For the fact that I’m here. Living. Breathing. Experiencing. Loving. Working.
Last week, someone I knew eighteen years ago, died. It hit me surprisingly hard. He was a good man and a very dear friend to me. More like a surrogate father really.
We drifted apart and, now he’s gone, there will never be the chance to connect again. He leaves a loving and devoted wife, a son, two daughters and many grandchildren.
Christmas this year will be a sore time indeed and I shall be praying for them with my love on that day.
Today, I am thankful for my family.
My sweet adult children who have grown into the most wonderful adults. My beautiful granddaughter whom I adore so much, words simply can not express. I’m am blessed indeed.
Today, I am thankful for where I live.
I am blessed to have miles of countryside around my home. Just one house separates my us from the fields, which we walk the dogs through regularly.
On Saturday, I was returning from dropping my daughter at work just as the sun was rising. The sky was clear and the fog was rising above the fields. It was a beautiful sight so instead of going straight indoors when I got home, I felt compelled to go and stand in the fields and breathe in the fresh, crisp autumnal morning air. It was incredibly life affirming.
Goa. The little state in West India, famed for the long stretches of beaches, sweeping palms, full moon raves and the oldy woldy Portuguese charm.
For me, personally, though, itmeans so much more than that. I’ve been visiting Goa for 20 years and I love, love, love the place!
Here’s what makes me go crazy nuts with excitement every time I have a visit planned.
Family and Friends
Fifteen years ago, I rode my scooter down a gorgeous little leafy lane in search of rented accomodation. I was directed towards a beautiful house where I was met with a typically Goan warm welcome from the family who lives there.
All these years later and I’ve never stayed anywhere else! We have all watched each other’s children grow into teens and adults and seen marriages and new children born into the family.
The members of this beautiful family are amongst my closest friends in the world.
When Im there, I get so well cared for by my lovely Goan Mum. At home in the UK I am a carer and as a lone parent, everything is on my shoulders. As soon as I walk in those garden gates, I go from being full time carer to the ‘cared for’.
I love to play with the kids and I adore them all, including the neighbours children. We hang out together and do arts and crafts and play games. They’re all such beautiful kids.
I tend to put on a ton of weight when I’m staying as Mum feeds me enormous amounts everyday. Sometimes I just want to sit and chat in the kitchen but then the next thing I know I have a plate of food in front of me which, by the way, is magic. No matter how much I eat, that plate just refills!
I love hanging out with my ‘sisters’, chatting about stuff and putting the world to rights.
I live in a room in the treetops overlooking a field. Each morning, I look at my window and wait for the light to come. As soon as it does, I open my balcony door and am met with a sight which fills my heart with happiness and contentment; trees. Palm trees, teak trees, bamboo, banana trees and more. I step outside and look over at the field and listen to the sounds of my little neighbourhood waking up and feel blissful in my heart. What a way to rise in the morning! To be surrounded by tree energy almost as soon as Ive opened my eyes!
I love the sense of community in the little neighbourhood where I stay. People are very friendly and I’ve known a lot of them for many years and am good friends with one particular woman. We have such a laugh together. She’s a sweetie.
When I’m riding my scooter I love to watch people standing by the side of the road and just chatting. People always give a smile or a wave and more often than not, someone is shouting my name from a doorway, or as they too pass by on their scooters.
I know more people here than I do in my own village in England. More people take the time to stop and chat with me in one day here than in one week, or even one month at home!
Extended Families and Strong Family Ties
In India and Goa, when a marriage takes place, the woman leaves her own family home and goes to live with the husbands family. Im not going to pretend that this situation is always rosy. It’s not. Women all over India are suffering abuse at the hands of their husbands and his family. A mother is always going to support her son over the wife and this leaves her with little or no support.
However, this obviously isn’t always the case and millions of families live very happily together. My lovely Goan family included.
I marvel at the way the children are surrounded by adult relatives; aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother and grandfather. This is so good for them and it teaches them to get along with people of all ages. There is always someone around to attend to their needs so they never have to feel neglected and from this comes a sense of security. I think this must be where their strong sense of identity stems from, thus preventing them from ‘going off the rails’ in their teen angst years. All parents become stressed at times, that’s a given, but when you know you have someone else there to share the load with, life becomes a little easier. And I should know, having raised all my kids myself for the past 20 plus years!
The strong bonds between the family members is so apparent and I admire the way the kids have such respect for their elders.
Living together = sharing together, helping one another and respecting one another. And let’s face it, no one is going to get lonely in their old age!
Ahhh, the Arabian Sea! Be it wild with monsoonwinds or as calm as a lake in the dry season, sitting on the beach and staring out to the ocean is one of my favourite ‘go to’ places for quiet time.
During monsoon, the sea can be ferocious and when I hear the roar of it from my room in the treetops, I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
In dry season, sometimes the sea can be so calm that, save the slow, lazy slopping of the shoreline tide, it appears not to even be moving at all.
Whatever the weather, when I’m leaving the beach, I always have a quick glance backwards and silently say, ‘goodbye sea, Il see you soon’.
Flora and Scooters
One of my favourite pastimes is driving my scooter slowly down little back lanes lined with electric green leaves of all shapes and sizes. I just kinda meander lazily as the sun beats down on me, occasionally stopping to let some cows or water buffaloes traipse past me as they cross the road from one field to another. Or to pet a stray dog and maybe throw it some biscuits from my bag.
I drive past stunning displays of brightlycoloured flowers, all contrasted beautifully against the green of the leaves. So dazzling and striking in the sunlight!
Sometimes, I just stop. I want to sit quietly on my scooter and just breath in my surroundings. I marvel at the sheer size of some of the leaves. So tropical! The bright green paddy fields, the roaming pigs on their way to nowhere in particular, the distant barking of a dog or the quick beep of a passing scooter. But it’s the sound of the coconut trees leaves in the breeze which flirt with my heart the most. As the long, thin leaflets brush together, it makes the sound of gentle rain. This is the sound I take home with me, nestled in my heart like a cosy memory, a sound which nourishes me through the long days and lonely evenings until I can return again to my beloved Goa.
Hospitality and Friendliness
There’s no welcome like an Indian welcome!
No matter what caste or religion a person is, or whether they live in an mansion or a hut, I’ve never met anybody as friendly and welcoming as an Indian. I rarely make eye contact with someone without receiving a smile. People are just friendly. It’s that simple. Friendly, chatty, approachable and helpful. In fact, from my own personal experience, people go out of their way to assist me. Here are just a two examples of so, so many.
If I’m having problems starting my scooter, there will always be someone who notices and comes over to lend a helping hand. Let’s check the petrol levels. Is it a faulty starter motor? Let’s try and kick start it instead. I have honestly had this happen multiple times and each time the kind soul who is assisting me has not given up and gone on with their day until Im ready to drive away.
There was one occasion when I dropped my scooter key down a hole in the ground outside two shops in the local parade. It was a really tiny hole as well. Not much larger than the key! It landed on a platform far down below!
The pair of shop owners and their staff came to my aid. It was a real team effort! Someone disappeared and came back with some wire, someone else bent it into a hook shape, another person held the phone torch and finally some other guy, oh so very carefully, hooked the key right up out of the hole again! It took many attempts, however, but not one person gave up on the task. What a beautiful group of guys! I showed my heartfelt gratitude to them by buying goodies from both their shops.
Homes Past and Present
Following four centuries of Portuguese rule, in 1961, at the order of the Indian army, the Portuguese finally departed and Goa was awarded its freedom. However, remnants of a time-gone-by remain in the way of beautiful old world heritage houses.( the following photos of the old houses are taken from the web).
These gorgeous homes range in size from very modest to enormous mansions, from unkempt with faded and cracking paintwork and overgrown gardens to highly decorated with huge well maintained grounds.
Either way- I love them! In fact, I used to rent one from my Goan mum years ago, many moons before the room in the trees was built.
Apparently there are no other buildings the same in the world. Not even Portugal!
So this post is about my personal loves of Goa and driving past these old heritage houses is definitely one of my favourite things to see. I need to take more photos….
The other houses which, at times, literally stop me in my tracks, are the majestic new builds. Huge and colourful, these houses come in many different designs, shapes, sizes and colours. Some are literally stunning beyond words. It’s very interesting to watch the building of them over time. It’s almost as if you can order this balcony, that doorway and different shape structures which eventually fit together like a jigsaw to make one huge house specifically according to your own personal design! If I had the money……..
They need no words…..
So, yeah, I could probably go on and on about what I love about Goa! Needless to say, I urge you to visit if you haven’t already. You won’t be disappointed.
I had an unexpected week off and before I knew it I was looking at Air BnB’s in Marrakesh.
The word MARRAKESH just literally fell into my head like, BAMM!!
Why? I don’t know. But there it was.
I didn’t have an instinctual feeling to be there. There wasn’t some kind of spiritual or mysetrious pull to visit Morocco, but the word was big, loud and obvious and so I booked.
I hardly had any money and there certainly wasn’t going to be spends for souvenirs and excursions. I booked a flight with Easy Jet and decided to take only hand luggage and so there was no need to pay extra for a hold bag and I really didn’t care where I sat on the plane so I didn’t pay extra for any preferred seating either.
Just me, one small backpack enough to fit some basic clothes in, enough money for food and a little extra for some small extra’s ( whatever they may turn out to be ), a confirmed BnB at a Riad in the Medina for just £11 per night, and a massive sense for travel adventure.
I had no idea what to expect…… but I was oh, so pleasently suprised.
I have made a video HERE of the journey from the airport to my Riad. Please enjoy.
I would like to share with you all a powerful story of how an eight-year-old child realised her own power.
I wish to share this story with you so that I can gift, uplift and inspire you all so that you may understand the truth of your own being, your own power.
Your alignment with the universe is truly a thing of beauty and when it happens, it’s incredibly exciting!
So, I’ll start off with a story, which includes my daughter. Actually, it’s kind of her story. I was a guide but she was the one who manifested the magic 🙂
My twins have a very rare chromosome condition called Smith- Magenis syndrome, SMS for short. I won’t go too much into that now, but you can google it if you’re interested. But just to say, briefly, it’s where chromosome 17 is missing or a little bit wobbly in it’s own way and SMS, when compared with the behaviour presented by folks of ALL other disabilities and chromosome conditions ( I refuse to say abnormalities when I’m describing the condition – I really don’t like that word) is up there as the number one most challenging condition, behaviourally and physically.
By the time my daughter was eight years old, she was still wetting the bed nightly. She was fine during the day, but at night was totally incontinent. As a lone parent to 3 children and where my daughter’s twin, brother also had SMS, but very much more severe than India, I was tearing my hair out.
We had previously had meetings with the incontinence nurse who said, finally, that if the problem persisted we could have a bedwetting alarm or such thing, but it turned out we never actually needed this because magic happened instead!
I had recently read The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr Joseph Murphy and that book literally changed our lives. That book started my awakening process. I realised that my daughter, with my guidance, ( she was eight years old at the time) could quite literally heal her incontinence issues by herself and so I decided to guide her into giving it a go.
I didn’t sleep for years as people with SMS have reversed circadian rhythms so not only was I awake all night with m,y son who wore nappies until- forever, ( he still has pads at nearly 18 years old), but my daughter refused to so overnight I was changing sheets and nighties.
I coached my daughter into knowing that whatever she thought in her mind, and if she believed that, it would come true. When I put her to bed, I told her to imagine waking up in the morning completely dry. I asked her to visualise running into my bed in the morning with a completely dry nighty and bed sheets and I asked her to imagine, with all her might, the amazing feeling of a lovely dry bed, nightly, and how warm and cosy that would make her feel. I told her to NEVER EVER AGAIN think about the cold, wet, stickiness of a wet bed and nighty and to put that out of her mind completely. My daughter was super fired up and took the challenge well. No one more than she wanted her to heal.
I sat by her and taught her to say, over and over, ‘Tonight I’m dry’ I watched her fall asleep this way.
It didn’t work and I told her not to give up and we would try again the next night.
The same as above.
She smashed it! Exactly as she had visualised, she ran into my bedroom in the morning as dry as a freaking bone!
My daughter, from that day onwards, has never wet the bed again. My (then) eight-year-old child healed herself of a debilitating aspect of her condition through the power of intent.
During her early teen years, whenever she was facing difficulties, I reminded her of her power but she shrugged it off saying I was just some hippy and she’ didn’t believe in all that shit’, hahaha.
Nearly 10 years on, my daughter has defied any preconceived ideas about how her condition should define her. She is strong-minded, focused on her desires and is a regular manifestator!She absolutely refuses to be beaten by life circumstances and is one of the most positive people I know! When I’m having my mini breakdowns she holds me and says, ‘You can do this, mum’.
If she can align with the Universe and heal herself at eight years old, I’m sure we all can!
Please share your own amazing stories and let’s raise the vibration.
As a part of my short North India trip last year, one item on my must-see/do list was to ride the toy train from Kalka to Shimla.
The railway line was built in 1898 in order to connect the summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla, with the rest of the Indian rail system. The building of the line was complete in 1903 and that year marked the train’s first journey.
This gorgeous and quaint piece of history winds it’s way up 96km ( 60 miles) of steep hills with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and mountains. The train travels through no less than 103 tunnels, over 864 bridges and around 900 curves!
The train itself is only 2ft 6″ wide and with seating capacity for around 22 people, so, if like our journey where the carriage was full of folk, things can get a little noisy and cosy, which I don’t mind at all!
We arrived at Chandigarh airport from Delhi early in the morning and took a taxi ride to Kalka. The 43km ( 27 miles) journey cost 1200 rupees which equates to roughly £15.
Once on the station, it turned out to be a bit of a mad rush to actually get on the train and even then we weren’t certain we’d get a seat. The ticket for the six-hour long train ride up to Shimla cost an incredible 25 rupees each! It was quite funny actually, running like mad along the station to jump aboard before the train left. Anyway, we managed to secure a couple of spaces in the corner of a carriage which was full to the brim with other families.
The journey starts at Kalka, just North of Chandigarh and ends in Shimla, both places being in the mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh. We were headed for Shoghi, 15km South of Shimla, as we had booked a room on the very top floor of a guesthouse there. Apparently, our room had a large balcony area with wonderful views of the mountains so I was really excited to see it.
As we were heading out of Kalka, I was very sad to see the sheer amount of rubbish which lay strewn along the side of the train track. I don’t mean a little bit- I’m talking hundreds of yards of mountains of crap! The Shimla toy train is a UNESCO Heritage site and it seems such a shame that that particular area isn’t a little more cared for. I know it’s India and India is full of mountains of litter, but still, a bit of a clear up job wouldn’t go amiss. A sad first impression. In fact, the family sitting opposite us threw a sweet wrapper out of the window without a care. Anyway, I digress. India’s MAHOOSIVE litter problem and the debate on why perfectly educated, well dressed and clean individuals with spotless homes, think nothing of throwing litter on the ground, is not for me to write about in this post – although, do feel free to leave a comment if you can shed any light on the matter!
I felt so happy to be on this little train whilst in snaked its way up through the foothills of the Himalayas. Not least because I’d always dreamed of seeing these mountains and this was a small start. A very far cry away from my life for the previous 5 years in the UK where I had fought tooth and nail to secure the correct services for my twins and had barely left the house whilst Rune wasn’t attending school for over two years. But as I left the litter by the train tracks behind me, so did I leave that part of my life and instead, here I was in this small carriage of the quaintest little train I’ve ever seen.
I loved to watch the families, all chatting together, laughing and sharing snacks. I love people watching, especially those whose language and culture are so different to mine. I wonder about their lives, their relatives, their hopes and dreams and I hope that they’re happy. I watched the face of the woman in front of me as she slept. ‘I’d like to draw her face’, I thought to myself. With her beautiful high cheekbones and her colourful scarf wrapped over her head, I thought she was stunning.
As the train climbed higher, the views became more spectacular. Passengers, including myself, took turns to stand in the open doorway and take photos, shoot videos or simply stand there and watch the world go by. Heaven.
The train stopped off briefly at various stations along the route. I particularly liked Barog. It was very picturesque and I remember we stayed there for quite a while and bought food from the stalls which were lined up on the platform.
I had only two weeks in India this time and we wanted to pack quite a bit in, so we had left Goa and flew to Delhi in the early hours of the morning, instead of catching the train ( which I would have preferred to do), and then waited in Delhi airport, trying to not fall asleep over our early breakfast before flying on to Chandigarh. A few hours into our journey on the toy train, it became hard to keep our eyes open anymore so we slept as best we could as the train trundled higher into the mountains.
Finally, after a six hour journey, we were nearing Shimla and stopped briefly at a station which name, at that time, I hadn’t taken notice of. It was only when we were heading off again that I realised it had been Shoghi, the town where I had booked our homestay. I hadn’t realised that Shoghi had a station so it was a case of heading back down the tracks on a different train with slightly larger carriages.
We reached Shoghi and there we left the train. There were an incredible amount of steps to walk down and I’d long since realised that my rucksack was far too large, so carrying that didn’t make for an easy descent.
We reached a lovely little coffee shop and sat for a while there while I took some more photos and made another vlog for my YouTube channel.
I felt so incredibly happy to be here in Shoghi, looking over at the mountains I had been longing to see for as long as I can remember. I had absolutely loved riding the toy train, I love India, I love everything I experience here, the good, the bad and the ugly and now I was ready to head to our guesthouse, eat, shower and sleep.
Last August, 2017, Rune and I had a lovely day trip to London.
I had been meaning to visit The Shard for quite some time but I only ever had interest from Rune. India wasn’t keen so Rune and I decided to make a day of it. We visited many places but here I shall just show photos of our Shard visit.
We were super excited! The sun was shining so we were guaranteed a great view. I had heard about the two virtual reality experiences at the top of The Shard but had no idea what to expect. Both Rune and I were very keen to have a go on them both.
We made our way up in the lift to the 69th floor and then walked up another small flight of steps to the dizzying heights of the 72nd floor! We emerged from the stairs into the main area which was large and sunfilled. The whole area was surrounded by huge windows for a full 360-degree view. It was amazing! I must admit, getting to close to the window made me feel a little dizzy at first but I soon became used to it. I absolutely love London and have been on the London Eye many times, but this view was a whole different experience. It was mesmerizing!
Following much photo taking, we decided to ride the VR experiences. First, Rune took his turn on the ‘slide’. The cost of this ride was £10 and definitely worth every penny. It was so funny to watch Rune as he became very vocal, as though it was real and when I took my turn I could understand why. It does really make you want to shout out loud. It seemed so real ( which I guess is, of course, the whole idea of VR)! The slide takes you whizzing and looping around the top of The Shard at great speed. It was fantastic and so much fun!
The second VR experience was definitely not my cup of tea. You have to walk out from the top of the Shard along a crane! When you first place the goggles on, the view is identical to the regular view experience of the 72nd floor, except with no other people. Suddenly, the windows and floor all come away and you are left standing on top of a crane with nothing else around, just a sheer drop! Even though my mind knew it wasn’t real and that in reality, I was simply standing on solid ground with a guide holding on to my arm, my brain just couldn’t accept that. I was petrified and asked for the goggles to be taken off. Rune, however, was much braver than me and walked along the crane and back again. Well done to him!
Overall, our trip to the top of The Shard was a great experience and I can highly recommend a visit. Maybe next time I shall go for a night time view of the lights of London. Here’s a link if you fancy a trip yourself.
When my children were younger, I think probably the twins were around seven years old and Hope nine, Peter and I used to take them down to Colva beach just before sunset for a bit of a play. Colva had a small, pretty unremarkable, play park which the UK health and safety department would’ve had a field day with. Just over the bridge, there was a little stream which wound it’s way across the sand and into the ocean. The children used to like to try to catch the tiny fishes in old mineral water bottles before immediately releasing them again.
One afternoon, we noticed a young scruffy lad sitting on his haunches and watching my kids play. He seemed all alone in the world and looked wistfully on at my kids playing. My children were never shy and always welcoming and approachable with other children so they offered him a bottle one day and he began to play with them. Peter and I looked on until it was time to leave but the boy always seemed so sad when my children said goodbye to him. And me being a sucker for a sad face, broke my own heart each time too.
It was on the fourth consecutive evening that my children and this boy were playing when I asked Peter to speak to him ( assuming he knew no English) to see if he could get the lo-down on this kid. He was clearly homeless, or at best, a slum kid. That much was obvious. He had long matted hair, a filthy face, and wore dirty, oversized clothes and flip-flops which were a large man’s size.
This kids’ story went that he was originally from Karnataka. His name was Brumm- something, Brumm for short, and he was 10 years old. A few years back, his father and he had left their home village and travelled to the bright lights of Goa hoping to find work on those glittery, gold paved streets. A common story. Anyway, it didn’t happen, the dad became a drunkard and had buggered off somewhere and Brumm was left alone to fend for himself. He had the occasional washing up job in one of the beach restaurants but mostly he was just alone. And hungry.
Well, it was more than I could bear. I imagined his mother, probably desperate in her wondering where he was and if she was ever going to see him again. I had to do something. Peter relayed to him that, if he liked, he could come home with us where he would be fed, washed and have a warm bed. Obviously, he jumped at the chance. He rode on the back of Peter’s scooter, my kids on mine, and on the way home we stopped to buy fish at the roadside. When we got home, we fed, watered and bathed Brumm and gave him a safe space to sleep. In India, sleeping on bamboo roll mats on the floor is the norm and there were only enough beds for my kids, so he slept in the lounge.
The following day, Peter took Brumm to the barbers for a very short haircut. You could literally see the bugs jumping in all directions as they fled the deforestation of their home. Next, it was clothes shopping. Nothing costly, just some basic shorts, tees, trousers and sandals from the local market. It was all as cheap as chips but Brumm looked great!
The highlight of the day was our visit to the train station where we booked Brumm his ticket back to Karnataka! It wasn’t due to leave Goa until three days later and you can imagine how interesting it was to have a VERY excited boy staying with us. Those three days must’ve seemed very long to him but we managed to fill the time constructively. Although Brumm didn’t speak any English, he was always interested in my children’s homeschool lessons and projects. A lovely game they used to play together was Picture Pairs. For anyone not familiar with this game, it’s a simple picture card memory game. All the cards are laying face down at the start and the players take turns in turning two cards at a time over. If they match, that player gets to keep those cards. If they don’t match, the cards get turned down once again and the next player takes their turn. It became a game of languages as well as memory. Whenever the cards were turned over, my kids would tell Brumm what the English word was – bus, car, house, dog etc – they were very simple pictures. And Brumm would teach my kids how to say the word in Hindi. Many games of picture pairs were played during those three days. And Uno, also.
I really enjoyed having Brumm to stay. I took great pleasure in feeding him and watching him eat. I liked the way he now looked. That whole transformation from being a street kid who was all alone in the world, to being loved in a family and playing games and just generally being a kid, was a beautiful thing to witness.
On the morning of Brumms departure from our house and the state of Goa, he was restless, as you can well imagine! He was so eager to leave that at one point he burst into my room and spoke very fast in Hindi about getting a move on! Peter told him off for speaking that way to me and entering my room in that way but I told him not to worry, don’t be cross with him. He was simply unable to control his excitement, that’s all.
On the way to Margao station, we stopped at a local cafe and bought Brumm packages of snack foods. Veg patties, drinks, sweets, that sort of thing. We also gave him money to buy food on the train, should he need to, and a little bit extra for the end of his journey.
At Margao station, we found a bench to sit on and waited for the train. I was worried about Brumm because he was just a kid and the fact that he had fended for himself as a street kid for years on his own, made no bloody difference to the way I felt about him. He was a vulnerable child and I was about to let him go off by himself! A man was sat on the bench reading his newspaper and we asked him if he could keep an eye on Brumm, and he agreed to. He probably didn’t in all honesty. On Indian train journeys, the seat number is written on the ticket and Brumm might not have been seated anywhere near that guy!
Now, the end of the story is a mystery to me. Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t just buy tickets for us all and physically travel with Brumm and deliver him to his mother. But I didn’t.Nor did we see him safely onto the train and wave goodbye as the train left the station. Again, I don’t know why. I certainly would do either one of those things if I was faced with the same situation now.
What actually happened was that, for some reason – maybe I had to be somewhere with my kids – we left Brumm with his pocket full of money, his hands full of food packages on that bench, waiting for the train which would take him back home.
To this day, I never knew what happened to him. But this is what I hope happened. I hope and pray he arrived home safely. I have this lovely vision of him walking into his village/town, or wherever he lived and him and his mother seeing each other again. Can you imagine that moment? Can you imagine how they both must have felt?
I can’t be sure that’s what happened but I’m happy to leave the story with that vision.
In May 2017, I was lucky enough to have a short visit to Srinagar in Kashmir. My friend, who I’d been travelling in India with, owned a houseboat on Dal Lake and that was my home for 4 nights.
Usually, a tourist trip on Dal lake lasts around three hours, or so, but my friend, (who actually lives on the lake and who was very eager to be a great host), organised a trip for us both for the whole day. We ended up being out on the water for ten, beautiful hours!
The view from my houseboat.
I absolutely love the Shikaras. The style of them and the fancy, colourful decorative designs make me very happy! These gorgeous wooden boats can be seen everywhere on the lake and certainly are not there just to ferry tourists around. Folks sell their fruit and veges and other market type goods from these quaint wooden boats. I was soon to learn how comfortable and relaxing they were to lie in, as that is what I spent the majority of my day doing. That and a bit of rowing along with lots of time taking photos and making videos of the incredible views of the lake and the majestic Himalayan mountains in the distance.
We stopped off at a floating restaurant where we bought an incredibly tasty veg biryani. I felt so happy! Just floating along, looking out at the beautiful scenery and eating tasty Indian food. It doesn’t get better than this!
One of the things I noticed about our ride on Dal Lake was the extreme peace. Gone was the incessant beep of horns, which almost become white noise in the chaos of India streets. They were replaced by what felt at times like complete silence. All this beauty around me, watching the wonders of wildlife who call Dal Lake home caused such a sense of peace in my heart. Add to this the fact that all I could hear was the sound of nature and the gentle, rhythmic splosh of the boat oar on the water as we rowed slowly along, made me feel like I was in some sort of heaven. As the day progressed I became more and more deeply relaxed. It was sublime.
Another aspect of Dal Lake which astounded me was how clear the waters were in many places. The reflection of the trees and mountains made the lake look like it was made of glass. At times, I could see so far deep down below into the waters.
I lay on the soft cushions of the Shikara with my eyes closed, shaded from the hot sun by the roof and allowed my arm to flop gently over the side of this beautiful little boat, my hand swaying in the refreshingly cool water. Listening to the occasional sound of the curtains flapping in the breeze, I wondered when the last time was that I felt this happy.
At times, we took a break from moving and just stopped. We just stayed there in virtual silence, no one speaking, on the stillness of Dal Lake.
We finally wound our way back home in the late afternoon and reached back to the houseboat at 18:30pm. We’de been out for ten hours. The ten best hours I can remember spending in very many years. If you’d like to watch the video about my beautiful day, please click here 🙂
I feel incredibly grateful for that special day on Dal Lake. I will always remember it.
I have just attended the Ayurvedic abhyanga marma point massage course in Ashvem, Goa. The course was run by the company Raso Vai and our teacher on this course wasDr Anita D. Rawandale (B.A.M.S).
We started on 21st November and finished today, 27th. Just a week, three hours daily.
Because it was a very short course we only covered the basics of the Doshas.
‘The Three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment.’
I still have a long, long way to go to even part way understanding the doshas and being confident to diagnose a client who has come to me for ayurvedic massage therapy. The type of oil and heat of the oil used for this massage technique depends on what dominating dosha the client has. However, I really did enjoy learning the massage technique and I’m ready as ever to get practising on willing people, for a small charge. Right now, I’m still counting my strokes and having to think ahead to what position follows the last but, of course, in time I will just naturally flow.
I just LOVE giving the massage. It’s very meditative for me as well as relaxing for the person receiving. When I’m in the flow and one movement to the next is seamless, the body ceases to be skin, and it becomes a blank canvas, with me the artist flowing with my paintbrush. But the best part for me is knowing that I am helping to make someone feel amazing.
WHAT BROUGHT ME TO THIS STAGE IN MY LIFE?
Having been a carer for 27 years, I am registered with the carers association in my county. I am often sent emails with information on courses they run for carers and pamper days, that sort of thing. Around 10 or 11 years ago now, I attended a small break with the children to meet other disabled families. We shared, we cared and we also had the opportunity to receive some massage therapy. It wasn’t a huge session and I can’t even remember now how I even had the chance to attend at all. Maybe one, or all, of the other parents watched Rune and India for me.
What I do remember, however, is not only how lovely I felt but how grateful also for the time given to me. I really wanted to give like this to other carers and make people feel as lovely and relaxed as I did.
That one massage never left my memory and in 2011, I applied for a carers grant to receive massage therapy on a regular basis. I was granted 15 sessions! I couldn’t attend weekly as life with the twins wasn’t as predictable as that and I actually ended up only taking about half of those sessions. Reason being for that was, even though the massage therapist was a lovely woman, she didn’t stop talking throughout the session and answering her busy door! So that kind of put me off attending any more sessions with her but it certainly didn’t put me off wanting to realise my dream one day of becoming a massage therapist.
So, here I am. Combining my love of all things Indian and massage therapy.
Looking forward to the next course in four days time!
If you want to know about about the RasoVai courses and maybe attend one for yourself, then you can check them out there.