Archive for May, 2014

Up North day two – Leh here we come

May 17, 2014

Not sure if the following ever made it to publishing in June 2013. Anyway, we are going again soon, so it’s appropriate.


Made it on the 5.15am flight to Leh. Spectacular scenery over the Himalaya, right over the Rohtang La, worth the early start for the mountains at sunrise. Warm welcome at Leh airport and at our hotel. 360 degree mountains, a garden full of lilacs and irises, and Martin cannot keep up with the new birds.

But the best bit is the height. At 3,520 meters, Leh is into altitude sickness territory. So everyone keeps telling us to take complete rest. As if we needed any encouragement!

Here is the view from our balcony.

The mountains north of Leh

The mountains north of Leh


Weighing nylon twine.

May 17, 2014



A few years back Martin found a tangled long length of string on the beach at Colem, near Palolem. To wile away some time on a lazy Sunday he salvaged a good few yards of the stuff and because of its great quality has helped secure stuff more or less permanently. With the move of house the supply has gone, so it was time to go in search for more of the same.


Best advice, was to go to the Gandhi Market in Margao. Several likely shops were only selling cheap nylon rope (rots quickly) and all said that he should be looking for ‘cordon’ rope. The word string was not recognize and Martin was unable to ascertain the Konkanni word for it. Cordon rope is to be found at a shop in the old New Market, but cordon rope is hemp string and rope (rots quickly) and it’s the only type they sell.


Martin then went in search of the local commercial fishing shop and found it wasn’t where he’d last found it and no-one knew where it had moved to. So a trip to the new New Market only to find more cheap rope. The effort was abandoned for the day.


Next day it was needful to return to the old New Market and Martin immediately spotted the fishing shop. He’d only walked straight past it three times the previous day. Signage is a very weak point in India and  shops look the same whatever they are selling, stacked high with stuff in no particular order, anywhere just so long as there is space. Anyway, it then only took five minutes of discussion to find the right string (nylon twine is what the locals call it). To ascertain the cost involved scales and a calculator. One hundred and one rupees later and the prize was Martin’s. He’s got enough for his lifetime.

No photo of string but I like this one of a young langur – Orchha 2010.

High wire act in Orchha

High wire act in Orchha



Siesta at Porvorim

May 16, 2014

The photo was taken at lunchtime at our Porvorim Clinic about an hour north of home. We shifted to this very large flat in a gated community for the upper echelons of society after our Panjim clinic didn’t prove to be in an effective position and our partner in business, Minakshi, found the new place at cost effective rates. We travel there once a week and since the move business has picked up keeping this effort on the worthwhile list. Siesta

Magir. Pre-monsoon preparations.

May 13, 2014

It always seems that the Goan authorities and utility companies are totally unprepared for the annual monsoon season. If we had a monsoon in the UK, I’d guess that, as a rule, works would commence immediately the rain and wind subsided. Here in Goa there seems to be a sense of “Oh! It’s stopped. That’s good. Time to relax after all the problems of electricity, sewerage, roads falling to bits etc. We’ll think about repairing the damage magir. (Magir is a much used word in Goa and sort of means manana, tomorrow, later, perhaps, maybe, you’ll be lucky.) Then after about five months of fine weather all hell lets loose on the roads as the realization that there’s another monsoon on the way in about two months time and something really should be done.  These works never seem to reach fruition and the roads remain a patched up mess for another year. One main road out of Margao is now into its fifth year of sewerage improvements. It’s about half a mile.


Electricity is another problem pre-monsoon and monsoon . There has been a programme (well we think it might be a programme) to relocate the rickety overhead mains supply underground. Slow progress here and each time some of the cabling disappears under a road and sort of reinstatement of the road has taken place along comes the sewerage cum

Aethopyga siparaja vigorsii.

Aethopyga siparaja vigorsii.

drainage outfit and digs it all up again. At the first sniff of rain, the power goes on and off regularly, at the first puff of wind branches take the wires down and the power goes off again. Somehow or other the electricity bods seem to get through monsoon better than might be expected.


Well, monsoon is only a couple of weeks away so we are closely studying the local roads and learning where the major potholes are to try and avoid disappearing into one that will be heavily disguised as just a little puddle when the rain falls out of the sky. Happy motoring!

Photo is of Crimson Sunbird, a regular evening visitor. This race is specific to the Wes tern Ghats around Goa. Its scientific name certainly doesn’t do justice to its beauty.

Jumping Chicken

May 13, 2014

IMG_0205 After a couple of light showers late March, a storm rolled in and gave us solid rain for a couple of hours. We were able to sit outside and watch the spectacular with drinks in hand and listening to various rain-related songs over the roar from the storm, favourite being Weather with You by Crowded House. The garden looked very strange in the lightning being sharply defined but in monochrome.


As it eased and we were mopping up the flood in the bar, the sound of happy bullfrogs took over from the uproar. As last year, they came out of hibernation with the first heavy rain and we guess they are enjoying the start of the mating season. A difference from last year was that no cars loaded with frog hunters arrived and went away after a couple of hours with sackfuls of what is a local (illegal) delicacy known as Jumping Chicken. This was at Macazana our previous home for eighteen months before JCBs and lorries rolled in to turn the paddy fields and hillside into a wasteland, while they toiled away at a major project, which is unlikely ever to be completed. Ho hum, it’s India.

Duracell Bunny

May 13, 2014

IMG_0225After 6 months of relative sloth, in March Martin launched himself into the task of finding a new home and business premises. A week’s holiday in Nepal failed to slow him down and on exactly the right day our business continued uninterrupted at the new bungalow. We’d also moved in the majority of our stuff from our Macazana home.


Time for a rest? Not a bit of it. Business blossomed unexpectedly – we were thinking there would be a lull due to the move. Au contraire, new patients arrived and old patients who had stopped coming because of the hill climb to the college clinic re-appointed. This pattern has continued even after being there for five weeks.


Shortly after settling in, we fulfilled a pre-Xmas promise to our friends Norman and Carole who own a hotel not too far away (, to look after their animals while they were away. We shifted again and settled in to the life of out of season hoteliers.


This took the pressure off day-to-day household stuff at the new house. All meals are cooked, laundry and cleaning done by an able and willing staff. Time for Martin to slow down? No. He’s been fixing non-working bits and pieces in the new house, putting up kitchen and other shelves, sorting out minor plumbing problems, re-arranging electrics, running around after the panchayat  (village council) people trying to get a No Objection Certificate to run the business, fixing oil leaks on the Bullet, servicing the scooter and sorting boxes filled with seven years accumulation of papers  and other stuff. Plus he’s been out in the garden planting (right time of year, first rains and everything takes off pre-monsoon) and pressure washing the paint work which is suffering from a couple of years monsoon moss etc.


Alison said  all was unnecessary in such a short space of time and commented that he was behaving like a Duracell Bunny. No sign of the battery reaching the end of its life yet.

Susegad pic

May 12, 2014

2014-05-12 16.57.09

Lazy Monday afternoon and the VTOL beetle

May 12, 2014


Looking for survivors on a lazy Sunday afternoon

May 11, 2014

Some staff have gone on leave for four days for a wedding, so we have to fend for ourselves for a bit.

Off to lunch at our favourite restaurant, Cheryl’s Bar. Prawns Chilli Fry for Alison, Roast Buffalo Tongue for Martin, a decorative salad and the best chips in Goa and two pints of beer all for under a fiver. Not today though; for some undisclosed reason Clement has decided not to open. Martin reckons it’s a death in the family on the grounds that it seems a pretty common excuse for no-show patients this week. Alison plumps for why should he bother to open, it’s too damn’d hot.

Never mind! at double the cost we’ll eat at Nostalgia, probably the best Goan food restaurant in Goa. Yep! Open and top quality as usual plus a good Portuguese stout to wash it all down with. Back at the hotel for fresh brewed coffee and a snooze. 3.30pm and out into the sun for another couple of chapters of Catch 22(fifth reading) for Martin and some cooking in the cavernous kitchen for Alison.

Too hot for Martin so into the pool to cool. He’s got into the habit of scouring the waters for insects that have been caught out by a sudden downdraft or decided that flying is boring and swimming is a good alternative. Once ditched in the drink they don’t have an option but to drown. Lifeguard Martin rescues a one-legged grasshopper, a largish spider, two flying ants, a bronze coloured beetle and a purple dragonfly, plus four brown moths that turned out to be sycamore type seeds that had helicoptered into the water. Too much activity and its much easier to drift dozing drowsily in an inner tube until the arrival of a squabbling bunch of parakeets and then a troop of langurs hooting and crashing through the trees, which stirs the six dogs from their slumbers and they bark, destroying the delicious somnolence of the afternoon. Time for another chapter of Catch 22 as the sun starts to dip and things start to cool.

Hotelier again

May 4, 2014

Martin is now enjoying re-living his time as a hotelier in Padstow, Cornwall. Here in Goa at Casa Susegad, Loutolim ( the weather is considerably warmer and the last two nights have wrapped up in the wee hours in the pool, with beer and or wine. Warmer in than out, although its still about 25c out even at 2.00am. Not many guests but we had parties on Friday and Saturday, the latter celebratin Dr Will Thompson’s two years working with us at the clinic.

Will had done such a good job building the physiotherapy side of the business that we had unwittingly become a target for a takeover, not in the Western sense of the word but in the Indian sense. Although we lost the clinic rooms and some of the physio business we managed to establish ourselves in the Colva/Benaulim area and continued trading without a break, despite having only six weeks to make the transition. 

Anyway, Will had decided that his time in India had run out and planned his return to Europe and our top notch physiotherapist has almost got herself re-established in her ‘home’town of Vasco da Gama, Goa’s port city. Our receptionist Alancey has come with us and has a much easier time now we are back to a two man business.

SO the hotelier bit! We had promised our friends Norman and Carole back at Xmas before we knew of the end of our practice in Chowgule College that we would caretake their very pleasant hotel for six weeks over April/May/June. Fortunately there is a good set of people staffing the place and it’s the dog end of the season so not much trade about. We still run a clinic once a week in North Goa although we’ve shifted premises twice in the last year! Tomorrow being Monday, that’s where we are heading 7.15am. No guests tonight so an early night. 

Good night all!