Saturday 6 March 2021





Pooja at the temple for Savi Farms

Savi farm that we like to visit, is only about 10 minutes from the factory. Meena sent us a message inviting us to go to the Pooja of the new temple in the village.

As we are keen to get the boys off online schooling as much as we can, we said we would love to go. We also want Max and Milo to experience as much as they can while we have the opportunity. They have been doing online school for a year now, so it is even more important to do something other than sitting in their bedrooms from 9- 3 every weekday.

Andy stayed with Mala for the day and we set off at 8 to go to the factory first. Max logged on in the car to have his maths class as he did not want to miss  it because he had a test the following week.
It meant we all had to sit in silence for the last part of the journey.
While we waited to go to the temple, Andrew worked in his office, Milo worked in one conference room and Max in the other. I went for a walk to see if I could spot any snakes and I wanted to admire the new landscaping.


Milo thought that he looked like the boss and had the big screen on. He was so happy, especially when he had a cup of coffee and some biscuits given to him by the lady that does all the canteen supplies. Milo also went to look around at the machines  and he had a quick science lesson in the lab too. Max was working hard in the other room and did not want to be disturbed, so no photos of him.

Just before we needed to leave, everyone changed into their Indian clothes and then we piled into the car.

 As you approach  the temple there is an entrance and some gates. Beyond the gates there is a courtyard. All the villagers, including the children were there. Most of them were sitting on the floor on bamboo mats in the courtyard. Others had chairs or were standing watching the priests dressed in orange at the front of the temple building performing the rituals. 


 Also, at the entrance in the courtyard is trident  ( called a trishul, which is a symbol of protection and a traditional Hindu sign that stands for a warm welcome to all guests.) It is about three feet high with a yellow garland on it. Then further to the courtyard, lying on the ground, on his back, there is the God that represents the temple. He has 7 goddesses to help and they are represented as little pyramids above his head. To the left of the prostrate God is an open fire in a square fire pit. The fire is to cleanse the air and ward off the evil eye. Traditionally a sacrifice of a chicken or perhaps a goat was made as part of the ritual, but on this occasion we were spared that experience. Beyond the prostrate God is the temple building with another Statue of the God inside, this time sitting, all covered in bright garlands and with offerings of food and incense in front of Him. 


To the right and close to the temple building, were local musicians ( 4 of them) playing very rhythmic music. The key instruments are a drum and a type of long trumpet. 
After removing our shoes at the entrance, we were warmly welcomed and introduced to all the family members. The villagers were smiling kindly at us. Manju, the lady who does all the fabulous cooking at the farm and one of the daughters, explained what was happening as the ceremony was happening. 


A few of the local children came to speak to Andrew and the boys while I spoke with some ladies.


The ceremony took about an hour with the priests doing various rituals. A watermelon was hung above the door of the entrance in a rope net. 
Then one of the senior members of the family, I think it was the family’s uncle, walked around the perimeter within the courtyard with a melon that had a lighted candle / incense on the top. After he had walked around, he went beyond the entrance where there a flat stone and he dropped the melon on the stone to burst it open.


After a crescendo of music playing, it was all finished. 

Then, everyone goes to eat. The tables were set out in a long line behind the temple and amongst the chicken sheds. The food was served on banana leaves. As usual I struggled to eat anything because the spice level was too high, but Andrew ate all his. Max and Milo were struggling too.
When you have finished your food, you wrap up your banana leaf and move away ready for the next person to sit down and eat. 


We had a lovely time and enjoyed our day. It was so kind of the family to invite us.

The pool has opened!

Unlike the Uk, in India, the swimming pools have never opened since the lockdown last March and so it has been a year without being able to swim. 
We watched the Uk at the beach last summer and could only sigh.

In the Times of India there is a daily update of what the Government proposes and the Covid data of current numbers. 
So, when there was a suggestion that the pools would open, all the expats got excited. We saw the water going in the pools in January ( we have a few pools in Palm Meadows at the club) and we awaited the green light for us all to go swimming.
Then the government announced only sports swimmers could swim. It was such a disappointment.

Finally, at the end of January, public swimming pools could open but only when the government had decided on the new rules. 
I went down to the club to pester the manager, the towel lady, the door man and even the man in charge of the taxis. The manager assured me that when they got the “rules” through he would be ready to open. He said he knew that I missed swimming. (He knows me quite well as I try to go swimming every day.) I posted my information on the Palm Meadows expat site and others promised to pester the manager too….

The announcement came that Tuesday 2nd February would be the first day of the pool opening.
I was so excited and so was Milo. We were up early, the first ones there and swimming by 7:30 am ! 


The water was freezing but we were so happy. 
Andrew went at the weekend and did not move from there on Saturday and Sunday, he made the most of it.
 The water is refreshing and cool, but the weather is about 30/31 degrees, so it is very pleasant. We are beginning to look shrivelled as we make the most of being able to swim.


On the Sunday of the first weekend of the pool having been opened we were chatting with our friend Jette who asked where it was best to go in Goa. We showed her a few places that we had visited. As we talked about Goa, we reminisced about how nice it was.
As usual, we went into mad mode and wondered if there were any beach huts free the next week or the week after. By Monday evening, we had booked our flights and accommodation. (We never take long to decide on something.)

So, the following week on the Tuesday, we got up at stupid o’ clock (3am), we were on the road by 4, airport by 5, flight ,everything and actually on the beach eating breakfast by 10;00 am !
                            It was such a good decision. It is so beautiful on the beach at Palolem, (which is in South Goa.)


We had to wear shields on the plane and Max and Milo had to wear a type of PPE outfit as they were sitting in the middle seats. The flight was only 55 minutes long and most of that time was taxiing around the large airport at Bangalore and not actually in the air. So, travelling was not as traumatic as we thought it would be. 


                          We stayed in a beach hut right on the beach with an unobstructed view of the sea. The food at the Art Resort is so good and it is hard to choose what to eat.

It was so lovely to hear Max and Milo really laughing as they played in the sea, jumping over the waves and body boarding. 
We had our breakfast looking at the sea and our lunch looking at the sea. At night, the tables were placed on the sand when the sun loungers had been tidied away. We ate dinner on the beach looking at the sea through the moonlight. It was so relaxing. 

 Dinner on the beach 

This is from the  beach hut 

 From the  beach hut 

 From the restaurant 

 The beach hut again 


We stopped there for two nights and then we moved on to the Taj in North Goa. It is a five-star luxury hotel next to the beach. We had two beautiful rooms with a view of the sea in the distance but access to the beach was not as good, so we stayed by the pool.
When we arrived, we went to the restaurant for lunch. It was quite expensive and not that good so we decided that in the evening we would find a local restaurant.
We found an Italian restaurant nearby on google. Andrew asked for a taxi to take us and we thought that it was strange when the lady from the hotel said that we could have the car from the hotel and that it would be complimentary. We were to call her when we wanted to come back.
We got in the car and set off. We must have looked like spoilt over privileged people who are super lazy as the car pulled out of the gate. Because we turned left, and the car drove a noticeably short distance and stopped. The restaurant was two doors down the road! We laughed as we got out of the car.
The restaurant was open air, and the pizzas were good. We did not ring the hotel to get the car to come back but walked the few steps back on our own !

  Walking the short distance back from the restaurant 

 A young man pleased with his pizza

 The Taj swimming pool


The following day, in the afternoon, we had to get our flight back and it was an hour and a half to get back to the airport. We left in plenty of time-  as we often are too late and end up running for a flight.
 After about half an hour, there was a traffic jam on the motorway. The taxi driver rang through to his head office to find out what was going on. There had been a nasty accident and, tragically, 6 people had been killed.
The taxi driver turned down a side road and we twisted and turned down a bumpy narrow road . After a few miles, we started to see other cars coming in the opposite direction and soon this road was blocked. A driver wound down their window to say the motorway traffic was coming this way from his direction and we would not get through. So, our driver managed to find a wider spot in the road and turned the car round again.
It was like Wacky Races as he found another twisty, windy road to try to get to the airport.
We came to a small village and there was a festival going on. It was all decorated with garlands and there was loud music playing and bemused people watching all the traffic slowly crawling along.
 The local men, who had obviously been enjoying  some homemade beer, were trying to direct the excess traffic now trying to get through the village in both directions. Several of them were helping but, as you can imagine, it was quite comical. Directing traffic is never simple and none of the drivers would move unless they were sure that the people directing had made the correct decision as there was a blind bend. Their hand gestures were slow and delayed. 
At this point, as we watched the time disappearing, we told the driver that if we missed the flight it was ok ( he was getting quite uptight ) and that we would try for a later flight or find a hotel for the night.

After another 15 minutes or so, we got out of the village and the traffic eased and we got going a bit quicker. As we approached the airport, we had ten minutes left before the check in desk closed. We jumped out of the car and the driver, triumphantly, ( he was immensely proud of his driving to get us there in time) threw our cases at us to get us in  through the door. 
But then we realised there was a big queue. Luckily, a guard on a side door saw us being thrown out of the car and told us to come through his way.
We made the check in with only a few minutes to spare. But the next time we fly, it would be lovely if we did not have to run for the flight !

Snakes in the factory grounds

Andrew likes to take a walk around the factory grounds every day to check everything is fine. Lately, because the weather is getting hotter as we come into the summer, the local snakes are trying to find food and shelter. One even got into a rodent box and got stuck on the glue. It was a Russell’s viper. You do not want them to bite you, they are dangerous. The factory is quite a way from the nearest hospital, and it would be too late with a venomous snake like that one. Another snake was lurking in the bushes along the back wall. The local snake catcher did his job and moved them.

                                   One day Andrew noticed some local people who had spread their crops across the road near to the factory. As the traffic passed by it crushed the seeds. They could then gather them up easily after the threshing activity had been carried out by all the traffic from the day! 

scary snake stuck on the glue

 This was the snake found in the bushes.

The factory from the air but before all the landscaping

Max and Milo charitable causes 

Both Max and Milo have to work towards a charitable cause at school. Milo is doing afforestation  in Bangalore and Max is developing a project where he can help implement first aid to the areas with little or no medical knowledge or support.
Milo has been having garage and cake bake sales with his friends whereas Max is expected to work alone and to write a long project essay that he can promote locally.

Milo's project with Leonie, Louise , Margot and Maja. This stall was outside Maja's house 

 They made 9465 rupees ( so about £94 )

 This stall was outside the clubhouse.

Max has been with our French friend Patrick to visit a local slum area to see what help they need and how he can formulate something for them.

 Max had a meeting with a lady who ran the school and helped in the slum area.

 Max met the local people to see about their living conditions and their first aid knowledge.

 There is a lot of broken glass on the ground and the people do not wear shoes. They get their feet cut and do not know that they have to clean wounds in order to stop infection.  

Max is hoping to write plan of action to help out with simple self help first aid so that people can be trained and know what to do. He has to talk to local doctors and medical centres. 

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...