Category Archives: commentary

International Day of the Girl…

…is today;

Take action at http://www.globalgoals.org/dayofthegirl

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so vinyl’s gone all popular again…

It’s been all over the news lately…about the resurgence of vinyl sales world wide and for those of us who never sold our vinyl collections, it never stopped being loved and appreciated. I won’t bore you with the merits of obviously the greatest medium for recorded music ever (worth it for the art work alone), instead i will revel in some gratuitous shots of some of my collection…

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And speaking of vinyl; a million years ago, one of the bands i played in, Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes was playing some gigs in London and i have a vivid memory of being in the Rough Trade shop in Ladbroke Grove, on the hunt for some records. Anyway while i was leafing through one section, someone next to me fished out a 7 inch single from beside me of Splashing Along (the first single by the aforementioned band), he looked at it for a bit and then bought it. To say i was excited beyond belief to see this purchase in action would be an understatement…of course this excitement was contained inwardly with no visible signs to the outside world (i was probably wearing sunglasses…yes it was indoors and yes it was probably raining outside and yes i know!!!) ANYWAY…i bring this up because yesterday i was passing an Oxfam shop in Edinburgh and stopped to look at the vinyl in the window and low and behold one of our albums, A Cabinet of Curiosities was in the window on sale for the knock down price of £9.99…kind of gave me a little thrill it did…

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washing…

Women washing just after dawn (around 6.00am) in Buddavaram. Only women wash and smaller children (boys and girls) help them. In this same spot men wash their buffalo daily and rubbish is regularly tipped into the river regularly floating by.

A little way up you can often see river snakes swimming and also brilliant green and blue kingfishers. In October it is an excellent space for spotting butterflies.

mother teresa home for abandoned children…

I went to Vijayawada with some Italian paediatricians who are currently working here, they wanted to visit an orphanage they knew in Vijayawada run by the Mother Teresa of Calcutta order. All that i knew before hand was that this was truly the last stop for the children there and they take on all the children that the other orphanages don’t want or can’t cope with, so mainly children who are severely mentally and or physically handicapped.

For sure i felt nervous about going, the doctors had found things in a very poor state the previous year, but i wanted to go…anything to add to my understanding of this place. Things are much improved this year, we walk into a clean quiet courtyard, there is a big notice giving visiting hours and also stating very clearly that no photographs are allowed. Am relieved, i already had an inner monologue going on about whether i should or should not document this visit…but the decision was made for me and i was glad. The place was clean but basic. There were 9 nuns there (last year there were only 3) and around 40 children, the nuns told me a doctor visits every day and also a physiotherapist…but there was so much work for one or 2 doctors. There was one room with children (or maybe adolescents it was hard to tell) that were so handicapped that they sit in a near catatonic state all day…an existence rather than a life. But anyone who is able to attends school in a corner of the courtyard where a teacher visits daily. Have been learning deaf signing so i was able to talk a little with some of the deaf kids and have been trying to force some Telugu into my brain (not easy) so was able to have basic conversations with some of the others. I admit i was a little freaked out by all that i saw at first but that lasts about a minute and then you just snap out of it and muck in and it felt really nice to sit and play and spend some time with these kids. But i think it’s such a precarious existence for entities like these, they rely solely on donations to survive and in an ongoing global crisis…

Before we left the Mother Superior gave us a small card of mother Teresa containing a tiny piece of her robe. I suspect that Mother Teresa’s robe (the swatch is laminated into the bottom left of the photo) may be a bit like the Berlin wall…more pieces than the object itself, but it seems churlish to quibble…Am not religious, i don’t like it at all, but for sure i have tremendous respect for these women. They are dealing with the bottom rung of society here, taking on responsibilities that no one else wants to deal with. I feel grateful to them while i am there.  These kids are actually lucky…

the universal pursuit of napping…

The universal concept of napping… is very much part of life round this part of India. When you arrive in Hyderabad airport you can hire rooms by the hour (not for that!) that are known as napping rooms and they are a truly marvellous invention…Round these parts, be they younger or older, you will always find someone taking a nap after lunch in the various houses of the orphanage…