What happened?

It was the day after Boxing Day and all was supposed to be quiet. The night before I was due to fly back home to Mysore.

I’d been in Hebden Bridge Yorkshire for a Poppy Christmas with my son Ben, Alice and their daughter Poppy (age eight) , staying with big ex, his mum, known as wife number one by MAnjula.

Manj and Liz were good friends.

Liz created a warm welcoming family Christmas for us all.

I’d received my visa to get back to India and on this day had travelled back to London to prepare to fly back.

There had been so much uncertainty on leaving India at the end of October. After two solid steady years we were suddenly in turmoil. There was three months of extreme uncertainty whether we (foreigners) could stay or had to leave which created extreme stressful cliff hangers. Once I was told to go with only three days notice and no available flights, only to be given n extension after I’d overstayed my welcome, flights cancelled, general kerfuffle.

Nightmare.

For the first time in twelve years I was leaving my adopted home, uncertain when and how I’d be able to return.

I came back to the U.K. at the end of October.

….

Back to Monday of this week.

I’d had a ‘PCR’ COVID test the day before and received by midnight the negative result required by the Indian government to allow me entry. I could prepare to fly so completed online forms for the Indian govt and British Airways.

By 7 pm I got a response from BA to say I could fly. I booked a taxi to take me to the airport, the next morning and had something to eat. I just had to fit ‘a quart into a pint pot’ that’s cram my clothes etc and a gift for Sowbhaghya into my two bags.

Then it all went a bit weird.

I was on video call to my brother. I couldn’t remember where I was or what I was doing. He called Ben worried that I’d completely lost it and the look in my face was completely blank. Some might say that’s a regular occurrence 😉 but this was unusual.

I was in Ben’s flat on my own but didn’t remember. Ben called me.

I was confused. I knew who I was and was walking around but had no idea where I was or what had happened that day. …. Nothing about my train journey down or that I was due to fly back to India.

He telephoned an ambulance and a friend Matty and his wife. They all arrived together and after a few simple tests I was taken to the hospital.

Two days later. The flight has been cancelled and I’m back at Ben’s having been discharged from hospital

I’ve already had a scan but return today for a more sophisticated MRI to search for my brain. 😉

They think that I’ve had a ‘transient global amnesia’. The initial tests indicate that it wasn’t a stroke but the MRI is to make sure.

Stress? anxiety? What and where from? 🤔🤭 I often joke … but we’ve all had to deal with the awful strains and unpredictability of the pandemic.

There’s not been guests at Mysore Bed and Breakfast for two years. At those times, we’d have a full house of positive energy. People from around the world making new friends, telling their stories, sharing our home created by Manjula. That’s the biggest all encompassing stress and strain. I’m parted not only from our home and Lucie, our local community but from the woman herself. This is my third winter without her, the grief will always be with me and sometimes it’s as if it was only yesterday her warmth was still hugging me. In a way it always will be.

As a result of the unprecedented changes, we’ve not had the usual hustle bustle of our busy welcoming Mysore home. That was brought home to me at our Poppy family Christmas.

I’m not saying that losing Manjula has created this brain incident it’s just helped it along.

Maybe It’s an overload, and release of a safety valve.

Assuming I get the ‘all-clear’ I’ll rest and go through the rigmarole again to be able to fly back.

It’s all ok now I’ve got my grapes from Alice.

I’m ok and look forward to being home, hugging Lucie and seeing more of my good supportive precious friends.

Thank you for being one of them.

Christmas

In Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire.

Poppy’s School

My friends in India often ask what things are like in the U.K. so here’s My granddaughter’s school.

I’m here to collect her at the end of the school day.

It’s probably a school from the 19th century when ‘board’ schools were introduced.

I love the old building and it has a great feel.

It’s managed by the local government

Here’s one or two great additions to help improve safety.

Manny is overseeing the renovation work at the school.

I’ve stayed with Poppy and her parents Ben and Alice in north London.

We’re losing so much

There are signs everywhere of the man-made environmental damage resulting from not anticipating the consequences, concentrating on short term gains and our lack of care.

Even seas go missing. Due to all the above combined with local and global pressures.

All around the world, including in our backyard in Karnataka with the Kaveri river, there’s conflicts about water being taken from rivers and little being left for the communities further down.

Travelling around 2

Tom and Amy, aka the lovely couple, who Manjula and I adopted after the first of many visits to Mysore Bed and Breakfast.

Their apartment looks out onto the sea. What a fab location.

Brighton and Hove on the English south coast an hour from London.

Travelling around 1

Catching up with friends

My first trip back to the U.K. in over two years.

The journey through the airports and flight went smoothly as fast as pre-pandemic. I had test results and certificate proving I’d had my vaccinations. No one checked anything.

Day two test negative so all ok
Celebrating Halloween.

Being entertained by and entertaining my granddaughter Poppy. She’s eight and I’ve missed seeing her for two years! All of us share that pandemic experience.

What’s the game?

Exploring Hebden Bridge with Liz, the mum of my boys, big ex or as Manjula would say: wife number one. We remain close and dear friends of over thirty years.

Cherishable

Today’s cherishable sad and sweet memories are the times Manjula and I spent together.

Here

The writer Didion coined the term ‘vortex’ in her book ‘a year of magical thinking’ about the year after her husband died.

It helpfully describes when one is ambushed by trigger memories of good times spent together.

But I wasn’t ambushed, as I fully expected it.

These are sad and tearful yet happy treasured moments in central London. I know it so well yet it now has an other dimension.