Category Archives: PEOPLE

國殤紀念日 Remembrance Day

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每年11月初在英國, 可以看到許多街上的行人在胸前別着一朵小紅花, 甚至有些車的車頭也粘著小紅花。雖然知道這起源於記念一次世界大戰(結束於1918111111時)中犧牲的將士, 也曾在書中讀到關於戰爭的故事, 但佩戴小紅花的心情似乎距離我十分遙遠。一直到連續看到一位曾經參與二次世界大戰(1939~1945) 情報工作的長輩不厭其煩地每年配戴, 才開啓了我一探究竟的好奇心。

Every early November in Britain, many passengers, even cars, are seen wearing little red flowers on the streets. Although I am aware of it’s origin being commemorating the sacrificed soldiers in WWI (ended 11 o’clock, 11th of November, 1918), not until I kept seeing someone I know wearing it year after year, I started feeling curious about it.

機緣巧合下, 我看了一集播出中的英國廣播公司國殤紀念日的特別節目, 其中, 一位九十歲的老先生, 述說他在二次大戰服役中倖存的心情。 比爾在戰時參與了皇家空軍的轟炸機指揮部, 身為轟炸機的後方射擊手, 他的任務是偵測及阻止敵機從後方攻擊, 後方射擊手的傷亡率很高, 出這個任務可能短則兩週就喪命。除了攻擊, 也包含了空投救援物資以及收集情報, 其中一項收集情報的方式是空投載有問卷的鴿子, 冀望牠們不要落入敵手, 而我方的朋友能填寫問卷後寄回。在一次出任務返回途中, 比爾的所搭轟炸機的機尾爆炸了, 飛機整個落入海中, 雖然比爾和同機大部分的人員生還, 但他卻只能看著機長以及一位情如兄弟的同袍呼喊著沈落大海, 卻絲毫使不上力戰後許多年, 他都仿佛一直聽到那呼喊聲在耳邊回響幾年前, 英國最後一位一戰生還者去世了, 再過一二十年, 也許像比爾一樣的二戰生還者也會逐漸隕落, 今日大多數沒有經歷過戰爭的普羅大眾, 會為了什麼目的而佩戴小紅花呢?國殤紀念日會不會變成只是軍事家鼓動大眾愛國情懷的工具呢?

Accidentally, I watched a BBC program about “Remembrance Day”, in which, a 90 year old gentleman sharing his experience in WWII. Bill participated in the Bomber Command of Royal Air Force in the war. Acting as a rear gunner, his job was to detect and prevent the rear attach from the enemy. Rear gunners’ life expectancy could be as short as two weeks. Apart from attacks, they also delivered supplies or collected information through dropping secret agents or message pigeons. Once on the return journey of a task, the back of their aircraft exploded and fell into the ocean. Bill and most of the crew survived, however, his best friend and the captain sunk into the deep water. Bill could still hear their screaming and feel the helplessness in his mind many years after the war. A couple of years ago, the last WWI survivor died. After ten, twenty years, the survivors from WWII, like Bill, will decease too. Will Remembrance Day become something that militarists uses to manipulate the patriotism of general public ?

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一向有著反戰情結的我, 帶著質疑的心情, 來到了英國政府所在地的白廳White Hall), 在這裡廣大的馬路上, 矗立着兩座戰爭紀念碑, 一座建於1920, 碑面簡單地刻着『光榮的死者』; 另一座有著現代化的風格, 雕刻着戰時女性的裝束, 是專為紀念二次世界大戰中犧牲奉獻的女性而設計。就在紀念碑附近, 可以看到學校老師帶著學生, 解說著戰爭的歷史及國殤紀念日; 馬路的另一側, 有參與英軍作戰的廓爾喀人(來自印度尼泊爾, 一支驍勇善戰的部族), 為爭取與英國籍軍人平等的退役權利而靜坐; 他們的隔壁, 則有絕食抗議斯里蘭卡種族屠殺, 陳請政府抵制即將在斯里蘭卡舉行的英聯邦集會; 當然, 更多的是警察、路人及觀光客。如此忙碌且時空交錯的情景, 帶給我一絲複雜的心情~

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With an anti-war attitude and doubts, I cam to White Hall. Standing on the broad street are two war memorials. One built in 1920, on the cenotaph simply written “The Glorious Dead”; the other is a modern style sculpture of women’s war time clothing symbolise the women in WWII. Near the memorials, there were teachers explaining the history of war to the students; Gurkha soldiers protesting for equal treatments as other British troops; and someone having a hunger strike urging the government to boycott the Common Wealth Meeting in Sri Lanka, whose purpose to denounce the massacre of Tamils conducted by the present Sri Lankan government…. Of course, there were no lack of police, passengers and tourists around. Such busy, mixed scene made me feel complicated….

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臨近白廳西敏寺大教堂周圍, 1928年開始, 在國殤紀念日前後就會有一段時間設立『虞美人之原』, 讓民眾在草地上種下紀念的十字架。虞美人, 就是那小紅花的名字。以虞美人紀念戰爭犧牲者的起源, 來自於一位一戰軍醫所寫的詩法蘭德斯戰場。這曾經戰況慘烈的戰場, 據說盛開著如士兵鮮血般鮮紅的虞美人花… 雖然西敏寺大教堂一年四季都充滿了觀光客, 當我站在虞美人之原, 卻自然而然升起一股莊嚴肅穆的心情, 那滿佈十字架與虞美人花的原野, 流動着無形的平靜能量。所有的十字架是如此地低, 不論是要種下十字架, 或只是想仔細端詳的人, 都必須彎下腰、低下頭- 在死者的面前,沒有誰比誰高人一等。現場有許多老年人尋找着親友所屬的戰時編制, 在他們的區域獻上緬懷之情, 也可以看到年輕媽媽帶著小孩進行追念。我留意到某一區的每個十字架都有照片,走近一看, 發現那是為最近幾年在阿富汗陣亡將士所設; 在那一區斜對面不遠處, 一群十字架中混雜着月亮及六角星,也許死者是回教徒或猶太人吧, 而他們所屬的區域是『情報單位』…

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Not far from White Hall is another famous tourist attraction, Westminster Abbey. Since 1928, a “Poppy Fields” was set at the abbey’s court yard for people to “plant” remembrance cross with poppy flowers. Poppy was first taken as a symbol of remembrance from a poem called “In Flanders Fields” written by a military doctor, John McCrae. The first line of the poem says “ In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow between the crosses, row and row”.Even though Westminster Abbey has always filled with tourists all year round, when I stood at the poppy fields, the busy atmosphere suddenly froze and on the fields, the energy of quietness and peace flew.

The crosses are so low that whoever wants to plant one or look at them has to lower their knees or bow down- nobody is higher than anyone in front of the dead. You can see old people trying to find the areas their friends belong to or young mothers bringing their kids to join this ceremony. I noticed that one area has got photos attached on all the crosses and discovered it was for the troops fighting in Afghanistan (very new…). Not far across this group, in the secret agent’s zone, one can see some crescent moon and stars of David amongst many crosses. I guess they are probably to memorize muslim or Jewish people….

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當另一半知道我拜訪了虞美人之原, 他從抽屜裡拿出了外祖父及叔公在戰後獲頒的勳章, 他說:『叔公從土耳其作戰回來後, 從沒提過戰爭的事, 他的勳章, 一次都沒佩戴過』 是的, 在英國大部分的家庭, 多少都有親友曾經經歷過兩次世界大戰。也許幸運地生在堪稱和平時代的我們, 不能體會他們當時所經歷或現在仍然經歷, 生離死別的種種; 雖然戰爭代表着人類的愚蠢, 然而, 沒有許多人在這樣極端狀況中發揮的智慧與勇氣, 今天的我會過著怎樣的生活呢?或許軍事家們確實汲汲營營地試圖操控大眾對戰爭榮耀的想象, 我的國殤紀念日小旅行, 卻帶給我謙卑及感恩。

IMG_5318Knowing I have visited the “Fields of Remembrance”, my other half showed me the war medals of his grand father and grand uncle. He mentioned “Grand uncle never said a word about the war and never wore his medal ever since he came back from the fight in Turkey.” Yes, many English family has connections with the two world wars. Born and living in this reasonably peaceful period, it might be difficult for the majority of us to feel how those experienced the war have suffered or are still suffering. Wars might have presented the stupidity of human beings. Militarists might be busy exemplifying the glory of wars. However, without the wisdom, courage and efforts that many people shown at such extreme conditions, what kind of live would I have been living today? My little trip of Remembrance Day has brought me a sense of humbleness and gratitude.

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廣告

倫敦自行車風潮 London Cycle Fun

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在倫敦, 許多人都是自行車通勤的擁護者, 其中包含了現任的倫敦市長波理斯.強森及著名的時裝設計師薇薇安.衛思伍德, 什錦甘草糖曾經在街上與風馳電掣的這兩位擦身而過。倫敦市中心為避免交通擁擠, 每天從早上7點到傍晚6, 所有開進城的車都會被徵收交通高峰費congestion charge, 比較受歡迎的地方, 即使願意付費停車, 也不一定有停車位; 搭乘火車地鐵或公車的費用很高, 而且幾乎每年的12日都會漲價。節能省碳、省錢、機動性高又可健身的自行車逐漸成為倫敦市民喜愛的交通工具~ 現任市長有名的政績之一, 就是推動可以在市中心區隨處取車, 隨處還車的『博客來腳踏車, 方便市民及遊客行程較短的交通需求。

In London, many people support cycling. Amongst them, London’s present mayor, Boris Johnson and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood are two famous figures. I have seen both of them cycling on the street. In order to avoid serious traffic jams,the London authority applies “congestion charge” to cars driving into central London area from 7am to 6pm during the week days.Parking is not easy at popular areas and the already expensive public transport raises prices every year. Suffering from the above factors, bicycles gradually become Londoners favourite transport tools! It’s more mobile, eco-friendly, money-saving and healthy~ One of London’s new landscape is people riding the Blue Barclays bikes here and there.

許多倫敦民眾也許是博客來腳踏車的會員, 也許有自己的汽車, 也許會用大眾運輸工具, 但其中許多人同時擁有自己的自行車。走在倫敦的街上, 隨處可以可以看到自行車鎖在燈桿或欄杆上; 忙碌的路上, 也常有成群的自行車族穿梭在公車及汽車之間; 社區中, 不但有越來越多的腳踏車店, 甚至有的店還附設咖啡店以提供通勤族中途休息, 或自行車愛好者資訊交流的空間; 近來, 地方區政府的道路改善問卷中, 通常也都會把自行車存放空間納入考量, 可見自行車在這城市受歡迎的程度!

People might be joining Barclays Cycle Hire, owning their own car or taking public transport, but they also like having their own bikes at the same time. Walking in London, one can find bicycles chained everywhere, groups of cyclists flying between buses and cars,and growing numbers of bike shop(some with cafe)appearing in the communities. Bike storage spaces has also become one popular options on local governments’ urban planning questionnaire!

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自行車族的組成年齡從幼稚園小孩到銀髮族都有。有些父母會在車前或車後加上額外的裝置或坐墊, 以方便載小孩出, 當小朋友大到可以自己騎車時, 就幫他們買自己的腳踏車, 週末的公園市場或遊樂區, 偶爾還可以看到『全家福車隊』!在英國, 許多民眾都是著名的『環法自行車大賽』的粉絲。 路程超過80公里, 有名的『倫敦到布萊頓』自行車慈善賽, 年年吸引成千上萬的民眾參加, 我也曾經參加過一次, 大部分的人需要騎一天(約8小時), 越過陡坡不久, 接近終點時特別有成就感!

London’s cyclists are from all ages. Some parents attach extra parts on the bike to enable them carrying young kids when they are on the wheels. When the children are big enough to handle bikes themselves, many of them learn to ride. Occasionally,you can see a big family of 5 or 6 members cycling on the country road, in the park or walking with their bikes in the markets!In Britain, many people are fans of “Tour de France”. One of London’s own famous cycling events is the charitable “London to Brighton” bike ride which takes most of participants a whole day to complete. I did it once and enjoyed it a lot!

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因為自行車的機動性, 在倫敦的希斯洛機場, 設有自行車緊急救護服務; 小型的商家或機構也會添購三輪車以載運工具或貨物。如果仔細觀察, 常可以發現不少賞心悅目或風格獨特的倫敦自行車騎士。在慶祝煙火節的晚會中, 我遇到了一位非常迷人的法國女士蘇菲, 她也是位到哪裡都騎自行車的兩輪族, 我們認識的當晚, 她當然也是騎著自行車活動, 儘管如此, 蘇菲還是穿著鮮艷的鵝黃色大衣, 踩著有跟的鞋子, 戴著簡單的一兩件首飾。這位女孩非常喜歡開玩笑, 和她聊天時間過得特別快, 當你仔細點觀察她, 她姿態優雅的長耳環有一部分竟是娃娃的手, 而手提包上立體的造型, 竟是三個洋娃娃的臉!

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Bicycles are so mobile that even Heathrow airport uses them to offer ambulance service! Some small local business or organisations now also like to use tricycles to move tools or goods around. Watching carefully, you can find many cyclists with unique styles in London city. I recently have just met one in the bonfire party- a very charming French lady, Sophie~ Sophie cycles everywhere and it was no exception on the night we met. Despite on the wheels, Sophie dressed herself in an elegant bright yellow coat,wearing shoes with heels and a couple of jeweleries which goes very well with her coat. She loves making jokes and this makes time passing quickly when you chat with her.If you look at her closely, you might be astonished to find out that on her graceful looking earrings hang two pieces of doll’s hands and on her sculptural feeling hand bag sticks out 3 doll faces!

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蘇菲是一位有創意的設計師及表演者, 她對於生活中隨手可得的事物充滿着想象力, 不太受既定觀念的束縛, 因此喜歡把不同的媒材重新組合, 或把他人丟棄的物件回收再利用, 這也是她『人體系列』飾品誕生的理念。因為喜歡明亮的色彩, 加上學戲劇的背景, 蘇菲擅長運用各種顏色的樂高積木方塊, 做成別具特色的衣服或飾品, 這個系列的作品, 格外地有節慶的快樂氣氛!如果你也想看看蘇菲小姐獨特有趣的創作, 或甚至購買它們, 請參考她的網站。對了!她的網站就叫做:踩著高跟騎自行車CYCLE IN HEELS)

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Sophie is a creative designer and performer who is full of imagination towards daily objects and sets no limitation on her works. She likes to recycle things found in the charity shops or on the street and to combine different materials together. I think this explains the background of her “human body” series accessaries. Influenced by her theatre study and passion for colours, she is very good at applying lego bricks in making costumes too. This series brings you very festive atmosphere! If you are interested in seeing or buying Miss Sophie’s creations, please check the following links. Oh! The name of her website happens to be called “Cycle in Heels”~ 

相關連結:

蘇菲的網頁- http://cycleinheels.blogspot.co.uk/

蘇菲的網購商店- http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/cycleinheels

倫敦到布萊頓 – http://www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/events/bike-rides/london-to-brighton/london-to-brighton.aspx

博客來腳踏車 – http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/14808.aspx

有趣的蔬菜:義大利麵瓜 Lazy bone’s pasta: Spaghetti Squash

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星期六的早上做什麼好呢?忙了一週, 既想放鬆心情, 又得把平日沒有處理的家事照顧到. 對我來說, 逛農夫市集是最有意思的了!一方面可以採買下週所需的食物, 另一方面, 又可以在各式各樣的攤子之間, 享受挖寶的樂趣.

Saturday morning, a time to relax, but also a time to deal with the housework that has to be done…. What a struggle! Well, ever since I started visiting our local farmers market, my dilemma has simply disappeared! I can do the food shopping for next week while hunting for treasures amongst interesting stalls~

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接近萬聖節的時間, 不只是南瓜, 在市場還可以發現許多其他的瓜類, 有的小巧且色彩繽紛, 有的則是頭好壯壯, 以體型取勝. 上一週我們在農夫市集看到一個佈置十分鮮艷的攤位, 有趣的是, 整個攤位只賣一種看來有點像冬瓜的產品義大利麵瓜 (又稱魚翅瓜), 而這些瓜全都是這位同樣衣著十分鮮艷的女士種的, 我們就暫且稱她為Maggie.

When Halloween approaches, you find pumpkins as well as many different squashes at the market- some are small and colourful with various shapes, some are simply BIG! Last week, we spotted an attractive stall which only sells one product- spaghetti squash. And these squashes are all grown by this very brightly dressed lady! Since I don’t know her name, lets call her Maggie here.

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Maggie 的攤位停着一輛接著拖車的自行車, 我們一開始想:她大慨住不遠, 所以一路載著她的瓜寶寶們來市場賣. 聊了一下才發現她的菜園在英格蘭西南的Somerset, 這個地方到倫敦大概有三小時車程, 哇!她真的很有心哪!雖然只有一種產品, 我們到的時候幾乎快賣光了. 比較成熟的瓜風味較深, 但子也多, 需要把子挖出來另外烤; 年輕一點的瓜, 則是除了瓜柄外的每個部分都可以吃.

Maggie’s stall has a bicycle with a trailer. We thought she does not live far in the beginning but only discovered that her allotment is actually at Somerset (3 hours drive from London) after a chat. Mmm… She really has made quite a bit of efforts to share these produce! Even she only sells one thing, by the time we saw her stall, her squashes were almost all gone. The riper ones have deeper flavour, but the seeds needs to be baked separately; apart from the pedicle, every part of the young ones can be consumed.

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我們躍躍欲試地買了半顆嫩瓜, 回家後把外皮沖了一下水, 淋上一些橄欖油, 放進烤箱以大約200ºC 烤個40分鐘, 就可以享用了典型的懶人食物. 烤完後的瓜肉呈現麵條(或魚翅)般一條條的質感, 對於不想吃太多米麵類食物或是吃素的人, 是增加飲食變化的好選擇; 因為它有趣的特質, 即使不喜歡吃菜的小孩們, 也很難抵抗它的吸引力. 食用時可以當成麵一般, 搭配醬汁、烤蔬菜、咖喱或燉菜一起吃. 吃不完的話, 隔天做成濃湯或混合麵粉做成炸餅應該也很可口. 我們當天晚上有一個小Party, 把瓜瓜麵就着泰式咖喱吃, 別有一番清新風味, 因為太受歡迎了, 沒有剩菜可以實驗濃湯或炸餅

We bought half a young one with excitement and just simply rinse the outer skin, sprinkle the flash with olive oil, and stick the half squash into a 200ºC oven for around 40 minutes, then it’s done! The cooked flash has the texture of spaghetti. For people who do not want to consume too much rice or pasta, spaghetti squash offers an alternative. It is a fun vegetable popular to children- even those who don’t like veggies! It goes well with various sauces, stew, curry, roast vegetables…etc.. The leftover squash can be made into soup or croquette the next day. Very versatile indeed! We served our baked squash with Thai curry in a dinner party that night and we hadn’t got enough leftovers to try out the soup or croquette!

想拜訪更多倫敦的農夫市集嗎? To know more about London’s Farmer’s Markets:

http://www.lfm.org.uk/