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.

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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

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

Life abroad

no no it’s ……. life aboard.

As you can see, It’s a hard life ‘on the cut’

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As part of Manjula’s BIG Trip we’ve spent four days on the Kennet and Avon Canal.

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Organised by Sally it was an opportunity to test out whether  we’re made out for life on the canal. Sally is a previous guest of Mysore Bed and Breakfast who has become a great friend.

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Mike, Sally’s parter has lived and worked on or near the canals, all his life. So we had an experienced team in charge helping Manjula and I get a proper introduction to life on the waves!

 

Manjula’s helping us through the locks to take the narrowboat up and down the hills.

Cooking Mysore specials on board

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and taking a well deserved rest!

and Stephen was even allowed to steer the boat on his own, without crashing it and there were only one or two near misses!

There was plenty of time for stops at the Pubs.

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Farrell Factoid

In England and Wales there is a network of canals through much of the country. The first to be opened was the Bridgewater Canal near Manchester in 1761 to transport coal. As an integral development of the industrial revolution it became a successful network for transporting goods and living on board. It has a great history and strong community. At its peak there were 6,000 miles of navigable rivers and canals. Now there’s maybe half that number after many fell into disrepair. There has been a tremendous effort to rebuild and reopen after significant investment and the tremendous involvement of thousands of volunteers. It’s now an invaluable resource for holidays and home for many people.

Vancouver is fab…

I really do like Vancouver.

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This was my second visit to my youngest son Oliver (thanks for moving there Ol). Its a city that seems to have just about everything. A diverse community, buzzing city with great localities and neighbourhoods, superb veg food, and amazing environment whether its the islands, the sea, the beaches. Its a modern city with snow-capped mountains, the sporty lifestyle, a really great vibe and super people.

I had a great time!

Ok, Ol did try to kill me by taking me to the ‘Tight’ fitness club for a session. Picture it. There is a class of people ‘keenly’ exercising  but ALL of them seriously look as if they don’t need to be doing anything of the sort. (maybe that’s the point.. you’ve got to keep at it!!) Except perhaps the old grey haired bearded guy in the back corner getting worrying looks from the trainer… will he survive the class? What is he doing here? Is he about to have a heart attack? Well I did manage to the end and probably did about 50% of the exercises. It’s made me think though I’ve got to reveiw my own lifestyle, loose some of the podge  and get fitter. Hang on a minute though, I AM on holiday, ok?  There is always rooms for a delicious ice cream and a beer.

On this, my second visit we hired a car and headed for a mini roadtrip into the US (where else?) down the stunning Oregon Coast, (en route visiting the famous locations of the Goonies) then …. into Portland, and Seattle… lovely people, astonishing panoramas and ginormous meals (its true about meals in the USA)… and wonderful micro brewing (sorry drinking) and endless opportunities to go shopping…. (which we both love)

 

If you’re a previous guests of Mysore Bed and Breakfast…. this is where you need to seriously worry!

Cathy and Mark, who came to stay with us in Mysore a few years ago when Mark was a volunteer vet in Bylakuppa (the Tibetan settlement), live on a beautiful lake on the outskirts of Portland. Well we couldn’t be in the area and not drop in, could we?

What amazing hosts and a lovely place. We were seriously pampered. It was difficult to leave. Mark took us out cycling with our very own MyCycle Tour of Portland, Cathy, who is ever so trusting, let me borrow her open top BMW for an amazing tour of the wonderful countryside and we just chilled out cycling in a great city. Thank you so much you guys, you were so generous and we had a wonderful time.

So why worry?

Because we might come visit you!

This is actually part of reaching my 60th year (actually 59 years old last December) and the ‘celebrations’ will continue. Next up… taking Manjula to the UK. Where we’ll visit: Ben, the eldest son in London, together with his partner Alice and my granddaughter Poppy, their mum in Hebden, a ton of old friends and one or two other guests of the Mysore BnB might also get a knock on the door 😉

So look out!! Who knows where we might head next.