Why a blog?

the journal, our bloglet  is an experiment. Is there a story to tell? can it be told competently and ultimately, will it be engaging?

Only you and time will tell.

Our guests at the BnB are always asking for our story and often  suggest we share it to a wider audience. So here is our humble attempt, to relay our story of life in India. Manjula as a ‘young’ Indian woman and me as a much much older English guy. (the age gap isn’t a big as it looks…. he said defensively!)

We intend to introduce ourselves and our life here in India, local characters and the wonderful guests, from around the world, who come to Mysore to join our Mycycle tours and stay in our Mysore Bed and Breakfast. Its already a bit of a mad mix. On the way we hope to share insights into this amazing, crazy, challenging, annoying, ‘consistently inconsistent’ beautiful place and it’s people.

Please do regularly check into meandmycycle.com

If it’s of interest do share and pass on to others.

We value your opinion.

Do you want more of the same or something different? what shall we post? insights into Manjula’s life as a poor woman in modern India? an understanding of what its like for me as an English guy adjusting to life in this ‘differently organised’ world? our personal story of coming together from different cultures and backgrounds, the fun we have and the challenges we face? a better understanding of India (is that possible?) from our own limited experience.

Do let us know.

our very best wishes,

Manjula and Stephen

Oh, and exactly on cue I hear Lucy calling from downstairs. We haven’t forgotten she is of course the third and, dearly loved, part of our family here in India.

and Lucy, of course…

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She’s sprung a leak!

Lucy is a mainstay of Mysore Bed and Breakfast: she’s critical in welcoming new guests, licking toes and generally helping people feel ‘at home.’ With such a wonderful temperament many of our guests fall in love with her. We even have Indian guests who bring their children to help them get used to friendly dogs.

Six years ago she was dumped along with her brother and sister at just a few weeks old. Well, we sort of adopted them and our neighbour downstairs (at that time we just lived upstairs) was seriously unimpressed, as the little puppies soon realised where I lived, obviously, and then were forever pestering for food and play.

We found homes for the other two and kept Lucy.

She’s now a fully fledged house dog who has the tendency to roam the streets and hang out at another 4-5 house (and that’s the ones we know about). We’ve had her spayed/neutered or as the vets say desexed (yuk what an awful term) and recently has developed an unfortunate tendency to leak on the carpets so we’ve called in supervet: Michael from Australia for his opinion.

Michael Heath is one of the vets behind Vets Beyond Borders (VBB) and was instrumental in setting up the local project and much much more. He does so much it leaves me breathless. With his own vet practice  in Australia, regular travelling holidays around the world and especially in India, fundraising back at home and regular stints on volunteering, often as a teacher to pass on his skills to others.

VBB, is an Australian NGO that places volunteer vets on projects around the world. We’ve had many come and stay with us here. Michael has helped establish the project to vaccinate and spay dogs in the nearby Tibetan Settlement. He’s visited us many times and continues to be our online vet, with solid helpful advice available at the ‘drop of a hat.’

His advice was Stilboestrol as its a problem which arises in bitches who have been spayed. It’s a hormone thing girls! For you doggy fiends who wish to know more about it, here it is….

 

 

 

 

one helluva trip

Lipsmackin, thirst quenchin travel …..

…..in a plane, train, open top buses, flash rental car, over and underground, Thames boat trip, friend’s cars, chain ferry, tram, narrow boat, taxi,

 

and a three week road trip to see the sights of England and Wales, London.

Of which… There’s just too many sights to mention….

passing through Chesterfield, Dronfield, Huddersfield, Sheffield, cities that haven’t been fields for a very long time,

Hereford’s black and white houses from hundreds of years back, countryside of Dorset, Oxfordshire, Warwick, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Wye Valley, Avon, Bath, steam fair carousel, Kingsclere, Hebden Bridge, ancient standing stones at Avebury and Stonehenge, the white horse, seaside at Swanage and Pool…. phew… no wonder I’m short of breath

burning up the roads or alternatively, gently chugging along whilst at times laboriously stepping up and down the canal,

…… glamping and camping, music festival, hills and dales, breathing in the history, basking in the sun, (amazingly, with very little rain Manjula reckons she brought the good weather), bee hives, art installations, museums, pubs, restaurants, restaurants and pubs, shops, shops, shops, markets, High Tea, Mummies,

 

so much walking Manj complains of aching legs, cycling (only one of us doing that) visiting old and new friends and family, restaurants, shops, political dialogue, (yes BREXIT was discussed and UKAOs)

’rounding’ as Manjula would call it and its a good job I took Gina’s advice ‘not to overdo it’ on reflection it was helluva lot.. who knows what’s racing around in Manjula’s brain 😉

meeting and staying with BnB guests, on sofas, beds, futon, air beds, camping, absorbing difference, chatting, shopping, eating out, appreciating it’s clean and green and above all and what really matters is ….

… meeting and sharing our time with wonderful, kind, patient, caring people.

 

As Manjula would often stop and exclaim…. Wow!

Thank you to you all for making this a special life time experience for Manjula.

 

Shock Horror: Plastic bags are 5p in the UK

The UK needs to catch up in so many ways. Why have plastic bags at all?

During our visit to the UK our friend Gina had online grocery orders delivered by Ocado. Guess what is was delivered in? Yes, you got it… plastic bags. Why?

I have no idea.

Ok, I’m one of the first to challenge things but let’s give credit where its due. Mysore has banned plastic bags in shops. This being India it works partially but it works pretty well.

This week, we used the online supermarket here in Mysore: Big Basket. How was it delivered? In plastic boxes that were emptied and taken back by the delivery team! enough said….

 

 

 

Great stuff!

What a wonderful birthday!

Manjula had a great time on her 43rd Birthday. Yes she’s 43!

Travelling out to Srirangaptnam for Puja at the Rangatha Temple to visit Ranga, Laxmi, Garuda, Narsima and Hanuman (so many Gods in one place!) and dinner at hotel Roopa in the evening. Over 43 friends from around the world via facebook and email sent their greetings.. That also helped make her day.

She now is planning her 50th party in the UK!

Farrell Factoid

The Yorkshireman reached deep down into his pocket to pay for the meal for twelve people which cost much less than a recent, probably typical meal in London for three 🙂

As always in India it’s critical to get to the story under the surface. When I first met her, Manjula had three different birthdates. In India when someone doesn’t have a birth certificate (most poor and rural people, above a certain age) they use their TC or Transfer Certificate from school as evidence of their date of birth. As part of the rationalisation of her various inconsistent and conflicting forms of ID she had to sort it out and go for one.

She is a Queen but one birthday is enough!

The best job ever?

Why is is the best job ever?

I’m sitting here, writing responses to our Trip Adviser reviews. I’m partly avoiding doing the accounts. Lucy is asleep at my feet. We’ve already been for our morning walk. I can hear Manjula in the background. Water is running, there’s swishing and swashing, the team are at it, Manjula gently instructs and actively gets involved. She’s so many good things rolled into one and that includes her tremendous managements skills.

Well it’s a great job because in many ways it’s not a job. It our life, sharing our home, meeting great people, hearing their stories, cracking jokes (which are sometimes understood) and getting the immense satisfaction that people enjoy time with us and have a wonderful time in Mysore.

Here’s just on of our over one hundred reviews and I’ve chosen it because I wasn’t here when the guests stayed.

 

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because we enjoy what we’re doing and we get such positive feedback….

Back at Moksha Manor

this week we’re adjusting back to life in Mysore and welcomed our first few guests who were from the UK and India, Ani from Bylakuppe and our old friend Vinay, Manjula experiences jet lag, discovered what might be a Brexit prequel (there may have been a few) and a keen observation on differences between the India and the UK

 

Today’s Cycle Tour: we’re back in action

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Resting

Manjula is a little rundown, which is not altogether surprising given the mammoth feat of five weeks travelling in the strange country of the UKaos, so we’ve been to the doc and she needs to take it easy and get rid of that cough!

UK and India

Abi, part Yorkshire, part English and part Indian, (what a lovely rich mix? aren’t we all?) is staying with us at the moment and is a researcher into violence against women and mental health implications in Mumbai. (I’ve so told you that we have incredibly diverse and interesting guests!) She came out with a great observation, today, it is of course, a generalisation, but it resonates for me:

at first meeting in the UK people are usually really helpful when they see someone struggling with something whether its a real emergency or just helping with a simple task. Close friends and family by comparison might be more inclined to just leave you to get on with it… not neglect, you’ll understand, but just expect you to sort things out and let them know if you really wanted help.

in India if you’re doing a job, tackling something, often someone (a stranger, or friend) in India will just watch and not get involved, intervene or help unless, of course, its a real emergency. In contrast a relative or close friend would be extremely forthcoming in offering and insisting you took a helping hand, maybe even over do it.

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the weird Englishman hoists the flag outside the manor!

IMG_5965 IMG_5966Brexit a  prequel

Today is independence day and we’ve celebrated it by raising the flag (I so wouldn’t do that in the UK!) and led a cycle tour of two and a bit indians. they had a chuckle about the ‘turned tables’. It occurs to me, however, that previous versions of Brexit were examples of the UK leaving other people’s countries, very often without so much as a vote involved. We celebrate 70 years of independence!

 

 

and the dogs barking so it’s time for a walk!