Sunday SpotLight- Summer

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Summer is finally, as summer should be – hot! And this is probably the first time, we haven’t been complaining of a cold and wet summer.

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On a gorgeous summer day…

– You actually get to use the sunscreen that you bought in spring, in the hope that the weather will be kind to you.

– You walk out confidently without hauling around jackets – just in case the weather changes

– Your dosa batter rises like never before.
– You go on diet just because its too hot to eat- that doesn’t last too long though 😦

– You get to drive with the car windows down. What bliss!! And you get to switch on the AC instead of that perpetual heating!

– Your daughter comes home with an empty water bottle.

– You can see neighbours dining in their garden.

– For a change all the windows in the house are wide open and the house is still warm!

Oh, for summers like this! All I need is a cool, cool mojito on a hot summer evening like this to make it totally  perfect!

Invisible Eyes, flowers and breaks… Post 25

Daughter believes that I have eyes at the back of my head.

And I am not really complaining. One time, she was up to something naughty, and I figured something was up, and told her to stop it. She was stunned, and wanted to know how I knew. I told her I had eyes behind my head, and she believed it.

So these days whenever she wants to surprise me, she says, ‘Amma, close your eyes, the ones at the back of your head as well’. Those eyes, I have to say certainly come handy when she is on a term break. There are only so many places that I can be at a moment, but my imaginery eyes do ensure that she is not upto to many naughty things.

Talking of term breaks, I feel like we live from one term break to another. Just when we get back to the school routine, it is time for another break. It is all fine if we are on a sunny spell, but if we have the sort of weather we have these days, thundery showers which come on a moment’s notice, drenching us completely. Parks and outdoor activities are almost ruled out. That leaves playdates, or other activities to keep her occupied. We do have plans to do some gardening this week, though. We had planted some sunflowers and marigolds some time back. The marigolds have sprouted beautifully, but the sunflowers seem to have disappeared. So this time, I plan to plant them indoors and the transplant them into the garden once they sprout. Fingers crossed they will grow, daughter desperately wants some sunflowers in our garden, and we are yet to get them to grow. Any sunflower growing tips?

I love the colours all around at this time of the year. Flowers of all sorts, greenery all around, delicious summer fruits. What more could I ask for? Bright sunny days for the next week, would be welcome though. Such a change from spring break when it felt that summer was here already.

On a totally different note, did I mention that I am just not reading much these days. I seem to get no time to read. The book I am reading now, ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations’ is a fascinating read. I can’t just put it down. Any interesting books that you have been reading?

A mid-summer morning

This morning, I spent some quality time with my garden. Well, it was screaming for attention, so I had no real choice.

When we moved here, I started hunting for gardeners, only to find that every gardener around here was super booked for spring and summer. My neighbour’s gardener offered to come by, if he comes across some free spot, but that hasn’t happened so far. So I had to take matters into my hands and tidy it up. I had done it once before and in no time, the garden is over-grown again. I was hoping against hope that one of those numerous gardeners would get free, but that does not seem to be happening, and my garden looked ready to grow into a forest, so I had no real choice.

We have a little front garden and a little back yard, and believe me, it did not look so little today. What with Poohi’s running commentary about how she can’t talk louder than the lawn mower and us finding a little baby snail, which then turned into a conversation about how we could build a house for the snail, with her building blocks. I had been absent-mindedly saying ‘yes’, when she ran in to get her blocks and I realized what I had just agreed to.

So then it took some story telling(around the snail) to explain why the snail does not need a house. Then off madam went to find the rest of the snail family. Anyway, here is the all-important snail. And in case you guys, don’t remember about this obsession with snails, it started quite a while back. And will someone please tell me, how a child who loves snails can be scared of bees or any insect for that matter?

And a few pictures of my garden in bloom. These are plants that had been planted before we came here. And I love the roses! The one in the picture is one the first of the season, and there are so many buds, I can’t wait for them to bloom.

And these are my contribution to the flora around here.

By the way, there seems to be something eating up some of my plants. I had planted some marigold and dahlias in the garden but something seems to be eating them all up. I can’t see anything but some slime near the plants. Any idea what it might be? I took a couple of marigold seedlings and planted them in a planter and kept it in the conservatory, and so far, it seems alright.. So I do think that there is something that is eating up my plants in the garden. And eating selectively too! It leaves all those weeds untouched!

And oh yes,before I forget, I have started associating summer and sunny days with the sound of lawn mowers. Every lawn mower in the area gets used during the few sunny days that we get.

Weekend tales

I can’t help wondering if I was right in the mind, when I decided to take up the NaBloPoMo for this month. Whatever made me think that it would be do-able?

From the look of it, every single thing is trying to ensure that I do not complete it. For one, the weather is so beautiful, despite it being not-so-sunny, that it is impossible to be indoors, and then to top it all, Poohi decided to run a temperature.  So it means that I have no option but to write this inane post, which by the way, I am giving you enough warning to skip 🙂

The weekend was one unexpected bonus. We woke up to a clear and sunny sky and that had us scrambling for the phone to check the weather at a nearby seaside resort. Turns out that it was all sunny and gorgeous and not one bit windy. Now, that is too good to be wasted, so we started calling all our friends and getting together a plan to spend the day at the beach. We set off, all excited, all the beach gear in place and praying that the weather stays the way it was.

We got stuck in the longest queue of traffic, within half an hour. Husband started figuring out detours on his beloved android phone. And turns out, Google Maps reported heavy traffic ahead and gave us a much better detour. That lead to him declaring his love for google, which incidentally he declares far more than his love for me. Did I mention that I drove this time, and it was my first really long drive – 70 miles, so it gave husband all the more time to spend with his phone and google( all the while declaring how great google is, btw).

Finally,we were about 10 miles away from our destination, when Poohi notices dark clouds in the horizon. Within minutes, we were being pelted by the heaviest rain we had experienced in the recent past. With disappointment weighing us down, we continued on our way, deciding that we might as well go and shop, since we are this close. Husband kept refreshing BBC weather and exclaimed that BBC still shows sunny! As if, that will make the rain go away.

Once we reached, we decided to take our time, have lunch and wait for our friends, who by the way, had not taken the detour, we had not been able to contact them before we took the detour. After lunch, the weather still looked dismal, and we decided to walk around the town,when suddenly the rain disappeared and it got sunny again.

It was the best moment ever! We could not believe our luck and we raced to the beach. Needless to say, we had the best time ever. Plenty of splashing around in the water, making sandcastles, lazing around in the sun.  It was the perfect way to make up for the previous disaster of a weekend.

We are still recovering from that one day of fun 🙂 And poohi most certainly seems to have exhausted herself and has come down with a temperature. So she has ended up missing school today. She was so upset because she was looking forward to meeting her friends again – they had a half term break last week. And I was looking forward to her going to school, so that I could get some work done, but it was not meant to be 🙂

So how was your weekend?

An avial of a post..

..is what happens when I have nothing much to say..

Why, you ask? Well, we have been outdoors almost all the time, since the last few days. We went on drives, waded through a little stream, enjoyed ice-creams, and generally basked in the warmth.  Warm weather was finally here, but then like all good things, did not last long. It is back to business as usual today, cold, wet and windy.

The two of us testing waters 🙂

Chicken pox seems to be doing the rounds here, and one of Poohi’s friends has got it. So Poohi was really upset, apparently she wants to ‘eat chicken pox too, coz I love chicken too’!

The other day, we had been watching NDTV’s We the People, on the same gotra controversy. Just wanted to add my share. I cannot comprehend why it becomes necessary to force people to live by other people’s standards. Why can’t it be left to individuals to decide what makes sense for them? And does it make any sense at all, in this time an age? Why is it considered being ‘city-bred’ and ‘urban’ to think like this?  Does it mean that people living in villages have no right to think for themselves? If some people believe that same-gotra marriages are not correct, let them not get married to someone of the same gotra/village or whatever works for them. But forcing entire communities to follow rules like this, is a little difficult to stomach. More so, is the support that they seem to be getting from various sections of society.  Bones has unearthed Naveen Jindal’s interview on this. He actually seems to be support of the Khaps when it comes to same gotra marriages.

Today apparently Arya Samaj has come out with something bizarre. ‘After khaps, it is the Arya Samaj that has shocked couples in Haryana. A section of the sect has decided to ban marriages without consent of parents and villagers.’ .

Apparently in addition to dis-allowing same gotra marriages, they will also refuse to solemnize weddings without consent of parents and villagers! They also go on to say that ‘ Love marriages are harmful as in such weddings youngsters just see the beauty and not the nature and qualities which should be the basis of marriages,” said Baldev.’  And I wonder if women play any role at all, in any of these decision making.

It is funny, isn’t it that, Arya Samaj came into being as a reform movement within Hinduism, is today talking about going the reverse way?  What is your take on this? It just makes me sad that we Indians are supposed to be tolerant people, and yet, we have so many such diktats cropping in various parts of the country. Are we increasingly becoming more intolerant or is it just that now with the media, reporting all this, it is just looking that way?

*avial – a mixed vegetable dish

Celebrating summer..

Or the few days of sunshine that we get in the name of summer 🙂

We check the weather the first thing every weekend. Checking the night before is no good, it sometimes changes even within that span 😦

If it is sunny, we set off, and get to see others enjoying the weather like this 🙂 See the clear blue skies? Such a treat to see that.

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Only to realise that a lot of others have the same idea.  So we sit in a traffic jam , crawling, coering 4 miles in 45 minutes. There was also an office space sort  situation, with the traffic, video below for more information 🙂 After a point, we decided to relax and enjoy the weather.

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Or drive through country roads where the speed limit is 60 mph, but we could never dream of driving at that 😦

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Driving through country roads that looked( see that puddle in the side of the road?) and smelt (of cowdung) like Indian roads 🙂

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Driving aimlessly through the yorkshire dales and ending up in a quaint little town, with a square like this..

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And a church like this…

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And wrapping up the trip outside with some park side fun 🙂

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And it’s all going to come to an end soon :(I am going to miss these summer days so much!

PS: Have not yet reached the comments on the previous posts – had a busy weekend. Will get there  – I promise. (Disclaimer especially for Hitchy’s notice 😉

You know summer hols are nearly over

– Neighbours houses suddenly come alive with activity.

– All the cars in the house are back on the driveway.

-the so far pleasantly uncrowded parks are bustling with children with too much energy

– you come across mums showing off their new tans proudly while taking their children and dogs for a walk

– you come across Grandmas back on baby sitting duty until term time commences (and you can make out that they are counting days;) )

– Back to school deals are on , in every possible store.

– the saddest part – knit wear is back on shelves! Believe me – the sight of knit wear back on shelves makes me cry. Summer is nearly over and winter is nearly here!

Summer oh summer,

You gave us just a glimmer,

you flirted,

and skirted,

around windy days

and rain drenched ways,

we longed for you when you were here

and will now pine away till the next summer is here.

Summer(sunny days), do you think you will be sweet enough to grace us with your presence, in the very last long weekend of the year? Or do you want songs to convince you, in  Swaram and Deeps style?

Our Lake District experience

Alert :Long and possibly boring post!

The place which was the inspiration behind William Wordsworth’s poetry and Beatrix Potter’s lovely stories – Lake District. England’s Lake district also boasts of  Scafell Pike – its highest mountain, Wastwater – its deepest lake apart from one of the most scenic locales in the country. Lake District is also the birth place of Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy and it has the only Laurel and Hardy Museum in the world!

We had been planning to visit the Lake District since May 2005 but for one reason or the other – it just never worked out. So one day before the last long weekend in May, when we were deciding on where to go, Lake District was easily the first choice 🙂 Husband was keen on taking a risk, driving up there and finding a B&B or a hotel there or just driving back in case we could not find one. Though extremely tempting  – it was far too risky a strategy especially with a 3 yr old 🙂

So to cut a long story short, we were really lucky to find a B&B which thankfully had a cancellation and packed our bags and started off at around 11:00 in the morning on Saturday. A friend had recommended that we take a scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales, instead of the shortest route. Given what they say about the journey being as important as the destination, we decided to have fun on the journey as well, instead of going through the boring  motorways 🙂 Needless to say, it took us 5 hours to reach our destination – a journey which should have taken not more than a couple of hours on the regular route 🙂

Yorkshire Dales is a designated National Park , which is now a favourite destination for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders alike and for those who want to explore the lovely villages. There are lots of farm shows and duck races happenning.. We did not see any – but saw lots of hand painted signs with directions:)

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We drove on roads like these – much narrower in some places, passing people walking, cycling and even fishing 🙂 Notice the fence – almost all the fences we saw in the Dales and Lake Distirct was made of stones – and from what I could make out – it did not have any binding element like cement …

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The roads start narrowing to the point where if another car came by, it was near impossible to get by.. But we hardly saw many cars as this route was primarily used by the residents and not by tourists.

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We travelled up hills and down again – almost like a roller coaster ride 🙂 And here are some tired cyclists pushing their bikes up the hill..

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We stopped on the way, to see some sheep 🙂 or rather so that daughter could see some sheep, and as you can see it was extremely windy 🙂

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And finally, our first glimpse of Lake Windermere. We had arrived at our destination announced our Sat Nav 🙂 Apparently ‘mere’ is the name given to lakes

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We went straight to Bowness on Windermere, which is quaint little town with some very cute, very English buildings.. There were lots of swans near the lake and they were so extremely friendly – they would actually reach into people’s pockets 🙂

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And we then loitered around the lake soaking in the feel of the place..

 

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We ended the day with a bunch of brochures to read up and decide what to do the next day 🙂

The next morning was bright and beautiful. Sunny and totally welcoming 🙂 We decided to do the Cross Lakes Tour. We were just in the nick of time before the cruise took off. So we ran to the boat and jumped in. The cruise was wonderful, across the Windermere to Ferryside – only we were mistaken – we actually got on the wrong boat and it took us to Lakeside instead 😦 Thankfully, the boat was going right back to Bowness so we hopped back on and had another cruise – which was totally worth it – even though we lost 2 precious hours.. But as the weather was gorgeous and daughter was having the time of her life – we enjoyed it too 🙂

As soon as we reached Bowness, we realised that we had just about 15 mins before the boat to Ferryside took off and this time, we wanted to make no mistakes! So we grabbed sandwiches and ice-creams in record time and reached the pier – totally in time 🙂 I felt a little like something out of an Enid Blyton book – sunny weather, sandwiches, ice creams and all set for an ‘adventure’  🙂

 

 

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The Cross lakes tour that we took.

 

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This time thankfully, we set off in the correct boat to Ferryside. The Cross Lakes tour was supposed to take us by boat to Ferry Side, and then we had the option to walk or take a Mountain Goat(name of a bus 🙂  ) to Hill Top. Hill Top is where Beattrix Potter had a farm and where she is supposed to have written a lot of her stories, including some of her best loved works. I wish I could post some of the pics from here – but all of them have us in them 😦 What was I thinking????

We went from Hill Top to Hawkshead where again there is a Beattrix Potter Gallery. It was again a quaint little village. Again no pics 😦 The one thing I wanted to do was do the walking trail – but with my daughter and the time constraint- it just was not a feasible option, so we decided to use the bus transport instead – which was a wee bit embarrassing as everybody else on the bus was old and frail 😦 But we had our excuse of a daughter 🙂

Off from Hawkshead, we went toConiston , which is another village and lake by the same name. By that point in time, daughter was all sleepy dopey and tired. And we decided to head back to Bowness.

Then we entered the magical world of Beatrix Potter!! The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction has all the 23 stories by Beatrix Potter re-created! Its absolutely a magical experience. You could see Peter Rabbit being chased by Mr McGregor, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, being obedient little rabbits – doing what their mother told them to.

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And here’s Jemima Puddle-Duck 🙂

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It was such a magical experience seeing all the characters brought to life(almost)!  My daughter loved it and both of us loved it just as much! We cane off with souvenier photographs and a Peter Rabbit Book for daughter – which I have to admit I enjoy just as much 🙂

We spent the rest of the evening, exploring the little lanes of Bowness.. with it’s quaint old fashioned tearooms and pubs full of people enjoying the gloriously sunny day and ended the day watching the sunset and eating more ice creams 🙂 Next time, I want to go there for 5 days – at the least, do some walking trails and if possible stay in a caravan 🙂

The next day, we went to a Wild Animal Park..and returned home after that. But I am too bored of uploading pics(and I am sure you must be too – with this post).. so will do that another time – when I feel less lazy 🙂