Wednesday, 20 May 2009

It's Raining!

It's 10:30 at night here and it's been peeing down for the last few hours. Excellent! I mean it - there's been so little rain recently that everything has been looking a little jaded. And I've been a bit concerned that wells will start to dry up. Forecasters have been saying that the monsoon will be early this year so perhaps this is the start of it. There have also been some winds which is quite unusual. Unlike back in the UK where it can be calm one day and blowing a gale the next, here the weather seems to change only slowly.

Yesterday morning I traipsed up to the school to give some computer tuition to the workshop staff only to find the school gates shut because of a local strike over the police shooting and killing six people in a village nearby (!). Many more injured and about 1000 arrested (!!) if you believe the newspapers. Today I traipsed up again and found it all open but no power... waited about for an hour and then wandered back home. Frustrating, but I'm learning not to let it get to me. Think my sanity is almost intact!

In answer to a question from my old mate Mark, these days there are no geckos in the toilet pan - in fact there's very little wildlife in my house now. The occasional large spider or cockroach beetle but that's about it. I think that just inhabiting the house and keeping it reasonably clean is keeping them under control. However, I was visited by a cat recently in the night. That's one of the problems of leaving windows slightly open - cats here are very opportunistic, particularly as no one feeds them.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Grumpy Night!

There was a long power cut last night, from about 6pm. The electricity stuttered on and off for a bit - for a while the voltage was enough to turn the ceiling fan very slowly but not enough to light the fluorescent strip lights. I measured the temperature at about 8pm - it was 33C! Don't know what the humidity was but it felt high. There are not many mosquitoes around at this time of year but enough to give me a few annoying bites on my ankles such that I scratch them til they're red raw. But the heat also gives me prickles on my back and they have to be scratched vigoroously too! They're usually inaccessible without a tool like a ruler or a spatula or a pen or a spoon or... well anything, really! They just have to be itched, and NOW!

So no power... no fans, no lights, no internet. My emergency lamp gave light for about 45mins before it gave out, then it was down to candles. Fortunately I had three but they were skinny ones and burned quickly. It all put me in a bad mood but I tried to remain calm by reading "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" by Mohsin Hamid - excellent! Then the girl from next door burst in and yelled, as she usually does, "can I come in??". I said "no" but she came in anyway. Then I had to say that when I say "no" I mean "no", and sent her away. Trouble is, I'm not very consistent with this ruling :-( I guess she just wanted something to do, and I was to be her amusement, but I was feeling an old grump!

At about 9:30 I went to bed, read a bit and then tried to get to sleep. But the neighbours were all sitting outside, chatting. In fact they don't so much chat as shout at each other, and at people passing the gates, and with people down the road. Noisy!

Then we had five minutes of rain! Amazing, I couldn't believe it - the first rain for months! Perhaps a portent of things to come - I have heard that the monsoon has already reached the Andaman Islands (a few thousand km East of here) and should arrive here early this year. We'll see. On average, if there's such a thing where weather is concerned, the monsoon comes around 1st June, which is probably why most schools go back then. Anyway, we had a little rain and I don't know if it was connected but mozzies started buzzing around my ears. I tried pulling a sheet over me but I was sweating so much that it soon became wet and I couldn't breathe. So it had to come off again and I lay there for a bit, swatting at things I couldn't see and getting annoyed. I lit the remaining bit of my last candle in the hope that the mozzies would fry on that, and lit one of those insecticide coil things - which only served to make the air even less breathable!

I struggled on in this way until 3am when the power returned and I was able to put the fan on MAX. Thank God! I managed to get off to sleep at last but was awake at 5:45am with the cocks crowing, goats bleating, people shouting, horns tooting. No temple music though!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Sleepy Puppy and Sardines

Today I held a puppy little bigger than my hand, and so tired that he fell asleep in it! He can't have been more than a couple of weeks old and is the new pet of Renjith and Sourinineya, the kids up the road. Cute!

(Postscript: This is a photo of the children and the dog, when he is two months old.)
Last week I went with the SISP children to the beach in SISP's bus. It has a seating capacity of 20. I counted 47 heads and there were probably a few that I missed! Going to the beach was fine - if there'd been an accident one of the kids would have cushioned me! On the way back though I was right at the front. We had to do a bit of a rapid stop and I felt the weight of all those bodies pushing me towards the windscreen... Maybe just as well the brakes don't work too well :-)

Today was the start of the exams at SISP. It was noticeably quieter - not only were they not so vocal but also fewer turned up! I had four hours of computer exams in total. It was rather disappointing to find that many had forgotten the stuff I'd taught them only a few weeks ago and revised too. I had worried that today's exams would be too easy but they obviously weren't.

For the last few nights it has been swelteringly hot and humid. I've had little sleep and then I got a bad throat, a headache and a bit of a cold. I felt knackered at school today. Trouble is, if I open the windows at night then bugs come in. I have the fan on but with the windows closed it seems to just get hotter and hotter. I need to get some netting for one or two of the windows I reckon, and open them.