Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Time travel ;)

Asalamalaikum & Greetings of Peace to all

OK so the suitcase is packed, exam material is heading to OCR, room is tidy, and I even brought some plasters! What next????

We have 2 hours before the cabby arrives - in the absence of the cubs, the lions are asleep and me has a few minutes to blog a little before I hit the sack for an hour :) ..yes in my household whether you travel to Mecca or Mars you MUST sleep!

It feels like when we went to Hajj.. we had to meet at the local mosque to board a coach at 3am.. we managed to sleep an hour or so ;)

SO anyway - time is flying...

I feel so lucky; apparently the Alhambra Palace (in Granada) is the 2nd or 3rd most visited monument in the world! OK so my source may be bias since thats what the Spanish Tourist Office said when we booked a viewing time last week... ;)

I also feel less guilty on travelling here since I have completed the "journey of a lifetime" as is requested in Islamic teachings - for those who are able to go. In a sense had I not gone to Hajj I would be feeling a little guilty on going here. I suppose what Hajj has certainly done for myself is that it has "completed" me. Almost as if something was missing from my spiritual life, and so everything else that gets sent my way is thus a bonus :)

Anyhow - it is now midnight...

I cant believe it NO internet!

NO emails!

NO mobiles!



InshaAllah - catch you on the other end :)

Peace & Prayers
Jupiyah & Pupiyah to my girlfriends (a Punjabi way of saying hugs & kisses;)

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Monday, August 23, 2004


Bring on the camels!

Asalamalaikum all :) Greetings and Salutations of peace from the depths of my being :)

OK so with just over 24 hours before we leave our hut for the airport, my room is a tip; exam material scattered on the floor; an empty suitcase staring at me; and mum telling me to vow I will have a good nights sleep tonight!

Oh yeah and the trousers which still needs to be hemmed - yes I adhere to the "hand - stitched for perfection" approach when it comes to attire ;)

What do I do though?! Didn't I say the life holds trials for the DOA ... erm OK maybe we are familiar to seeing that abbreviated for "Dead on arrival" ... D of A?

Ah forget it!

The camels set out last week and say its nice and warm in Granada.. they have been meeting a lot of long-distant relatives on their way up there. Amazing as it is I have been wanting to go to Granada for absolute years. Such a historic place; it will definetly help us feel the nearness of our roots. InshaAllah. (God Willing)

We were hoping to go to Istanbul, Turkey to see religious artefacts amongst the grand architecture there. But the recent bombings were enough for my dad to bannish my trip arrangements. My view that we can die anywhere was a laughing spot for my eldest brother who said: "Yes love, but you don't have to die under a bomb!"

The world, and what we have made it. How we cried to the point of wetting the sands of Arabia in desperate prayers for the world to become a safer place. How we begged with raised arms at every moment in our yearnings through life. How the generations of our Father Adam (Alaisalam) have weeped to God Almighty to unite the hearts of men in the worship of the truth. And how the angels were so true to say: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood!" (Chapter 2:30 Quran).

Its amazing though how we swing between hope and fear in life. On the one hand life shows us much to be hopeful about and on the other hand we are presented with fearful realities. Swinging like a pendulum back and forth between these two peaks we try to maintain an equilibrium which will help us understand the realness of what is before us.

For surely God Almighty is the Source of Mercy and His Kindness upon creation is greater than His Wrath.

And so again we see His Kindness over us today. For giving us opportunities to seek the bounties of His world and find closeness to Him through seeing His Signs ever-present on the earth.

Peace & Prayers
Good Night



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Sunday, August 22, 2004


On that note...

"O travellers to the Ancient House,
you have travelled in body while we have travelled in spirit!

We stayed behind with valid excuse while they travelled.
Whoever stays behind with a valid excuse has travelled.

Sometimes people travel with heart, aspiration and resolve.
Sometimes they travel with their body alone"


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Saturday, August 21, 2004


A brief visit to Mecca :)

Asalamalaikum all - Greetings and Salutations of Peace from the depths of my heart and my camels' soul ;)

I have been to Mecca today!!!


... well almost... OK so it was Icelands not Bin Dawood that I visited! Serious, there is a certain section where the fruit and dairy products are that are bang-on replicas of Bin Dawood! I think its like another dimension or realm ... not physically ... perhaps spiritually?
(Bin Dawood is a shopping market in Mecca, opposite the Grand Mosque. Icelands is a supermarket in UK)

Its happened to me many times - its a bit like a deja-vu but alot more stranger, if that makes sense? There have been many instances in the past 18 months since we returned from the Hajj where I have felt that I am not in the physical place that I physically am in! ..some neat examples may help illustrate my point...

Our city centre has recently been redeveloped.. during development work last year the bus would go over huge humps on the road - making the passengers feel very jumpy. This reminded me of the noble camel journey to Medina :) which was one bumpy ride!

Staying with Medina and our city centre - recently marbley flooring has been added... and it looks like the scene from Medina shopping suite :)

The classics are:

:) doing wudu with cold water -> reminds me of doing wudu at Mina

:) the feeling of the suns' warmth on my face -> like the sunshine in Arafaat

:) whenever I see a Malaysian -> reminds me of the Malay / Indonesian pilgrims

:) waiting in long cues at Christmas

:) seeing the crowds on Saturday shopping hours

:) seeing crowds of Muslim men or women

:) smelling the musk often worn by Muslims

I remember once taking a lift from an Iranian colleague at work. She deliberately took a route which meant driving under an underpass. She asked me what this reminded me of... I didn't say anything. She told me she often drove beneath this underpass to remind her of the trek to Mina :)
(if one walks to the city of Mina, they must go under various tunnels ie underpasses)

I suppose it depends on how "I" is defined. If I is a physical entity like a lampost or door-knob then I did not go to Mecca. But if I is to have a spiritual 'component' which shares its being and existence then I did go to Mecca.

We have all sat and pondered about our actuality and at times even thought that we are merely compositions of various physiological processes. A fine network of blood vessels and organs wrapped in sheets of epidermis keeping everything secure within.

And many have then realised that we are actually not.

We do have a strong spiritual aspect to our existence; an aspect of us which has celestial traces where our origins lie. Origins that are eternal and to where the return will inevitably be. For as I have stated in my previous post; no matter what tradition one adheres to they must 'go'.

Perhaps our spirits enjoy the 'wondering' whilst our body is neatly presented on the surface of the world? .. perhaps I is somewhere other than where I thinks I is? .. and perhaps is the only way I will celebrate in the celestial traces of the origin?

May God Almighty help us recognise and awaken our spiritual consciousness - for without this awakening we simply are a network of fine physiological processes.

Peace & Prayers


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Friday, August 20, 2004


My grain nomore!

Asalamalaikum all :)

GRRRREeeeeTINGS of Peace and SaluTATIONS of prayers from the depths of my heart and soul :)

First of all: My apologies to the folk who read this blog that are not familiar to Muslim vocab... I will be popin a little vocab section at the end of the posts to help you guys out! InshaAllah (God Willing).

Alhamdulila Wa'l Shukar Allah (Thank God!) the migraine is no more :) !!

I was adamant that I wouldn't take a pill for it last night - thus paid the price of doing my prayers with great difficulties - for it becomes almost impossible to prostrate your forehead onto the ground with the amount of pain -

hey but its nothing in comparision to lets say a cancer patient? ...

In fact for almost 2 years I refused medication simply because I felt the pain would be insignificant in comparision to the anguish we are to feel upon the souls' departure. And believe me I am no brave girl ...

oooooh how I remember the crying and screaming due to pain... the constant vomitting and my bowels going crazy! the dislike of light and sound; and feeling as if a sharp sword is being slid into the eye ... grrr - makes me feel kinda.... oooooo ..mum would put my head in her lap and massage it with gallons of oil.. as only a mum can :)

...the experience reduced my state to that of an infant; totally dependent upon the parent... & sometimes I feel we have forgotten how much our parents have done for us. :(

Amongst the favourite things mum and dad are best known for:

- whenever we would travel, dad always made sure that the suitcases were packed a week beforehand so we can have our "beauty sleep" before flying ;)

- I slept past 10am - mum barges into the room: "are you alive?!"

- I get a full-time job at the college, mums' first question: "could you cope with fulltime work?!"

- Its raining heavy outdoors, I need to get into work to drop something off, mum and dad together say: "do you HAVE to go.. if its not urgent stay in!"

- the classic in the tents of Mina (http://re-xs.ucsm.ac.uk/re/pilgrimage/route.htm#3.Mina ) .. due to the unevenness of the ground mum would make me rest my head on the softer part of her legs - use that as a cushion :)

- and of course during tawaaf (http://cgijeddah.tripod.com/haj/hajguide/tawaaf.html) once we did the tawaaf on the top floor of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. It took approx. 20-30 mins to go round once! .. Mum kept telling me to walk closer in the centre - so me walks less :)

time and time after again mum and dad are just SOOOOOoooooooo WOW!

Sometimes I feel we haven't even given mum and dad a chance for understanding to develop.

I wonder sometimes when I look into my mums' eyes how those eyes must have cried for me when I was at my most vulnerable; how they stayed awake when I was in fever; and how they gazed upon me with unconditional love when I was born. How those eyes have seen me in every phase of my life so far; from my saddest to my happiest moments; how they have seen every single facial expression I have ever made :)

I noticed the greater part of mum and dads' love and kindness when we performed the Hajj last year. It was such a symbolic occaision since we were at the place where our common father and mother Adam and Eve (Alaisalam) met. For me - my identity and relationship with my parents was re-affirmed through this symbolic association.

...and yes they still ask me what I had for lunch at work :)

May Allah Almighty Bless us all to develop an appreciation for our parents for we are unable to pay back even 1 sleepless night they have experienced due to us.

.. oh and when you get a chance do ask your muma to give you a head massage - believe me you will feel so humble and know your status on this planet :)

Peace & Prayers

Wasalam - & Peace
Alaisalam - Peace be on him / her
Tawaaf - going round the Kaba in Mecca

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Thursday, August 19, 2004


"Appearing" Offline

Asalamalaikum all.... ggggrrreeeetings of Peace..

Just a quickie - have a pounding migraine - before me head explodes...

I am not only "appearing" offline - but have actually uninstalled MSN for a while...

InshaAllah I will be reviewing whether or not to re-install it after Ramadhan - we are seperated for a while... We may reconcile our differences but when there's a camel herd involved it complicates matters a bit ;)

Good night and may God Almighty have Mercy upon all migraine sufferers - ameen

Oh yeah - if anyone has any miracle cure can you let us know please!

Peace & Prayers

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004


A subtle reminder..

Asalamalaikum all - Greetings of Peace and salutations of warmth from my soul :)

Ina Lila Hi Wa Ina Ilai Hi Rajeun..
(From God Almighty do we come and to Him do we return..)

They say death is a "reminder" to us all about the temporary nature of what surrounds us. And as I said in my post a couple of days ago - it doesn't matter what tradition one adheres to - death will come upon them.

I heard today how someone aged 17 died a few days ago... she visited the same Forum as myself...

Amazing isn't it?

Global chats with people you can't see, hear or speak to; yet people who are somehow connected to you; intrinsically almost. People who can't make out your expressions, feelings and emotions - but who can understand what you mean. Who can't physically do anything to aid you, but whose presence online you sense and feel an element of belonging to. People who you seek advice from though you hardly know their level of knowledge.

Surely Allah Almighty states in the Quran how between the believers is a bond which has been established; a bond which we would never be able to create. Yet a bond that exists despite this.

For why else would tears flow for someone whose posts you have read or replied to?

Why else would you feel a sense of loss for someone whose real identity you don't know?

Why would we sit in prayer for someone we would never see, hear or speak to?

The bond is real. It needs none to testify.

May Allah Almighty Bless her with Peace in the Hereafter and have Mercy on her family. Ameen.

Prayers for all


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Onion Attack!

Asalamalaikum - Salutations and Greetings of Peace from the core of my being :'(

You guessed right - the daughter of Adam (Alaisalam) has been in contact with the place in the house reserved for us female variety of the human creation - - > THE KITCHEN!!!

I am trying to kitchen-train the camels so I can take a back seat but they seem to be quite slow learners... maybe my teaching strategies are not as dynamic as first perceived by myself?... hmmm...I am having doubts about the credibility of that pgce programme...

My meeting with Mr Onion got the waterworks going... I thought to myself:

What exactly is man? What is he...? Thinking himself to be some mighty being walking the earth with his head high in pride and arrogance -

...when a humble vegetable reduces him to tears?

They say God Almighty gives us parables that we can identify ourselves with, and consequently gain a better understanding of what we are. And I say - "they" say the right thing!

God Almighty tells us how man was created "weak in flesh" and how trial after trial proves that he is not an independent entity. Yet, we see how even when he is given clear examples of his dependency he refuses to acknowledge for time. One of my favourite verses from the Book has always been:

"O man what has seduced thee from the worship of thy Lord...?" (82.6)

The noble onion serves a useful reminder of the Power God Almighty really has - and it serves to educate our ego that in essence man IS dependent upon Divine Guidance. Not for a moment can he think he is in control.

Happy onion-chopping to the countrys' women!.. I love your bravery!
Peace & Prayers


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Sunday, August 15, 2004


Goodbye Sweetheart

Asalamalaikum all - Greetings of Peace from the depths of my heart and soul :/

...saying goodbye has always been a weakness I've had... almost as if us humans get attached to our surroundings. Surely man thinks he will stay forever the way he is and nothing will change - yet the same man yearns for change.

We are creatures of habitat, yet need change for growth and ultimate actualisation.

If I ever said Tranquilart is a hobby I was lying!

If Tranquilart is meant to be a concept; a way of thinking revolving around notions of returning and finding peace - then saying goodbye must be an element of this thinking? And saying goodbye to none other than the artwork itself ;)

Often I am asked how it feels to depart from the artwork - and often I say not much. But today I really felt the departure and goodbye...

I will include a picture later - for now its sufficient to say that one of the disadvantages of painting on glass is that its very fragile (in comparision to canvas or paper) and the probability of shattering are far greater than many other mediums! Also, the chances of cutting yourself are quite high, especially if you are working on big sheets of glass... that is of course unless you work on glass which is over 5mm thick!

I have spent 20mins this morning scrubbing the calligraphy off a sheet of glass that shattered a few months ago :( In accordance with Islamic teachings, the Word of God Almighty should not be disposed of like other writings... wherever that word is. I remember I almost cried when this piece cracked :'( my brother was in my room when it happened and even his face turned sad..

The initial cracks started on the edge of the glass where there was no paint (since the painting was in the centre) .. he said "dont worry, we can have the sides cut and just keep the middle" ..but then the cracks reached the centre :'''(

The whole process of departing from artwork is one symbolising a reminder that man is not here forever; no matter what philosophy or tradition you adhere to - you will go. Your life will end and you will be no more; in this material existence.

My first encounter with "death" was when I was about 5 or 6... I remember being at a funeral of a young girl (I think she was a year or two older than me).. to this day I can remember her face in the glass coffin. So beautiful and so innocent...

Thus the concept of death was ingrained in my understanding of the world from a young age. Whenever we heard news of death it kind of made sense to me that we must "go" although exactly "where" we must go was a realisation that concreted my view of the world many many years later.

Whilst standing in Arafaat (http://islam.about.com/cs/hajj/f/dayofarafat.htm) I remember thinking to myself: "hey girlfriend this is the closest you will get to the Day of Judgement so if you dont change the way you think by now; you never will!"

From that moment I realised that saying goodbye had to be something I am able to do... and so every time I say goodbye to my artwork... it reminds me of this pact on the plains of Arafaat :)

Peace & Prayers

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Image of a shattered dream..

courtesy of camel...

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Saturday, August 14, 2004


Dodgy Landline

Asalamalaikum - Greetings and Salutations of Peace from the camel herd of this nomad ;)

So the landline has been dead since yesterday and it feels like we are living in the 6th century... the camels are enjoying it!

My brother called the service providers and they said the earliest they could send someone out is next Friday! Thats about 6 days away! He was balistic on the phone - I feel sorry for the person in the call centre -
"what times are we living in?!" he yelled.
"you'll be lucky if we stick with you till then!"

The internet connection is jumping like a yo-yo; one minute I am online, and the next minute the email goes.. currently I can't access the Outlook but am fine typing this out... strange technology.

But we have seen it all I reckon...

I remember back in the days when we didnt have a landline and we had 2 old rotary telephones. I loved sticking my finger in the circles and used to have fun watching the dial swing right back - and of course make that lovely sound. Aah hours of amusement :) ...

And when we moved house years ago, I remember mum said that one of the advantages of this property was that there were 2 telephone booths across the road :) ...

How well does this compare to the kids in our house who are being born into a culture of mobile phones, and not one but two or even three phones on landline. Most kids have got a few toy phones and even borrow adult phones to play the games. Not to mention that they actually KNOW what the internet is!

I suppose we can't say much since we have also readily embraced techno-culture with open arms. Half of us siblings have 2 mobile connections or more... and I am due to get a third one with my new job!

I know we have come a long way in communication since using pigeon messengers and throwing bottles into the sea but I so wish to move away from this fast communications lifestyle at times. My view is that today we have to deal with news a lot faster than our ancestors did all those years ago. Graduality is surely more accepting to the children of Adam?

Even the Qu'ran was revealed so gradually over many years since had it come down at once - mans' heart would have found it difficult to comprehend the Word with confidence.

At times I leave the mobiles at home... he heee ...yeah... "don't call me, I'll call you!" ;)

Peace & Prayers


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Friday, August 13, 2004


Happy The Man..

Asalamalaikum - Greetings of Peace from the depths of my heart, and salutations of happiness from my being ;)

First things first - thanks alot to everyone for the positive feedback so far.. your words just continue to encourage me...

Happy the man,
and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own;
he who,
secure within,
can say,
tomorrow do thy worst,
for I have lived today.
John Dryden

Happy indeed is he who calls today his own because he knows he has tried his utmost to please his Lord; that he has fulfilled the rights of humanity and those sharing the air he breathes. And who knows that no doubt in each 24 hours that pass, he would have lapsed in the rights due to his spirit and others around him - but who lives in the hope of forgiveness from his Lord.

Those who know me would be familiar with one of my often quoted phrases about happiness... which speaks of a man who travelled the world (on his camel of course) ...

...he travelled the world in search of his Lord,
and when he got back home -

...he realised that his Lord was with him all the time.

Simply put, happiness is just the same :)

There is no need to travel far in search of happiness, it is here, right besides us. Be content with what you have for just one moment and you would have reached the highest level a man may reach in pursuit of happiness.

What this really means is recognising what you have, as opposed to identifying what you dont. This way, you will be the happy man :)

Peace & Prayers


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Thursday, August 12, 2004


Roundabouts & Traffic Lights

Asalamalaikum - Greetings and Salutations of Peace from my heart & soul :)

Ina Lila Hi Wa Ina Ilai Hi Rajeun... "From Allah Almighty do we come; and to Him is the return.."

I have successfully managed to fail my car driving test for the ***th time :) ! I mean there is a list of classics when it comes to failing tests but looks like I have managed to cover most of them in my short driving history. My list of acheivements which lead to the successful fail includes amongst many others:

And the test itself includes everything under the sun:

Thats not all; a set of ridiculous questions called "Show me / Tell me" meaning you have to mimic a parrot and say word-2-word of their jargon... but whats worse is now me has to re-apply for the Theory Test & Hazard Perception test since according to the researchers one can only remember for 2 years and after that the brain apparantly is uncapable of holding further car-related information..!

But hey who cares... thats why I say "The camel is the best option" :)

Traditionally it has served mankind whenever man has lost hope of getting from a to b - and now is the time to resurrect this teaching... its also a lot greener in modern vocab to mount a camel. Modern problems caused by not using camels such as limited parking spaces; accidents; and pollution would be unheard of.

Since camels eat grass, there would be no need for lawn mowers in the neighbourhood :) And we could use camel dung as manure for the local parks to re-plant their trees as once we saw. We'd see no more unhappy, bored kids during school holidays by introducing 'camel rides' which would help boost local economy. We could even create a solidarity within the community by organising regular camel races and see the true spirit of brotherhood amongst peoples of all colours and nations :) I mean the list is endless...

I think I have outgrown the philosophy of seeing driving as a life-or-death issue. I consider driving amongst many other things an amenity - something which may help me in certain aspects of living and doing things.

Maybe it is this lack of seriousness in attitude which leads to my successful failures? I dont know - but what is certain is that "this is the way it is" and this is the way of the Creator. And if I am to be a happy person I must see this as a boon from Him. In not driving, is the success, for now ;)

A wise camel said once:

Laugh at your failures, so that when others laugh at them - you could join them ;) For Celebrating a failure means that even the slightest of successes are percieved as grand acheivements :)

Take care, Enjoy your day & safe driving to the worlds' Mansells'

Peace & Prayers



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Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Money Matters!

Asalamalaikum all - deepest of greetings and salutations of Peace from my heart and soul :)

Yes money does matter!

Most part of today I have spent polishing up the final draft of a proposal for the next artshow... due in a few months time, by the Will of God Almighty. A thousand word document which weighs in at over 1800 ... well I did say I can write for England! I have drastically gone over the word limit - nothing new; all my tutors knew that word limits were a joke for me ;)

We are hoping to apply for Arts Council funding for the next venture and the proposal is an essential element of the application... also a brain-teasing exercise... well it sure has challenged my braincells to higher peaks... I fear they may escape... my scarf keeps them in there!

There's a 6 week waiting period before you find out whether you have been successful or otherwise. So if I am unsuccessful I shall have to seek elsewhere for some money...

I was thinking about this last night, and thought I could always do an on-line auction of a few paintings... or if the art-fever is over - I shall have to sell my camel herd... ANYTHING! But this exhibition MUST take off!

But its no small money either - I mean we are talking in the thousands...

I remember there was a day when to be the possessor of a £1 coin meant you were the richest kid on the block! Yes... I grew up in the black-&-white era where hop-scotch was the leading athletic sport, and boys would knit teddy bears at school... and paper notes were something you only saw on Eid!

Mum and dad always told us that one should never behave arrogantly towards money because this was a blessing from God Almighty - not only a trial. They explained how it was the means of attaining so much in the physical realm we live within. So much in terms of providing the physical body with the securities and rights it required to survive above the surface of the earth. They never brought us up to love money though.

Money was an entity that was useful only if it was obtained in a just way; and we would do justice to it if we spent it appropriately. Hence attaining a balance which would help us to see beyond it.

Viewing money like this meant that we never saw money as an "evil" thing. As each of us kids started out in our career paths we were prepared to start from the bottom since money was a valuable asset - thus any amount would be sufficient provided our means were healthy - thereby bringing in the very notion of Barakah or Divine Grace.

Lots has changed since then... loose change spills from pockets and rolls onto the floor... with no care from the possessor...

I remember a couple of years ago, a close friend whom I hadn't seen in ages phoned in desperation and said: "mate you got £20 to lend?"

Money does matter...

Good Night & God Bless
Peace & Prayers


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Officially Banned!

Asalamalaikum heart reaching Greetings and salutations of Peace from the depths of my being,

Well here it is - I thought I'd finally get started and put my thoughts on this technology stuff here... yeah I can write for England ;)

And as the title suggests me is officially banned! Yes! Banned by mum and crew from ever painting indoors again :( I tell you the world is not safe for wanna-be artists like me... I mean all I was trying to do was some "tranquil art"... sure enough it was anything but tranquil. Sometimes I feel the world has nothing but trials to offer Daughter of Adam...

Its been raining here a couple of days and I had to wait for the dear clouds to subside before taking my masterpiece out into the garden - only to work in the scorching sun - hey, at least I caught a bit of the sun and tommorrow I can compete with the colleagues as to whose the most brown hehe!

Anyway, gotta go and count some camels now...

Good Night and God Bless
Peace & Prayers

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