the window from our 16th floor  window the world  is alive as moving  white twin lights coming towards us and red lights moving away. 

It is a world of high rise and many parks which ironically one must book for a table or for a barbecue on weekends.

Our uber driver said  Singapore people are a people of work and sleep and work again. Every body is caught in a cycle of getting somewhere. Maybe we thought we saw another side of Singapore as we were seduced by the sounds of prayer  from the Mosque near our motel, and the aromas – sweet spices – rich, fragrant with garlic, saffron,  fresh herbs , mint, and roasting lamb in the Turkish quarters with the black robed women and the biked men and families,  all smiles meeting in festive eating, laughing and enjoying each others company.  Amazing Lamb dishes, our main connection of conversation: targine, kebabs , ali nasik,  lamb with smoked aubergine, lamb shanks ,Turkish shish on skewers, spiced lamb mince in wraps.  Tables lit by Istanbul coloured glass lights and shops selling coloured lights nearly as beautiful as the one Michael gave me once now hanging catching the light each morning in Normanhurst.,   The fun we had with one man showing us through his photos of dishes proudly exclaiming with a laugh  ‘our lamb is from Australia’  

Singapore in 10 pictures

Our hotel

Out  first day outing finding the Crane for Peace

While we were wandering rather lost ,we found two marvellous sculptures of Salvador Dali

I really do not understand  Dali so whenever i engage with his work I i just let my imagination run away, unrestrained.

The first Dali was titled,  Nude woman  Ascending the staircase

The second Dali is titled,  Snail Queen


Traditional drink  The Singapore Sling  at the famous Raffles Hotel. Just sitting back at The Raffles Hotel and pondering the many famous  people who have stayed or ate or drank or wrote or filmed here on this spot. A great energy . A two hour wait to get into the Long Bar but the Garden Bar where we are is just as interesting and we got the same bowl of unshelled peanuts.



A glimpse of some of the Modern Singapore

A visit to the famous Merlion . The fish-like  body symbolises Singapores origin as a fishing village and the lion head  represents the city’s orinal name of songapura (lion  city in Sanskrit)

An iconic photo tsken of the Merlion 

Interesting photo. These artificial trees (electrified) is an iconic Singaporean scene  . . very stunning when lit up in the evenings.. Just one I took on our extensive walk  on our exploration of the Garden by the Bay. It was very hot and we are not getting any younger so we didn’t do the park justice . It was extensive and very green and well kept.


Our most beautiful morning was walking around the Singapore Botanical Gardens and especially the extensive and famous Nationl Orchid Garden so I popped 4 photos in to try and capture the day.  We had a two day hop on hop off bus which we used for transport  – a successful way to get around the city, when you didn’t get lost looking for the bus stop and when you didnt get on the wrong bus  ( two legs of the bus and not clear which colour route caught us out once ). However we looked at our three days in Singapore as a great adventure and very much about the journey not the destination.

Our second leg of the journey and  reason for our journy

 Up at 4.30  am, down in foyer for Uber to the airport and flying at 9am for London. A 15 hour trip which gave us a chance to see lots of movies and listen to music. Arrived late for London into the loving arms of Elizabeth,, Thomas and Eleanor . William had a wonderful chicken green curry  cooking for us on arrival at Burgess Hill. A great evening with the family. Wonderful fresh flowers greeted us – gold arum lilies,  roses and wonderful  mauve tulips. Just beautiful to be with our two grandchildren. Over the next weeks picking them up from school, experiencing the swimming, karate, archery, nett-ball  gymnastics,  ballet  explorers club, doing lots of craft with them, walking around the Dragonfly Park, walking the sea front  on a sunny spring day, 

Catching up with family in England in 10 or more pictures

At the airport , very moving experience after a gap of 8 years.

a long way from home
unfamiliar sounds
entertain my night


Experiencing  school in Burgess Hill ,England  bu picking grandchilren up after school.

Some of the English roses  with Eleanor coming home from Netball training.

A historic moment  for the family and a wonderful celebration 

Some fun activities we enjoyed watching

An English Spring IN 10 PICTURES

Out walking in the English fields the idea of rewinding England is in full bloom

spring pond 
two green-headed drakes 
flaunt with a duck

a blue dragonfly 
rests on a pond reed
a piece of sky

from the dark
to full light
white lotus blooms
 showing me
 the way forward

the unkept park
rewilding nature
we wander amid
a bevy of birds, insects
and blossoming weeds

dandelions, red clover,
buttercups, bees
insects on daisies  and song birds in trees
tadpoles dancing
amidst flowering lotus

And ducklings we watched them just born run all over the lotus leaves . Life was wonderful.  But the next day they are gone.


Story of the tiny Englash Blue Tits that nested in our back yard. An exciting observation.



And then they fledged, played in the apple tree for a little while and were gone, leaving the back yard soquiet and  lonely .

I can go back to concentrate on sparrows and magpies and look for wrens .


Several drives into the countryside in 10 Pictures

One of the creative  moments feeding our souls

We set out to find a mystery country church that we had heard of  worth visiting as it is said to have 12 beautiful Marc Chagall stained glass windows . It was about an hours drive to All Saints Church Tudeley . 

There were no cars  as we drove into the car parking area in the country side.   No line up of people queued to enter as there was at the hot bread shop yesterday. There was a country peace and quiet so quite the swaying  hum of  barley in  the field next door could be heard.  

Elizabeth was the first to pull the very old wooden door to enter and I heard her gasp ‘O my goodness’ I followed and stopped  in awe catching my breath with ‘O my ‘ The small church was full of scintillating  mood of coloured light   the ancient flood and wall stones were shimmering in swaying light  and the windows , with the luminosity of Marc Chagall work waited for us .


All Saints Church in Tudeley, Kent, England, is the only church in the world that has all its windows in stained glass designed by Marc Chagall.   “When Chagall dies Matisse will be the only one left that knows what colour is “ Picasso 

One of the wonders of the Tudeley windows is that they are at eye level: one can go right up to them and see the marks of Chagall’s hands. He would scratch and mark his windows right up to the final stage of making – some say even after they were installed. This distinguishes the Tudeley windows from most of his other stained glass, which tends to be high up and hard to see. 

(Some of his finest work in the medium is at the synagogue of the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel – the Reuben window, in particular, prefiguring the east window at Tudeley and in a Zurich Cathedral. The most interesting window at present with thoughts of Gaza , according to my friend Andy . . .is at the is the Peace Window at the United Nations building in NY. a

How did Chagall happened to be present here in this tiny unknown church in the countryside.

The story goes a  young jewish girl Sarah and her mother had seen  and admired the Chagall designs for the Hadassah windows at an exhibition in the Louvre in Paris in 1961, and had been enthralled by them.

After the sudden death of Sarah in 1963, in a sailing accident, her parents living in the area of Tudeley,  Sir Henry and Lady d’Avigdor-Goldsmid commissioned Chagall to design the magnificent east window. In commemorating the daughter of a Jewish father and an Anglican mother Chagall was an inspired choice. Chagall was a Jew, but one who often included Christ in his work, and who spoke of him as “the radiant young man in whom young people delight”.

Chagall was initially reluctant to take on the commission, but was eventually persuaded – and when in 1967 he arrived for the installation of the east window and saw the church, he said, ‘It’s magnificent. I will do them all.’

And over the next 15 years, Chagall designed all the remaining eleven windows, collaborating as usual with glassworker Charles Marq of Reims. The chancel windows were finally installed in 1985, the year of Chagall’s death at the age of 98 (replacing Victorian glass, now artfully backlit by a specially designed light-box installed in the vestry, at the suggestion of Sir Hugh Casson).

For myself I have always  been curious of the famous Chagall windows at the Hadassah Synagogue in Jerusalem  and the ones at The Fraumunster Church Zurich. I had accepted not to experience them and here I stand before 12 Chagall windows the east window inspired by  the famous Reuben window  in Jerusalem . What a beautiful gift to our world. 

My favourite  window is in the SW corner ( for the English where the su light gets in ) 

 It is all golden and called the Resurrection window. It echoes the other windows as it also has birds of the air , beasts of the field and an angel albeit less obvious. 

Picnic in the  ancient peaceful cemetery

Country walks around the churches  down in a barley field,  path under the birch trees to a secret garden.


Kids and Michael enjoying the country side




With our spirits full  I felt close to Heaven having been in  the presence of Chagall I felt as if I could not take in any more when we read another tiny church i and half miles away across the field there was another country church –St. Thomas à Becket, Capel has a notable 13th century wall paintings and a yew tree under which Becket himself is supposed to have preached.  It is a small Norman Wealden Church. 


The tower was partly rebuilt after a fire in 1639. Inside, the crown-post roof is striking and there are some interesting fittings. Most significant however, are the extensive medieval wallpaintings which cover most of the nave.

Having been hidden by plaster for hundreds of years, evidence of these treasures was first discovered in 1868.

The north wall is a reminder of the colour and artistry which adorned England’s mediaeval churches before the Reformation. These paintings provided a kaleidoscope of visual aids to teach the Christian faith to ordi- nary people, who could neither read nor understand the Latin of the services and scriptures.

There were two tiers of scenes on the north wall. A horizontal frieze of zigzag riband pattern, about 4 feet (1.2m) from the floor, marked the bottom of the lower tier, and a frieze of scroll-work further up, divided the two tiers. These friezes, together with the lines which cover the wall and also the wide splay of the Norman window and the arch of the blocked doorway, with a masonry pattern, are thought to be the work of c.1200. and it reminds me of the work in the original Church in Hildegards Church which tells the biblical stories.


PS A footnote:

Hi Colleen,

Great to hear you were able to visit that church in England where Chagall designed/painted a beautiful stained-glass window. Elaine and I made a point of seeing his windows in a church in Zurich and a synagogue in Jerusalem on our pilgrimage to the ‘Holy Land’ in 2016.

As witnesses to Gaza’s unholy war, you and Marg may be interested is Chagall’s magnificent ’Peace Window’ at the United Nations building in New York. 

Blessings and Love to all


I have copied the image and description of the window from the UN website. [Photo in separate text]

“Peace Window” – Marc Chagall (Marc Chagall and the United Nations Staff Members – 1964)

The memorial, a stained-glass window about 15 feet (4,6 meters) wide and 12 feet (3,7 meters) high,

contains several symbols of peace and love, such as the young child in the center being kissed

by an angelic face which emerges from a mass of flowers. On the left, below and above, motherhood

and the people who are struggling for peace are depicted. Musical symbols in the panel evoke

thoughts of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which was a favourite of Mr. Hammarskjöld’s.

Chagall’s own handwritten dedication (15 May 1963) reads:

“A tous ceux qui ont servi les buts et principes de la Charte des Nations Unies et pour lesquels

Dag Hammarskjöld a donné sa vie.”
[“To all who served the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter,

for which Dag Hammarskjöld gave his life”.]


PSS  a further footnote 

Ah that’s so interesting, beautifully moves me to tears. 

One of my  treasured possessions is a copy of Dag Hammarskjöld’s book, Markings.

It’s old and brown. His words have been a comfort to me over the years,

he was and is an inspirational icon of goodness for me.

I’m sending a little of his words in the foreword. His death was so untimely,

believed perhaps to have been killed!   Marg xx


Visiting Winchester Cathedral in 10 Picutres 


A tree lined park leads us to a staggering cathedral of wonderful proportions built in 1079 and expanded after that over 5 centuries with 7 different designs  of architectural  styles.   it has had countless restorations over the centuries . 

After entering the Cathedral the first site that stopped me  was the west wall stained glass window at the back of the cathedral.


It has a n interesting story. 

The mosaic stain glass window was not the intended design but an assortment of broken fragments collected and repaired after all of the stain glass windows of the cathedral were smashed on 12 December 1642 after the army  burst through the doors rode their horses into Winchester’s historic cathedral.. Then those with guns used the windows as target practice. The ground was splattered with coloured glass.

When the angry soldiers left, the townspeople came around and picked up as much of the glass as they could. They stored it all in boxes tucked safely under their beds in hopes that when things calmed down, the windows could be reassembled and the bones could be reburied.

Oliver Cromwell, died in 1658 and within two years, the monarchy was restored. But the war had left Winchester Cathedral in a sorry state. In an effort to get things back to normal, the citizens of Winchester set about cleaning up and repairing their cathedral.

Everyone brought out their boxes of glass to see if they could be put back where they belonged. However, recreating the beautiful Biblical scenes that had once graced the windows proved to be an impossible task. So they repaired many of the broken windows with clear glass.

A Window as a Metaphor

For the huge west window, they came up with a special plan. They gathered all the bits of broken glass and made a mosaic. The result was a beautiful window.

It doesn’t have images representing stories from the Bible as it once did, but it still tells a story. It tells a story about a war and of people putting broken things back together. And maybe there’s still a spiritual message in it for us. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for life and teaches us that no matter how shattered things seem, they can still be put back together. They might not look like they did before, but they can still be beautiful.

(adapted from The Curious Rambler – Margo Lestz)

A Window, A War, and a Metaphor in Winchester Cathedral

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter;  Keats 

Stained glass stories with ornate tales
saints and heroes and biblical scenes 
summon us to stand and wonder

imagine the emptiness of frame
when in rage men lifted muskets
shattered  story and beauty  reigned terror

how many brave hands were cut by shards of glass
how many pockets and boxes of glass collected
hidden for 20 years in hope of restoration

impossible to recreate the ancient windows 
to their seventeenth century former majesty
yet a sense of people-power gave hope

a multicoloured mosaic of salvaged shards
with additional clear glass to fill residual gaps 
makes luminosity of light live once again

a reconstructed window 
its kaleidoscopic splendour tells a new story
a story of salvation and resurrection

Colleen Keating


Marvellous archetecture. We could spend hours walking around this beautiful 12th century structure.

“Winchester Cathedral is one of the most historically significant buildings in Britain.

It is located at the heart of historic Winchester, once the seat of Anglo-Saxon and Norman royal power,

on the site of an early Christian Church. Today, Winchester Cathedral stands beautifully

in the idyllic green spaces surrounding it,

boasting the title of Europe’s longest medieval Cathedral.

The Old Minster, a Benedictine monastery, was the home of St Swithun and the present Cathedral was built

on the orders of William the Conqueror. Begun in 1079, Winchester Cathedral

has been a place of welcome and worship ever since. “

A place of prayer and a prayer for PEACE




We all wanted to visit King Arthur’s Round Table of Camelot that his knights used to sit around? 

Here in  Winchester  the Round Table is  part of Winchester Great Hall. a short walk from Thre cathedral.

Although it’s not really the legendary circular table, it is a medieval recreation that dates back to the 13th-century! 

As a huge fan sof the Arthurian Legends and anything to do with Merlin,we just had to check this table out for myself. 

Pa and Elizabeth getting into the mood.

The architecture of the Hall was breathtaking as the Cathedral .

Finally attached to the hall was Queen Eleanotr’s Garden  with its fountain, long walking trellis  for ladies to walk and care fot their complexion and a mediatation corner of peace.

Pa and Eleanor sitting in the meditation corner but not really mediatation

Thomas and i walking under the long trellis way.

And so after a long drive home, thanks to William, we arrived with a new story and much food to feeds our soul.


Creative Fun with our Grandchildren in 10 Picture

In the past few weeks we have had lots of enjoyable time with the Grandchildren as we get to know them again after 8 years  from our last trip to England. How that 8 years raced. Hard to understand  where time disappears to . 

Time walking with them walking along the countryside  a short drive to Hove from Burgess Hill.

Creative fun making celtic knor=ts with Eleanor


Playing word games at the Plough Pub


By the Dragonfly Pool looking for the protected gold crest Newt, lotus lilies, ducks ducklings and drakes, water birds and frogs.