Pictures of Beautiful London

Yes, London is sometimes drizzly and sometimes grey but it is also often very beautiful.

Tower Bridge
Columbia Road Flower Market
Canary Wharf Light Festival 2024
Brompton Cemetery
Chinese New Year Parade 2024
Painted Hall – Greenwich
Skyline of the City of London
Outernet near Tottenham Court Road
Tower Bridge Opening for tall ships to pass through
Canary Wharf Light Festival 2024
Embankment Gardens
London from a bridge across the Thames River
Aldgate Square
London Marathon 2024
Hampton Palace Gardens
Six the Musical
Wisteria Hysteria
The Scoop and the Shard building

Some Observations from Visiting Malta in April

April is the perfect time for visiting Malta. The temperature is perfect! Here are some observations made from a week long trip and also some travel guidance for visiting Malta.


  1. Malta is very clean and safe.
  2. There are lots of migrant workers in Malta. About 35% of the Maltese workforce are non-Maltese. We were picked up by a Filipino taxi driver and were served a number of times by Filipino wait staff.
  3. The Maltese language sounds sometimes like Italian and sometimes like Arabic. This makes a lot of sense when considering the proximity of the island to Italy and its history.
  4. There are so many churches and ostentatious buildings in Malta. This is due to the island’s historical ties with the Knights of St John. They are well kept in contrast to the older houses which are often peeling and decrepit looking.
  5. There is no train system on this small island. Public transport is by bus. Disappointingly, for a country that relies on tourism, the bus system is at capacity in April. There are disorderly queues to get on at popular locations and buses are often full within. Every seat is taken and every available spot filled with a standing person. The buses are not super frequent on many routes and bus drivers are known to leave people at stations if they cannot squeeze anymore on. I shudder to think what it would be like in August during peak season! As the buses are so busy, it is understandable that the bus drivers are often grumpy. For most tourists, bus drivers and wait staff are some of the main people they deal with. To improve the tourist experience, Malta should invest in more buses for their public system.
  6. Malta has a chilled Mediterranean vibe about it and in areas, is very pretty.
  7. There are a lot of churches and church-going people in Malta. We heard church bells during the day and fireworks for religious celebrations at night. We popped our head into a church on Sunday and it was full! An unusual sight! We were wondering about Rabat on a Sunday and came open an open square with a heap of people They must have just poured out of the local church. There was such a roar of conversation as this huge group of Maltese locals caught up with each other. It felt like community. As much as religion has its downsides, it does foster a sense of community and gives people a support network. It is however sad to see many of the older building peeling and cracked when church buildings with their gilded interiors are in good repair.
  8. In addition to tourism, Malta also brings in a lot of income from the online gambling and sports betting industries.
  9. The land on the island is not particularly fertile. It’s quite dry and rocky. Malta imports about 70% of its food.
  10. Considering how sunny and windy it is, and how the ground in Malta is not particularly arable, there were a surprisingly small number of solar and wind power installations.
Queues for a Maltese public bus
historic building

Travel Guidance

  1. English is one of the national languages of Malta. If you speak and read English, there will be zero language barrier issues travelling around Malta. Signs, menus, websites are all in English. Everyone we came across spoke English.
  2. We used the public bus system to get around Malta. We got a bus pass for €25 and that covered unlimited bus travel for 7 days. Despite being slower and sometimes annoying, I found it preferable to the stress that comes with hiring a car and navigating about a new country.
  3. Eating in Malta is cheaper than in London. It is also quite easy to eat quite cheaply. Cheap street food like the very filling, filled Ftira, Maltese bread, and pastizzis, a traditional savoury pastry, are widely available.
  4. A free walking, tips only, tour is a fantastic way to learn about Malta and is thoroughly recommended.
  5. Four to five full days is a good amount of time to visit Malta. An example itinerary would be, Day 1 – Medina/Rabat
    Day 2 – Valletta
    Day 3 – Three Cities (Senglea, Cospicua, and Birgu)
    Day 4 – Gozo island, Camino island
    Day 5 – St Julians, Sliema
  6. Approximate costs (from April 2024)
    – Return flight to/from London = £250
    – 6 nights in a self contained apartment £400
    – 7 day bus pass £21.5pp
Ftira, local bread with sandwich fillings and Cisk, the local beer.
Pastizzi – costs only about 0.60euro each
Distinctive doorknobs are everywhere in Malta!
Malta’s Parliament Building
These balconies are classic Maltese architecture.
A well in a historic residential home. Rainwater is stored for use in here.
The dry Maltese landscape
Rabbit stew is a classic Maltese dish

Why a Silent Disco is an Awesome Evolution of Nightclubbing!

A blur of people happily dancing at a silent disco. The colour of the headphones denotes the music channel being listened to.

There are so many annoying and distasteful aspects of traditional nightclubbing. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a silent disco ELIMINATES every single one of these aspects! Following is a list of all the things there are to dislike about traditional nightclubbing and how a silent disco is so much better! This is based on a silent disco event held in the crypt at St Martin’s In the Fields church in London.

Upon entry, everyone is issued with a set of headphones.

The music is too loud!

The headphones that everyone wears is equipped with personalised volume control. Each individual can turn up or down their music to suit their preference! This autonomy is something that is missing from a traditional nightclub and a massive plus of a silent disco!

I hate the music being played

Each headphone is capable of changing channels. On the day we visited, there were 3 different channels curated by 3 separate DJ’s. Each person can control the channel on their headphones depending on their mood and music tastes. The colour of the lights on the headphones show others in the room what music channel a person has selected.

In addition to a level of freedom that comes with having some choice of music, everyone can see which channel others are enjoying. This leads to a level of competition among the three DJ’s. It must be such a thrill for a DJ to see the crowd change colours on their headphones to dance to their channel. Their channel colour spreading contagiously through the crowd like a virus!

I can’t chat to my friends!

One of the best parts of a silent disco is the ability to slip off the headphones and chat to ones friends. The room is quiet and it is possible to have proper conversation.

Nightclubs = noise pollution

As the music is only transmitted via headphones, there is zero issue with noise pollution impacting neighbours! Brilliant!

The unexpected upside of no noise pollution is the flexibility to hold silent discos in all kinds of cool and unusual places. We went to an event in the crypt of an old church, St Martins In the Field. It’s a bit surreal dancing on a grave in this historic building. In London, silent discos are also held at the Natural History Museum, on the 72nd floor at The Shard building and on a boat cruise going up and down the Thames. There are even West End musical type silent disco walking tours around central London.

Nightclubbing is full of inebriated, sleazy people

On the night we were there, the vibe was about the joy of dancing and being with friends. There was none of the sleaziness normally associated with nightclubbing.

I have to get dressed up in uncomfortable clothing!

At the event we were there, this was not a requirement at all. It felt very wholesome and diverse. Everyone was just dressed comfortably to have a boogie!

Nightclubbing requires me to stay up way too late!

The event started about 8pm and finished at midnight! Perfect to head to with friends after dinner and then off to bed at a reasonable hour after releasing a whole bunch of happy endorphins dancing!

Clearly, based on one event, I was thoroughly impressed by the whole concept of a silent disco. If you like to dance, this is absolutely something worth trying!

Silent Disco headphones
Silent Disco in the crypt!

10 Ways Theatre is Evolving to Engage Today’s Distractible Audiences.

Look around you! I bet most people you see are either looking on their phones or within a minute of reaching for it. The immense power of these handheld mini-computers have changed the way we operate in this world and impacted the way our brains work. If we have a question, we google the answer. We consume so much short-form content designed to be super catchy, addictive and engaging. When it comes to sitting down with a good novel for hours, it may not be as easy as it once was.

An actor at the Phantom Peak Immersive event
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Ten Questions Answered about the Beautiful Thames Path

Thames Source – closest train station is Kemble

Walking the Thames Path from the source of the River Thames to the engineering marvel of the Thames Barrier is a flat, well marked, picturesque walk of about 300km. Here are some questions I had before starting and the answers learnt by actually walking it!

  1. Are some seasons better suited to walking the Thames Path?
  2. How far do I have to walk everyday?
  3. Do I need to walk it all in one go?
  4. Can I get food and water along the path?
  5. Do I need to pre-book my accomodation?
  6. What are the costs for doing the Thames Path?
  7. Will my phone have signal along the Thames Path?
  8. Will I get lost?
  9. What are the best tips for walking the Thames Path?
  10. Is it worth the effort?
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The Noisy and Colourful London Lunar New Year Parade 2024

Squeals of delight from the kids as the dragons made a point of swooping and interacting with the crowd!

Happy New Year! It is the year of the dragon and London has once again hosted a colourful and festive Lunar New Year parade. What a fun parade with beautiful multicoloured floats, traditional costumes and dancing, a few lion dances and many, many dragons of all shapes and sizes. This year’s parade was better than last year’s and seemed much more well attended.

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Is Japan the Ideal Travel Destination?

Shinjuku, Tokyo

What drives you travel? Why brave horrible airport security and cramped hours on a plane to go to a new place? Is it to immerse yourself in a different culture? Is it to see wonderful sights that you cannot find closer to home? Is it to taste a cuisine where it originated? After a recent trip to Japan, I’d like to argue that Japan is comprehensively the ideal travel destination when considering all the needs and the wants of a curious traveller.

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10 Fascinating Facts Discovered when Holidaying in Iceland

Víkurfjara black sand beach – formed by the erosion of volcanic rock

1) There were once a lot more trees in Iceland!

When the first Viking settlers came to Iceland 1100 years ago, the island was a lot more forested. These were cut down to build homes and boats. Iceland is finding it hard to regrow their forests because of the harsh weather and because of the sheep which graze all over the island causing erosion and making it difficult for trees to establish.

The landscape of Iceland includes a lot of wide open spaces, windy barren vistas, the evidence of volcanoes like old lava fields, black beaches, geothermal areas, geysers, waterfalls and moss. It’s so unusual, distinctive and in parts, truly spectacular.

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