Vancouver Island

I’m visiting one of the Sari Sisters, a group of women cyclists from Vancouver Island.

Thank you Lise

They came to India stayed with us and cycled from Mysore to Cochin.

This is my third visit. Lise and Michael kindly ‘put me up’

And Michael and Benson.

I’ve had a wonderful few days exploring Victoria, the capital of BC and cycling along the Galloping Goose Trail.

Victoria and the island (as long as England!) is a great place

Guess who’s is the biggest?

Cyclists are catered for with cycle routes, great maps, considerate drivers and safe secure places to leave your cycle

With random deer, not cows.

Trixie was with me all the way.

Making Connections

Meeting people, making new and celebrating old friends is what it’s about.

We’ve missed that over the past two years but things are changing.

This lovely family who look after a construction site, live over the other side of our park and have become good friends.

Their teenage daughter Radhika is dressed up for ethnic day at school.

Occasionally the bundle of fun, Kaveri, their granddaughter, also visits from the other side of Mysore and brightens our lives.

We look forward to more ….

A visit to Kannur

I’m sitting with Lucie in our room, at Chera Rocks, which opens directly onto the beach.

It’s been another hot day which cools slightly as we pass 4 0’clock.

We have been visiting our wonderful friends Sally and Shabaz, before Eastenders Sally sadly returns to the U.K.

Together we’ve retraced Manjula and my steps during previous holidays, including Manjula’s deep desire 😉 to visit the drive-on-beach.

This morning Sally and I walked along the beaches to visit Rosie and Nazir of Kannur Beach House and share my photos of Manjula.

Rosie, Nazir and their family became good friends after we visited many times.

Manjula and I in Kannur to celebrated our engagement in 2015

Manjula’s look of absolute bliss laying on the beach by Kannur Beach House on that first holiday together.
Our very last trip exactly three years ago, shortly before she died, here we’re catching up with Rosie and Nazir.
with me in many ways

It’s time for a last swim. We return to Mysore tomorrow.

We’ve bonded on this trip after I’d been away for almost three months

We did it, followed by a shared shower, Lucie thinks it was all too much. She waits until carefully positioned next to cascade her water drops on my clothes and bag. Ha bloody ha …

and a final walk before dinner.

Adopted

More young people aged from seven through to twenty-nine are befriending me.

The latest are the excitable cycling duo of Yashodhar and Srivaastav.

Who saw me walking Lucie and asked me to wait while they rushed home and brought me these pictures.

Complete with carefully designed envelope.

How nice.

Bul Bul update.

This is the fourth Bul Bul’s nest we’ve had at Moksha Manor.

Previously on the roof garden, our mid level garden out on the first floor mini garden and even in a hanging plant above our round table in the drive.

They’re good at nesting in the most unlikely places. This time they’ve chosen our secret garden in the back yard where we hang out the washing.

There’s been a gap of two years when they didn’t nest. The year Manjula died and following year.

Not only have they returned this year Sowbaghya spotted five adult birds all gathering to welcome the new babe.

We managed to photo two of them.

They must have realised it’s been a sad time but now returned to a place they’ve made their home. They know it’s safe and welcoming, not just for our human and four legged friends.

I wonder if English birds search out quiet, withdrawn locations. Here in India they have to manage the noise and general hecticness.

Another example of Manjula’s kind.

kindness too

two strangers appear at the house with offerings

meet Sahana and Tapan

who brought a wonderful tasty meal

such kind, thoughtful people here in Mysore

and such kind considerate friends Tom and Amy (seen here on the right with Manj and I from the big photo album) who arranged the whole thing from the south coast of England. How lucky am I?

As part of the deal Lucie and I have found two lovely new friends. We’ll be hearing more about Sahana and Tapan…

Absolutely super, thank you Tom and Amy, I look forward to seeing you soon.

Anita’s Attic

Sowbhagya arrived with Dosa for her breakfast. The dining table was converted to one of my four workstations but she managed to find space. She was trapped but I blame her. She did show interest. So I launched into the synopsis of Manjula and my story, written for Anita.

SB was immediately engaged and liked it. We both enthusiastically remembered Manjula: her character, her kindness, her fun. SB could see connections with her and other women’s experiences but also how she was especially adventurous, strong and independent in the face of so many challenges.

I’m encouraged.

Last Saturday was the first session of Anita’s Attic. A programme for writers — yes, that’s me, officially a writer, of sorts — over the next twelve weeks.

There’s ten of us in the online group: taught, facilitated and mentored by Anita Nair.

Anita is a famous writer of English novels, here in India. My own favourite is Ladies Coupe and I hope that our story will feature similar expansive characters to help us discover more of India and wonderful people I’ve been fortunate to meet.

Sally

Sally is one of those guests that you’ve no idea when they first arrived and keep popping up so much you wonder if they ever leave. She’s clearly become besotted by India.

Sally is a creative who works in broadcast media in the UK on one of the most iconic soaps as Costume Designer. But can turn her hand to many things: design, textiles, writing, costume making, continuity, tours, and her beautiful home and garden, all while supporting her mum.

I’ve lost count how many times she’s been to visit and has now set up her own business providing carefully curated textile travels in south India. She’s also on Facebook and as Textile Travels

On Manjula’s first holiday to the U.K. we had an amazing adventure with Sally and her partner Mike in a narrowboat adding travel along the canal to Manjula’s list of great experiences in our all too short time together.

We have a lot in common, not least that we both recently lost our loved ones. Recently she’s taken the lead in helping us design a patchwork quilt and appliqué banner from Manjula’s clothes that will soon appear at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.

I look forward to her return and the way she’s going think she’ll spend more and more of her year in India.

Sally is a diamond gal (what does that mean Stephen? Your writing is supposed to be improving – the gentler Ed) officially now ‘family’ and has joined those who’ve returned here to provide incredible support over the most difficult time in my life.

Thank you Sally

guests become friends

……. become family

Meet Jean-Yves and Nathalie from Paris came to share our home, meet Manjula, me and Lucie. It was our first season after Manjula in her strong independent way slipped through my clumsy fingers but we all felt her presence.

Jean-Yves is a nurse and works in an ‘addictology’ department in a hospital. Previously a psychiatric nurse, he likes and is very committed to his job. He always raises questions about society, inequalities and he is waiting for the Grand Soir for more social justice.

Nathalie, is passionate about human relations, also has a strong conscience and ethics who is responsible for social action for the archaeologists department. She likes to participates in and creates actions for the climate and social justice.

They live in a small apartment in the XIVth district of Paris, in a charming little cobbled street. They like to walk together for hours in Paris and enjoy travelling to countries like India. Together they are looking to broaden their insights and gain a more accurate view of the world.

It was fun and a real pleasure getting to know Jean-Yves and Nathalie while welcoming them to our home. They are an interesting, thoughtful and caring couple. We had a great adventure together on a mycycle tour but I’ll let them tell you themselves about their visit through their wonderful online presence. There are two entries here: