Thursday 29 August 2019

The market and sari shopping.

One day on our India trip the whole group went to a market and then headed to Laxmi road to visit the sari shops. The trip started with a rickshaw (Tuk tuk) ride to the market area. The rickshaws only hold 3 people maximum and with 45 people in the party that involved several rickshaws. We usually had the same drivers and we always ended up racing. Lucy and I generally travelled with one particular driver and he found it really funny when we pretended that we were playing Mario Kart.  As one of our other rickshaws came along side we acted out throwing out the exploding mushroom and got our driver to speed up....if it was safe to do so. It certainly livened up the journeys.

The first market area we visited was a fruit and vegetable market.

The market was covered but open on all sides. This meant that there were birds flying around. Most of the fruit and veg were known to us but some we hadn't seen before

All the fruit looked delicious. The girls were given some rupees and a name of a fruit or vegetable written in Hindi.  They were sent off to discover what they had to buy and then get the best quantity they could for their money. They enjoyed the activity and it got them talking to the stall holders.

We then made our way through very narrow lanes to different market areas.The markets tended to be arranged in areas by the types of goods they sold e.g one area was for household goods such as pots and pans, another was for jewellery. It rained on and off all day but was very hot however it didn't stop our enjoyment. I did find the sheer number of people very stressful at times. It was similar to walking down Oxford Street in London in the run up to Christmas. That's an activity I don't take on unless absolutely desperate.

The girls spent  a lot of time choosing jewellery. and presents for family at home.We split into smaller groups early in our trip which made it easier for weaving in and out of the traffic.

We had been out shopping for hours when we headed to the sari shop. It was an interesting experience. The shop floor had a padded covering and you sat on the floor whilst the men serving pulled 6 metre lengths of sari fabric from the shelves and threw them towards you so the fabric spread out over the floor in front of you allowing you to see the design and colours. They made sure to show you the end that would be used to make the bodice. If you liked a particular fabric the guys would help you try the sari on. Big mirrors helped you decide on the sari.

So may beautiful fabrics, it was so exciting. This is one of the sari lengths I tried but it wasn't the one I bought. We also visited another fabric shop where we bought fabric to make a Punjabi. The fabrics were beautiful high quality cottons. There were so many fabrics I wanted to buy but I wouldn't have had room in my luggage for them.

We ended our shopping trip with dinner out at a restaurant. Unfortunately Lucy had to take her meal with her as she has a nut allergy and the restaurant we all met up at couldn't guarantee that her meal would be nut free. Special diets are always a little worrying when eating in other countries.

I need to take some photos of my new project before I can tell you about it so that will have to be tomorrow. Yipee tomorrow is Friday and I have a free weekend. I see sewing in my future. The plan is to finish the tuffet top. So for now I think it's time to head to bed and spend a little time reading the next chapter of my book.


Wednesday 28 August 2019

A little sewing

Today I had to take our car in for a service. Both cars are Mazda's and the nearest dealer to get them serviced is in Twickenham which takes about half an hour to drive but longer when travelling by train or bus. Having dropped the car we stopped for breakfast at an Italian cafe we like before getting the train home. It's a good job the cafe is in Twickenham otherwise I would be really fat!

Before I went on holiday I did a little more work on the tuffet. There are 8 sections to the top and I had completed 4 and started work on two more This is how far I'd got on sections 5 and 6.

As today was a day off  I'd decided to get my machine out and finish these pieces off. I also hoped to complete the final two sections. Well that was not to be. I added the next strip to one of the pieces with no problem but when I added the red piece to the second section I hit a problem with the trimming. In order to trim the added piece so it has a quarter of an inch seam allowance you fold it back over the foundation fabric along the marked seam line and then use the add a quarter ruler to trim in the right place. Oops I forgot the ruler and so  trimmed in the wrong place. You can see the cut.

I've use a Kaffe Fassett jelly roll for the top and there wasn't another piece like this so I had to rejig my colour strips. It also meant quite a bit of unpicking. Yuk! This slowed the whole process and from here on, I was triple checking what I was doing so as not to make any more errors. As a result I finished these two sections so I now have 6 complete.

I was able to exchange the brighter red fabric for the one with the deeper red circles. I'm happy with the overall effect of these sections. I decided to stop at this point and work the last two sections on Saturday. Once I've finished all 8 sections the tuffet should go together quite quickly. I need some fabric to cover the large button that covers the centre join. I was going to use some Kaffe Fassett fabric but I think I might go for a solid to give some contrast. I'll make the final decision when all the sections are sewn together.

On the first day of our trip to India we went on a neighbourhood walk. This was to ensure everyone felt comfortable to go out around the local area, particularly the Rangers. Sangam stands in it's own compound and has a security guard on the gate. So they knew who was in the property at any time, in case of fire, we had to sign in and out. Not far from the gate was a bridge across the road which was very helpful as the road was normally very busy. That first day it was very quiet.

As we went to climb the steps of the bridge these cows were happily settling themselves underneath the steps. They'd been given some food and we saw them there for a couple of days. The girls were very confused and they wondered who owned them. Our guide explained that cows are sacred and should they wander into the road the traffic will stop for them. She also told the girls that where a restaurant menu said the meat was beef it was actually buffalo. Over the holiday we came across a lot of cows, goats, pigs and dogs wandering the streets. The traffic only stopped for the cows.

We went passed several small shops which seemed to be the front room of the houses. There were also churches and temples of all creeds.

The Catholic church stood on one side of the Mosque with an Hindu temple on the other and the Anglican church was across the road. 

We visited an elderly lady who used to work at Sangam and she told us of her time working there. She liked the groups to visit her as it kept her in touch with young people and with Guides. It was her birthday so we all sang happy birthday. I think she was in her late 80's.

The girls were surprised by her modern kitchen as the house looked quite old from the outside. She showed us her spice tin and explained the spices she used when cooking curry. Lucy and I bought two spice tins back from our trip, one for John and one for Katy. 

The girls were also surprised that 3 generations of the family lived in the house, in all 7 people.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my new project. I really don't need any more projects but I do like starting something new. I'll also tell you about our trip to the market and sari shopping. The sari shopping was great fun and so many beautiful fabrics.

Tomorrow I have to go to work but I'm hoping to finish early so I can fit in some stitching. The temperature today was cooler and more manageable and so I want to do some hand stitching. It's a good job I don't live somewhere that has high temperatures all the time as I'd get nothing done.The heat makes me quite dizzy. As the temperature is lower I'm hoping to get a really good nights sleep and I'm also looking forward to reading a chapter of my book before I settle to sleep. This year I've really got back into reading again.


Tuesday 27 August 2019

A fabulous holiday in India

Back at the beginning of August Lucy and I headed to terminal 5 at Heathrow for our flight to India. This was a scary experience since it was just the two of us travelling and everyone was at work on the day we were leaving. All those last minutes checks of passports and money, had we packed everything we needed and could we manage the rush hour tube with our bags? Most of the journey to the airport went smoothly but we had quite a wait for a train that was going to terminal 5. They are supposed to run every 10 minutes but we ended up waiting for 40 minutes. Thank goodness that we both like to arrive very early so we had loads of time.

Our flight was overnight and took 10 hours. We were both tired when we arrived at Mumbai airport. I just can't sleep on a flight so I read, played games and watched a film. We still had a 4 hour drive to Pune, our destination. This is when we slept. There is nothing like a car ride to help you fall asleep. I woke as we entered the city of Pune and could not believe the totally chaotic traffic. Over the holiday we got used to it and in fact enjoyed the trips out we made.

Our holiday accommodation was Sangam the world guide centre. It was very peaceful. This is the centre from the front with Lucy showing her appreciation.

There was a swimming pool and most days we made time for a swim. Our favourite was to swim in the dark with the pool lights on. About 10 p.m. was a great time and we would usually be the only people in the pool.

The grounds were well cared for and very pretty. There was some topiary. I didn't get any photos of the elephant topiary.

These palms seem to go on for ever. You felt very small standing next to them.

There was this quiet secluded quiet garden with chairs and tables. A perfect place for reading and relaxation.

Leading from the main central area this path lead through gardens to the camp site. As we were visiting in the monsoon season the campsite was not in use.

We had gone to Sangam as a reconnaissance visit with a view to taking our Ranger group in two years time. The only time we can get the two weeks holiday is in August and this is usually at the end of the monsoon season. This year the rains started late and were very heavy with severe flooding. In fact they had the worse floods for 50 years this year but that didn't stop our enjoyment. It did mean that some of the visits got changed as some of the bridges were closed in the city due to the floods and the local river was so high the water entered the back of the grounds and caused some flooding on the camp site. There was no risk to the main buildings and during our second week the flood waters went down. However whilst we were there Mumbai airport was completely closed for a few days due to the floods. The rain did help to keep the temperature at a comfortable level between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius. When the rains started the temperature went down a little, when they stopped the humidity and temperature went up. Lucy and I found we loved swimming when it was raining as the rain was warm.

There was this decorated building on site. This is the water tower and when it wasn't raining  you could climb the metal ladder to the top to see the views. Lucy and I didn't do this as they tended to arrange this for the morning, before breakfast and we preferred to stay in bed a little longer.

On the first day of the programme there was a welcome ceremony. Guides the world over love ceremonies and this one was fun. The ceremony involved the flags of the countries the participants and staff were from. We also had to light a candle, receive a Hindi blessing and flowers to welcome us. Afterwards there were a lot of photos and Lucy and I had ours taken doing our 'unit lunge'. Don't ask as it's something the girls came up with and it's become part of their traditions.

Following Hindi tradition shoes were left at the door of this building. This suited me as I spend a lot of time barefoot at home and I have been known to take my shoes off at work. These ladies were some of the staff and volunteers at the centre. These ladies were from all parts of the world, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Australia, Burundi and UK to name a few.

It made a lovely start to the programme. The Rangers who were there with their leaders went to bed at about half 10 and the adults sat around chatting and drinking tea and coffee. Lucy and I headed to our room as we were tired but I managed to read a chapter of my book before we turned out the light. Although I'd taken some hand stitching with me I'd forgotten to check there was a needle so I couldn't do any stitching . 

I'll tell you about the next few days activity tomorrow and also what sewing I've been up to. I'm hoping the temperature will drop tonight as it's been so hot the last few nights it's been difficult to sleep.