return journeys…


Night falls very quickly here in Andrha Pradesh, at dusk round about 5.30 i usually finish my after school photoshop lessons, if i am in BH in the more remote orphanage, it means hitching a ride home with the milk van. The distance is only 15 km but it takes us more than an hour to get home with all the obstacles…bad roads, herds of goats and sheep, buffalo…the usual…


The milk van is a robust little jeep…no doors, just a bar to hold on to in front of you and obviously no seat belt!. I have made this journey hundreds of times, the 2 hour round trip 3 times a week drives me a little nuts really…but i kind of love it too. We go from rural countryside, through remote villages, to railway crossings and chaotic major roads. We cross our fingers to miss the train crossing stop…we can be there for a quite a while, waiting for the longest freight trains you can imagine to pass by or a passenger train, crammed to the gills with passengers perched on the exit stairs to get some fresh air.


To turn into this main road…well you just need to plough in…against traffic (and common sense) with massive lorries hurtling by either side, a lot of people on foot, bikes, auto-rickshaws, motorbikes…EVERY vehicle honking its horn constantly…show no fear and just plough in…somehow it kind of works…though i have seen a lot of accidents…


..nearly home now…they do weddings at this sparkly palace… i get back around 6.30pm, pitch dark. Night falls quickly here.


freeform birds…

These are drawings by some of my students for a larger project that i will keep under my hat for the time being, but i could not resist posting at least a few of these exotic creatures…


I especially like the detail of that fish in Venu’s psychedelic eagle!


As ever, Suresh has his own highly decorative and idiosyncratic style.


Syam Babu’s birds are lovely but it’s the dialogue i really love.


Thomas’ completely bonkers and marvellous owl!

diwali and rogue fireworks…


I love, love LOVE Diwali. It’s my favourite Indian holiday, the festival of lights. Fireworks are prohibited in the orphanage campus where i live, for obvious reasons… so after dark i take a walk into the neighbouring village along with some of my much loved ex students (now in college) to take some pictures and see what is happening.


But its not really as simple as that because Diwali can get pretty chaotic round these parts. Imagine, pretty much every child in the vicinity, armed with matches, fire and small and big, highly unreliable fireworks.


Myself and my trusty companions walk in formation keeping our eyes open in all directions cos really, you have no idea where the next very LOUD big bang is going to come from…or some whizzing, ground based catherine wheel affair that might whack you in the legs…and i can’t tell you the amounts of time i see kids and adults returning to fireworks that were lit but had not gone off…arghhh!!!!


i get asked in by this family who hand me giant sparklers and then proceed to take a lot of photos. I smile stoically despite the fact that half the time their small child is burning my ankles with his very large sparkler…

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This year the Indian Govt. ran a campaign for a greener, firework free Diwali, but that’s a bit like trying to tell the tides to stop flowing…Truthfully we are a bit jumpy by the end but it’s all part of the experience and i would not miss it for the world…



The first week back at school in India is always very sweet…catching up with the kids, seeing how they have grown. The nicest thing is that they always say hello Indian style with flowers, the kids pick what they find from the land around the school and there is always a lot of spontaneous bouquet arrangements on their part.

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My favourite this year came from Ravi, who found a weaver bird nest and stuffed it with flowers…beautiful.


upgrades like buses and a lot of food…


Hmmm…seems like upgrades are a bit like buses, you wait your whole life for one to come and then a whole bunch appear, one after the other! So BA London to Hyderabad am upgraded to Business Class…!!!!  This really is very good news. No sleeping on the flight though as i don’t like to miss out on the experience…there is food to be eaten and drink to be drunk!…


However, am on my way to my usual stint at the Andrha Pradesh orphanage, so too much free booze seems unseemly but the odd Kir Royale is most welcome (especially as i won’t be drinking for the next few months).  Movie is Man Up btw.

Then the food starts to arrive…

P1090349chicken and duck terrine with kumquat compote

P1090351lamb with caraway and onion braised rice, stuffed baby pepper and stroganoff sauce

P1090354light and dark chocolate cheesecake with raspberry compote

P1090358Movie is Love and Mercy (loved it)

Think am supposed to sleep now.


After a brief respite it’s time for more food, to the point where am feeling a bit queasy…but i keep saying yes to whatever comes along. Greedy. Lighting very low now hence all the grainy photos…


Breakfast is served an hour or so before landing, about 4.00am Indian time but it’s around 10.30pm my time and i think this is my 5th meal of the day…like i said. Greedy.


P1090369elemis goodie bag

Landed…phew…with a few hours stopover in Hyderabad and then a short flight with Air India to Vijayawada…and another small snack…


other foody posts on this blog:

fabada con almejas/beans and clams preserving wild garlic tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano