What a lovely little tent!

Camping is in the blood.

As a family we camped in South West Wales most years. I sold my first grown up tent, a classic Force Ten, to myself at age 16 when I worked in a camp store in Sheffield.

This year we had a grand reunion camp in Wiltshire and at the WOMAD festival.

Every year we used to camp as a family in South West Wales, now I live in India but every year manage to get to camp in the UK.

So why am I telling you all this?

because we’ve found a wonderful tent, designed and sold by Hari in Bristol, England that is so good I want you to know about it.

DSC07690

This year as a 60th birthday present to myself I bought a new tent, the one that Hari built ;-). The first I’d bought since the early 90’s (our tents are looked after and last). It’s the one above.

I say small and it is if you compare it with it’s bigger family members but it can take two people, even a family and there’s space for lots and lots of gear. Its quite bulky and heavy when packed up but nothing more than you would expect of this type and size of  tent made of canvas. It is however absolutely gorgeous, easy to put up, a great feel of round ness inside and with no centre pole!

IMG_3009

My grandaughter reckons its a pumpkin or maybe Cinderella’s coach.

Everyone is attracted to it and want to know more. Its not cheap but fairly priced for what it is but then again what is cheap in the UK?

There are a couple of nice personal tie-ups. Lotus is of course a Hindu symbol, it was also part of my logo for my consultancy business set up in the early 90’s and is now even a tattoo on my arm! It is a bell tent, has a clever collapsible-poles-system,  so there are no poles restricting the inside space.

Manjula has got to grips with putting it up and taking it down.

She does however still ask me why to people go camping!? It might be something to do with the rain, wind and completely unpredictability of our weather in the UK …. or perhaps camping in India is seen as something for the military or poor people.

I’m working on her.

Its perceived as a festival or Glamping tent and the big versions we’re being used at WOMAD this year

We’ve camped with the new tent in the gloriously crappy English Summer in Yorkshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Its been super!

more details are at Lotus belle

its listed as a bud, and now they’ve got an inflatable one!

More photos are available on flickr

or come find us at WOMAD in 2018 where we’ll be using the tent

the BIG trip to the UK

Madam English, as she’s known hereabouts is back from her BIG trip. We travelled the length and breadth of the country, for over six weeks, fitted VERY important family events in, had a reunion camp, got muddy in Wiltshire, met lots of Mysore Bed and Breakfast guests, spent a fortune and had a rare old time!

Thank you to the lovely people we know and love for making this such a super trip.

Presents (limited, of course, to sensible cost and numbers), include: spinners (mad craze in the west), nail varnish (highly sought after western quality), shiny things, and various other odds and sods are being distributed as I write. A really big hit for the guy who runs the veg shop (hi!) is Gordons Gin, from duty free. He’s paid for it (we’re not made of money, although many think, I am) and he’s ecstatic about the flavour, its clearly a notch above the local gin.

Well what a trip it was……

 

We’ve covered the North, South, East and West, wet old things in Yorkshire,

 

Dorset, Teesside, Tyneside, even Lancashire (there’s long-standing issues between Yorkshire and Lancashire), Derbyshire, Wiltshire, my son’s wedding to Alice,

DSC07666

sorry wrong photo (I’ll deservedly get into a lot of trouble for that!)

Oliver, my other son’s visit from Canada,

connectiong with my lovely Granddaughter Poppy, family reunion camp, WOMAD music festival,

family in Sheffield, Hand made parade in Hebden Bridge….

oh, and London, of course

IMG_3222

 

Madam English now knows why we Brits go on some much about the weather, we’ve had it all. She now knows about being prepared for it to change in a nano second, carrying endless clothing variations, layering and Hot Water Bottles when camping.

She’s so English, she has learned how to complain (Indians, generally not being big complainers and just tend to get on with it, really?) but still manages to have a great time.

we thank everyone… so much… for making this such a wonderful experience.

We’ve  lost count of how many of our old and new friends, including so many Bed and Breakfast guests we’ve seen, met in London, visited their homes, bumped into at the music festival, its been superb…. and did we mention all the meals we’ve eaten….

and at the end of it all we’re a bit tired

DSC07753

all our photos (these and many more) are at the usual place at flickr

So what does Madam English think about the place?

How did  Lucy manage with Eric?

Manjula’s Crazy Year

we’re looking back on what has been a momentous year for Manjula.

If only for the lots of holidays in India: Kerala three times (twice to Kannur Beach House), Hampi and lots of local day trips. Sorting out her inconsistent IDs, getting her Passport, submitting tax returns, obtaining a visa for the UK and the BIGGY her first trip outside the country.

Now she’s just signed the documents to become a Director of MyCycle Tours and Travels Private Limited.

She reckons that coming to work for me (yes she did actually work for me, originally) and this house has been really lucky

So what next? watch this space.

 

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.

 

our last weekend

The Grand Finale

It’s been a blissful mix of fun over five weeks. Well that’s my take on it anyway…

(Manjula’s perspective might become clearer after she’s settled back at home. I look forward to it! 😉 )

…. The last weekend was no exception, with time spent with Poppy (yes Ben and Alice did trust us to look after my granddaughter all on our own), dinner with Emma at Ben’s restaurant (carefully arranged so that he wasn’t actually working there …. doh!) P1060185and then on what was a our last public day a sunday ‘open house’ at our friend Angus and Gina’s in Brixton. P1060186

 

If you weren’t there, we’re sorry to have missed you. It was a great event.

 

 

Manjula prepares for the final few days with a serious threading at some shop or other….

and we go down Oxford Street to meet Indian (yes, more Keralans’ sending money back home) and have one last double decker bus ride to take in the key attractions: Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square… you name it, we’ve done it.

Saturday was reserved for bonding with the ‘pop’ (aka Poppy the granddaughter). we went to the park, swung on swings, bathed in the paddling pool and made friends.

I was also called upon to do other duties!

and the grand finale: ‘open house’ at Angus and Gina’s in Brixton to say our fond farewells to friends old and new, family and …. guests from that ..

.. Bed and Breakfast.

P1060532

at the event, we realised that Gina, Frances, Laura and me (Stephen) first met at University exactly 40 years ago!! blimey! 😉

How is that possible?

All this activity just allowed for one more day for a build up of sadness, a last meal with Angus, Gina and Frances to pack and prepare for the big trip, back home.

So that’s Manjula’s first BIG Trip out of India, we’re now back in Mysore and while Manjula gets to grips with what jet-lag is and I wonder

P1060148

 

what’s next?

 

well I don’t know about you but I’m keen for her to share her insights from what she’s seen, heard and experienced and maybe then we can start thinking about a few more adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

we’ve had a culture top-up!

London is such a cultured place!

our great friend Brian and his wife Leverney travelled down from Yorkshire for the day to treat us to High Tea at the British Museum followed by a look at the Exhibition: Krishna in the Garden of Assam (and in passing: one or two mummies taken into protective custody by the British Establishment)

The exhibition is well worth a visit and of course there is much much more to see at this wonderful institution.

As Brian and Leverney are two of the very few people I’ve actually met who voted for BREXIT we just had to cover politics over a couple of pints of beer. The conversation about the UKAOS (as I’ve started calling it) to leave the EU was illuminating. More later.

Manjula often teases me with reference to Krishna and the Gopi girls, so I was in for a little bit more today. It sort of relates to the fact I have one or two exes (three of which remain really good friends and Manjula has met during this trip)

The very next day another friend Victoria (no not an ex) treated us to a visit to Kew

this included the hive, which we’d heard about from Stephen, the bee man and cyclist, and regular visitor to Mysore Bed and Breakfast, check out his article

you’ll find him popping up all over the place.

so yet another collection of lovely memories for Manj

WOMAD

No MUD WOMAD

Manjula’s Latest FIRST was a camp for the weekend at a music festival.

 

DSC03375

Manjula once again brought the sun to England! There was cloud but very little rain. Changeable weather, absolute downpowers and all types of mud known to mankind are real risks at any English festival but not this time!

DSC03469

One of many highlights was Anoushka Shankar!

It was full of new experiences for Manjula

We camped (in our own little village of individual tents, event shelter for a living room and our very own kitchen tent) with a great group of friends. Manjula prepared one of her signature dishes for dinner.

Manjula’s view on life

I have no idea what Manjula thinks of the experiences she’s had in the UK. Just look at her clothing! ….. a world away from her daily wear of Saree back in Mysore. It has been a very rich and varied experience and as with other things, she takes it all in her stride. She’s becoming a very western woman 😉

I look forward to hearing her reflections, once its all over and she’s settled back into Mysore.

Farrell Factoid

WOMAD, the World of Music Art and Dance is held annually in the South of England and in locations throughout the world such as in the Canaries and Australia. It was originally created by Peter Gabriel the original vocalist of the band Genesis. its a great mix of international music both contemporary and more traditional ‘folk.’ As a group some of us have attended the festival for over ten years.