Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting on with life while the girls are in India and a boy in a balloon

The 3 girls with their hands painted with henna for the Diwali festival last week in the Punjab.
Hi again,

Another week has passed and here I am writing in our study on my own. Next to me are a cup of tea in Oli’s Emma Bridgewater hearts’ mug and a small punnet of raspberries to keep me going until my dinner of bran flakes. My diet continues but is not proving very successful and that is getting me down. Eladio has gone to his Uned (open University) lecture, the first this year but he will be back just on time to watch our favourite series, La Señora. It’s a drama set at the beginning of the last century in Asturias in the north of Spain and has all the ingredients I love, romance, history, marvellous scenery and clothes of the era, superb characters and an impossible romance between the beautiful Señora, Victoria and a working class boy, Angel who is forced into the priesthood to avoid any relationship with her. I’ve heard it’s also the Queen of Spain’s favourite series and it’s nice to know we have the same taste.
Victoria and Angel in La Señora, an impossible match.
Meanwhile “the girls” as they are known in this house, Suzy and Oli and a friend called Rocío are in India. They left last Monday and have seen and done an awful lot in just one week. I am living on their news and have some great photos thanks to Oli’s friend and host in the Punjab, Sumit. Oli met Sumit and Sandeep (inseparable friends) in her Erasmus year in Falmouth and they made ties for life. I met them once when we went to Cornwall to see Oli and I consider them my friends too. They are charming, educated and good fun Indian boys who are involved in the film industry.
A picture of 2 friends reunited, Oli and Sumit.
They flew to Delhi via Istanbul and in Delhi went to stay with a past pupil of St. Michael’s school, Arantxa who is working with an NGO taking care of underprivileged and undernourished children. They were in Delhi for 2 or 3 days, after which they visited that amazing temple of love, the Taj Mahal and on Friday last, left for Chandigarh in the Punjab to spend Diwali (the festival of lights) with Sandeep and Sumit’s families.
Candles lit for Diwali.
Dewali is the most important festival in India and was a fascinating experience for the girls. The hospitality they received was magnificent and the experience with real locals will be something they will never forget. They rode on a rick shaw, had their hands painted with henna, bought a sari and wore it, visited a temple where they had to be completely covered and were hugged by the women.
Suzy in her sari, priceless.
The families welcomed them as if they were their own daughters and for 2 days they lived as the Indians do. They are apparently, loving the food although I heard some of the sweets eaten at Diwali were a little too sickly for them.
Rocío and Suzy choosing material for their saris with Sophie.
Yesterday they went to Shimla by hired car (with a driver) which is some 100km away from Chandigarh but it took apparently nearly 4 hours. Not for nothing is Shimla also known as the “queen of the hills”. It is high in the mountains and quite cold. In Facebook today they wrote that they had slept with 5 blankets last night. They stayed at a hotel called The White House (hahaha). Shimla is associated with the British Raj as it was once the summer capital of the British Empire in India. Today they visited the Jakhu Monkey temple there (think they had to get there on a mule as the path was so steep) and I read that the monkeys had stolen Oli’s and Rocío’s shoes and had jumped on Suzy’s shoulders. I don’t think they are any worse for wear.
The Monkey temple in Shimla.
The next stage will be a return to Chandigarh in the Punjab to stay with Sumit and Sophie (Sandeep’s sister) and from there they will make their way to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. But more about that in my next post.

Meanwhile life goes on at home. The house is quiet without them. The weather is still nice but we no longer get the high lower temperatures and people are beginning to wear winter clothes. Work keeps me busy but this is a quiet period for me until we get nearer Christmas which is perhaps one of my most frantic times.

So what have we been up to? There’s not much to report really. We watched the Polish film, Katyn, which won the Oscar for the best foreign film in 2007. I ordered it from for my Father and it eventually arrived last week. He watched it two nights in a row. It’s the horrific story of the massacre of more than 20.000 Polish officers by the Russian army who then tried to put the blame on the Nazis. It is harrowing but well worth watching.

Not so well worth watching was the much publicised Agora by the Spanish Chilean director, Alejandro Amenabar. He is a great director who has made just a few films, all of them gems. Agora is about Alexandria under the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD. The main character is the woman astronomer, mathematician and philosopher, Hypatia, her theories, two men who are in love with her, including her slave and how the famous library with all the works of the times before them becomes destroyed by the new Christians fighting the pagans. The film I suppose is very well done but the era just doesn’t do much for me. The film somehow lacks passion. I am much more looking forward to Millennium 2 which comes out next weekend.

In the outside world, of note Jensen Button won the Formula 1 for himself and of course for England. That’s good. Hopefully though next year, the 2 times winner, Fernando Alonso, will win for Spain and for Ferrari, the team he has just signed up with.

Jensen Button, the Brit who won this year's Formula 1.
I cannot end this post without making a mention of something that happened in the US at the beginning of the week that has made the headlines all over the world. A hot air balloon was apparently let off by a 6 year old boy from his home in Denver. His parents then reported the boy was in the balloon which alerted all the emergency services in the area. The balloon was seen on all the TV screens in the world when it finally landed but there was no boy to be found and the worst was feared. Finally though he appeared at his home,having been hiding in the attic. Later it transpired this had been a gimmick and publicity stunt on the part of the family. There are no words to describe the futility of this.
The balloon which was thought to be carrying the little boy.
And that folks is it for this week. I will now post this blog, add the photos, put in the links then take darling Norah for her walk.

Till next week, hope you have a good one.


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