Tag Archives: bougainvillea

Weekly photo challenge: Twist!

Sometimes it seems that I start down certain avenues of thought completely incidentally, and then they get stuck in my subconscious.  Different angles – usually on a visual theme – twisting and turning, until my brain kicks them out to make space for something else.  Am I alone in this?!  Either way, it seems to happen quite a lot to me!

I know there is something similar with auditory materials, which is experienced by lots of people.  We’ve all been there at least once with that song that you just can’t get out of your head for love nor money, haven’t we?  I learnt recently – courtesy of the ex-pat blessing that is internet radio and the wonderful BBC Radio 4 – that these even have a proper name.  Two names in fact.  Earworms, or for those of us who think that sounds like a horrible medical condition which is best avoided, sticky music.

I know the very real psychological pain of a particularly persistent sticky song all too well.  At the moment I am rarely more than five minutes away from an outburst of ‘yes, my name is IgglePiggle, iggle piggle niggle wiggle diggle.  Yes, my name is IgglePiggle, iggle piggle niggle wiggle woooooooooo!’.  And if you don’t recognise it, then a). thank your lucky stars because it is awful, awful, awful (especially after it has been in your head for weeks at a time), and b). thank your lucky stars again, as you clearly don’t have a young child who is growing up in the ‘In the Night Garden’ toddler television generation, which is the epitome of bizarre.

Anyway, I digress….my thoughts twisting away from me, obviously!  Back to visual loops….I seem to be on a flower theme at the moment.  And bougainvillea in particular. I wrote about it just days ago (here).  And then when this latest weekly photo challenge came out, the first thing I thought of was bougainvillea.

I’ve noticed that sometimes the flower stems have a delightful twist.  Not always; I think it is a genetic mutation or deformity of some kind.  But it does create a lovely effect when it happens.  The tiny little filaments, spiralling together in the centre of their colourfully papery protective shell. Perhaps you could take the point that a slight twist in the natural order isn’t always an entirely bad thing? Certainly I think that looking at its beauty, it is hard not to admire.


Twisted bougainvillea flower

So that is my contribution for this week’s ‘Twist’ photo theme.  I wonder if there is a third bougainvillea post still rattling about in there somewhere…they say that these things tend to come in threes, don’t they?! Let’s see what next week brings….

Travel theme: blossom

Flowers, for me, are very evocative things.  They can take me back to a special place, or a special moment every time I see them again, smell them again. So with Ailsa’s travel theme this week being ‘blossom’, it really got me thinking about past travel adventures, and the flowers that are linked inextricably with them in my mind.  My travel tales are growing in number, and I am one of those people who could take photographs of flowers all day.  So there were a lot of contenders!!

One of the weirder ones that came to mind is the blossom from the Cannonball tree. I saw it in a park in Singapore, but it wasn’t actually the blossom that first drew my attention.  It was the sight of a towering deciduous tree trunk, with huge brown spherical growths on it…yes, the fruit do indeed look like cannonballs! But the flowers themselves were beautiful (and much more interesting to photograph than cannonball shaped fruit!).  They are the size of your palm, and smell heavenly.  And because the tree puts out these enormous flowers on thin little twig-like branches up and down the length of its otherwise fairly bare trunk, they are also pretty striking.  The blossoms are often used by Buddhists and Hindus in offerings.  Partly because of their beauty and scent, partly because the tree is considered sacred by both religions.  A really interesting travel find and something I look for every time I’m back in Singapore.

Cannonball tree in flower

The blooms on a Cannonball tree, Singapore.

Another one with a lot of travel memories attached to it?  The beautiful papery blossom bouquets of the bougainvillea.  I have seen these on my travels around Greece, France, Egypt, even Cape Verde.  In vine, bush or tree form – this is one well-travelled plant! And it is a real beauty. These blossoms come in so many different colours, and their hot vibrancy really does make you feel in full summery holiday mode when you see them.

 I’d always thought of these as a holiday flower, but bougainvillea is everywhere here in Brunei.  Looking out of my office window right now, I am watching the birds hopping in and out of the tangled stems of one of our own bougainvillea vines.  So it is becoming a plant that now brings me happiness at home as well as on my travels.  Which is really lovely.  A little piece of holiday heaven in my own back garden.


Bougainvillea in bloom, Brunei.