‘Tis the season…..🎅

Well it’s been a while since I’ve had anything to share, we’ve been toddling along quietly. Trips to the beach have increased since the arrival of the ‘fat bird’ as she is affectionately referred to…along with quite a few other names depending on her behaviour 🐶

This is our first real Christmas away from home, yes we’ve been on holidays over Christmas in the usual all inclusive hotels, eating, drinking and being jolly! But first time in our little home in the sunshine away from family…well it makes it a lot cheaper 🤣

The first job was thinking about decs…not a massive fan of draping the house in garlands and tinsel well not since the ones we made when we were kids when you stick multiple pieces of coloured paper together and hung them everywhere and stuck as many baubles on the tree that you could in every colour available…yikes!! So yes you’ve guessed, another trip to the cosmopolitan town of Margao to hunt down some classy decorations 🤣🤣🤣

You have probably guessed by my need for alliteration that I also have the need for things to match…so in this cosmopolitan town of Margao will I be able to find anything that matched the house interior?…..hardly bloody likely! But hey we’ll give it a go! Pleasantly surprised there were pop up shops everywhere selling decorations…the likes I have never seen before, you would have to really like gawdy and plastic and lights in every colour twinkling in almost every way possible.

Me thinks I’m not going to have a successful shopping trip. Nothing for it but to venture into the New Market….heeeelp!!! Nope it doesn’t get any better there are some acceptable ones but way over priced….unfortunately we do encounter getting over charged for things so I enlisted the help of other shoppers but they were being charged the same….vow!!! Looks like Christmas may be cancelled unless I want a bauble 🤣. But hey there is light at the end of the tunnel….an orange star! That’s it then….Christmas decoration (singular) sorted and it matches the Fabindia furnishing! And at a whole RPS150 (£1.74) I’ll take two. By this time Mr L had enough and he was hangry and dreaming of Tarka dal so that was it…..we were out of there!

I think our friends with their Christmas tree and decs felt sorry for us and kindly loaned us twinkly lights which were wrapped around the bannister….it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 🎄 along with the Christmas card (singular again) we were set…just bring on the traditional dinner….curry🍛

Bring on New Year 😜

The wedding ❤️

No not ours!!! We have been invited to our first wedding in Goa…sooo excited 😜 oh, what to wear!!! One of the young guys who goes to the same gym regularly has invited us all to his wedding so we happily accepted. I’m just dying to see what it’s all like.

Well it’s at s place called ‘Blueberry Hill’…..mmmmm! Now that sounds ominous but hey let’s wait and see! The first biggie here is finding a wedding card, not difficult I hear you say it remember we don’t have branches of Hallmark, not even a ‘pound’ card shop! So yes it was another eventful trip to Margao to sample the delights of the one card shop I know exists. And as expected they have a massive selection of…..2 🤣. I bet they will get hundreds of the same card but I did pick the most expensive one so I might get lucky!

The night arrives, card signed and outfit sorted so time for us all to clamber into the fun bus Vera and we’re off. It’s not that difficult to find as it’s absolutely mahoooosive! You could probably see the amount of lights in this place from space, I’m worried as it’s so close to the airport that a pilot may mistake it for the landing strip✈️ . It’s beautifully decorated but there are hundreds of tables and chairs, surely they’re never going to fill this place???

Let’s get a drink and find an inconspicuous seat….bonus….there’s a free bar. We are in a great position right by the door, this has two advantages….we have the best seats to people watch and we can make a swift exit if we need to 😜 It’s still pretty quiet, the format with weddings here is that they don’t serve the food til late so that the guests stay…there seems to be a tradition of ‘eat and go’!!! But there starts a steady stream of guests…wow this place really is going to fill up. The outfits are amazing, don’t think I’ve seen so many shiny suits and satin dresses in my life…I am in awe!

The bride and groom arrive looking beautiful and the fun starts….they have an MC who can talk for India! OMG this man can talk….puleeeese! But it’s one of the toasts that take the biscuit!!! The groom is a serious footie player and this is brought up in the speech. But is saying that he is a ‘player’ really suitable…along with recommending he ‘stay fit’ for his marriage🤣🤣🤣 . The couple even have a ‘posh & becks’ stylie seating area along with thrones…but we are warned by the MC not to approach them as they want to rest and will accept wishes later…ok we will do as we are told!

Then comes the dancing…it’s so organised everyone is doing the two-step! I’m gobsmacked, can you imaging this at home? But it’s lovely to see, young and old all dancing to the tunes, but I start to wonder did they have lessons? But I notice the children doing it, maybe they learn at an early age. It’s just lovely to see how much they are enjoying it. Then they go disco wild!!!! Well we have ‘The Birdie Song’ and a bit of Boney-M….I’m waiting for ‘Ooops upside your head’ 🤣🤣🤣🤣. I am dumbfounded…not often silenced but tonight I am!!! I have never had so much fun people watching in my life. The guests all dance the same and I realise how formatted these occasions are, but hey everyone is having an amazing time, kids are being kids, they are not embarrassed at being dressed in suits and frilly dresses and spending time with family ❤️

And how we are impressed by the waiters….every time we empty a beer glass they automatically bring three full ones!!! Enough already 😳. We must look like beer swilling Brits!!

By 10.30 we realise it’s well past our bedtime and sure enough no food had been served…think they want us to stay longer. So we bid our farewell….to the best man as we are still not ‘allowed’ to approach the bride and groom and bundle back home in the fun bus 🚌

Until thenext one 👰

Pink Haired John Motson👩‍🎤

Wow….we have World Cup Football! Ok so it’s the U17 World Cup but hey ho ⚽️. So we really have to go, especially as Brazil are in the group playing at our local stadium. Let’s decide if we can afford it first…it is the World Cup you know! Oh…could be a stretch, the tickets are a whole RPS300 = £3.50 😳 I think we can stretch to that! Our Indian bank has just sent our debit card…well one for Mr L, I am a woman you know, I am not entitled to one! It has only taken about 6 weeks, mainly because they thought it would be a great idea to send them to our UK address…..really! Why when we are living here would we need our bank cards in the UK….welcome to India 🤣. So it would have been great If we could have paid online….no! Because it’ll take another 6 weeks for them to sort out the online banking 😳

So it’s off to the box office….well it’s a hole in a concrete wall that you have to bend down to speak to the person inside! But it was all relatively easy and we’re all booked….yippee! And we’re off…we arrive to touts selling Brazil shirts for a whopping RPS100 about £1.50, do you think this will survive one wash??? The security looks pretty good, men through one entrance and women in another….’no sorry madam you cannot take your small shoulder bag inside’…..what? But our car is miles away and how am I supposed to carry all my ‘lady essentials’? She was adamant….and then I noticed the sign ‘Baggage screening area’….so can you explain why you have a baggage screening area if you’re not allowed a bag??? Oh go on through then….eh! Really that easy, was it a security check check….see if they notice the sign…if they do they’ve passed the test! 🤣

So eventually a smooth passage and to be honest it seemed pretty organised, huge police presence, armed officers everywhere, although pretty relaxed compared to what we are used to. And there were proper seats, think we were expecting concrete bleachers but no, we were pleasantly surprised. So we’re comfy and there are popcorn/food/ drink sellers everywhere….that’s until you want a drink and if course they’re nowhere to be seen😳

But we have pretty good seats and the stadium is not too full. Lots of groups of children, all wearing their RPS100 Brazil tops, there are Nehmar Jnr’s everywhere!!! But are they having a ball, they are chanting and singing and enjoying every moment. We think we’re doing well with no-one in front of us so we’re set….nah! But hey the seats are well set apart so they don’t obstruct us, although I have Mr Tall Man in front of me….🤓The others don’t have anyone….why me 😭😭and then it changes, oh it’s only dad, mum and little lad…no problem. So Janey gets dad in front of her….not as bad as Mr Tall Man……..until he lifts his arm!!!!! Noooooooo!!!!! Janey has Mr Extreme BO Man right in front of her 🤢 and to top it all his arms are up in the air more than Ryan Giggs’ ever where with his constant appeals….little lad was bored after 5 mins and a handful. Someone get Janey a gas mask and Mr Extreme BO a spray of Right Guard!!! The only reprieve she got was when bored child escaped and he had to go find him!!!

It is all exciting as Brazil score twice in pretty quick succession….are these guys really under 17???? No 17 year olds looked like that when I was 17….they were all puny, spotty and smelly!!! The game was pretty much quiet after that…..oh except for the pink haired Geordie expert analyst sitting next to me shouting instructions 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 she managed to turn the locals heads and keep me amused and awake….I mean it was after 9pm and well after my bed time😴 

Bring on the quarter finals……..

Nutter from the Gutter…

So Chubba arrived safely and bless her she was itching, hungry and very quiet. Was really heartbreaking to see such a lovely dog in such a state. Her legs and her tail were in a terrible state, red raw from the mange and she continually scratched but we knew once the medication started to kick in she would start to heal.
The first morning she was so hungry she wolfed the food down, tablets and all and then it was time for her massage with saffron oil. We sat outside and she was quite docile, it must have hurt so much on her wounds but she just licked my hand, not sure if it was because it hurt and she was gently telling me or it was her appreciation. Even her pads on her paws were hard and sore 😢. Gentle little walks around the estate were in order, it would appear she’d never been walked, she was quite weak and probably due to lack on nutrition she had very low energy levels.

 Little by little she began to find her confidence….from not moving from the front porch she started venturing into the front garden and looking around. She was enjoying both food and her excercise. It’s like dealing with a big overgrown puppy 🐶 She had no idea how to act….the only thing Mr L realised very quickly after 30 years of handling and training dogs was that she ‘was thick’ as he so eloquently put it 😳and gave her the nickname ‘Nutter from the Gutter’

But that is her charm….so time to show her how to play 🤣🤣🤣🤣 yes it gave us the biggest belly laugh we had ever had! Mr L got her rope toy and tried ragging it with her…legs going everywhere she jumped around him wondering what she should do. If he threw it she didn’t have the concentration to look where it went or the common sense to realise she had to fetch. But boy did she have sooooo much fun and who cares if she doesn’t really know what to do….she is happy just playing her own game. 

Oh and she’s now worked out she doesn’t really like the tablets…they now have to be wrapped in a chunk of butter before she will even consider taking them! But she’s turning into the most loving and affectionate dog you could hope for 🐶❤️

And today she made me realise she’s not ‘thick, she’s worked out that if she’s blocked from the front balcony when you’re mopping the floors she just takes the shortcut through the back door bringing with her huge muddy paws…..

I blame Bobby Brown….

So it all started like a normal day….normal…us???? Here???? Up and out at  ’em before 7pm for our daily gym workout. Can’t say I had much enthusiasm but to be honest but as soon as I arrived and seen the smiling faces of the ladies who have joined in every day for a circuit workout it changed my mood. They have so much enthusiasm and want to do it…I tease them that they are going to be the poster girls for the gym😜 And the improvement in them is a joy to see.

It was feeding time for the dogs at the beach and along with our fab friends pack we went for our daily walk….along with the beach pack…we have around 15-20 dogs with us. Think people believe we are the crazy foreign dog people 🤣. We had noticed one of the males ‘Bobby Brown’ limping over the last week or so but to be honest as beach dogs they do suffer minor injuries and they heal naturally….along with the fact that he had been out chasing the girls over the last few weeks so who knows where he had got to!!!! He is such a loveable tart that when he came for a fuss I noticed a large swelling, looked like a claw had come out and was now infected….🐶😢

‘Nothing else for it’ Aunty Janey decided….off to the vet ‘and while you’re there we’ll get yer knackers off’!!!!! ‘Yikes’ he must be thinking ‘I’ve only got a sore foot and you’re going to chop me balls off….surely that’s a bit extreme!!!!!’🤣🤣🤣

The good lad he was he happy came to the shelter and thought he’d died and gone to heaven when they immediately gave him chicken and rice!! Then I seen her…..she looked like a lab puppy, she was obviously under nourished and covered in mange, but she came lolling up to us…don’t think she had the energy to run. She was so loving, I looked at Mr L who tried his hardest just to ignore her….’no we’re not having a dog’ he announced 😢But she did tug on the heart strings. So off we went to get brekkie….halfway through he said we needed to find out if she was available for adoption….pick me up off the floor!!!!!

So off we went back to see her…we asked her history…she had been found at the rubbish dump four days previously! She must have been a pet because of her temperament…she’d obviously got a skin infection that the owner didn’t want to deal with so dumped her. ‘Oh no!’ I hear…unfortunately this is not uncommon here and is heartbreaking 💔…so how old was she? ‘Oh she’s old’ the vet said…’probably between 11-12 years old’. Eh???? ‘Well I’ve not seen her before so I’m guessing’ at which point I became so emotional thinking he’d never agree to an old dog…so we asked her to check ‘oh between 1-2 years old’ eh again????? But Mr L was having her regardless…

She was available….she could come home with us, they said she would recover much better away from the shelter. She was immediately named….Chubba 🐶❤️ and we loved her. So straight to the pet shop….well she needed all the comforts a fur baby deserves. Then to the vet….who was amazing! She spent a good 40 minutes checking her out, she is about 4-5 years old….phew!!!! So off home after spending a whole £14 with medication….and shampoo and she hummed 😷. We decided just to let her settle for the night and get used to her surroundings, well it had been a stressful day! Bring on the party across the road…..bangers…fireworks….the lot!!! Great she must have been thinking ‘whaaaaat????’

But she settled and woke up wagging her tail in the morning 😃, so bathed, oil rubbed in and tablets hidden in minced beef she thinks she’s in heaven 😇. Mr L as he does wants her to be a good pup so is starting with gentle commands but she’s not really listening….yikes she only barks Indian 🤣🤣🤣

So we now have a new love ❤️ in our life……and I blame Bobby Brown!!!! Thanks Bobby Brown 😘😘😘

The Notary…..😳

So it seems like we’ve spent a small fortune on the new place….along with the stress and the mess that comes with doing work on your house here! The numerous phone calls trying to firstly get workmen here and the laughter when you ask them to come look at the work for a quote and they reply ‘okay, okay….3pm’ but I haven’t told you where I live yet!!! Only for them to hang up! Where on earth they will turn up at 3pm is beyond me 😳

So I guess we really need to sign a rental agreement….that may help! To get anything here it’s all paperwork…so to buy a car, open a bank account etc you have to pay to produce the relevant documents. Wherever you go it’s something different, I think they make it up as they go along. So the first and most important is a rental agreement to prove residence address….although some have then requested you get a signed affidavit saying you live at the address!!! Eh! But I have just signed a rental agreement which has been stamped by a Notary…you want me to swear I live there too??? 😳

So it’s off the the Notary at 9am….great we have an appointment to do it….yippee! Not!!!! We arrive at a tiny back street ‘office’ this place looks like something out of the 1970’s… There are two ladies siting at a tiny table stamping bits of paper….there is a man on a computer the size of which I didn’t think existed anymore, they are surrounded by boxes and books!! Oh and about 20 people who have squeezed into this tiny space and keep coming!! I have to admit at this stage we were in awe that there was even a computer and something at least appeared to be computerised 🤣🤣

One thing here is that there is no such thing a forming an orderly queue…nope you just walk in and go straight to the front….something I was quite shocked at when we first arrived and swore I wouldn’t do it…..oh yes I will!!! 

So the girls start stamping the agreement which makes me reminisce…when I was a child….many years ago I always wanted to work in a Post Office because I liked the idea of stamping bits of paper….maybe they had the same dream 🙄….and career aspirations! Then we need to sign…..OMG how many times?? It seems like you have to sign and then sign to confirm you have signed!! All along more people are trying to squeeze into this tiny space! So eventually we make it from signing to the man himself….The Notary! Although at this time we have been squigged to a corner by the door and he is yelling across the room, we just nod! He then deals with someone’s driving licence at the same time…and they say men can’t multi-task 😃

We go for the best option now…wait outside and I’m sure someone will hand us the much needed document when it’s stamped, signed and signed again!! Yep after a seemingly painless experience 🤣🤣 we have it! Surely nothing can get worse than this??

Now we’re off to open a bank account 😳😳😳

There’s a hole in my bucket…..

The house move was successful…after living in an apartment for 3 weeks we realised this is not a long term solution. There were many factors….the noise from the neighbours downstairs who didn’t seem to have volume control….well except silent and very loud. We would lie in bed in the morning and open the door to the balcony to then be wafted by the smell of fish cooking on the open fire directly below!! It was also on honk corner….yes every bike and car would honk their horn when passing!! Enough…..

So we have a lovely house on a quiet estate, but we still need to make it ours 🏡. So the first thing was down with the wall….there was a very dark wall divider/display cabinet that so had to go! Relatively easy, 2 men, 2 hours £40….we drank tea! Then there was the quick trip to Fabindia for a bed throw which resulted in a £600 shopping spree!!!! Yikes!

But the most important part was to get the attractive lilac walls painted white…..bring on the decorators 🎨. They arrive in a Tata van….how many? One after the other they exit the van! Ok so won’t take long then? Now you have to realise Indian decorators work completely differently….no proper ladders, no overalls, they don’t stand humming and ha-ing at every little thing. So let’s get the paint mixed, using mans best tool…..his right hand 🤚 

As we sit there we notice the paint dripping as he walks through the house…..STOP! So he puts it on the floor while he goes to get his mate from upstairs for advice 😳 He then wipes the rim and he’s off again….STOP! There’s a hole in the bottom of the bucket….off for his mate again….teamwork! While his mate places his finger over the hole they manage to get it back outside leaving a nice big pool of paint 🎨 yikes!!!!

Not only do they not have overalls etc they’ve never heard of health and safety! Yes one balances precariously on a set of ladders to paint the two storey high walls! What could possibly go wrong! So they put the primer on and only then decided to do the filler…then wondered why they couldn’t get on with the painting….with the watered down paint!!!

‘Two days work’…..we are now on day three……..save me😳😳

Back to the gym ðŸ˜³

Well we’ve decided to bite the bullet and go back to the gym!!! The first problem is…where are the gyms!!! The second….what on earth will they be like!! By the look of things they are probably not the most popular places to visit. I mean to be honest, no-one even walks anywhere here….I think we have become renowned as ‘those strange foreigners who walk everywhere’ 😜

But our friends are members of one so they take us there….I’m pleasantly surprised! It’s not quite the gym/spa we were used to at home…no hydro therapy pool, sauna or steam room but there are weights and treadmills! And all for the grand sum of £20 a month for both of us…a saving of around £100 a month! Who needs a sauna….I’ll just douse myself down and sit in the sun, that’ll be just as good won’t it???

So we’re off….7am what!! Yep they all agree let’s get there early and get it done…yikes!!!! Really! So I drag my flabby backside out of bed at 6.20, is there really a need for this when there’s a whole day ahead of you 😳But positive head on, let’s do it. Am even more surprised when we arrive and it’s busy….say what! And there’s a good mix, young, old, male and female, I’m impressed. Well in my old age I’m suffering, I’ve got a pinched nerve in my shoulder and have buggered up my Achilles by walking 8 miles a day on the beach….what can I do! Abs it is then, well I do need to get my jelly belly ready for the bikini season 👙

So I grab Janey and some mats and weights and we’re off. Mmmmm…..this is ok even though I haven’t done anything for 2 months this seems relatively easy peasy. I do a pretty intense workout along with some sumo squats….whoop whoop! Now time for Masala Dosa for brekkie….well I have earned it.

Yes you’ve guessed…..I wake up the next morning like a cripple! I can’t move my stomach and have to physically lift my legs off the bed to move them! What did I do!!! But off we go again! And I arrive to the smiling face of Rafa….the ladies are waiting for you!! Eeek…..me? Yes they’d like you to show them your abs workout….ouch!!! So I now have a class of little old ladies, well they are actually younger than me but hey! So the three of us line up on our mats and I start…oh I do worry because they don’t look like they do much and work if you know what I mean and I certainly don’t want them to feel the way I did this morning!!! But bless them they are determined and when I walk in the next day they they are with 5kg weights doing Russian twists….go girls!!!! And as the week goes by I’m getting approached by more girls….’can we do abs with you’ then it dawns on me…they think I know what I’m doing! Yikes it’s the only thing I can do at the moment because I hurt everywhere else 😳. But hey…..I’ll do and workout in exchange for a curry 🍛…..maybe by the end of it I’ll progress to biryani 😜

SOS…..Send Out Shorts 

Apart from my hand luggage which consisted of about 15 pairs of flip flops….of which I have to admit I have only worn 2-3 pairs I packed excellently for this adventure……NOT!!! Well I packed for a holiday….it is like a long holiday isn’t it???? NOT!!!
When you go on holiday you always like to look lovely don’t you? You need your nice clothes, sparkly tops, summer dresses, flowing maxi dresses….don’t you??? I gave up all this space in my suitcase for what? As I sit here I can count around 10 of such floaty, sparkly, summer dresses 😍….have I worn any of them??? Of course not! We have come to Goa in monsoon…..I need wellies!!
So what am I wearing….I alternate between the 3 pairs of shorts I brought thinking I’d rarely wear them. And as I’m spending so much time around dogs….especially when you’re chasing a beach dog who has been darted twice around the beach for 2 hours trying to catch him, and all the time he knows he’s getting his knackers cut off so isn’t giving up…you get through those beloved shorts in one day! 
I almost wish I had an old twin tub like my mum had….even a bloody mangle would do! I wash, hang them out and pray they will dry or I’m putting them back on wet!!! Buy some I hear you say! ‘Don’t pack anything….buy it when you get there’ as one friend said…..you know who you are Nicky!!!! Ha ha…..if you could just see the choice🤣🤣🤣. The stalls that are open (about 3) have a wonderful selection of quality made garments….the kind that fall apart on the first wash, well they are intended for holiday makers so they should fall to pieces once they get home❤️
So it’s SOS shorts….I rummaged through Sandies wardrobe for her cast-off’s….whoop whoop! Now the SOS has gone back to the UK….Send Out Shorts!!! I have whatsapp’d friends….please go buy me shorts! My sister is on the case…..I’ve ordered online to be mailed to me. So if anyone is feeling sorry for me in my time of need….Send Out Shorts! Well at least til I get to Bangkok and buy some quality garments there 🤣🤣

A bit of rain ☔️ 

So we arrived in May….monsoon season we were told 😫, we struggled through! No rain….it was very hot and at times we thought that a bit of rain would be nice. Not very often though! Not every visitor even realised it was monsoon season, our 5* friends just thought they had been lucky and it was quiet. When you think back those with no idea must have thought places like Patnem were idyllic….three beach shacks open and about 10 people on the beach. What a find! An undiscovered gem!! What a shock they would have if the came back in season to find 50 shacks and hundreds of Russian bellys hanging out 😳

June was about the same, it had cooled down but the weather was glorious. Long walks on the beach (which have now knackered my Achilles) chilling out with a cold beer whilst topping up my tan! I could manage this monsoon season malarkey 😜. What are people moaning about?

Yep…..July hit! It’s not stopped bloody raining for days! Every time you walk out the door you get soaked, then it takes days to get your clothes dry due to the humidity. And when it hits boy it hits. You feel the wind getting up and you know bam you’re in for it. Trees come down, friends have just lost their car when a tree has wiped out the front end of their car….where we had parked a couple of days earlier 😳 It’s so hard it’s almost like hailstones….and never seems to stop! People cover the outside of their houses with plastic sheeting to stop flooding in the house.

So when I go into FB and there are posts about a storm at home I chuckle….it’s like the that here every day. I can imagine the houses in Rhyl with yellow plastic sheeting outside 🤣🤣🤣 But people get on with it, they just double up on the scooter so the passenger can hold the brolly 🌂 …..and yes we have invested in a brolly! Not quite got myself into one of their full length plastic macs adorned with flowers yet!

So guys I need help….can someone please send me some more shorts as all mine are sitting on the line trying to dry….but most importantly I need sone fake tan!!!