Wednesday 15 September 2021



Back to School


The boys are so excited. They are back to physical school for 4 days a week.(not full days though although they still have to be on the bus at 7:10am, but home by 3pm). Max has been back for a week and Milo goes on 14th September. This is just for the secondary aged children, the primary age group are not allowed back yet.

We had to fill in a medical form and both of them  needed a test before they went back. Usually before they go back to school, we go to get all the uniform but this time that was not possible. They must wear jeans and a collared shirt until they get all of their uniform. Their usual uniform is one formal one with chino trousers, shirt, tie and sturdy brown shoes with green socks. They have a shorts and tee shirt set that they wear with trainers and the green matching socks.

The buses will run with 50% of the students. Max enjoyed his week last week, but preferred eating outside to eating in the canteen. He thought it was too crowded and he didn’t like being inside. Luckily, the classrooms are very airy with a good breeze that comes from the surrounding fields. The grounds of the school are beautiful and green and there are lots of seating areas in the shade.

 Milo can’t wait to go. It will be his first time at secondary school. Exciting !

I wrote this a couple of days ago and now Milo has started. He had a wonderful day.


Washing machine and builders from hell!

I am fed up with the washing machine. It is like being a student with something that never works properly. The machine is very old and always breaking down. The washing machine man, Irfan, is good at turning up and fixing it, but it really is on it’s last legs. It is amazing how many new parts the machine has had and each time we think it will be the end. Then a few weeks ago, the spinning cycle didn’t sound right and there followed a terrible burning smell.


A new motor was fitted after a few days of waiting. Now this week the drum has completely filled with water and is leaking out of the front part. It cannot drain by itself. I await his next visit with anticipation.


This is on top of the week where I have waited patiently each day for the plumber, tiler and shower fixer man to turn up.

We have had a leak in the shower for quite a while and the water has gone through the wall and into the kitchen. It was decided that a new shower was needed and the tiles removed and replaced. Apparently, the shower is causing the leak.


The owner has been trying to arrange someone to come and do it. Several plumbers and builders have been to look but then not committed to anything.


Then one agreed !  Yay!


But not in a way that a normal person would consider a business deal.


On Monday, there was great enthusiasm from the group of 3 work men that turned up four including the house owner’s driver who is also his handy man.

Three days, only madam. Three days “  



They proceeded to use a hand - held jack hammer to get the old tiles out and a huge hammer that just thudded against the wall.

Head phones on for Milo for online school and for Andrew.


 On this Monday, Andrew said he would supervise the men in the bathroom.

This was a mistake as he was really too busy working online and talking to people to supervise.

After a couple of hours, I came back and noticed the work men had all gone. I asked Andrew and he said they have finished for the day as they can’t do anymore. It was 1pm or there abouts.


“ They’ve cleaned up, “ he declared , as he continued his work on his computer without looking up.


 Cleaned up  my *********! I don’t think so!  


There was a trail of cement dust right from the bathroom, down the stairs and out of the house. I could follow the foot -prints and track them outside to where they had put their shoes back on.

 In the bathroom itself, they had left all the cement and tile pieces, sprayed like a machine gun, all over the floor, toilet, window sill and even on top of the water heater. There was a fine dust haze lingering everywhere. I had to fetch my shoes to get anywhere near. Added to this, they had used the toilet paper that  was there to wipe the walls and this was just a soggy mess thrown on the floor.


The “bounce like a ping pong ball around the room “ syndrome came back. I was fuming!

Grace and Swapna had the day off because they had both had their second vaccines and were not well, so it meant that I had to start cleaning up so that we could walk easily without having all the tiny shards of debris stuck to our feet. Also the floor felt slippery.


I was muttering so many obscenities under my breath and wondering which ones I could use the next time they were here without being understood as I smiled and said them, slipping them in as if they were a compliment .



 “ yes, you are ******** at building, are you a ********** **** ****? “


Forward to the next day:


“ We will be there at 9am, madam ok, ok, ok 


At 3 (!) they turned up, spent an hour ‘rendering’ (another complete bodge job, I have the nagging feeling that they had never played with playdough and understood how to smooth things over) and putting the pipes in for the shower connections, no sign of using a plumb line to set it straight, just by eye. I think one of them is cross- eyed - It’s not straight …


They couldn’t take the rubble away as they had no bags or any implement to lift it (a spade) They couldn’t sweep up because they had no equipment. (They probably had the same screw driver as the electrician thinking that would help….)

 This after they had tidied up.


I stomped off and gave them our sweeping brush and they proceeded to push the dust around in circles in the bathroom. I presumed that they had swept in the bedroom.


Then off they went again, the render needed to dry.

 Later, as I walked across the bedroom floor, I realised that their sweeping skills were not that good, there was dust and tiny pieces of cement again on the walking trail from the bathroom to the door. So, I cleaned it all again.

 Wednesday came, no one turned up. No message.

 Thursday came and the times ranged from “ we will be there at 9, then 11, then 3 , 5 “

I sent a message to question whether they had given up at attempting to come – no reply.

 Of course, they did not come. The house owners were trying their hardest to sort it out, but it was so difficult. We think work men can be awkward in the UK but here they just don’t bother to turn up or even to answer their phone.

 Then Friday came. Three work men and the owner’s driver came to supervise. (He’s a nice chap.) Yay!

 I followed them like a mad woman, nagging them and telling them what they were going to do first. I reminded them that I had been in the house for 4 days waiting for them and I was not best pleased.


 the tiles are on - for now.

The rubble needed taking out and they had brought bags (because I had told the driver to bring them). They set about doing this, silently and quickly.

As three of them removed the rubble, the fourth one set about doing “pretend plumbing things” in the bathroom.

Patrick, our friend, came to visit so I went downstairs, he was bringing a gift from France for us (saucisson). It meant I was forced to take my beady eyes off them.

I dashed back upstairs when he had gone to find the fourth guy mixing cement in a bucket on the WHITE MARBLE FLOOR! No sheet, absolutely nothing to protect the lovely floor. The cement was spilling on the floor all around the bucket.


Now, I don’t swear, but my language was quite colourful. It’s not my house, but the floor is beautiful, and I had visions of the cement staining it.

The boy just stared at me. He had no sense of understanding or rush about him to sort it out.

This is where the Indian way of responding is strange. He was waiting for his instructions about what to do. Often Indian workers do not decide themselves but will wait to be told by a superior. Fortunately, Husain came back at that moment, and I told him to get the bucket  and the cement bag off the floor quickly. Husain translated and the boy did as he was told but he had no idea that making up the cement there was not a good idea. No idea whatsoever! I suppose I am presuming that everyone lives in a house with a proper flooring and walls but disaster was averted.


Once the cement/ plaster was in a safe place, I edged away and decided that maybe it was best not to watch for a while in order to stop myself from exploding.


I had a cup of tea and then went back. Three people were watching the one working on the tiles. All seemed well. They called me to show me that the tiles were in place and said that they would come back the next day when the tiles were dry and fixed in place.



It was then Saturday, Andrew was home so I could tag him to do the watching.

He had a few stern words about his expectations for the morning and the chaps got on diligently.


Or so we thought.


We returned shortly to the workmen announcing that it was all working as they showed us the wet floor and the shower still fixed to the wall. We did have visions of the shower coming away from the wall


They left taking their screw driver with them. We went to examine the new shower and I pulled the lever up to switch on the water for the rain shower head to work and the handle came off in my hand !


They had not fixed it in place with the grub screw that was there in the fitting because the screw driver doesn’t work as an allen key is needed!

I was now laughing uncontrollably as it was so comical. Andrew had steam coming out of his ears like a cartoon character.


 The handle has come off

He called them back. They were just up the road from Palm Meadows so hadn’t got very far.

Meanwhile, Andrew checked everything else.

They crept back in again and Andrew was ready for them. He showed them how to screw on the shower head so it didn’t lean, how to twist the lower tap into position and he showed them the allen key and how it works. He also asked how on earth they call themselves plumbers when they can’t manage a basic job!! What a bunch of useless cowboys…

Luckily despite the shoddy job, the new shower is working and still positioned on the wall as are the tiles. It’s been a week.

 Everybody, fingers crossed.


Social Life

 It has been quite mad and hectic with our evenings and days out. People are  more confident about going out as long as the event is outside to allow distancing and ventilation. Of course, here there are lots of outdoor restaurants and places to have coffee. We have been super busy meeting different people in different places but always outside if we can manage it.

Last weekend, we were invited to Nalini’s house for an evening with a group of people that we know in the city centre. The boys couldn’t go because the apartment block only allows parties if the people have been vaccinated.


We said that the boys could invite their friends over for a movie night and pizza, so they were excited about that. They had 5 friends over.


At our party, Nalini had prepared mildly spiced Indian food and it was lovely. But after the main course, to my surprise, a beautiful cake appeared, and everyone sang Happy birthday . ( It was my birthday the next day ) It was so special. I also had a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bowl that you put outside your door and put flowers and water in from Michael and Ken. I still need to find the real name for it!

We left the party about 12:30am (curfew started at 9pm) but luckily no police roadblocks to stop us.

We got in and remembered that the boys had had their own party. They had “tidied “ up. By this, they meant that they had moved the empty crisp packets, pizza boxes, coke bottles and tissues from the coffee table to the kitchen work top. But at least they had tried. They had had such an exciting time with their friends which is what they really need at the moment.


My actual birthday was lovely too.  We went out for breakfast with friends and then in the evening we went into the city to a very nice Greek/ Mediterranean restaurant with some different friends. We went past the curfew time again but as we were in a restaurant, as soon as 8:45 pm arrives, they turn off all the lights and stop serving. We were left in candle light which actually encouraged us to stay longer rather than making us leave.



Ganesh  Chaturthi


On Friday 10th September it was the festival of Ganesh Chaturi. This is where everyone celebrates Lord Ganesh. Clay idols of the deity are honoured and garlands of bright flowers put around his neck.  His blessings are often invoked at religious ceremonies as he is the one who can remove all obstacles to success, particularly when people are starting a new business or enterprise. Ganesh is known as the giver of fortune and one who can help to avoid natural calamities. Ganesh is also the patron god of travelling. Arjun has a mini one on his dashboard to help guide us (not guidance like a Satnav, but spiritual guidance which sometimes is required in Indian traffic…)

Ganesh is depicted with an elephant's head on a human body and in the Hindu tradition, he is the son of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvati.  At the end of the day the idols are submersed into the sea (or any convenient local body of water)


 This was the Ganesh at Patrick's house in Palm Meadows

Andy was so happy playing in the water 

 The owner of the farm rescues cows.

We had been invited to the farm where we had visited a few weeks ago to go and plant some tree saplings. Pradeep had arranged for a priest to come to do a Pooja for Lord Ganesh at the farm. We all joined in with the ceremony. After the Pooja we went to plant the trees behind the farm where there are some lakes that look to be old brick pits that are filling with water. The trees are being planted around the edge of the lake. Pradeep has already planted a mini forest in the local area and he is now working on the lake area.  We all planted several trees each. We took Andy with us and he was so happy jumping in and out of the lake and running around with the bigger boys (Finn and Solo) but he smelt so bad afterwards. He‘s had two baths since then to sweeten him up.  





















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...