Saturday, December 30, 2006

Canal boats mating

Canal boats mating
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
Boxing Day saw us cruising down the gentle waters of Lincoln canal in the Good Ship Hayes in the delightful company of the Hayes family and my sister, and being spoilt rotten with home-made mince pies, delicious mulled wine, turkey, baked spuds and trifle. Ahhhh, Christmas! We stopped off for some liquid refreshment at a local pub where Dave's shocking new Christmas present had us all in stitches (see below video). Luvly.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shocking Boxing Day Fun

What better thing to do on Boxing Day than go down to a country pub and play traditoinal family bar games...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Cheese cake scrapes

Well you have seen Bianca's eating problems before...and here you go again. We are preparing for christmas eve dinner and B just loves the cheese cake mix. Poor underfeed puppy =)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nepali picnic dance

The quality of the video is bad, just done with my little stills camera, but it gives you a good impression of a Nepali picnic dance and bianca's dancing prowess. We have treated ourselves to a small Sony video camera so we can do more professional productions in future =)

Elephant Drive By

Bianca has control of the reins of the horse drawn carriage as we drive by an elephant and mahout.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Phil in his native environment

Phil in his native environment
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
I have been enjoying a very informative and illuminating tour of the Life of Phil, which has seen us exploring his old stomping grounds in Sheffield and Doncaster, renewing friendships with old mates and taking rambles down Memory Lane. I have observed a certain theme emerging from Phil's memories; see if you can spot it: "Oh, there used to be a great cake shop here" ... "I remember this street, there was a great chippy" ... "there were two chippies opposite each other on this street" ... "this cafe used to do great coffee, lets try it out".
Thankfully, we've balanced out all this gastronomic remembering with a bit of walking. This photo was taken looking out over Sheffield from the Round Walk, which travels out into the woods and towards the moors. We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day, although the mercury barely crawled above zero, and we had to watch our step on the pavements which were slick with ice.
And a big hello to all the lovely friends (and family) who have taken us in, fed us and made us feel so welcome on our UK excursions so far: Sara, Pat and Bob, Pat and Vics, Roger and Sarah, Dave and Debbie, Flea and Dave, Pam and Keith, and Sam and Ants.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sausage Lust

So there we were in Lincoln Christmas Market when Bianca smelt the sausage stall. She hasn't had much dead animal on our trip and India was mostly vegi for Bianca (poor thing) by her own choice I must add. I thought I would capture Bianca’s meat cravings for prosperity. She didn't know I was taking pictures so she wasn't hamming it up (so to speak).

Please note in these photos now the sausage never leaves her sight and what is happening with her mouth/tongue.

That night she also had a cow roast!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Go West (life is bloody freezing there)

Us in Lincoln (photo by Dave)
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
After 3.5 months in Asia, we've now moved on to the United Kingdom - land of unintelligible accents, weather that strips the skin off your cheeks, the miracle meat substitute 'quorn', damn good sausage and filled with so many of our family and friends. Feels great to be in such familiar surroundings. This photo of my sister, me and Phil (who is not in fact pregnant, but protecting camera under his raincoat) was taken by Lucy's partner Dave, who was taking us around his home town of Lincoln. The famous Lincoln Christmas markets were on, but the weather was so revolting we came, we saw, we imbibed mulled wine and sausage, then retreated back to Dave's parents' house PDQ!
Sorry about absence of bloggage but it's hard to take photos of cathedrals when freezing rain is blowing horizontally into your face. Hope you are all disgracing yourselves spectacularly at christmas parties.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Last day!

JW Marriott - 5 hours to flight
We splashed out and stayed in the JW Marriot Mumbai for the last night in India. Bianca was a bit doubtful at first "hotels are just a place to sleep" but after a swim, a go in the sauna with hot and cold dip pools, champagne and choc cake delivered to the room, cable tv, kingsize soft bed with 8 pillows and visit to in house Italian restaurant she changed her mind.
There is the best buffet breakfast that I have ever had and I have stayed in many hotels in my time. They had people making to order eggs, muffins, pancakes, waffles, juice, Indian bread etc. Great bread, cheese, coffee etc were on offer. I thought Bianca would go wild and be eating everything in sight but I was very disappointed. She had cereal, grapes and a fig! Phah.

Dhobi Ghat

Second to last day in India we spent in Ahmedabad in Gujarat. There weren’t many tourists and so lots of friendly staring and ‘Hello!”, “Welcome to India!” shouted at us as people whizzed by on their 125 motorbikes. One place that was photogenic was the Dhobi Ghat (wash area) by the big river in the centre of Ahmedabad.
We were on the bridge over looking the Ghat and the kids around the Ghat were waving and shouting for us to take their picture which I obliged in doing.
Otherwise we were holding out for our flight to the UK and starting our next leg of our trip.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jamie Oliver, Indian style

Nigella, watch out!
Jamie Oliver, Indian style
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
Our last three days in Rajasthan we spent in the delightful town of Udaipur, where we undertook three cooking classes with the talented Sushma. It was one of the best things we did on this trip - as we learned how to make all the wonderful Indian foods we've been getting fat on, like masala dosa, paneer butter masala, aloo gobi, mulligatawny soup, naan bread, uttapam, chapatti and stuffed paratha (to name just a few dishes). Be warned, dear friends, an Indian food cooking challenge will be issued when we return, and we're going to need guinea pigs! In this shot, Phil is demonstrating his dab hand at making the lentil/rice pancakes for masala dosa (also happens to be one of his favourite meals). Note Sushma's smile of approval. Tough togas, lady, he's mine.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Squared Circles

For those of you who like my squared circles here are some from india. For those of you who dont like my squared circles well...tough titty here are some squared circles from india anyway!
BTW if you want to see all mine in a great little slideshow go here.

jain Stone Carving jain Stone Carving jain Saffron Blessing Stuff jain Roof jain Roof Jain Rose Plate Jain Grind Saffron Stuff geroff my thali cannon ratsInWater ratsInMilk goldenHand SunFabric Taj Mahal mosque or masjid ceiling Fatehpur Sikri look thru lock door knocker

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jain Phil

Chief holy mans stuff
jain Saffron Blessing Stuff
Jain Temple
The Chief Priest got me. I gave him 10 rupees for the saffron mark and the blessing. He said I was a beautiful man but that didn’t increase the 10 rupees (hard man that I am). The grinding stone is how he makes the yellow stuff.
The Jain temple outside Udaipur in a place called Ranakpur was the best temple I have seen on this trip. The stone carving was amazing in its detail and also how well it has survived.
Jain religion is a contemporary to Buddhism and shares many main ethics but a few BIG differences too. The main gurus are nude and sweep the path in front of themselves with amazingly colourful peacock dusters so not to kill even an ant. One devotee told us that his guru does not cut his hair but pulls it out using all digits of one hand to grasp and pull. The devotee asked his guru why he did this and his guru told him that it was to remind him of…something…that I have now forgotten. Doh. I am sure I would have remembered it for the rest of my life if I pulled out a chunk of my hair.

Dancing diva

Bianca with Nepali party animal
I think I have blogged on Bianca’s dancing prowess before. Well here is more proof. The tops pics are from just outside Jaisalmer in Rajasthan at a little town called Kurri. The dancer had such a smile and had a amazing beat and rhythm to her dancing. She apparently said that Bianca was really good and given a month could turn her into a dancer. The pay was 15000 rupees (450aud) a month. They didn’t see Bianca as she slumped into her chair after the 3 dances puffing and panting =).
The bottom pic is an oldie but a goodie from Nepal with a die hard party animal who Bianca had been dancing with.

Sleeping in the Desert under the stars

Our accommodation on this trip has ranged from the luxurious to the comfortable to the "I'm glad we're only here for one night", but nowhere has the difference been greater than in Rajasthan on the 24 and 25 November. On the night of the 24th, after stuffing ourselves with delicious Rajasthani food and enjoying fine Rajasthani music and dancing, we were loaded into a jeep and driven into the desert sand dunes where we were given a mattress, pillow and blanket each, and left to enjoy the starry night and (relative) peace of the desert. I say relative peace because there were three young Delhi lasses who were also sleeping out under the stars, and while they slept some distance from us, the foghorn-voiced driver sat with them for ages telling ghost stories or something like that. Whatever he was saying, it worked, because at 2am they decided to return to the comfort and safety of our guest house. Pussies. We had a v toasty night under the stars thanks to Phil's super-dooper double sleeping bag.
The next night we had booked in at a place called Camel Camp - a luxurious resort featuring decadent tented accommodation and a swimming pool perched high on a dune above the town of Osiyan. The tents exemplified camping in style - carpet, wooden double bed, marbled bathroom with hot water, sofa and lounge chairs out the front. The place was lovely but unfortunately the pool was freezing cold and as the only guests in this enormous resort, we felt a little isolated! Plus the nearby Jain temple was doing an all-night worship so the megaphoned singing and clashing drums went on all night. Thank god for earplugs.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dung Beetle in love

Originally uploaded by nospuds.
There we were on the dunes waiting for the sun to set when a dung beetle swerves from its course and makes a bee line for Bianca big toe. I just couldn't work out what this dung beetle found so interesting in Bianca's toe...?!?


Originally uploaded by nospuds.
Once again Bianca has her hand in MY food. It's only just hit the table too. This is a Thali and it cost 3 australian dollars and you get refills too! Thalis are standard tucker as we travel and they are normally very good.

Phil, camel wrangler

Camel shadow
Up close and personal with camels
Phil, camel wrangler
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
Everyone says THE thing to do in Rajasthan is a camel safari, where you head out on your ship of the desert for 3-4 days, sleep under the stars, experience life as a camel herder etc etc. After hearing horror stories of people walking funny for days after just 2 days on a camel, we opted instead for a 2 hour camel ride to see the sand dunes of Khuri. And 2 days later, we're still walking funny and Phil's groaning like an old man. Our drivers decided this was to be no leisurely camel ride - it was a race to the death. So off they galloped, and sitting astride a galloping camel is about as comfortable as being whacked in the groin with a large padded mallet 5 times per second. I'm sure there's a technique whereby you don't just bounce up and down, but we didn't learn it. Instead I bounced so high I got completely airborne with each stride and at several points the driver sitting behind me put his hand on my shoulder to stop me bouncing right off the saddle. Part of the problem was the more I bounced, the harder I laughed, the faster the camel driver drove the camel, and the more I bounced. It was a painful but screamingly funny feedback loop. Phil, being taller and heavier, fared even worse than me but luckily the family jewels are unharmed. And to add insult to injury, camels are flatulent like no other beast.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

2 gorgeous ladies at Junagarh Fort Bikaner

HelloBeautifulLady CleanerLady


We've hired a car to drive us around Rajasthan in style...well if you class a Hindustan Ambassador as luxury =)
On the drive to Bikaner from Pushkar in Rajasthan we stopped off at a famous temple where rats are worshipped...yuck. Its a temple called Karni Mata in Deshnok. You have to take your shoes off before entering.
I found out 5 things:
  • Rats smell!
  • Rats can sleep anywhere (just like me I guess)
  • If a rat crawls over your foot it is lucky. Bianca accidentally kicked one but we didn't think that counted (except maybe negatively).
  • If you eat food that a rat has salivated on then it is lucky (we didn't try this)
  • Rats really smell!

sleepingRats2 rodentsInKitchen
SleepingRats Mmmm Milk Karni Mata Deshnok