Thursday, 24 April 2014

Here comes the summer!

Hi there, so today is election day here in India. It's a national holiday so nearly everywhere here in AV is closed for the day. Always nice to have an extra day off!
Tomorrow is K's last day at school before the summer holidays, they are off until the 1st July. I have mixed feelings about the holidays as me and C are still expected to work so it will take a bit of juggling things around to make it work, as well as most of his friends being away in Europe for the duration. There will be a summer school starting for 3 days a week soon so perhaps he'll go there for some of the time as well as C's mum hopefully helping out.
A photo on display at K's Kindergarten from the Pongal celebrations in Jan:

C is currently working 3 jobs (with the mind to pick the 2 he likes best) so my time is limited in what I can do and when. It is important that I work during my newcomer period and I have so many options that it is a bit overwhelming. I'm currently helping out 2 mornings a week at one job, have another on the sidelines, and I had another offer a few days ago to help out for 6 weeks over the summer whilst someone goes back to Europe. I'm not good at making decisions at the best of times so am struggling to decide where I would be happiest/most useful as well as not wanting to let anybody down.
Just another day at the office - view of the Matrimandir from town hall where I've been working:
Other than that, the sun continues to beat down on us. We've been hearing murmers of water shortages due to the last couple of poor monsoons and already some communities have water restrictions in place. We're doing our best to minimise our water usage and to reuse as much as possible. We now shower with a bucket positioned under the stream to collect surplus water (baring in mind we all have 2-3 showers each a day in this heat). We save a couple of buckets a day like this and it really helps with things like washing the floors and watering the garden. I now rinse all the washing up in a bucket rather than have the tap running too which seems to help. It's nice to be conscious of these things.
We've also been making food from our own garden including sweet chilli sauce and pesto. We have such little access to processed foods that we've gone back to basics (processed food is actually more expensive here which seems to me to be the right way to do it). It's certainly more satisfying than getting stuff from the supermarket. Our local shop is a co-operative which sources most of it's product from local farms and the next town. It just takes a while to master each new recipe. Next on my list is lemon curd, kombucha and I'm having a go at making my own sprouts from green lentils. I also need to find a way of making a good veggie alternative to meat - no more Quorn products for us here. I do miss the convenience of having a freezer full of chips, fish, and veggie products but I'm certain we're healthier because of it too.
We got our first couple of cucumbers from our plant which were delicious. The plant is interesting in that it produces both male and female flowers, the female flowers having a swelling below it that will become a cucumber provided it's fertilised. As our plant is on the balcony, we're doing this by hand. It seems to produce more of one flower than the other at alternating times. We only have male flowers at the moment!


The papaya tree has several good sized green papayas on it. Will be very happy when we get to try one. Mango season has also started here. I got a couple the other day, small, yellow and fragrant. Nothing like the large green ones I've seen before in UK supermarkets. C says there's around 3 varieties grown locally. I can't wait to try them all and already have plans for mango based treats including this I found on Pinterest:
I'm also gathering things to start crafting again. I left all my crafty bits in the UK so have to start from scratch and now I am trying to focus on recycling waste to create things. Yet again, Pinterest is super for getting ideas. I have a nice idea for creating lotus flowers from pistachio shells and want to reuse drinks cans and bottles somehow, probably to create garden decorations, will be sure to show you as and when I get some things done.
Anyway, I think that's it for now. More soon,
Yours sweatily,


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