After whining so about the cold, I should give you an update:
We don’t have a thermometer, but other staff who do, say their house is upper 50’s inside when it’s lower 50″s outside. I ordered massive quantities of wood to be sure we can get through the winter holidays – five quintles total (500kg). Some of it is wet enough to grow mold. Sigh. We’ve been able to have a good fire a couple of times, but last night, the wood wouldn’t light. (We each won one round of Settlers.) On our trip to the buzz yesterday (ruined a perfectly good Saturday by spending it shopping), we bought a 1200 watt electric halogen heater, three hot water bottles (we are expecting guests) and I picked up a wool tunic from the tailor. We ordered a connection for a gas cylinder for our gas heater, so that we can take the cylinder off our cooktop and stick it in our heater – switching back and forth between the two. So, life is pretty good. Mostly.
Coming home just before six, Dave showed me how to get on the eyebrow path right when leaving town – and follow it all the way home. (I got lost last time I tried to follow it from here all the way to the buzz…) He did this, on the assumption (which I communicated) that I had a flashlight… which I in fact, did not. We made it by moonlight. I was, again, disappointed not to see the leopard cub that has been seen on campus by several people. Last Wed. night, just before felly (fellowship) at Wildman’s, Dot saw a cub on the eyebrow path! Dave saw a critter on the road between Landour Community Hospital (LCH) and the school’s main gate last Saturday coming home from his day in Dehradun (guys’ shopping trip – go all the way down the mountain to go to three stores). Dave thought it was a fox, the driver said it was a leopard cub. The critters are definitely around, so there’s hope that I’ll see one yet.
Also found some yellow fabric yesterday. My Hindi/sign language isn’t good enough to know for sure what it’s original use is – he motioned to his head – but it’s 6 meters long, light yellow, handwoven cotton and will do just fine, thank you, for curtains in our sunroom/guest room. Kind of bland, but maybe we can add some borders that match colors in the bedspreads/cushion covers in there. Have to pre-wash them and take to a tailor, maybe tomorrow (Monday) and hope they’re done on Thursday when I go pick up my SHOES. I bit the bullet and ordered hand-made shoes. I’ve resisted, not because they are expensive (RS 750, less than 20 bucks), but because I haven’t had good luck with them fitting in the past. I’m also not impressed with the soles – afraid they’ll be slippery when wet and not good on paths. But – I ordered a pair of black slip-ons with elastic gussets on each side and a wide, square toe. Men’s shoes, to be more specific. If they fit well, are comfortable and I can walk in them – I will quit bidding on Land’s End All-Weather Mocs on Ebay! So far, I’ve lost twice. I also gave up one of my brown belts in order to get a black one. The shoe guy is taking my old belt buckle to make a new belt. My daughter relented and said I could open “the small squishy one” of our Christmas presents. That means – SOCKS!
On Thanksgiving Day, the school served roast chicken, sweet potatoes, brown gravy, corn, white rolls, pumpkin pie and a smidgeon of cranberry sauce brought in by cousin Betsy Lehman in her suitcase. The lunch was for everyone in the whole school. The days when former principal Bob Alter and wife Helen could host all of the Americans at Oakville for an “American Thanksgiving” complete with turkey for dinner and followed by Christmas carols, are over. However, the Southhill gang are hosting a potluck Thanksgiving tonight. Filled with music majors living there, I’m sure there’ll be some music involved! (Last weekend, we had a Settlers’ night here and the gang ended up singing carols – and sight-reading 606 (A fancy version of the doxology sung by Mennonites accapella, by memory, found on page 606 in the old hymnbook) – no mean feat for folks who’ve never heard it before.) This weekend was concert weekend and I faithfully attempted to take photos during the performance, without flash, in Parker Hall. Not quite up to my standard 3-400 per Sunday from First Mennonite, but I did get at least 50 “good ones”.
It’s 10 am, we’re skipping church because I’m not 100%. Dave’s feeling cold and plugged in the new electric heater – which is also quite bright. A wrinkle in the Indian electrical system is the many different sizes of plugs and “powerpoints”. Some plugs only handle small things, some only large, and some both! Many small appliances, like lamps, don’t have an on-off switch. All powerpoints have on-off switches, so you turn things off at the source of power. Hmmm. There are a few things we leave “on”, the geezer (hot water heater) in the main bathroom and the water filters.
My collection of nice Christmas placemats is now up to 14. There’s a small Tibetan shop that sells onesies of placemats made in India. I don’t know where they get them, but I could get Easter and Halloween ones as well for 25 rupees each – or – less than 50 cents. I will look every time I shop until Christmas. I’ve found a couple that match, two of this, three of that, and one that doesn’t fit with any of the others – an American small town sledding scene. Shall I be homesick? It can snow here. While flowers continue to bloom through the winter. Not sure how many folks will be around over Christmas, but maybe we’ll invite for a Christmas potluck. Our house is well-suited to entertaining (all those toilets, you know), with three large common rooms and, soon, eight matching chairs! There are two that match our set in another apartment here (currently unused) and I got permission to swap for two that we have that don’t match our set – or each other. That apartment is the least desirable one here and won’t be used for long-term staff, so no guilt at swapping.
Time to wash dishes. Not sure why, but our ayah didn’t come on Friday, and I did no housework other than a couple loads of laundry, on Saturday.