Thursday 23 April 2020


So much has happened !

New car

At the end of February Arjun bought a brand new car and he got it the day before we left for the UK.

It's an upgraded version of the last car. Arjun and his wife, Manjula, and children Mithun and Yashiswini went with the car to a temple for it to be blessed and then brought it to our house. We all jumped in to have a look and they gave us some sweet cake for the blessing. Arjun parked the car and took his lovely family home.

We were up early ready for the flight to the UK and set off for the airport about 6am. All was going well, when Arjun indicated to turn left into a garage for fuel. All of a sudden, from our left a motor bike shot forward and crashed into us. The car took quite a bump. Arjun said to stay in the car because there was a mad man wielding a pole (we think he was drunk - the man not Arjun) It seems the pole man had stepped out into the road and the motorbike had accelerated to get out of the way and hit us. But, unfortunately, the motor bike sped off without stopping. Poor Arjun! The car had a dent on the left hand side and the car wasn't even 24 hours old.  We all got out to have a look. He was very stoical and shrugged his shoulders, but what a blow.
Milo thought we were doomed and saw it as a bad omen and didn't want to continue. After a bit of reassurance he was fine and we managed to get him back in the car.


The flight to England was in two stages. 4 hours from Bangalore to Dubai. A quick dash across the airport to get the next flight and then another 7 hours or so Dubai to Heathrow. The second leg is on an A380 so its smooth and very quiet so it's not bad. There's lots of films to watch so it goes quickly.

We arrived at 7.00pm ish UK time which is (00:30am) our time. After we had recovered our cases (we checked that they were ours, as we didn't want to repeat what Derek and Christine did) the first place to go was the Marks and Spencers food shop. It was so exciting! Real sandwiches for the first time in two years. We all were allowed to buy whatever we wanted and came out of the shop with two carrier bags full.

We managed to get the bus from the terminal to the hotel and I was so pleased that I 'd packed the thick coats and gloves at the top of the cases. It was FREEZING!
I have never been so pleased to see a Premier Inn. It was warm and clean. We had a family room and all went to bed after our Marks and Spencer picnic, the best picnic ever.

But at 3 am some of us were wide awake! We were on Bangalore time. Milo was making shadow puppets on the wall and Andrew and I were drinking tea and eating biscuits  and eyeing up the rest of the Marks and Spencer's food. (Max didn't wake even when we decided to get up, it was a struggle to wake him)

As we were awake so early, we decided that as the car hire place opened at 5.00am , then Milo and Andrew would go and fetch the car so that we could go early to Skegness and then when the jet lag set in, at least we would be in the right place.
They got a taxi to the car hire place. Max and I waited at the hotel and packed everything and as Milo and Andrew arrived we went out into the cold. We loaded the cases, (we had four large ones, one being a sort of spare, so that we could buy our favourite things). All was going well, but then we encountered our first problem at 5:30am. I had managed to lock the keys (the only set of keys) in the boot of the hire car. Lots of swearing occurred and then Andrew realised the driver's door was still unlocked . We persuaded the smallest child to crawl through the car to the back to retrieve Andrew's coat with the keys in.

We were off the hook and on our way!

It was a quick and smooth journey to Peterborough (McDonald's breakfast) and then onwards to Skegness. After two years in the busiest car city in the world, we were amazed at how empty everything was. No cars, no people, no cows (wandering on the motorway) no people oblivious to the traffic, no tractors going the wrong way down the road. We had forgotten all of this. It was so easy.

  McDonald's in Peterborough

We arrived in Skegness at 11 am and we were stopping at Andrew's Mum and Dad's. After unloading, we did a quick trip to our house to see if everything was ok. It was in good shape and we were pleased to see the new (flood insurance claim) ensuite that we hadn't seen before we left for India.

By 4pm we were flagging and cold and needed a sleep. Our excitement at having fish and chips wasn't too successful as we were so tired that we could hardly function.

But it was so lovely to see our friends and family over the following days.

  The boys were proper Skegness tourists

 Freezing on the beach

 Milo and all his buddies at the pub

 One of our friends has a Porsche and the car                                                                                       mad boys had a sit in it.

We visited Max and Milo's cousins

 That's Granny there too.

 We sat and ate another picnic in the car looking at the                                                                       beach ( too cold to get out !)

 We went to the supermarket and shopped for                                                                                       the things that we desired.

 Another pub meal before we left.

 Harry, Milo and Alfie

Saturday evening was spent at the local pub with our friends which was wonderful to see everyone , Sunday and Monday with friends and family but we got so carried away, we didn't take many photos!
Tuesday was food shopping (very important)

But then on Wednesday, we were on our way back to London for the football match at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea.

The Match - Chelsea vs Liverpool

So this was the real reason we had travelled so far for such a short period of time. A week in the UK  (in cold weather) is not enough to get over the tiredness. We felt we were in a confused whirl, but now we were at Chelsea football club.
Milo had been selected from the waiting list to be a child mascot, leading the players onto the pitch plus all of the other experiences. He had been on the list, thanks to Andrew, since he was 18 months old, so at 10 years and 8 months this was the last opportunity to be selected before they chop anyone reaching 11 years old off the list! 

We had booked the night in the hotel that is adjacent to the club. This was a very wise decision as it meant we were close. Again it was so cold so it meant we could be in the hotel until the last minute.

 Liverpool's bus .

 The child mascots had to wear a bright vest.

 waiting for the teams to arrive - the excitement                                                                                   level increases!.

 This is a great photo. Andrew and Max are in                                                                                     the background.

 Milo is the second to lead out, with the goalie

 The matchday programme - Milo top right.

In fact, it was so cold that Andrew took Milo to the Chelsea shop to buy another Chelsea training shirt to go under his kit. 

It was a wonderful chance in a lifetime experience for Milo, Max and Andrew. They got to greet the players off the buses (both teams) Then Milo was taken to have some snacks and  to wait in the tunnel with the players. Meanwhile Andrew and Max went to take their seats. I was in the hotel watching everything live on BBC TV.

It was so exciting.!

Milo was second out walking with the goalie (Kepa). Milo fist bumped the players (as it was the beginning of the Covid 19 and handshakes were not allowed), had his photo taken lots of times and then got to watch the players warm up at the side of the pitch. One of the lady supervisors held all the children's coats until they got off the pitch. Andrew had a bag full of track suit bottoms, gloves and hats waiting for Milo when he came back.

Apparently the match was very good (I fell asleep..) and they were so excited when they came back winners 2-0 knocking invincible Liverpool out of the FA Cup. Andrew had shouted so loudly that he had lost his voice and he was still croaky the next day. 



The next day was a recovery day and we decided to go for a walk in Windsor. It was very rainy and gray. But it was nice to go for a walk. We stopped close to the airport ready for the journey back to Bangalore .

Lamborghini hire car - Andrew wasn't allowed this one!


We had decided to stop on the way back in Dubai to break the journey back to Bangalore as we knew that we would be tired.  We landed at about 7 pm and we hired a car. That was an adventure in itself. Unfortunately, it did not have any satellite navigation and we had to rely on Andrew's phone. I like to think that I'm good at map reading but I couldn't work Andrew''s map that he gave me. We didn't get too lost and made it to the resort that we had stayed at before when we first set off to live in India. 

We went to the 'Palm' where the very posh                                                                                          hotel was located.

 Sunset at the resort where we stayed.

 The boys with the hire car.

 We went to the Marriott and had a meal on a                                                                                       high floor ( I can"t remember )

We went to the shopping mall  to see the light show in front of the  Burj Khalifa.

The car park was full of high range cars. Milo stood by his                                                                ride - a Lamborghini 'somethingador'.

Our brief stopover in Dubai allowed us to pack a great deal in to the couple of days and we have promised to do a proper trip when we have time to do more 'Boy' related activities such as waterparks and water sports, whilst I relax on the sun lounger doing what I'm good at!

Covid 19

After nearly missing the flight home (due to my map reading and getting us lost for quite some time!) we arrived back at the airport .on the flight there were not many people in masks or any major notices about the new virus. The air stewardess just said we had to fill in extra forms. As went went in to immigration, we had to fill in another 8 forms ( with nothing to lean on to write, people were sat on the floor!) Then we had our  temperatures taken , the doctor asked us a few questions and they let us through . Only if you had come through certain countries did you have to be quarantined. Dubai and  the UK were not on the list  (you need to remember this point for later!)

So we found our cases, Arjun and went back to our home. 
The next day, Andrew went to work but we kept the boys off because they were so tired. No real news about Covid 19 other than the dreadful news coming from Italy etc. Mala came and we were so pleased to see her.

The day after was Tuesday and Max went to school, Milo didn't go as he was still tired. 
I was sat by the pool in the afternoon, when the headteacher rang to ask why we had sent Max to school as he had been to Dubai. So I said that the airport didn't have it on the list. She said please could we keep Max off school for the next week just in case. That was fine ( and of course Max thought it was great)
By the following day all nurseries and primary schools were closed .
Then they closed the swimming pool ( definitely not good, it's the hottest time of the year ). 

In our community we carried on seeing our friends but only close friends. 

Then we had to fill in a form to say where we had travelled. The committee decided that no maids or outside people could come inside. So no Mala or Arjun! 
Then the police called Andrew and said that they were coming to visit us....(Andrew apparently decided to have his last shower, gather some cash and charge his phone fearing a trip to the station!

At this point, India was putting people into quarantine hospitals as they had decided to change the rule about how they thought the virus could spread and the time scale form when it could spread etc. This has carried on with the same theme were announcements are made and updates keeping happening nationally and locally in the state (not even the officials are sure what is in place at a particular time!). By this time we had been back for 13 days. Andrew and I were slightly anxious and waited for our visit. 

The next morning a police man, security officer and a health official arrived.

We were told that we had to be quarantined in our house (phew!) for the next day and we mustn't leave. There had been positive cases where people had travelled from Dubai. Luckily they saw a little bit of sense and when the man with his semi permanent ink 'hand stamping pad' was convinced that having all of us with a big red 'quarantine' stamp wasn't really sensible for the final day! Many people that have had these tattoos have been 'hounded' if seen outside, so that would not have been very pleasant.

Fair enough.

So we had the rest of the day in quarantine then as we were to be set free, India went into the first lockdown. So we were going nowhere fast!

Initially it was quite brutal for some of the people in Bangalore as the police started to use their sticks to get people to go home. But instead of checking why someone was out they just used force and this meant that deliveries couldn't get through due to the police hitting the delivery people. 

After lots of coverage on TV, there was a big meeting with the police, government and food companies and it was all sorted. Food companies all have special passes for the delivery people and so this has helped with the food deliveries. 

Luckily, we have managed to get enough food and the online ordering is reasonably efficient. It has improved week by week. ( I'm not so sure about all of India but our area in Bangalore is fine)

The poorer migrant workers have had a very tough time though but there are lots of charities working hard to resolve this and to provide food for them and the things that they need. The thing is that India is an enormous country with a huge population and things do go wrong.

At the moment, if you want to go to the shops, only food shops, you can walk there  and practise social distancing and you must wear a mask. But you can not go in the car (but the online ordering is good enough that there's no need) Medicines are delivered too and come within a couple of hours.

Max and Milo's school has switched to online schooling and it is all day and very efficient. 

If you need to see a doctor, again you can get an online consultation. We have even ordered a set of the Indian produced President Trump endorsed 'miracle drug' - Hydroxychloroquine, that cost about £15. It's in the medical drawer should we ever need it!
Andrew is working from home and it's fun when he's on an important call, keeping Milo quiet.

I am doing all of Mala's jobs, of course. When she's back she's got to show me how she manages to keep the floors so sparkly. When I mop it's all smeared.
I am fed up of cooking and sorting vegetables and fruits.

It's mango and grape / vegetable season and the farmers come directly to the gate ( we are so lucky). The fruit is so sweet and you get huge bagfuls. 

But then you have to wash ( 2 or 3 times so no water diseases ) then chop, squeeze, preserve the fruit etc.  It takes so long ! But it is worth it . I don't think we've ever eaten so healthily.

I can't wait for Mala to come back. She chooses not to have coffee breaks  saying she likes to work but when she's back they will be forced upon her ....sweeping , mopping and cooking in this heat is like a punishment ! 

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...