Archive for June, 2009

Weather, wildlife and transport report

June 22, 2009

The monsoon is supposedly under way; you could have fooled us. Actually the temperature has dropped from very hot to just hot, the sun is generally hidden and today we had a light shower. All in all it’s a lot more comfortable than a week ago.
The bulbul youngsters have been spotted so both have survived and are beginning to look like bulbuls sporting their crests and showing a little colour.
Life’s pretty good, despite Hari Enfield starting to throw oil around and the mechanic won’t see him for until next week despite having no business; his excuse is that it’s raining (it isn’t) and he hasn’t got enough cover to work on bikeswhen its raining (he has). We guess he wants a few days off.


Patience of Job

June 22, 2009

Ignore this blog. It’s just another gripe and putting it out makes us feel better!
We are trying to open a bank account, with the bank we’ve been with for over four years. We are trying to replace Alison’s joint credit card, which was cancelled due to an e-error, same bank. We’ve lost count of the number of visits we’ve made to the bank over these two matters; now the bank people are even coming to our flat for meetings. The bank people don’t seem to know what paperwork they require and always request another form or letter to be completed following what we think is a conclusive meeting. Papers get sent to HO in Bombay. There a clerk spots a spelling error ie Alsion Bale instead of Alison Bale and the papers are returned. Today our clerk at this end suggested we start again and fill in a new application form. Alsion (sic) told him to forget the whole thing, it wasn’t worth the sweat. We’d get a credit card elsewhere. The clerk has said that he’ll come round to the flat for another meeting; he can’t be seen to be the one who has lost the business. This was followed by a phone call from the guy setting up the new account, telling us that Bombay HO have a query!
Ho hum. It’s really getting our goat.

Customer Service

June 22, 2009

India is not generally big on customer service, so today Alison had a pleasant surprise from Tata Sky our TV programme and advertisement supplier. Alison had decided to take advantage of Tata Sky’s 12 months for the cost of 10 offer by paying up front. She duly lodged Rs 5,000/-. This evening a Tata Sky representative called her and suggested that for the same money she should have the Mega pack, which is worth about another Rs 1,000. They could have taken the money and kept mum; we wouldn’t have been any the wiser.
Thanks Tata Sky! We’ll grumble a little less about the adverts and maybe even take up Tata Sky Plus so that we can record what we want to watch and FF through the ads.

Bodge jobs

June 22, 2009

Our front door has been giving problems. Specifically, it’s reached the point where if you dead lock it you can’t get the key out, so you have to leave the lock on the first setting.

Martin’s first solution was to leave the problem until we got locked out, then fix it (how Indian).

After some pursuasion from Alison, he elected to take the lock cover off today. No wonder we’ve had problems – it looked as if some insect had been building behind it. Out came cardboard, candlewax, and pieces of wood. The lock has probably never fitted properly since it was first installed. After one (or more) bodge jobs it’s a wonder it was still in place at all.

Martin replaced a couple of missing screws (probably never put in in the first place), reassembled the lock including cardboard etc just in case they have some hitherto unforeseen purpose, and it’s working fine. At the moment.


June 11, 2009

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

Martin and Hari Enfield fell over a cliff. Not as dramatic as it sounds, as the ‘cliff’ was only a couple of metres high and the circumstances prevented damage to either. Our journey to work in Patnem had been completed and it was a case of parking the motorcycle at the edge of the track in as much shade as possible and out of the way of other track users. Hari Enfield is heavy and the track uneven to say the least. Having manouevred him into position, Martin dismounted catching his trouser leg on the foot peg, lost his balance and they both proceeded gently over the edge. Somehow they both remained upright, Hari’s frontwheel in the sand and Martin’s backside in a prickly shrub.

In India if any kind of accident happens a crowd will materialise out of thin air for better or, usually, worse. In this case for better as they were both soon hauled out of this undignified position and back up the ‘cliff’ where both wheels and feet could be planted firmly, or as firmly as possible, on the uneven ground.

Sorry! No picture of the accident available.

Party Frock

June 9, 2009

Party frock 2

Party frock 2

Party Frock 2009

Party Frock 2009

We thought you’d like the pictures of Alison in her new party frocks (salwar kameez) as it’s her birthday. Interesting that Tamaris and Samantha had purrchased birthday jewellry that exactly match both and this a few weeks before any decision about the new outfits had been taken. Good hit, girls!

In the background of one photo you will see a hideous block of flats with 15% of one wall painted. Again like many things in India it remains unfinished. We offer constant prayers to the gods that the owner(s) will get on with it but know that it certainly won’t be touched until October at the earliest.

We can only hazard a guess as to why the work was started with much gusto and then suddenly abandoned. It’s probably because the co-operative of owners and tenants voted only Rs x/- to the cost and this was as much labour and paint it would purchase.

Also in the background is the national tree, which comes into bloom as monsoon approaches.

Well! We’ve had a great day with a splendid party in honour of a friend’s sixtieth last kick it off. Martin’s turn in six days, but we’ll not show you him in his party frock… can’t have tongues wagging.

More Tales from The Office (2)

June 8, 2009

(We wrote part one a week ago)

Martin has since spoken to the bank manager twice about the missing joint credit card; once face to face and once on the phone. The clerk involved has made another visit to the flat and requested another piece of paper and will make yet another visit to collect same when we have it. We haven’t had any of the phone calls yet. Nobody can speed the system up.

In India, it seems, the replacing of lost documents, credit cards, etc. is an even longer-winded and painful exercise than obtaining the original.

(Vision of armies of ‘lost document’ clerks trying to get copies of documents they themselves have lost from another army of ‘lost documents lost by lost-document clerks’ and so on ad infinitum.)

More tales from The Office

June 7, 2009

Spelling error. You must do a new form.

Spelling error. You must do a new form.

Yesterday the bank called Alison to bring in one document so that she could get her joint credit card back. The original was cancelled after a power failure when sending a form over the internet required when the CC company was upgrading security. She applied for a replacement two months ago, re-filling the original form.

Alison checked with the account manager who had phoned that he really did need to see only one document and he said yes, the PAN card was all that was needful.
When she got there and waited 20 minutes for him to see her, he asked for details from four other documents and made her fill in the same form that she filled in two months ago. Then he said she would have to wait while they phoned both of us up to make sure we were who we said we were. We’ve been with this bank for more than three years! Come and live in India for a couple of years. Does wonders for one’s patience.

We are slowly getting to grips with the idea that all paperwork is scrutinised by at least three people and four times out of five will fail at one of the scrutinies. We accept that the majority of things have to be done at least twice, but remember well when one bank asked Alison to make six signatures so that a clerk was certain she was who she said she was, despite producing passports, driving licences etc.etc. The trust factor in India seems to be very low and we feel particularly towards foreigners in Goa.

June 5th Prediction

June 5, 2009

Some clever person predicted 5th June as start of monsoon. Certainly today Martin got a soaking when he biked back from Panjim after progressing another half kilo of paperwork for the Regisrar of Companies et al. The temperature dropped considerably when it rained but even then we sweated after a short walk. It’s the first serious rain since September 2008, in the last week we’ve had a few light showers, which only laid the dust for a few minutes before the wet dried away. So we hope that monsoon has started in earnest, but we’re not holding our breath.

More bul…….bul

June 5, 2009

Our uninvited guests have flown leaving a small gap in our lives. At daybreak on Wednesday both adults persuaded the bolder of the fledglings to take wing by offering but not giving food. The youngster impetuously launched himself from the window grill, wobbled and wavered, crashed into the wall and plummeted to the ground two stories down. The adults then spent the best part of an hour fending off a crow attack and manouevring the chick to the relative safety of next door’s entrance.

They then co-opted two other bulbuls into guard duty (we’d never seen them until then) while they returned to the nest and started the same procedure with the remaining chick. This little fellow(ess) was considerably more circumspect and after falling into the sink a couple of times and then trying to exit through the glass, spent a good few minutes contemplating the tree 20 feet away while exercising his wings. Then he was gone, direct into the tree with a perfect landing.

We have only seen one of them since and only hear them infrequently. They are welcome next year.