This blog entry is very late as we packed a lot of things into about three weeks - after which things got busy!
A ten day stay in Selsey gave us the chance to do some catching up with friends (something we seem to do a lot of!). Although it was November the south coast sunshine can usually be relied on and one jaunt in the sunshine was just along to the next coastal village to see friends Alan and Kim. Always good to spend the day with them – at lunchtime we sauntered down to the village pub for lunch with their friend Jane.
Next it was a very belated catch-up when friend (and superb professional photographer) Nick came along from Brighton for a short stay.
One little trip out with him was to one of our favourite spots at Bosham on the edge of Chichester Harbour. Bosham is famous for it’s daily intrusion by the tide. A good part of the village has it’s comings and goings very much affected by the sea.
With jobs done and friends caught up with in Selsey, it was back up to Manchester for another round of jobs to do and friends to catch up with. On the journey, however, we stopped for the most special meet up of all – with the kids!! We met at the Freke Arms outside Highworth for, what really was, a six birthday celebration and Christmas and New Year all in one. James, Vicki with Ian, Doug, then Frances with Kel. One can’t put into words what “the kids” mean to us so we’ll leave it at that.
Back in Manchester the partying started immediately. Soon after we got back an old friend Andy (well not that old!) came up with his partner Jimmy for a the week end. It had been many years since Andy’s last visit to Manchester and Jimmy had never been so the city had to be explored and various venues and haunts enjoyed.
Not to be left out of our social events and meet-ups with friends and family(hardly ever!) was our friend Cris. This was “Via” in Canal Street and Andy and Jimmy were behind the camera.
Apart from seeing the city on foot Manchester has the 47 story Beetham Tower with it’s Cloud 23 public bar and viewing area (on the 23rd floor funnily enough!). That’s it sticking out half way up.
Here’s Jimmy, Andy and Doug enjoying cocktails and the view.
This is an early evening view from Cloud 23 showing Deansgate running up towards the Cathedral.
Friends Pam and Geoff came over from their home in the Lake District for the last get together we’ll have until the end of March 2018 when we meet up again in a totally different part of the world. Its a very long tradition (almost 5 months now!) that when friends come to Manchester we enjoy a bottle of bubbly, or two, as a nice start to the day. Actually, it’s only two sets of friends (and the others know who they are!) and in this case we plumped for G&Ts with bubbly for later in the day.
Well, later in the day came and we didn’t get time for bubbly so we went for cocktails at Cloud 23 in the Beetham Tower. As evening set in the glass tables lit up to give James and Geoff the ‘limelight’ touch ……..
………. and Pam and Doug a sort of …… well, not sure really!
As the sun set and the city lights came on there was time for one more cocktail before our evening date ……..
……. which was a Champagne reception at Whitewall Galleries in the presence of our favourite artist, Fabian Perez. He does a UK tour every year and it was fortuitous that we could take up our invitation to his Manchester appearance. We had a few brief moments with him and, although we’ve met him in other years in different cities, it was in Whitewall Galleries, Manchester that we purchased our first work by him.
Doug’s friend Nick, who he’s known for nearly forty years, had a brief slot in his busy life and came to stay for a couple of nights. We decided to take him Blackpool to see the lights and the “Funny Girls’” Christmas show. It happened also to be the same night that “Strictly Come Dancing” had it’s Blackpool highlight show but they didn’t send us an invitation! As we’ve said before, and will probably say many times in the future, Cris likes to partake in all things enjoyable so here he is again with Doug (on tippy toes!) and Nick.
Nick’s a keen biker (and an airline pilot) and James is also a keen biker (in mind only!) – it’s been so long now he can’t even claim to be ‘between bikes’. So, when the road racing machines presented themselves in the arcade they had to have a competition. No prizes for guessing who won!
After an early dinner, and racing pretend bikes, we all headed for a guaranteed evening of great entertainment at Funny Girls. Nick, Doug (no he’s not drunk), Cris and James.
It was a terrific Christmas atmosphere and we even had a snow shower for authenticity.
Time was beginning to get short by now and we’d managed to achieve what we needed to do in Manchester so, after a last late night cabaret show, we packed the car and headed south through the night, arriving in Selsey at 4 in the morning! With just three days before our departure to India we managed a rare evening out on the Selsey scene – visiting the incredibly popular little Micro Pub in the High Street (only opened this summer). By chance, we met up with James and Liz and had the most terrific evening with them.
Having broken the last journey to Manchester to meet up with “the kids” we now had the chance to meet up with Doug’s parents. They were spending time on the Isle of Wight so we took the car across on the ferry and spent a really enjoyable day with them, and in the nick of time too, as the next day was our flight to India. Here’s Derek, Doug and Vilma.
After leaving Doug’s parents we popped in to see our dear friend Jonathan, who lives on the island. Usually we meet somewhere on “the north island” (as he calls the mainland) during his frequent business trips. You can tell this is a selfie – James hasn’t quite got rid of that selfie face!
After a great flight with Jet Airways, arriving in Mumbai and a connecting flight to Goa, our taxi driver and friend Joaquim met us at the airport. We were then met at the apartment we’re renting for three months in Candolim by Muz, the owner, who so very kindly presented us with two baskets of fresh fruit and got us settled in.
The next day we travelled over to Muz’s house, where we met his charming family, ………..
……….. had some delicious traditional Indian food with them and then collected a scooter, which Muz had arranged for us to hire for our stay.
Back in Candolim it wasn’t very long before we started to meet up with our local friends. Two of whom are the lovely Bobby and Rebecca who got married earlier this year.
The next day, with scooter at the ready, we headed off to Panjim (Goa’s capital) with friend Manju to help us with the shopping. Although Muz had kindly stored a number of boxes of belongings for us there was still quite a lot that (Doug) needed to make the apartment our home for three months. Here’s Manju on his bike in the foreground (anything on two wheels is called a bike) and James just in front, getting the ferry across the Panjim River.
With most of the shopping done we headed for some lunch before the trip back to Candolim. James is not really harassed it’s Doug not waiting a second longer to take the picture!
That evening, as a thank you to Manju for helping with the shopping and finding shops which we hadn’t used before, we took him for dinner at Raju’s Happy Shed very close to our apartment and a very nice venue.
Manju doesn’t drink alcohol often but, as this was a rare day off from both his intense college studies and evening / night time work in a local bar, he indulged in a Mojito. His expression tells everything!
There are some wonderfully rural and tranquil parts of India but the road system generally isn’t one of them! We love riding our bike and it’s quite safe (fingers crossed) as long as you drive the Indian way and not the English way. Traffic jams such as this one on a junction going to Panjim which was locked solid with no promise of movement until someone started to intervene are rare ………
……. but this is fairly normal.
And this – getting on and off the Panjim ferry!
This a rare occasion when there’s enough room to turn your bike round on the ferry before it gets too full. If you don’t then you become part of the chaos during the unloading ceremony where you’re trying to turn round with everyone else!
The past pic, should go to Manju who’s so looking forward to other friends coming out to join us during our stay.