Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Morning walk, 080717

July 8, 2017

The morning walk, in cool, cloudy weather, is a great joy.

I start by buying the Deccan Herald (the news is always the same, but I love the Saturday cryptic crossword). I walk under the shade of large trees, watching the vegetable, fruits and flower vendors setting up for the morning.

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Joggers, walkers, and others pass me or fall behind. Several people stand on the grass, contorting themselves into good health.

Barbets and Koels welcome the morning as they clear their throats, prior to singing their familiar songs.The screech of a squirrel as the resident Shikra catches it. A snatch of Venkatesha Suprabhatham from someone who has apparently not heard of earphones.

The White-Hair-or-No-Hair brigade sitting in easy companionship, with steaming cups of darshini coffee, and the morning papers. Youngsters employed in call centers leaving, looking bleary-eyed.

I come home, tear off yesterday’s sheet on my Murugan calendar, and give thanks for the new day that lies ahead. And yes, I have filled in a few words in the crossword!

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Morning walk back home, 050417

April 5, 2017

This morning’s walk back home:
Women dotting freshly-washed front yards with rangoli in the making.
The carpets of Honge, Copper Pod, and mahogany flowers on the roads.
The smell of onion cooking as a lady makes morning palya at a mobile cart.
Walkers with their morning filter kaapi, exchanging notes and spreading newspapers.
Sunlight filtering through the trees, haloing the head of an old man as he walks with difficulty but determination.
No school buses or sleepy-faced students.
Milk packets and newspapers on mopeds,being distributed.
A young girl stopping for a minute in front of a small shrine, her eyes closed over her hands folded in prayer.
Cut watermelons making red stars.
I reach my home, content, looking up at our resident bulbuls as their burbling song pours liquidly over the lawn.

Celebrating life, 101214

December 17, 2014

I just posted about the death of children, so I must definitely post about the celebration of life and a return to good health.

I went to Delhi to celebrate the 50th birthday of

(who doesn’t have the time to blog any more…)

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She is a true survivor,who’s battled loss and grief, adversity and obstacles, and done it with grace and a smile.

For both KM and me, she’s the only immediate family in India.

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She had one big party for her colleagues at work, and her actual birthday was a quiet day, with a visit to an old Shiva temple.

At week’s end, she was able to get together with many of her friends, including several people whom she’s known from childhood and had recently connected up with on FaceBook; it was a Loreto Convent Kindergarten reunion!

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The cake, organized by her brother Ravi and her cousin Nishu, was a wonderful concoction

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with edible photographs printed along the side!

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By the end of the evening, she was loaded with love and good wishes:

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And quite tired out, but still with that ever-present smile, even through the yawn!

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“AdhA hai chandramA, rAt Adhi” (the moon and the night are both half gone) we sang, as we went home…

“Retirement”

September 22, 2014

We are having a discussion on retirement, with someone asking for thoughts from others. Various points of view, and tips for managing one’s life after one has quit one’s corporate career, were given. I decided to add this:

​I enjoyed this thread very much, as a person who’s never had a full-time career; I’ve been lucky to have a spouse earning the bread, and I’ve worked part-time at very different tasks, most of which were not very financially remunerative (yabbah, that word always gives me trouble…reMuNerative or reNuMerative? my mind keeps asking.) I agree with Sandy….there’s never any lack of things to do. The point is to also have enough in the bank to live as one wishes to do (also providing for a few emergencies along the way.)

Sometimes, the retirement can be thrust upon one. I’d like to share the experience of a very young friend of mine, Priyanka. She worked full-time for a (what else, in Bangalore?) software company until she was diagnosed with a hole in the heart, which could not be laparoscopically treated. Prior to surgery, she was also diagnosed with (I forget which type of) diabetes which had to be treated and stabilized. So…without any prior planning, it was a double whammy. She gave up her job, and the expenses, at the same time, shot through the roof. Even now, she has am injection each day, that is very expensive indeed.

But since she and her husband have always been “give back to society” people, she took all of it in a =most positive way. After she recovered from the surgery, she took up photography, which both of them were already reasonably proficient at; she did not have to invest in more expensive equipment. She cycled long distances.​ She’d always volunteered for several organizations, working with deprived children; ​she writes about recipes, particularly ones that she’s deve​loping for her present state of health.

Here’s one entry from her blog, if you are interested.

http://wanderingtastebuds.com/2014/06/11/wandering-with-healthy-taste-buds/

​She and her spouse help run a group that organizes screenings of ideology-based movies and documentaries every week in Bangalore. (It’s called Khula Manch, and everyone is welcome to the screenings.)

https://www.facebook.com/khulamanch

She’s probably 22 or 23 now. She’s set such a remarkable example for me, and for anyone else, on how to handle “retirement”. In comparison to her, those of us who can plan ahead for our non-corporate job careers are remarkably well off, I think.

Hats off to everyone who can turn their back on “careers” to pursue what they want to do. (Not everyone can, or should, do this.)

But a special tip of the hat who make the most of even the unexpected reverses in their lives, to do the same thing!

Bubbles, 160914

September 18, 2014

We played with bubbles last evening.

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Bubbles in the sunset:

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I blew the bubbles, and Kavya hunted them down:

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Kavya did her share of blowing:

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Some bubbles rested, ever so delicately, on the grass:

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Some even survived landing on the concrete:

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Mother and son arrived, and he joined in:

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What can define “delight” better than a child looking at a rainbow bubble?

Pleasanter stuff: back with my family…..

August 8, 2014

KTB starts school on Monday, 11th August, 2014; she will attend Wilkinsons School, where she will also participate in a program for gifted children (but will be most of the time with ALL children.)

Here is the family, at the pre-school “picnic” which turned into an indoor meet because of a heavy thunderstorm:

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Here she is, with her class teacher, Miss Paige Blansett:

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With the Principal, Dr Wuchs:

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and last but not least, Our Imp of the (as yet) Illiterate:

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The painters are overrunning their schedule by over a week; the house is topsy-turvy (I can’t even unpack!), A is having an emergency at work and was out at work all night..but family cuddles go on:

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My darlings, it’s worth all the trouble and expense I go through, to see them!

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The wildflower bouquet, 080714

July 18, 2014

took me for a wonderful morning of nature and birding trails…​Klingansvalsan (Vomb) Lake, and Silvakra. We had lovely sightings of birds, insects, mammals, took in some beautiful scenery….but I was also thinking of Fran, a very indoor person, whom we’d left behind. So I picked these wildflowers for her!

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I asked N to hold it, too…

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I came home and gave it to Fran, who said she’d not got a bouquet of flowers for goodness knows how long!

It looked so very beautiful, sitting on the table in the central courtyard at N’s home:

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Here’s Fran, with N, as they work on some details of their trip to Berlin:

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Friends…are worth their weight in wildflowers!

Ales Stenar, Sweden, 040714

July 14, 2014

“Ale’s Stones (or Ales stenar in Swedish) is a megalithic monument in Skåne in southern Sweden. It is a stone ship, oval in outline, with the stones at each end markedly larger than the rest. It is 67-metres long formed by 59 large boulders, weighing up to 1.8 tonnes each,” says the Wiki.

We took the road from Tomelilla to Ystad:

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We passed some beautiful buildings on the way:

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It was wonderful to see so many cycles!

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One cyclist reminded me of me!

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We went through fields of poppies:

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and potatoes:

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We entered Kaseberga:

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I’d made a packed lunch, and we sat and ate it with relish!

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(That dahi is TEN PERCENT FAT!!!)

Both the cultivars and the wildflowers, like this Swedish Jasmine (or perhaps it is Mockorange?) were beautiful!

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This Hollyhock was nearly black!

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Nina id’d the Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), which can be medicinal or toxic to humans, depending on its use:

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Bluebells nodded in the breeze:

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Poppies laughed in the wind:

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They were beautiful, whether or not I knew their names!

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Imagine having rambler roses growing wild!

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The souvenir shop was very colourful:

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Some gates were obviously not used!

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Some wall decorations were lovely:

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We walked past this ancient cottage, dreaming in the sunshine.

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Who’s more beautiful…Nina or the poppies?

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Fat, woolly sheep were grazing everywhere:

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We approached the stone “ship”:

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We found some paragliding attempts in progress, but there was not a stiff enough breeze.

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We sighted the Baltic Sea:

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the cove had a sandy beach:

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At last we were near Ales Stenar:

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But you think I’m going to let you see it? I’d got sidetracked by some beautiful butterflies in the grass:

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The sea called everyone:

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Ok, ok! Here is the stone ship, from prehistoric times…

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I was again sidetracked by many larks, that went up in the air to sing:

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They landed again (I had to keep far from them!)

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Here’s a short video of their behaviour:

Back to the awe-inspiring Ales Stenar!

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Amongst the ancient stones, a traditional pastime, kite-flying, was being tried out:

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The grasses and the sea made a stunning combination!

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So did the wildflowers and the sky:

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A puff of wind would play parent…

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The product of this seed would set me dreaming in a different way 😀

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Houses talked about the past, too:

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Windows were works of art:

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Treasures lay spilled:

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Some houses were mute; it was their thatched roofs that harked back to ancient times, and it was as if an eye was open in that roof:

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Some of the houses were pretty old, too, if not pre-historic!

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I caught these two Hooded Crows, feeding:

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Avoiding the ice-creams and other calorific snacks, we got into Nina’s car and drove to Glimminghuse Castle…but that’s the next post!

July 11, 2014

I’ve been wandering around a good deal, and have got back to good internet connectivity. Here are two of the very interesting places I visited in the Skane area of Sweden, thanks to Nina Pries and her affectionate hospitality….

We decided to start with visiting Carolyn Pihl, who used to live in Sweden before she moved to the UK, and Donna Ruth Zabielski-Morillo, who came from the US to Spain to live, at the stuga (cottage) they’d rented out in Tomelilla. I dragged Prashanth Chengi along, too.

Here are Caro and Nina, who brought colour into my life when they visited me at Bangalore earlier!

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The cottage actually used to be the stables, and the weather-vane bears that out:

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The cottage is well-decorated and comfortable inside, too:

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A cute loft:

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A cute staircase to the loft:

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The old stable windows look wonderful:

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Some pleasant modern windows, too:

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Nice pics on the wall:

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We sat outside in the garden,

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scoffing doughnuts and swilling coffee:

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No one realized that there was a spider on the sun-umbrella over our heads:

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…so I didn’t tell them, either!

I liked this whale-in-the-wood just behind us:

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Manolo is a great raconteur, with a great sense of humour.

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Ray is rather quieter, but can come up with great one-liners! I wish I’d had more time with him…well…maybe tomorrow evening (we are meeting again, in Linkoping, hopefully.)

I wandered around the garden while the others chatted, and was enchanted by what I saw:

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This seemed to be the main house:

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Another house nearby:

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The view from there:

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The flowers in the garden included hollyhocks

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Pelargoniums (can I forget that I call Caro ….PQ, or Pelar Queen, or just Pelar Rani?)

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Daisies and roses:

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Snapdragons:

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Wild flowers delighted me, too:

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this, told me, is

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

…that is often used in preparations to help people sleep; it was also used as perfume in the past. Given its sweet scent, this is not surprising!

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Bees and other insects were at their pollination work, amongst the flowers:

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This barn had a Swallows’ nest, with the parents flying in and out:

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We went for a walk to a very old, ruined church nearby, which is still sometimes used for weddings:

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This Muscovy Duck was sitting in the stream that we crossed:

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A White Wagtail sat on top of the barn:

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We crossed fields of asparagus

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and horse-radish:

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A railway track, too…

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Local trains are purple!

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We came to the church:

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It lay, dreaming in the sunshine:

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The explanatory plaque was, of course, in Swedish!

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The gates were hospitably open:

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The very lichen on the rocks seemed mellow with age:

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Narrow, slit-windows spoke of defence against marauders, when a church was also a citadel:

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Photography was mandated!

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A pigeon seemed to be one of the present inhabitants:

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What scenes had these windows looked down upon? Now, like the eyes of a departed man, they were shut…

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The church did look like a face that was exclaiming at its own chequered past:

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Overhead soared a European Black Kite:

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The men were probably discussing how the hot weather was good for a beer!

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Here we are, photographing on our way back:

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The cattle made a pretty scene:

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Nina wanted to get to know the cattle better!

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I photographed my friends:

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After Tomelilla, we were going to Ystad…

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But that’s the next post!

July 9, 2014

What better way to observe American Independence Day than by meeting two Americans who are now independent of their country? It has been a long time in the planning, but I finally met up with and . And of course, what better setting for the meet than the beautiful, 180-year-old home of , in Staffanstorp, in southern Sweden? It was an added bonus that , living and working in Linkoping, could also be there. Caro’s SO, Ray, Donna’s husband (and SO) Manolo, and Nina’s SO, Fran, were there, to add to the festivity of the occasion, too!

I made dinner for everyone; it was

bisi belE bAth

boondi raita

and “venkAya vengAyam” (venkAya is brinjal or aubergine in Telugu, and vengayam is onion in Tamizh)…an easy recipe that my mother used to make, and which is one of my favourites.

Nina had provided a chicken dish for those who might not like the spices.

For dessert, I’d ordered “gunjA lAdu” from a lady in Bangalore, and taken them along.

I set both Nina and PC to work for a bit of help early on in the cooking!

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I’m sorry, I was rather tense about whether everyone would like the food or starve politely; so I didn’t take a single pic of the food, and I don’t think anyone else did, either! We gathered in the porch of Nina’s home, that looks on to her lush green backyard:

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I certainly stopped worrying when I knew that Nina was providing an alternate dish! In the event, everyone seemed to enjoy the food, though of course Nina and Caro complained that I’d toned down the spices! Even Fran, who emphatically does not like Indian spices, said she liked the raita.

Introductions and hugs always go well when there are bottles of wine around! Manolo waxed lyrical over the wine that he’d bought (apparently one should read the labels of wine bottles like fine literature!). I’m not a wine or a liquor person, so I cannot describe all of it…I do know that there was some fine single malt whisky as well. But here are two of the bottles, for your information…don’t they look beautiful?

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Here we are, from L to R, Caro, Donna, Ray, Prashanth, Manolo, Fran, and Nina, all smiling for me!

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Here’s Manolo, wearing the Garhwali tOpi that I got him:

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Fran, meanwhile, was putting PC at his ease…and they got along like the proverbial ignited dwelling, and he actually extended his stay at her earnest request!

Here we are, toasting friendship and LJ…as you can see, dinner is not yet served.

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Here are India and Spain in Sweden, making friends:

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PC is trying to see if he can strangle both Manolo and Fran at the same time!

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Here’s part of the 180-year-old house (only the cats, Houdini and Vaz, enter this room!)

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We all met up the next day, too, at the stuga (cottage) which the other four had rented, and then Nina, PC and I went to visit some ancient heritage…the Torna church, the megalithic stone “ship” on the shores of the Baltic Sea at Kaseberg, and the Glimmingehus castle…but that is the next post!

Here’s to the great friends that LJ has brought into my life!