Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Testing, testing

From my iPad.

New toy.  Thought it might be convenient when on the move!   And.......there are interesting Apps out there.     Enough for today - my brain is scrambled.

Monday, 28 November 2011


We knew it was going to happen whilst we were away, but, 
my goodness, what a difference.

The dead birch tree has been chopped down, and the old green house removed.
The garden looks so much bigger.    On Sunday we cleared the ground of weeds
and leaves.    Now to ponder and plan the proposed vegetable garden.  Fabulous.


Friday, 25 November 2011

something different

seed heads

Yesterday I took a workshop with a local embroidery group.    The subject, fused
applique with free machine embroidery and hand stitching.   The piece is only
5 x 5", mounted on a stretched canvas.   Just enough to get the idea.   By the end
of the day everyone had finished the 'mechanical' bit, with just the hand stitching
to finish.

I loved the gathering of work at the end.   All had their maker's individual drawing
marks.   A good day, and such a change from my usual Indian inspired hand stitching!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

home again

back into London Heathrow to a chilly night, with a little fog
we travelled from Delhi, making our way west into Rajasthan, flying out 
of Mumbai

After all the bother in Delhi, the trip just got better and better, especially 
when we left the big cities and headed out to the countryside.   On the 
smaller roads, stopping for chai, and maybe a stuffed paratha, a delight.  
There were moments, of course, like when the car broke down!    The local 
boys loved it,  lots of help appeared from no where.The mechanic arrived,
 bearing wire and pliers.   A kind gentleman provided chairs for us, and,
later some fruit and chai.  We continued to be objects of curiosity.
The car was declared to have a broken gasket.  After an hour or so, another
car arrived so we could continue our journey.   Ah, this is India!

Our final destination, Udaipur.   Lake Pichola Hotel is like a home from home.
Four days of not traveling, just relaxing and catching up with friends.

Evening flight to steamy Mumbai.  Morning flight to UK

Good bye India, until the next time!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

at the end of the day

while we were traveling

through the countryside in Rajasthan, we came across a rather jolly gathering.
Sometimes it can be a little problem as to whether it is better to just glance in
passing, or stop.   With our friend Samshul in the car he insisted that it would
be fine to stop.  So we did!

a gathering of family and friends to celebrate the Mundan or Chadakarana 
ceremony, when the baby has his first hair cut.  The ceremony can take place on 
the 1st, 2nd or 5th year.  Once only for boy babies, but with changing times it has
become a practice for the ceremony to be done for girl babies too.

We arrived at the end of the celebrations.   Lunch was coming to an end.  We
were offered delicious cake.  Yum.   The ladies and men eat separately - above
the ladies and children.   

The men were very busy packing up camp, whilst the ladies were still enjoying 
themselves, talking and laughing.   Gifts of tiffin tins were passed around.  Had 
I not been travelling with three men I could happily have joined them, taking up 
the offer of henna painting on my hands.   There again, with a few more miles of
bumpy roads, probably not a good idea.   I can just imagine damp henna paste
decorating the inside of the car.

mattresses being loaded on a bullock cart

and back on the road, another bullock cart loaded with
rice straw.   


I've added a couple more block printing pixs to last posts.   Blogging on the go,
such fun, especially when you find images are too small, no time to alter.  Off
we go again, with no idea of the next wifi opportunity.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Friday, 18 November 2011

rock paintings

A day to remember.   With our guide Kukki, we set off early in the morning on a 
voyage of discovery.   Kukki, has been searching the land (and hills) around Bundi 
since he was a boy.   Apart from arrow heads, coins and bronze tools etc. etc., he 
also discovered rock paintings dating from the Stone Age through to the Bronze Age.
A lovely man, and a great storyteller.  We were entranced all day long.   His web
site is, well worth a visit.

Out from Bundi the land is very fertile, wheat, mustard growing well.  The rice almost
ready for harvesting.   After a while the scenery changes to a sparse landscaped,
mostly shrubs and trees.    We stop and walk for ten minutes for the first 'surprise'.
A beautiful waterfall cascading down into the valley below.

A walk of 2km in the broiling heat, brought us to a smooth ledge jutting out across
the gorge.     Where vultures fly.   We could see their nesting/roosting sites, and,
there, above out heads were a group of vultures just gliding on the thermals.  Such
a fabulous sight, especially as these birds were on the verge of extinction.

Scrambling up and down, squeezing through small gaps, negotiating thorn bushed,
we were amazed and the rock painting.    We saw only a few sites, and there are
many more.   A few pictures - Kukki's website has more information.

earth colour stones

on the left, a shaman - to his left a hunter with
bow and arrow (and quaking knees)  below
him, a man with a lasso

a group of woman waving and shout to frighten the
animal, play the bowmen on the other side.   It is
thought the women are off African appearance

On the way back we stopped on scrub land, and there beneath our feet, we could
see evidence of worked stone and agate cut into sharp blades.

The country side is the home to the Bhil people.  We stopped at one of the villages
but very few people were about.  Possibly working in the fields.

Bhil houses with typical decoration.  I love the blue
house with the painted train.

We arrived back in Bundi early evening, very dusty, with heads
full of wondrous things.   A fantastic day.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

To Bundi

via Ranthambore, to go on a tiger safari.  Unlike our last visit when five tigers
were spotted, this time, apart from a pug mark, nothing.  I think they have gone 
on holiday.

And so to Bundi.   The old city is a delight to wander through.  Slightly off the 
beaten track, not so many tourist make it here.

Monkeys rush down from the palace in the early morning, to return in the evening.  
Then it's the turn of the bats!

Goats enjoying the morning sun

fresh mooli from the market

Kota Dori cloth being woven.  Kota is the next town, 
famous for the production of this cloth.   Very fine cotton 
scarves dupattas, and saris.  Pattern or single motives
 are added, woven with metallic thread.   

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Jaipur and beyond

From Agra to Jaipur on a bumpy road, we arrived at Amber late afternoon to see the
elephants returning home after a busy day ferrying people to the top of Amber Fort.

 The scene in the morning as the elephants gathered to start the day.   At 7.30 people
 were already queuing for a ride, at R950.   

Not far away is the Anokhi Museum, somewhere I have tried to visit many times.   Unfortunately it is a festival day and the museum closed.  To the rescue - the janitor 
opened the door so we could have a little peek;  wonderful selection of block printed
cloth, and really fantastic display of early 70's clothing.   So cool.

So, to Anokhi shop,  new kurta and churidar, then for a proper cup of filtered coffee 
and carrot cake.  I think the only thing I really miss is my proper coffee.

Wandered around the Pink City, all hustle and bustle, taking in sights and sounds.  
Caught the local bus back to Amber, many intent stares and little conversations.

Next day, on the way to Rathambhore, we stopped off at Saganer, just outside Jaipur.
Famous for it's block printing, although today is seems that screen printing is taking
over.  Not so time consuming I guess.

Now that's a screen printing table - it takes a whole bolt of cloth - 30m I think.  
There are two more tables either side.

On a much smaller scale - the white rolls of cotton are going through the process of
being scoured.  At the back cloth hanging from a very tall drying rack.  In the middle 
printed dyring the sun.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Hello from India

We've been here a week, and this is the first time I have been able to find wifi.

Arrived in Delhi early morning, checked into our hotel, had breakfast, then a rest before we hit town.  So far so good.   We awoke to find the hotel surrounded by policeman, bearing guns, lathi sticks etc. etc.  A bit of a wake up call!   It seems the new Government is investigating hotels and shops in the area to do with the building regulations (and, probably) baksheesh.   12 hotels and 5 shops were sealed that day.   The poor manager was distraught, never mind the guests outside with their luggage!  Eventually we found another hotel, then set off.

Delhi Metro - very clean, fast and cheap.  It is also very, very crowded.

Old Delhi - Chandi Chowk and Kinari Bazaar, the place for baubles and sparkly things.  Teaming with people, handcarts, and bicycle rickshaws - just enough for two to pass, Ben Hur style, hub caps sparking.

Red Fort - magnificent after the clean up for the 2010 Olympics.   Security very tight, and rigorous.    

Delhi - tick on to Agra

We stayed within walking distance of the Taj, and had view from our rooftop restaurant.   Watch the sun set and changing colours through the haze.  Fog, pollution, who knows.

Early start to be there for sunrise at 6.30am.    Already crowds waiting for tickets ay 6.00am
Once inside, of course, it is fabulous.   Oh yes, Andrew Marr of the BBC was taping an interview.   Overheard conversation " I didn't come here to take photographs of AM"

                                                            Dawn, and nobody there!

                                                 Sunshine inside the mosque

                                                    Petra Dura - marble and gemstones

 An hour or so later the Taj has changed colour into a soft buttermilk yellow

On to the wonderful Agra Red Fort

The Baby Taj* 

What a ceiling

Agra - tick

Fatephur Sikri*

Built by Akbar in the 16th c, then abandoned for various reasons, depending who is telling the story.   It's about 45km from Agra on our way to Jaipur.   Visited seventeen years ago.  It was a short stop, too many visits to emporiums, which we didn't want to go to I should say, meant time was short.

Oh, it was well worth returning.  The buildings are made from red sandstone, and a wonder to the eye.    If you want to see some fantastic shots, give it a month and check out Keith's webpage.   Here are my little offerings!

Carved sandstone pillars

That's it for now 

* I'l have to check the names!