Archive for December, 2012

Tiger country

December 29, 2012

It may come as a surprise to our new landlord, but we’re living in Tiger country. We have seen more than 20 tigers up close in these last few weeks, and all of them up in the air. Of course they’re not the stripey kind, with paws; but the type that has wings and is classified as a butterfly. We have seen Striped, Plain, Blue and Glassy Tigers. ‘Twitcher Bale’ can now advise everyone that there are ninety known types of butterfly in Goa, and he has already logged 11 of them.

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Under the flight path

December 28, 2012

One of the many upsides of our new home is the flight path.

No, not the Heathrow variety, or even the Dabolim (Goa airport) style, although we do

Pallid Harrier, sighted over our house Christmas 2012

Pallid Harrier, sighted over our house Christmas 2012

see the occasional plane dropping down into Goa, we cannot often hear them.

No, we’re under a bird flight path. Not sure if it’s a migratory path but we see flocks of birds going either north or south, particularly morning and evening. Last night it was V-formation of Ibis. This morning two flocks of Eurasian Widgeon.  Christmas has yielded a Pallid Harrier and a red-crested woodpecker. We have lots of bulbuls and bee eaters. While the water-oriented birds provide much of the morning and evening entertainment, daytime is left to the swallows and various kites and eagles.

Yes! Martin is twitching, having logged over seventy species since arriving in India.

Christmas in Goa – first, catch your coconut

December 25, 2012
Dennis' Christmas Star 2012

Dennis’ Christmas Star 2012

We are preparing a vegetarian Christmas dinner for Maggie and Mal (Martin’s sister and brother in law). Alison is cooking beetroot, while Martin has been despatched to the back terrace to crack and shell a fresh coconut (we now get our own supply from the trees in the garden).

‘Oh b****r’ from Martin outside. Alison wanders out to find that, in dealing with the said nut, Martin has tipped a large piece over the edge of the terrace onto the corrugated roof of the downstairs storage area. Several attempts to reach it with one of Little Ted’s long handled brooms merely serve to push it further out of reach.

Phase one of Operation Retrieve Coconut involves Martin climbing part way up the stairs to the top terrace, for better reach. When unsuccessful, phase two involves him climbing over the balustrade and balancing precariously off the side of the house without touching the roof below. Phase three involves a cautious step onto the corrugated roof. Cautious because we were not sure it would support his weight (and it’s made in India, therefore not entirely trustworthy).

Curtorim Church Christmas 2012

Curtorim Church Christmas 2012

Finally successful in pitching the coconut piece off onto the ground below, Martin then climbed relatively gracefully back off the roof, up the balustrade and returned to the safety of the terrace, all without losing his lunghi. And we retrieved the coconut before the local pigs, water buffalo or dogs got to it.

I don’t remember cooking Christmas lunch in the UK being quite this stimulating. Happy Christmas, everyone.