Coping Under Lockdown

Almost exactly four years ago, April 15th 2016, we moved into Crown Cottage, here in Winster. It was the 14th house we had viewed, and the first that we had both been completely smitten with, and possibly in many ways the least suitable for a couple approaching old age. Heart ruled the head, and how happy we are that it did…

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Heartfelt Good Wishes

What remains of Sara and Derek’s garden, Ulladulla NSW

Two decades of the 21st century have already passed.

After all the jollity and happiness for lucky souls over Christmas, as we take down the tree, the cards and the decorations I think we must all be entering 2020 possibly with some excitement and rather more anxiety about what lies ahead for us all, both politically and generally, and in Australia.

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Leaving India, Again…

John and his ‘leavers of 69’ pupils, over 50 years ago

Completing the circle, half a century later

John and me and the leavers of 1969

When we left India in April 1968 we imagined we were leaving for good. John’s three-year contract with the Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay had come to an end and he had been offered another teaching job in the UK. We had thoroughly enjoyed our time in India, but were now, complete with baby (Ruth) embarking on the next stage of our lives.

Little did we think…

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India 3. Cruising the Keralan backwaters

We’d heard talk of Keralan Riceboats and the Keralan backwaters but hadn’t appreciated what a lovely experience this would turn out to be.

Sorry to go on about it but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it, Everyone on the road seems to be relying on quick reactions, their horns – but above all on luck, as they weave in and out of seemingly impossible spaces, women nearly always bareheaded sitting side-saddle writing on their phones, two sitting side-saddle on the same rather small pillion. A man reading a book while driving his scooter.

The loveliness is enhanced by the very unloveliness of the journey here…

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India Revisited – First Impressions…

I have a hurried hour to write this before we are collected by our driver for our next adventure – a 11/2 hour drive to Alleppey in the Kerala backwaters, for a day and night on a rice boat.

So, first impressions, in a rush. Clammy heat, bright sunshine, colour, noise, warm greetings and friendliness, and perhaps above all, chaotic road conditions.

About the latter we remembered well, and had been warned afresh.

In all innocence I asked our guide from the airport and our excellent driver, Biju, which side of the road one drove in India. ‘The right’ said one. ‘The left”, said the other. Or perhaps, they agreed, wherever there was a space. And I don’t think they were joking.

Bareheaded women passengers riding side-saddle on the pillion of a motor bike which is weaving in and out of the traffic looking for those spaces, cars backing onto the main road, masses of tuk tuks lining the route, the odd pack of dogs ambling along in and out of everything.

But this aside, above all, I have been aware of warmth and friendliness, laughter and smiles even when one is refusing a lift or declining to buy.

And now I’m told our driver is here to take us on the next step so I must post this hastily. More details tomorrow, all being well.

Details and hopefully photos tomorrow

India revisited

In a year of reunions, yet another – very special – one…

We’ve almost made it!

I almost thought we never would.

Thanks to the persistent persuasion, kindness and support of a number of people, 51 years after we left Bombay for good, we are returning to India.  

We first arrived in India as 25-year old newly weds, we return as an ancient still married couple of – you work it out… Is this brave or foolish? Possibly both, but certainly exciting.

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Our Family Gathering 2019

Most but not quite all of the Hall, Latham, Cragg and Fuller-Sessions cousins

With an explanatory introduction for those family members under five or six…

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there were two young people who went out to Africa to live. They were called Douglas and Rachel Hall, and they lived in a country that then was called Northern Rhodesia. (Now it is called Zambia.)

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