From the oven into the freezer.

This had been sitting in my drafts, for a week, and I just can’t do without publishing it. Lots of things have happened since we landed here, and there is so much to write about. While I type it all out, do read about out first day in Glasgow:)

That’s what our situation is.

We had been in hot, sweltering Bangalore and Wayanad in the last three weeks. Daughter claimed that she could feel herself melting away into water. Suddenly, we land in Glasgow where we are almost frozen into ice.

We came here with light, summery clothes, with light spring jackets, only to be jolted by the cold. We were greeted by icy winds and cold rain! So cold that the first thing we did was shop for warm jackets. Which wasn’t easy either, seeing that most shops were filled with spring/summer clothes. It felt rather silly, searching the racks for winter clothes. But looking silly was far more acceptable than freezing to death.

Thankfully, we did manage to get warm clothes that did their jobs. Glasgow was so cold that it had us wishing for warm weather. Almost. Actually not, because the heat of Bangalore was a bit too fresh on our memories:)

We certainly did not let the cold keep us indoors, though. We drove around, walked by Loch Lomond, went to almost all the shopping centres in town, searching for warm clothes, things that we needed for Solihull(that requires a post for itself), and enjoyed being a family again.

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!

Random thoughts while packing.

… for a weekend away in the UK.

You are never sure of the weather so you end up packing,

– sun screen and swim wear. Just in case the weather god takes pity on you and grants you good weather. This, by the way, never, ever happens to us. With our luck, the sunscreen comes back – untouched, most of the time 🙂

– you throw in warm layers, because you never know, in this country!

– you dare not forget that water proof jacket, because you can rest assured that the one time you forget, you can guarantee bad weather.

And you will always have pictures on the beach, wearing multiple layers, with winter hats and boots to boot. That is a different kind of fun too, you know, after all how many people in those warm, sunny countries would have done that?

– The car is full of all sorts of emergency clothing, which we might have thrown in at the last minute, but comes to our rescue when adverse weather hits us.

And finally after all that preparation, some people like us, land in a totally different place for our holiday. That is soon to come in another post 🙂

Breaks of all sorts…

Term break time again! And two weeks at that! Torture, I tell you!

And I don’t even have the luxury of turning to my laptop for comfort! It had to go and get broken at the right time.

Even the weather seems jinxed against me. Last week we had glorious spring, summer weather. Absolutely gorgeous. It felt like summer had come early.

Only for it all to change overnight. So we are back to grey skies and cold, cold weather. Not just cold, they are even predicting snow! Just in time for the Easter holidays.

We are now, back to checking weather every 5 mins, in the vain hope that something will change – for the better. But knowing our luck – California and Florida hit record lows when we visited, I don’t have much hope.

The sad weather also means that all our plans to be outdoors is now out of question. We do plan to do some gardening though. We have some sunflower seeds waiting to get planted.

I do have a lot to talk about, but can’t type on the phone anymore. I so need a tablet 🙂 Did I tell you that daughter is in love with the iPad? Well, she came across one in a shop, and ever since, all she wants is a iPad. Now, she has resigned herself to the fact that she isn’t getting one, so she ‘plays’ with it in malls or shopping centres where they try to lure us into buying one.

So how have you all been? Weather better at your end?

Day Out – White Scar Caves

There couldn’t be a better proclamation of Spring, than the weather last weekend. Gloriously sunny, warm, perfect!

We always wanted to book a B&B and go away on a spur-of-the-moment trip – but alas, we couldn’t, this week. Daughter had a Kumon award ceremony on Sunday, so we couldn’t really go away. We still wanted to make the most of the time that we did have, so off we went to the White Scar Caves in Yorkshire Dales. We had been to a show cave in Wales a few years back, and had really enjoyed the experience.

Just a 1.5 hr drive away, the caves are Britain’s longest show cave.  We only started at around 1:30, after daughter’s swimming lessons and lunch. On a side note, Husband will never be happy with the fact that the swimming lessons are on a Saturday- it kind of cramps the day, you know. But then, swimming is a life skill, and I did not want to compromise on that, when we have nothing available on any of the other days.

The route was scenic, as always. Yorkshire Dales have a distinctive look, and it feels amazingly calm and peaceful. All you want to is stop the car, and lie down on the grass.. with sheep grazing nearby, and streams gurgling away.. The only thing I don’t like is that it is difficult to park the car and reach some of the most gorgeous places..

You can catch a glimpse while driving through, but not much more.. I so wish we could find a B&B near these most scenic places, and then find a walking trail – that would be just great! We had once been to a place like this. We keep planning to go back there- but funnily enough, have never managed to.

We reached the caves just after 3. After that glorious sunny weather, we were shocked to be greeted by cold winds. Thankfully we had our jackets with us(you never know, when the weather changes, in this country!). The next tour was at 4:00, and we had a long long wait – in chilly, windy weather. There was a cafe, thankfully, we sat there, nursing coffees while daughter inhaled a doughnut – I’ve never seen her eat something so fast. Sitting there, we noticed that there were some ponies and ducks, so we decided to go and say hello to them, for a change.

Only here, do we get all excited when we see goats, and hens 🙂 Daughter, was too chicken to touch, she was happy enough to just see them. I’m not complaining, I was happy to not have to run to the washroom to wash our hands again.

Finally the tour began. Just to give you an idea of how old these caves are..

These caves were first discovered by Christopher Long, a student from Cambridge. Apparently he stumbled across these caves, and entered it with just a few candles balanced on his hat. A model of his is placed there to give us an idea of what Christopher Long did back in 1923.

He had wanted to open it up as a show cave, but he died in 1924 before that was possible. In 1925, miners were brought in, to create an entrance so that visitors could view the show caves so thankfully, we did not need to crawl through to get into the caves.

The first stop – the water fall..

Then on, we followed the water trail to go further up. The only way to see these caves are by by tours. Each tour takes about 80 minutes, passing through two low height tunnels -we had to crouch low to go through, a squeeze(not too bad, to be honest 🙂 ), and 97 steps. We covered about a mile underground. We had been given hard hats, and we had assumed that they were just general health and safety procedures – but most of us did bump our heads – especially in the low height areas – even short people like me!

Can you see the gushing waters? We walked over it on a metal grid pathway.

Dark and spooky…..  ….it would have been, if we were not accompanied by a group of chattering tourists 🙂

And we saw formations – stalactites and stalagmites.. of all sorts.. If this had been in India, at least one of them would have been worshipped as a ‘natural’ Shiva Lingam 🙂

And now, I am too tired to upload any more pics!

Okay, just a few more. We also got to see the fossil of a sea snail, much to daughter’s delight. She has been fascinated by fossils ever since she started learning about dinosaurs.

And finally reached the Battlefield Cavern(climbing up 97 steps -not so easy, as we realized). It was so named because it looks like some giants had a battle there, throwing boulders at each other. It also had the most delicate, beautiful stalactites ever! They were gorgeous! Photography was not allowed in this cavern.

Check out these natural pavings – don’t they look man-made?

And can you see the witch of the cave?

That was the end of the tour -all we needed to do was make our way back. And that was much faster. Most people seemed to run back. Of course, all that speed went off as soon as we reached the Gorilla Walks, where we had to crouch and get our heads bumped – all over again. Coming back into the open, felt so different. The sunlight never felt more welcoming.

That was one wonderful Saturday afternoon. Even if we ended up underground on a gorgeous sunny day. We did make the most of Sunday’s good weather – but I feel too lazy to to write about it now.

So what did you do this weekend? Who else is celebrating Spring?

The Cheat that is..

..Spring.

We woke up to glorious sunshine. What joy! There is something about sun streaming through the windows. It was as if summer was already here! Well, not quite summer, but spring is here for sure!

I made plans to pack away our winter coats – those horrid warm coats, without which life here is miserable in winter. But those coats also mean that half our clothes are hidden behind those voluminous coats, unless you are adventurous enough to do things like this. I think I will certainly be happy to leave behind the English winter for good! All you really want is sunny, gorgeous weather that makes your heart sing with joy.

With summer(and summer clothes) dancing in front of my eyes, I stepped out, dressed in my spring jacket, only to feel the cold hit me – and hit me bad. I did not have the time to change into something warmer – daughter thankfully was dressed more appropriately. I was sure that I would get warmer as we walked to school. In a few minutes, I realized that I was wrong – it was freezing. Daughter pulled out her gloves – yes, it was that cold. She, then, kept my fingers warm by holding on to them – she would change sides every so often – so that my other hand does not freeze. What did I ever do to deserve a child like this, I don’t know 🙂

By the time we reached school, I was freezing, despite all of daughter’s efforts, and all I could do was somehow walk back home, cursing myself, and promising myself that never again, am I going to be taken in by this deceptive weather!!!!!

It is still sunny, and gorgeous, but I refuse to get cheated again. I plan to step out fully prepared. But what do I know? In all probability, when I go dressed like an eskimo, it will be so warm that I will have to pull off layers 😦 I tell you, this spring is a big cheat!

PS: I also realized that ever since winter has been on it’s way out – I have also stopped checking the weather reports – it must be weather god’s way of teaching me a lesson.

When dreams come true…

.. in the form of snow flakes…

We finally had snow! Daughter couldn’t contain her happiness, ‘Winter is finally here! All my dreams have come true!’. *rolls eyes* I had no idea that this what she dreamed about 🙂

But you can’t really blame her, though.. I stepped out, to take out the garbage, and ended up standing in the snow for a few minutes, my face tilted up, soaking in the wonderful feeling of snow flakes falling on my cheeks… I think my neighbour(who was busy scraping snow off his car) on the opposite side might have just found me a bit crazy 🙂

We went walking for the first time, in the middle of the night. And it felt surreal. Of course, the fact that we were the only people on the road, did not help 🙂

Can’t have enough of this tree…

Love the way the whole place looks magical when it snows!

Fruits for the picking…

Sunday was another snow-centric day. We had the great plan of walking in the snow to a friend’s place(we had to drop off something). It was just a mile away, but yes, we did have a bit of an adventure. Daughter pretended that her legs were stuck in the snow, and we had to pretend that it was funny 🙂

The snow had already started to thaw, and the roads were all full of water. I had the experience of being splashed in the face, by a car racing by!! Ugh! The thought of it makes me go ‘Yuck’! But what is an adventure without any fun of this sort, eh? We weren’t the only people on the streets, but one Indian family passing by in their car, stared at us as if we were crazy 😦 I thought I had imagined it, but husband saw it too – it was not just me 🙂

It took us around 30 mins one way – thanks to daughter’s antics, husband’s photography, and me getting splashed!

But it was a walk which I would probably never forget. And as we got back, the snow was already melting off..

I don’t know why, but that made me really sad.. As if the magic was wearing off..

Although, I have to say, from a practical point of view, this is what I would term ‘sensible snow’. Happened on a Saturday, Sunday the temperatures were high enough to get the snow to thaw, and today, on Monday, it is almost BAU. No school cancellations or traffic disruptions.. Or the icy roads that come right after snow..so far.. Hopefully, I haven’t spoken too soon 🙂

Howling winds, rain pelting…

…. furiously against my windows, doors rattling with every gust of wind, the whole house feels shaken – I could almost be in a tree house, or some other such flimsy place going by the sounds that surround me right now! In fact if I close my eyes, I could be somewhere else in a jiffy! Some stormy place – perfect setting for a horror movie, actually!

These have become rather regular in the last few days. Huge gales seem to be toppling trees, upturning garbage bins(which by the way, is not a pretty scene), taking off with our hats, slamming the car door shut. (I have this secret fear of opening the boot when it gets this windy -what if it falls on my neck! *shudder*) Umbrellas are no defense against rains in weather like this, when it can uproot trees, what hope do umbrellas have? (that reminds me, I also have a fear of a tree falling on my head!)  All you really want to do is curl up with a book and a cuppa and not ever think about stepping out!

This evening I checked the weather. We had been having quite good weather, by December-January standards, that is. Christmas was the warmest Christmas, we have experienced in this country. No sign of snow, temperatures as high as 12 deg! Unheard of, during the winter months! So, as I was saying, the weather forecast says, ‘6 deg, feels like 1 deg’! That sounds about right! All the good weather that we had been having when the holidays were around, seems to have disappeared as soon as school time came. The day school reopened, we started having this wonderful howling wind and the heavy rains! Why, oh why, is the weather so mean! As if it were not difficult enough to walk in the cold, it had to add gales and rain into the mix! And every day since then, the speed of the wind just seems to increase!

Can we please just have the regular old snow please????

The only positive that happened was that husband delayed his travel – by one day, because of the weather. Just one day – but as they say, every little helps, and even the blackest cloud(and the strongest wind) can have a silver lining 🙂

The longing …

..for snow. It happens every year, as soon as November comes round the corner..

Daughter keeps a look out for snow as soon as winter starts. Every morning she looks out of the window to see if it snowed at night. So far, this year has been surprisingly mild. October had a week which felt like summer. November was extremely mild. It felt too good to be true. We were all happy, except for daughter.

She could not understand why it was already winter and yet the snow refused to make an appearance. Apparently winter meant snow. Once I asked her why she wanted snow so badly. ‘Because, children love snow, Amma!’

Can’t say anything to that, can we?

Last evening, we were returning home when we had a sleet shower. Checking the BBC, I saw the prediction of light snow. I can’t say I did not feel a tiny bit of excitement too, at the prospect of snow. There is something about it – at least the day it falls. Two days later, I would be back to cursing it 🙂

This morning, I peeped out of the window, and saw a dusting of snow over everything. Waking up daughter was never so quick. The word ‘snow’ was enough to have her jump out of the bed and run straight to the window. ‘Wooow!’, she said, and went on to relay the news to Daddy.

The day soon progressed with us getting ready for school. Just before stepping out, I glanced out of the window and saw gently falling, light snow flakes. That looked so peaceful and beautiful. That would be an enjoyable walk to school, I thought.

We stepped out, locked the door, and started walking when the snow suddenly became heavy – really heavy. We had snow flying into our eyes, and mouth. We could hardly see where we were going. After minutes of walking in the snow, daughter totally fed up says, ‘I asked for snow, not a SNOW STORM!

 

Grass on the other side…

.. is always greener..

Bad weather seems to be following me around.

We left from here on holiday with the worst sort of rains pouring down. BBC predicted rains everywhere in India – not very promising. At our first stop – Bhopal, the weather was bright- too bright we realised too soon. Whatever made us yearn for sunny weather – we had forgotten how hot it could get! All we wanted was a few drops of rain.

All that yearning paid off. Wayanad was wet, wet, wet. So wet, that we only wanted some sunshine – see we are never happy. Grass on the side… Husband returned to the UK and reported back about the gorgeous weather Leeds had been having – right until we got back. We brought back the rains with us. So it is back to wet weather, which stays dry until I am indoors, and pours with all its might the moment I step out. I swear, it is no exageration. This morning, on the way back from daughter’s school – I was drenched completely by the rain, which stopped as soon as I stepped inside -just as suddenly as it first started! Why me!

And now, just when it is time for me to go and pick up daughter, down comes that downpour 😦 Why me?