Monday 19 October 2020


 Mask on, Spit not!

I am getting very good at shouting at workmen who do not wear their masks properly if they come into the house, or just shouting at them generally at the work that they do. They think that once they come inside that they can pull the mask down so that it becomes a chin strap. We needed a bit of painting doing but to be honest, we have told our landlord that if anything else needs doing like that, then we will do it ourselves. It was painful to watch the workmen. One held the paint pot and the other did the painting. It took four days to paint an area of bedroom wall that had got damp and a small area around the extractor fan in the kitchen!

Four days! They kept turning up and then disappearing. I told Mala to yell at them first, which she enjoys, and then when they kept appearing /disappearing I joined in. They did put on their masks properly and I kept sneaking up on them quietly to check that they hadn't pulled them down.  I am not a stalking lunatic but the Covid virus is quite bad in India (vying for the top quantity of cases with the US!) and I don't want to be the household that brings it in. 

Even so the work was not the best quality. I watched the painter paint over the tiles in the kitchen below the area that needed painting and leave the wet paint on the tiles instead of using a cloth to wipe along to make a clean line. When I challenged him as to why he was not cleaning up the paint, he said it was not his job, but the person who works under him and he will come along to clean it the next day (this is the  dry paint which would then dry hard to the tiles and be difficult to get off!) . The chap would come and spend ages using the universal screwdriver to scrape it off!) Now the problem with India is that the workmen think most people (women) have no idea of what a job entails. They think that if they say something you will nod sweetly and agree. 

I quite lost the plot. I told him to stay here he was (in Hindi - so he was wide eyed and shocked ), I got a damp cloth and showed him how to make a straight line along the tiles. I then gave him the cloth and told him to do the rest as his 'underling' was not coming into our house. He did as he was told. He was only a boy bless him but he now knows how to clean away wet paint from tiles and I don't think he would want to come back again.


Everybody in the community wears their masks properly but if we go out of Palm Meadows, we can see lots of people with either no face mask or wearing a chin strap and the people are very close together.

When we are in the car and have the radio on there is a very amusing jingle (although it is not as catchy as it would be if it was on radio 2) it says ;

'Mask on, spit not' 

It does not rhyme or sound right, but it makes us laugh.

It is a campaign to inspire the local population to wear their masks and to wear them properly. It's even endorsed with a voiceover from the Bangalore Chief of Police. Let's hope that the message gets across to a few more of the 12 million plus that live in the city.

Covid tests

Palm Meadows offered free Covid tests so mainly out of curiosity Max, Andrew and Mala went to have one each. Max and Andrew were fine but I found Mala hiding when she should have been at the testing venue.

I asked her if she was ok and she said that she was scared because when you get tested that the doctor puts a pipe right down into your stomach and scrapes it around and that it is extremely painful. Mala is easily influenced by whatever gossip is circulating and she does not have any means to find out the truth, as she does not have a smart phone nor does she watch the local TV. So her sources are the outrageous fake information that people pass on. (a bit like chinese whispers)

I showed her a quick clip of what really happens and she set off quite confident that she wouldn't have her insides scraped out. She really does panic if she is not sure about something. 

The other day, she had prepared a concoction of garlic and dreadful smelling herbs, as her sister had heard that this drink would prevent Covid, block the virus and you would become immune or cured (like Donald Trump!). I gently informed her that if this was true then the poor people in the hospitals would not be there. She drank it anyway, but it's a bit like when we were young and we used to play a game in the playground where you had to keep jabbing your chest so that you didn't get tigged. "jab for life all over". 

Anyway, the tests all came back negative but it was very interesting that Mala's came back in Kannada  (the local language ) It looks like this and is totally different to Hindi, so I can't read it like I can read Hindi

ಕನ್ನಡ ಬರವಣಿಗೆ ಹೇಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ 

यह हिंदी है ( I can read this)

Mala's message was all in kannada but the "negative" bit was in English which she can't read (like I can"t read the above) so we thought this was a bit daft really, as she had to come to me to ask me what it said.

Max getting his test done

Savi Farms

In September we went for a wonderful weekend with our friends (and dogs) to a mango farm.

It was only 15 minutes from the factory and an hour from home, so it was very handy. Andrew organised a trip for us all to have a look around the factory, before we went to the farm. He had prepared a special powerpoint to explain the History of the company and what they do. The team had also included samples of bacterial colonies from dirty hands, to show the children and remind them about the importance of hand washing! We then put cleanroom overalls on and set off round the nearly finished factory. I think they all want to return when its in full operation too :-)

Next, to the farm, which is set in 200 acres of trees with a few lakes. The building was rustic with a courtyard and with a mini pond in the middle.  It was simple but beautifully decorated and clean.

The idea was that the 8 children were going to camp out for the night while the adults slept in the main building. So we took all our tents and camping gear. The car was so full it was unbelievable that we were only going for one night, it was all crammed in. It was forecast rain so we had all the wet weather gear too.

The tents were set up and we had our lunch. We have been in India for nearly three years and this was only the second time that I have been able to eat everything.The food was amazing. We had asked for zero spice.That is difficult for people in Bangalore because the food is just too bland for them without all the spices and chilli so they can't resist making the food spicier to what they think is little spice but is really 'blow your head off' level. But at the farm it was perfect and the food was so flavoursome and varied.

We were then treated to a ride on a tractor trailer and we walked back through the countryside and past the lake. It threw it down with rain but it it was still an exhilarating walk.  We managed to shelter at one point by a house belonging to some people who lived on the land. Their cow glanced at us but their dog tried to see us off and it was a bit chaotic as the chickens were running all over too.

As the rain eased we carried on walking.The chap that had driven the tractor managed to carry a huge box with fresh mango juice and freshly made samosas for us to eat when we stopped for a break. When we did stop we had to shelter under some rocks to get away from the torrential monsoon type rain.

As we were walking we saw a cage on wheels and we asked what it was for. It was a leopard trap, but Meena who was taking us on the walk said that she had never seen a leopard, even though there were rumours that they has been seen in the surrounding villages and mountains. The kids were trailing behind us and we thought nothing of it. Incidentally when we got back we looked up on Google and found references to deadly leopard attacks in the region on an elderly man and a young boy a couple of years previously...

When we got back to the farm we found that one of the tents was completely flooded so later on  the some of the children ended up sleeping in a room but thought it was an adventure.

Meena arranged for a fire to be lit outside and we sat around it drinking our wine, not the children, of course.

Another delicious meal was provided and then we played board games all evening.  Apart from two of the teeangers who had disappeared by 9pm They were so exhausted from the walk that they were asleep, they're not to used to exercise any more! (so the one night they can stay up and there's no school the next day). 

Andrew and I had an eventful night. Milo slept on the floor as he didn't want to camp in the rain and Andy was with him.  In the middle of the night we heard a commotion coming from the bathroom. Now, this bathroom was half open to the elements, so going to the loo was an adventure in itself and now there was something in there, After several moments of each of us trying to get the other to go and investigate, we together bravely got a torch and crept to the bathroom door then carefully opened it, we didn't want to surprise any monkeys, peacocks or rats, (or leopards) ..... It was quite funny because we were quite jumpy, we didn't quite scream, but it wouldn't have taken much to make us run with arms outstretched like on Scooby- Doo. We could hear scampering on the roof behind, but we couldn't see anything. It was a bit of a let down really.....

Then, we were all up early ready to walk up a mini rocky mountain with some interesting temples on it. Some of us went in the car and the others with dogs went on the tractor through the local village. The kids thought that they were royalty as everyone was waving to them. Luckily they all managed to stay in the trailer and were not bounced out.

When I saw the mini mountain I decide that my dodgy hip wouldn't get up all the steps so I stayed with Milo, who had hurt his foot. We sat in the car as it started to rain again. The others walked up and enjoyed the view. 

We came back to another enjoyable meal and the endless trips to pack the car.

We had such a relaxing weekend it was so much fun. We really do recommend India.

(The following week there was a report in the paper where a leopard had been killed crossing the motorway only a few km's down the road from the farm area. So,when we go again in November we promise to keep a closer eye on the children and not let them lag behind.)

 Andy loved all the walks

 At the top of the mountain

The teens and the children eating off banana leaves

 The tractor trailer with everyone on including the dogs but Max is on the tractor 

Happy to have got to the top !

Halfway up


Its cloudy but definitely not cold

We really do have fun when we go somewhere 

No one was checking for leopards ...

of course you eat with your fingers

at the factory, deep concentration putting on the gloves



Cubbon Park

The following week we went to meet our friends Michael and Ken near their home in the centre of Bangalore. We met them in the large park called Cubbon park (designed by the British when it was part of the Empire in the 1800's). 

Before we went I sent a message to all the Coles recommending that they pack some spare clothes, as rain was forecast again.

Everyone got the appropriate clothes but no one thought to get a spare lead. Milo was sat in the back of the car and was on 'Andy' Jnr duty. It takes about an hour to get to the park and so Milo was listening to his music and singing and not really watching Andy. We arrived at the park but there are not many places to park so we had to stop on the main road and jump out quickly. Now this was the first time that Andy had been anywhere really noisy, so we had our car exit plan. 

I got ready to hold Andy as Andrew opened the boot to grab him so he didn't jump into the city traffic. As I got hold of Andy's lead it came apart. The monkey had chewed through his lead and it was so short that it was not safe enough to hold him. After a rapid search of the car and visions of having to use a belt, Andrew was very clever and remembered that the bag containing the clothes had a clip on shoulder strap. In other words, Andy's new improvised lead. It mean we could get him out of the car and into the park. Luckily, he didn't panic or seem bothered by all the noise and traffic.

We found Michael and Ken who were with their two dogs, Finn and Solo. Michael was carrying a quick release metal baton. We were intrigued. We soon found out why it was needed. Inside the park some street dogs have made their home. They become aggressive when they see other dogs and some charge at you (also rabies is present in Bangalore so you have to be extra careful). It meant that we had to walk in a formation that surrounded the dogs to protect them. But as it was raining we found that opening and shutting the umbrellas scared the street dogs away. We soon worked as a tactical team and ignored the dogs and enjoyed our walk in the rain.

In India when it rains the drops are enormous and it starts off fairly persistent, but then it just goes mad and we got absolutely soaked to the skin so I was so pleased that we had taken spare clothes.

 Before it rained.

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...