Monday 28 May 2018

The Royal Wedding, HP sauce, School trip , stuck ! another long journey!

The Royal wedding

We were invited by the Deputy High Commissioner (not the boys) to go to the live screening of The Royal Wedding, high tea, a fashion show and supper in a hotel in the middle of the city.
The invitation said wedding attire and lounge suits. So, obviously, my swimming pool and beach dresses would not do. Many days of shopping were spent wandering around the big mall to find a suitable dress (Andrew needed a suit too). There is a chain of clothes shops called Alan Solley and I managed to find a few dresses in there so I was very happy and relieved .
When we got to the hotel, we had an official photo taken and then we sat down to watch the wedding with no interruptions, apart from the odd blip in the streaming. We drank Pimms, champagne and ate lovely cakes.
Later on there was choice of bangers and mash, fish and chips, Lancashire hotpot and shepherds pie.

Meanwhile, we had left Mala in charge of the boys and ordered them a pizza (which Mala loves). Milo went to a birthday party and Mala borrowed my bike to take him. Later, Max sent me a message  to tell me that he couldn't get Mala to sit down and that she kept cleaning!
When we came back she was still at it! I think we owe her a day off !

HP sauce

Andrew loves HP sauce and he realised that the one and only bottle we had found had run out. He had added vinegar to try to get the last bits but had to admit there was no sauce left and throw the bottle. Luckily, Christine came to the rescue and sent him one through Greg, a colleague and now the appointed international courier for the Coles.
 Then our friend Michael went to Mumbai and saw a hotel shop and bought Andrew two more bottles. But, alas, as Michael went to go through security they asked him if he had any liquids and he said yes. They made him produce said liquid but he only gave in one bottle and didn't admit to the other one. He managed to only smuggle one and not two. There would have been three precious bottles! But he does gets brownie points for such a magnificent effort.
School Trip

Milo was very excited as he was going on a school trip to a supermarket and they needed volunteers. I said I would help even though it was at least 30 minutes away.( It took an hour in the end!). The whole of his grade were there, all three classes. Each child had 200 rupees to spend wisely.
 Milo's group started off sensibly adding up if they could afford a book and a pack of pencils, or a small soft toy, but then chaos set in when another group came past with some sweets. Our group charged down to the food section and, considering a packet of mentos was only 10 rupees, I lost all control of them as they loaded their basket with as many packets of sweets as they could. The careful addition went awry as well as they had too many items to work it out. All in all, as they held hands in a chain back to the coach( so that they could not be snatched by a child lifter) it was a lot of fun and Milo spent all afternoon eating sweets that he is not usually allowed. Apparently, he has the best teacher in the world!

Before he saw the sweets!


I know you shouldn't laugh at children when something goes wrong but on Friday the boys had me in stitches! 
The week before the school bus had broken down and they replaced it with a tourist bus (lovely). Then it was decided that the local bridge was wobbling and not safe for heavy vehicles so the buses had to go another way, making the journey at least another half an hour (annoying)
There has been a lot of worry in the local area about child lifting where children have been allegedly snatched and sold - apparently the police say this is fake news- although the children have even had a talk at school about how to keep safe. There have been a few terrible murders where mobs have attacked and killed innocent people walking through villages or waiting for buses, believing that these people are there to snatch children.
On Friday morning the police boarded the bus to check that the children had not been snatched. They questioned the children to see if they were happy and ok and that it was a school bus that they were on. The driver's papers were checked etc. 
Max sent me a message about this and said that the police were high fiving all the children to make them feel good. After a while they were allowed on their way. 
We then got a message to say that school was no longer permitted to use a tourist bus and must use a bus with the school logo on but that night would be the tourist bus . This meant that on Monday the old school bus would be rolled out (a new has been ordered to replace the other school bus but it is not ready yet).

On the way back from school, they went down the new bumpy back road just as an almighty thunderstorm started and it absolutely threw it down with rain. 

Max started to message me, panicking that they were stuck. I thought, in traffic. But no, the bus was completely stuck in the mud down a tiny road. Max face timed me to show me the road and he was rather upset, utterly convinced that he would have to sleep the night on the bus!
 I was trying not to laugh because he was so mad as he wanted to come home, it was Friday and he was not sleeping on the bus! He was talking to me as if it was my fault the bus was stuck!
 I could see lots of very wet people out of the window of the bus as he panned the phone round. Max pointed out that there were local people from the houses and they were trying to dig and push the bus out. People on their scooters had stopped to help too.
 Luckily, Milo and his friends didn't write "help" on the windows this time to antagonise the situation. ( When they got stuck in traffic at a festival they did this and thought it was funny!)

All the parents got a message on their phones indicating that there was a problem and that another bus, already with children on board, was going to stop and help.They would put all the children on the same bus and they would have to share seats. There was no choice.

It had now been two hours since the children had set off from school!
It was raining even harder and the water was gushing down the road and lightning was flashing overhead. I put on all my waterproof gear and set off to the bus stop.

 After another half an hour the bus turned up. 
The children got off the bus, some with no shoes because their shoes had come off and were completely covered in mud. Max and Milo looked weary but had been sensible and put on their coats ready to bike home.

As they got in the whole story came flooding out about their drama on the bus. They stood in the doorway each telling their own version of the story ay the same time.

I asked Max if he had taken any photos of their predicament.

"Never mind flipping photos!" he said." It was awful and it was even worse when the rescue bus turned up as they couldn't open the door because a flipping cow was blocking the exit! And then as we got on the other bus the first one drove off !"

At this point I was in hysterics. They were both dripping wet, right through their clothes, their socks were wringing wet, their shoes had a few inches of mud on them and they were just fuming with the injustice of the cow that blocked their way and the fact that the bus had managed to get out of the mud. 

You don't get this drama in rural Lincolnshire!

Max's photo out of the bus before they got stuck.

The mud left in the bus.

soaking wet in the rain

Another long journey.

But I wasn't laughing when I went to fetch Max from school today. It is his exams and he is allowed to leave when the exam is over. We have a carpool system with some other parents and it was my turn today.
Arjun and I set off at 11 and usually it takes about 30 -40 minutes to get to school. After 50 minutes,we had only got to the rickety bridge! The whole journey took an hour and 45 minutes - so long! 
When I got to school, I got out of the car, got the children I needed, got back in and set back off for Palm Meadows.

Arjun decided to do a detour round all the traffic, as the satellite was showing delays of an hour and a half. 
The road we went on was lovely and green and very rural. We went through some delightful villages with beautiful houses. I had no idea we were so close to the actual countryside where we could go walking. It definitely helped pass the time on such a long journey of nearly three hours!
This area needs investigating more closely!

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Worming the boys, sausages, unusual weather

We decided to get Max checked over at the local hospital. He was feeling under the weather and we needed to get his leg medicine checked. Here you don't see a GP but book an appointment at the hospital to see a consultant paediatrician or the consultant of your choice.
 We booked online and turned up 15 minutes early. The process was very smooth and organised (we had to pay about 6 POUNDS for the consultation ).  We had our appointment on time and saw a lady doctor who was from a Birmingham hospital in Britain. She was very good. She checked Max's medicine levels and then recommended as a general guideline that we deworm the children every 6 months. The boys were not impressed.

We left the hospital with our worming medicine (about 2 pounds in English money ) joking about pets and children being so alike!
Deworming medicine.


A new butcher was advertising deliveries and it caused much enthusiasm in Palm Meadows as the butcher is German and was offering sausages. You cannot get sausages here like at home and it is one of the foods that the boys miss. 
The sausages arrived, brought by a flustered delivery boy who was hopelessly lost as it was the first time that the business had delivered. 
The sausages looked normal so we were excited. Mala watched a video on how to make mashed potatoes (no spice needed!) and a tin of beans was opened. 
(I was forced to go shopping for a posh outfit and shoes for the Royal Wedding on Saturday- it says wedding attire on the invitation. We have been invited to high tea and supper with the Deputy High Commissioner and so an appropriate outfit was needed, I don't think my flip flops and swimming pool/beach dress will do for this event. So Mala was on her own to prepare).
So mashed potatoes, beans and sausages were served in the evening ( I heated it all up!)
The sausages were very good and I have 3 very happy boys (Andrew included). Milo even had a second plateful.
 The only down side is that we have run out of HP  brown sauce and none can be located in the local area. I am under instruction from Andrew that if the local supermarket gets any that I have to bulk buy. Until then I have to research where we can buy a bottle from. Andrew had managed to find some products from Waitrose and now he wishes he had bought in bulk. ( I hope he checked the sell by dates)
Meanwhile I have ordered more sausages to keep them happy and I need to buy more tins of beans!

Unusual weather 

Just lately, in the afternoons it has clouded over and thundered and rained. Usually the mango showers happen in this month but not as frequently. It means that it is a bit cooler in the evenings and easier to sit out.  The rain has killed a lot of the mosquitoes but a bat is still needed. We also still need the air conditioning on and it does not drop below 24 at night.
One morning after it had rained , Mala noticed some mangoes on the car port  roof. She climbed over Max's balcony, over the garage and onto the car port. She picked two huge bag full of mangoes. I maintained a safety announcement as she did this and shut my eyes when she slipped on a wobbly tile. She laughed the whole time she was doing it and kept shouting "don't worry , don't worry "

I'm pleased to say that she is still alive and the mangoes are ripening in a box ready to share with the neighbours. ( we ate the ones that Arjun and Mala collected after the other rains, they were lovely )

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Mangoes, the garden people, cricket

Mango Thief

On Saturday, Andrew was working and the boys had abandoned me for the cinema with some friends so I decided to do some things in the house. There is not really much to do as Mala is so competent and does everything, but I did manage to potter about. I then thought I deserved a lie down on the settee so that I could read my book.

One set of neighbours are away and the people next door were also out so therefore there was no one around. I heard a motorbike (quite normal as the drivers all come on them) Then I saw the mangoes being plucked hastily from the tree along our driveway. I jumped up from my hidden spot on the settee, only to see a chap in a posh shirt and crash helmet escaping on his bike!

Now mangoes are readily available and not too expensive, in fact I think there are about 80 different varieties here, but to actually pluck them from a tree on someone's drive is just so cheeky! Added to that the ones on this tree are nowhere near ripe yet. The 'Avenue 8' gang (the boys and their mates) have a plan to catch him out if he reappears!

At this time of the year (pre monsoon) in this area it can rain in the afternoon, just quick and sudden cloud bursts. These are not the monsoon rains but known as the mango rains. The rain is needed to ripen the mangoes. It also means that there is a cool breeze and refreshing air. Milo also likes standing in it! (see photo below)

When it rained yesterday, a stronger wind developed and the mangoes started to fall off the tree. Mala shot out with a bag to collect them. She made Arjun follow her with an umbrella. Meanwhile, we all watched from inside, keeping dry and not cool. The rain drops were enormous and seemed heavy and soon water was gushing everywhere. It was very humid and the power went off so no fans or air-conditioning were available.

Milo has been learning about natural disasters and was convinced that we were going to be swept away in a flash flood, he really did become the voice of doom.  He was telling us what the emergency plan for evacuation should be. I am pleased he is listening to his teacher at school but we reassured him that it was just a quick storm and that Arjun and Mala wouldn't be running around outside if they thought it was dangerous. He calmed down and carried on watching them.

We now have a huge pile of green mangoes in the pantry ripening in a box ready to share with everyone.

Milo assessing the situation to see if he needs his emergency plan of action!

The landscape maintenance people

In the community where we live, it is kept spotless, no leaves, unsightly trees or grass etc. This is because there is an enormous team of gardeners, both women and men. But they actually pluck the grass by hand or, on their knees, use shears to trim the grass or the grass between the concrete. They sweep the leaves by hand too.


Cricket - An Indian religion!

We went to an afternoon IPL 20:20 cricket match and it was not like my impression of English cricket. The first thing to do is to get into the stadium. Single file queuing with excited cricket fans in soaring heat is quite trying but we managed it. Once inside there are no water bottles allowed or bags even, we just had our phones and money but there were plenty of drinks and food to buy (at reasonable prices too) and the toilets were far better than the ones at the zoo. (proper toilets in fact) 

The seating was very good and we had a clear view of the pitch. Luckily by chance we were sat on the shaded side and we were so pleased because the other side was in the sun for hours. Had we sat there then there would have been three pink boys and one bronzed lady (I don't go pink like the others) 

We were also the only 'white' people there (apart from Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes the famous English cricketers who play here) so we had lots of photo 'selfie' requests from the local supporters. We are now used to having our photos taken with groups of Indian people. They are particularly keen to have their photos taken with our boys. It is all done in good spirits but still quite strange especially when one was an on duty policeman, however I did take one back! We have even managed to appear on the Bangalore teams photo page, well tiny pale faces in the background anyway...

The next unusual thing is the music, cheerleading and general noise, there is such an amazing party atmosphere and everyone is there to enjoy the event.

Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...