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Hello readers! It is finally springtime and we can venture out in the open again. Picnics and the great outdoors are calling once again!
Did you know that the haiku, a Japanese short poem, was traditionally written on the theme of nature and its related imagery? So if you’re enjoying the season and feel like calling on your inner poet, a haiku might be a good way to start! Here is how you can write one in 3 easy steps:
- The 5-7-5 structure
On the face of it, a haiku looks like a simple three-line poem. However, its structure is a bit more complicated than that- the lines follow strict syllabic rules. The first and third lines must consist of 5 syllables each, while the second line must have 7 syllables (a syllable is a single unit of sound). This makes a haiku consist of 17 syllables in total. For instance:
An old silent pond (5)
A frog jumps into the pond— (7)
Splash! Silence again. (5)
– “The Old Pond” by Matsuo Bashō
- Deciding on a theme
Traditionally, the purpose of a haiku was to describe the seasons and how they changed throughout the year. However, contemporary haikus are not always written about nature. Most haikus do continue to follow a fundamental rule, though- that a haiku must juxtapose two contrasting themes or images in its content. This can be done by using a “kireji“, or a cutting word, which can be helpful but is not necessary. In the haiku above, “Splash!” would be considered the kireji, as it juxtaposes the silence of the pond against the sound of the frog jumping in.
- Identifying word/ kigo
While it is not necessary to write about nature while composing a haiku, most poets use “kigo” which is any word or phrase that relates to nature, placing the haiku in a particular season. Using a kigo allows you to write about any theme you please, while also paying homage to the traditional structure of a haiku. Some of the most classic kigo are sakura (cherry blossoms) for spring; fuji (Wisteria) for summer; tsuki (moon) for fall; and samushi (cold) for winter.
Here is an example of kigo in a haiku not written about nature:
love between us is
speech and breath. loving you is
a long river running.
– Sonia Sanchez “Haiku [for you]”
Here, the poet uses the word “river” as a kigo, referencing nature in a poem about love.
And that makes you all set to write your first haiku! Feel free to share them with us on social media for a chance to get featured. Happy writing folks!
- 1 roll puff pastry
- 2-3 apples of your choice
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 205C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut puff pastry into two long strips
- Peel apples, cut them in half through the core, and remove the core. Place the halved apples cut side down, and slice into very thin pieces.
- Arrange apples on the pastry, overlapping each other slightly, leaving a bit of a border around the sides. For each tart, sprinkle half of the sugar and gently brush with half of the melted butter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream if you like.
Hello everyone! It’s me again, bringing you some slices of good news in an attempt to brighten up what has otherwise been a shambles of a year. Congratulations on getting through a year of the pandemic – you’re amazing! We at Resilife are here to support you. Join our team here.
- A true icon!
Wimberley (pictured above) is a gorgeous 82-year-old lady, who is dressing up in her Sunday best for her church services. Wimberley hasn’t let Zoom stop her from being badass, and neither should you!
- We are back and better than ever!
As of the 12th April, Londoners have been able to celebrate outside with pals. Whether you like a drink at the pub, or a meal out, we can wrap up warm and enjoy time with our friends again. I don’t know about you but for me it has been lovely to see the world opening again.
- 3-day weekend anyone?
Spain is the first European country to begin trialling a 4 day working week. Studies have shown that having a 4 day working week and a 3 day weekend improves employee wellbeing, productivity, and also reduces emissions. Sounds like a win win win win to me! Lets hope England catches on to this idea soon… If not I’m moving to spain, who’s with me?
Post contributed by CF Jacky
Both Waterloo and London Bridge are now open and Strand (Bush House West Wing) will reopen on Monday 26th April.
I haven’t been to the waterloo and London bridge gyms, but the one at Strand is my favourite! Don’t miss your chance to have some good workouts in those amazing gyms, it’s good to take a break between studying. 😊
Good luck everyone with exams!!
Post contributed by CF Jiashu
London was settled by the Romans around 50 AD, where it served as a commercial centre until its abandonment in the 5th century. During these four hundred years of Roman rule, many traces of this period can still be found today. Here are three Roman heritages I recommend to visit:
- London Wall
The wall, built between 190 and 225 AD, is a defensive wall that encircled Roman London, which mostly covers the City of London today. The wall continued to be maintained and strengthened until at least the end of the 4th century, making it one of the most consistently maintained structures in Roman Britain. It was also one of the largest, alongside Hadrian’s wall and the road network, for once built, the wall was 2 miles long and 6 metres high.
After the abandonment of Londinium by the Romans, the walls remained to be used actively as fortification for more than another 1,000 years. It underwent constant repairs, such as when London was reconquered by the Anglo-Saxons during the Viking raids, when Alfred the Great carried out building projects to rebuild crumbling defences, recut the defensive ditch, and resettled the city as Lundenburg.
The wal lwas further modified in the medieval period, with the construction of crenellations, gates and bastion towers. This formed part of a defensive line that incorporated The Tower of London, Baynard’s Castle and Montfichet’s Tower.
It was not until as late as the 18th and 19th centuries that the wall underwent substantial demolition, although even then large portions of it survived by being incorporated into other structures. Amid the devastation of the Blitz in WW2, some of the tallest ruins in the bomb-damaged city centre were actually remnants of the Roman wall. The wall survives today in several locations.
- Roman Burial
In 1995 archaeological investigations were carried out on the site of the Baltic Exchange, now known as the site of 30 St Mary Axe.
During these investigations, the body of the young Roman was found and removed to the Museum of London. Buried over 1600 years ago, between AD 350 and 400, she was finally returned to her original resting place twelve years after she was first discovered and removed from the City of London.
An inscription on modern burial site says:
DIS MANIBVS PVELLA INCOGNITA LONDINIENSIS HIC SEPVLTA EST
To the spirits of the dead, the unknown young girl from Roman London lies buried here. The burial would have lain just outside an early boundary ditch marking the edge of the Roman city. The body was supine, with the head to the south and the arms folded across the body (with the right forearm over the left). Pottery found in association with the burial has been dated to AD 350-400. Her resting place resides at the foot of the Gherkin.
- Roman Fort
The Roman fort of Londinium (City of London, England) was built around 120 AD, just north-west of the main population settlement.
It covered 12 acres and was almost square in size, 200m along each length. As Londinium grew, the fort was later absorbed into the defensive wall that surrounded the city.
The fort could house up to 1000 men and provided suitable barracks and gated entry. However, a century later the site was decommissioned and buildings dismantled as the military situation in the southern edge of Britannia had become more secure.
Today, the forts northern and western edges still remain visible, along with Saxon fortifications and medieval bastion towers as part of the Barbican and Museum of London complex.
Ramadan Mubarak! Happy Ramadan!
Muslim Prayer rooms are still open to King’s staff and students, but due to COVID-19 it is for private prayer. Dedicated Muslim prayer facilities can be found at:
- Guy’s Campus: the basement of the Hodgkin Building
- Strand Campus: the first basement at the Strand (S-1.03)
- Waterloo Campus: the first floor of Franklin Wilkins building at Waterloo, opposite the Prayer and Quiet room
- Denmark Hill Campus: Room W1.07, Main Building, Institute of Psychiatry
FRIDAY PRAYERS: Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the usual places which hold Friday Jumma prayers are not open to the general public due to pressures of space.
King’s College London Students Union has several faith-related student societies who book centrally timetabled rooms for prayer, worship, and regular activities. They may also book chaplaincy facilities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please see the Ramadan newsletter from Abdul Choudhury (Muslim Chaplain)
• 50g softened butter
• 50g light soft brown sugar
• 7 pineapple rings in syrup, drained and syrup reserved
• 7 glacé cherries
For the cake
• 100g softened butter
• 100g golden caster sugar
• 100g self-raising flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• Heat oven to 180C
• For the topping, beat softened butter and light soft brown sugar together until creamy.
Spread over the base and a quarter of the way up the sides of a round cake tin. Arrange
7 pineapple rings on top (reserving the syrup for later), then place glacé cherries in the
centres of the rings.
• Place softened butter, golden caster sugar, self-raising flour, baking powder, vanilla
extract and eggs in a bowl along with of the reserved pineapple syrup. Using an electric
whisk, beat to a soft consistency.
• Spoon into the tin on top of the pineapple and smooth it out so it’s level. Bake for 35
mins. Leave to stand for 5 mins, then turn out onto a plate. Serve warm with a scoop of
1. The Japanese Landscape
Composed of three garden areas, the Japanese Landscape provides an unique sense of relaxation during your visit to Kew gardens. Reminiscent of a traditional Japanese tea garden, the Garden of Peace, featuring stone lanterns and a dripping water basin.
Raked gravel and large rocks in the sloped garden of Activity represent the movement of the flowing water. The garden of harmony unites thee two. All three gardens combine to form a peaceful, manicured oasis.
At the centre of the Japanese Landscape is the Chokushi-Mon, or Gateway of the Imperial Messenger. It was created for the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910 and is a replica of the Gate of Nishi Hongan-ji (Western Temple of the Original Vow) in Kyoto, Japan. Its finely carved wooden panels feature stylized flowers and animals that depict an ancient legend.
2. The Temperate House
The Temperate House, originally opened in 1863, is the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse. It has been an iconic landmark of Kew for more than 250 years. The Temperate House reopened in 2018 after a five-year renovation project.
Filled with 10,000 individual plants, it is home to 1,500 species from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, including some of the world’s rarest and most threatened temperate plants. All of the species require conditions above 50 degrees to survive.
3. The Treetop Walkway
You’ll find 14,000 trees in Kew Gardens. The walkway provides an opportunity to get closer to those trees and offers views of the garden and the city beyond.
Made of weathered steel that blends into the natural environment, the walkway stands 59 feet tall. It is 656 feet long and loops through the upper branches of beech, sweet chestnut, horse chestnut, and oak trees.
The walkway offers a unique, ethereal perspective of nature. You’ll love watching bird and insect behaviour at this height and hearing the breeze rustling the branches.
The 188 steps to the walkway are a manageable climb, since the steps are broken up into several flights and there’s a landing at the end of each flight. There is room on each landing to step out of the path of oncoming climbers to rest or simply take a few moments to admire the view. The walkway itself has chest-high railings, and several circular jut-outs along the way provide additional viewpoints. There is an elevator, but it was out of service on the day I visited. If you plan to use the elevator, check the Kew Gardens website for information about the elevator’s status. As I write this, the site says that the elevator is currently out of service.
There is no additional charge to access the Treetop Walkway. It closes an hour before the whole garden closes.
4. The Palm House
The Palm House, which opened in 1848, was the first glasshouse to be built at Kew Gardens. Inside, you’ll find lush vegetation and dense, moist air. Many of the plants in the collection are endangered in the wild, and some are even extinct.
Rainforest plants cover only 2 percent of the world’s surface but make up 50 percent of plant species. Look for the Madagascar periwinkle, now used to treat a number of different types of cancer; the rubber tree; the cocoa tree; and the cycads, or palm-like plants that were widespread more than 250 million years ago.
5. The Princess of Wales Conservatory
This conservatory is the newest glasshouse at Kew Gardens. It opened in 1987, and its 10 computer-controlled climate zones showcase a variety of ecosystems. In the carnivorous plant zone, you’ll find predatory plants such as Venus flytraps and pitcher plants.
There are cacti and succulents in the dry tropical zone, orchids and bromeliads in the steamy zones, and a giant water lily in the wet tropical zone, making this conservatory a diverse one to explore.
Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful week! My name is Rad and I’m one of your Digital Community Facilitators. As lockdowns lift around the world and the vaccine rollout trudges forward, we have a lot of things to be grateful for, one of them being the great outdoors! The lockdown-lifting coincides perfectly with the beginning of spring, an event celebrated across many different cultures. So for my April blog, I thought it would be most appropriate to give our readers a list of activities they can (safely) do in the London outdoors, and make the best of the pleasant weather!
1. Discover London on foot
With parks and monuments once again becoming safe to traverse, there is no better time to explore more of the city while the sun is shining! London is famous for it’s self-guided walks, and the best thing about them is that they’re absolutely free! This is your chance to visit peaceful parks, hidden canals, and the oddly placed historical site too! No matter where you live in the city, there is always a self-guided tour to be found around you- here is a list of the best walks in London. My personal favourite is definitely South Bank!
2. Visit Covent Garden
Sometimes considered the heart of the West End, Covent Garden is most famous for its many eateries and designer showrooms. However, if you’re looking for a simple outdoor hang, the venue is also famous for its street artists and performers- you can listen to a melodic instrumental symphony or watch magicians performing some tricks! Grab a coffee from one of the cafés nearby and spend a day in the sun treating yourself to this simple activity, after all, it’s fun to sometimes be a tourist in your own city!
3. Shop at an outdoor market
Having historically been the cornerstone of community-living in London, outdoor markets are once again making a comeback as we become more aware of the benefits of shopping from small local businesses. Thankfully, London has an array of these markets which are opening up once again, from farmers markets to vintage and antique ones. Click here for a guide to London’s best outdoor markets and what all they offer!
4. Go boating
Boating is a seasonal activity that kicks off in April, weather permitting. While you may have spotted ferries and cruise boats on the Thames, pleasure boating actually takes place in London’s many lakes! Boats can also be hired for a small group of people, making it the perfect activity to do safely with your flatmates. Boating runs until the end of October, but the best time to take to the water is arguably the spring or summer season. The most famous boating lake is the Serpentine in Hyde Park, which is home to the UK’s first SolarShuttle, a pleasure boat powered by the sun!
I hope you enjoy filling your weekends with these interesting activities! As always, do remember to wear your mask to all these places and follow social distancing guidelines. For more ideas on what to explore in London, come for our Explore Nights with Jiashu every Sunday at 7:30 PM!