Friday 11 June 2021

June 2021



Andrew's birthday

The birthday boy was a bit limited on his cake and present this year. My previous attempts at cake baking have always ended in failure so I didn't try at all this year. Instead we ordered from the local restaurant and had a meal and a cake delivered. The icing lady 'Bikini clad Booberella' has lasted since his last birthday as she has been sitting sadly at the back of the fridge. We were seeing what would happen (like a science experiment) 

The Lockdown

I don’t know which lockdown number we are on any more, or what day or date it is! Each time we think the lockdown is going to end, we get all excited and then two days before they extend it. We are currently waiting to see if the lockdown will end on Monday (it’s Friday now)

 It was very exciting today as Max had an emergency appointment at the dentist for a brace fitting and we got to out for half an hour. The traffic was so quiet and, of course, all the shops were shut but it was a change from Palm Meadows

 Our boy looking angelic.


Before the lockdown, we had got a new maid, Grace, on trial, and she was working part time for us before the lockdown. I happened to mention that I might consider employing someone to cook for us part time too. Grace had a good friend, who is a cook, called Swapna and that she said that she needed more hours. Swapna is quite famous here for cooking in Palm Meadows so I rang her to see if she had any spare hours. She said she would come for a trial.

But then, there was the warning that we would be having a lockdown. Swapna arrived with Grace on the day before lockdown and explained that she and Grace had become good friends when they worked next door to each other last year.

I had in my mind that one lady would clean in the morning and the other come and cook in the afternoon, but they had a better idea.

This is what they suggested; Grace would come (at 7:30 am) and clean when Swapna goes to her other part time job. Grace would leave at 10:30 am to go to do her other house and then will Swapna arrive. If Grace has not finished something then Swapna will finish off and then sort the cooking out, finishing off by 1:30 pm.

So, we agreed to a trial. Swapna, on arrival, promptly searched through all the cupboards and then set about cooking. I think she was rather shocked at our lack of cooking pots and dishes.

Oh, my goodness me!  The woman is a magician. She managed to make enough meals to last us a week. Moussaka, garlic bread, breaded chicken, chicken masala, banana muffins, glazed carrots. I was so impressed. She seemed to cook with ease and everything was so good.

Both promised that they would come back after the lockdown which was originally for a month (I think)

No maids, drivers or gardeners are allowed in the community as the gates are closed and only deliveries are allowed. Andrew has to drive the car to the gate to meet Arjun as he is not allowed in either.

The lockdown, initially, was much the same as last year, we could order lots of shopping online and everything was quick and efficient.

This time Andrew went to work at the factory though, as it is considered an essential service.

Max and Milo carried working online and I started cleaning and mopping again. We could still go out for a walk around the community, and it was not too bad.

 But then, outside the walls of Palm Meadows, the Covid cases started to explode. People could not get beds in the hospitals and then the demand for oxygen started to get desperate too.

Cases started to creep into Palm Meadows, and we were warned that if the cases continued to rise then we would become a containment. (This is where you are not allowed out of your house, more restrictions are imposed, and government officials come to check on the residents)

Luckily, after a few weeks things have settled down, the numbers in Bangalore have gone down and the hospital situation seems to have improved.

Vaccinations were a problem in many districts but here in Palm Meadows, the community committee has been very organised and has had several vaccination camps. Maids, drivers, and gardeners etc were vaccinated last week if they wanted to get the vaccine. This has been very positive.

We are waiting to see if the vaccine for children gets implemented. They are running trials and are about to pass Pfizer here too.

We await the news about what will happen on Monday. Swimming in the pool looks a long way off ….


Andrew, Micronclean and food parcels.

Andrew drives through the countryside and a few villages when he leaves the motorway on his way to work. At one point, all the shops and market stalls were closed, and this got him thinking. If you have no fridge and little money, then how do poorer people manage to buy or even store food. Usually, people buy food daily, as they are paid daily, and then buy their food fresh.

He asked the staff if there were many people who had problems locally with the lockdown or just generally and was there a way to help? A lot of the staff live in nearby villages and many of them knew of people, especially elderly people, who were really finding things really hard.

A list of people was drawn up with names, age and reasons why they needed help. Someone investigated how much a food package would cost.  

A crowd funding page was set up and money was raised very quickly both here and at Micronclean in the UK. Some very generous donations from colleagues, friends and family took the funds to around £1400 

Andrew said it was very humbling to give out the food packages as the people were polite, smiling and very grateful.

In the beginning, Andrew went to hand out the packages but then the lockdown rules changed and the people had to come to the factory. Luckily, the staff arranged transport for the people or they got friends to bring them to the factory.

At around £11 a pack we were able to purchase over a hundred food packs. The contents of staple foods included rice, flour, sugar oil lentils so enough to keep a small family basically fed for two to three weeks. The team have just identified that there is an orphanage close by that needs some support, so Andrew is going to see if they need any help too with the remaining food packs.

Meanwhile, the food packages are still being handed out.




(not as serious or as important as the predicament in the paragraph above)

Cleaning is a repetitive chore, monotonous and boring and I’m trying to find ways around it, so I don’t have to do it, as it is difficult when it is so hot. I tried leaving the vacuuming and mopping of the floors for a couple of days but that just makes it harder as everything has more dirt and then takes twice as long. I am down to every other day. To make things easier I took up the rugs all apart from the one which is under the coffee table. This cut down on vacuuming.

Then, the other day, after Andy had eaten his dinner (this is the dog not the husband), he was suddenly violently sick all over the one and only rug. We have a big floor space of marble/granite that can easily be cleaned but, no, he was sick on the rug!

 We now have no rugs that can be dirtied.

 The good thing with all the cleaning and mopping, is that I am up to at least 14,000 steps a day as I do this.

Added to this, Andrew has also treated me to a larger luxury paddling pool so I can cool off afterwards. Although, that is now another thing that needs cleaning.

  The new luxury "pool"

Cooking for each other

We have a group of friends that we see frequently (in unlockdown periods). All of us were fed up with the mundane culinary offerings of lockdown food, so we decided that it would be a good idea to take it in turns cooking for each other, The range of French, Czech/German, English (or in our case Anglo-Italian) was a welcome change. Sadly, one of our group left India last night, so we had to squeeze all of the cookathon activities in before they left.

It was good fun and meant we could have a night off from cooking.

Sheetal cooked for the Shussis. They had a lamb                                                     dish and salad.

 We had French beef and carrots, salad and mashed potatoes. The recipe was from Aurelie's mum. It was lovely. Margot made homemade mango ice cream and meringues. ( I thought she had bought the meringues, they were so good )

So Aurelie, David, Margot and Gaspard had food cooked from the Shussis. I think it was a German meal.

I cooked for the Fenouil's . They had lasagne, garlic bread and coleslaw. They had mars bar cakes for a sweet.


The monsoon is here, and it was quite cool last night (23 degrees) when we went for a walk. It was a relief to not be so hot. Usually, it is about 29 degrees when we go for a walk (about 9 pm) so we managed to go a bit further with Andy. It is still hot in the day (today it is 29 degrees but there is more cloud. It rains about 4 pm (not every day) but it is refreshing to go for a walk when it rains and Andy loves it.


The Pool table

 This time of the year is quite sad as lots of people finish their contracts and move back to their native countries. This means that there are lots of house sales as people try to squash all the things that they have bought in India into their container. All sorts of things are put up for sale. TVs, beds, fans, kitchen utensils, especially items with Indian plugs but not everything is taken back home.

We managed to buy a few things but our most exciting purchase (well, we donated the money to the OWC charity because that was the request) was a full-size pool table.

We had to wait because of the lockdown restrictions, but as the people who owned it were leaving, it meant we had to get it out of their house before the next tenants were due.

We got special permission and Andrew arranged for a man with a van and a specialist from a pool table company to come and disassemble it, put it in the van and reassemble it in our house. 

It took quite a while, but I’m pleased that we didn’t try to do it because it had to be built back up again and be perfectly level and everything had to be just so. Apparently it was so heavy and has three big slate bed slabs. 

We have been having “Championship of the World” competitions all week between the Cole family.

Competition is intense and we need to check on the rules as I’m sure we have got some things wrong, but it is rather exciting to have something else to do, especially as the mosquitoes are getting worse outside in the evenings and the rains have started.  

 Milo playing pool


 The mosquitoes seem to be increasing and buzz en mass and it is very annoying. The Palm Meadows committee have put forward a new spraying/control system. Until that works, we have invented a net solution on the terrace. It took a bit of trial and error, but we have a good mosquito blocking net. We have fixed one of the nets that goes over the double bed to the windows behind the sofa on the terrace. We have tied some elastic on the other side of the net. Each night, if we want to sit outside, we pull the elastic tight and attach two sides to two nails on the pillars. This creates a net tent that goes over the sofa. It is a bit of a faff getting in and out but once inside the mosquitoes just buzz around outside unable to get in. It means we can still sit outside and not be bitten. Andy is a pest, though, because he just does not understand how to get in and out but it’s a minor problem.








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...