From 40 degrees to 4 degrees - yes, back from India and missing it dreadfully - what a truly amazing place. Incredible birds, beautiful gentle happy people, the smell of smoke in the early morning, heat, vegetable pakoras to die for, frangipane flowers never seen before and a cool pool to dip in at lunchtime.
So there we were sitting in the village square of Samudra in the early evening, warm waves washing up and down the sandy beach and a welcome cooling breeze, never has a chilled beer been so welcome. But there, well after dark and living by the lights of the local stores, was a little white ghost dashing back and to, oddly familiar in some bizarre way. Camera out - captured on film (well not these days but it sounds odd being captured on digital!) It was the Indian version of Margot!!! Renamed in honour of our then holiday residence "Marjeeta" turned out to be a bit of a star It will be a pleasure to return.
We had the most wonderful time in Kovalam and while Paul and Alex were manfully looking after the girls we were sunning ourselves and sipping beers next to the pool overlooking the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Still, we took ourselves off for walks (birdwatching) and were entranced by Indian village life and the chickens we saw.
It's a very humbling experience walking through some of the little hamlets with people living on or indeed below the poverty line but all managed to fit into their small spaces a coconut palm or couple of banana trees, a few chickens, the occasional goat but with their pots and pans scrubbed to gleaming silver on show.
To wander into their space with camera equipment and binoculars dangling from us which were probably worth more than they could imagine was very thought provoking.
We met a lovely man who spent his entire day working in truly unimaginable temperatures carrying huge bales of coir. His sister had severely damaged her foot working with the coir and he tried so hard to talk with us. He was totally charming and we gave him a load of rupees - when we had a photo he insisted on holding up the money!
The girls were overjoyed to see us - I wish - they couldn't really have given a damn as they were so well looked after by our wonderful neighbours Paul and Alex. Say that, the following day I let them out into the garden and after only a minute I had to bribe them back into the run with mealworms as after doing a major tidy up in the garden it was a nightmare to see plants sprouting through the soil after a hard winter being trashed instantly! The compromise was fencing off a portion of a border which was then completely dug up, dug over, 4 very happy chickens and Ruby got so carried away that even her immaculateness got down and dirty in the soil. The Verbena bonarensis and the Hedychium I fear have been sacrificed however it was worth it for pleasure it gave those girls. Needless to say that once plants get established for the season those chickens will be stalking the garden again.
Not sure how the next few weeks will go as I shall be relying on my lovely partner to blog as I will be away at conferences so watch this space....................
And the big news? Harriet is off the nest and NOT BROODY any more (well for the time being)