Namaste! I have landed again in this extraordinary country of vibrancy and colour, rich with ancient architecture, gentle people and mouth-watering food. Five months later I am recharged, full of energy and ready to embrace new India with eyes wide open and my senses alive.
Arriving in Delhi during festival time is like being catapulted into a heaving stadium at the world cup with no exit..it is totally insane. London feels like a sleepy town in comparison. I seem to have spent most of my first week sitting in rickshaws, watching while the traffic piles up and chokes the roads and waiting..sometimes hours for the circus of people, animals and vehicles to subside. As I later realised, the Delhi metro is the only way to move around and makes our London underground seem completely vintage. Modern, fully air conditioned, spotlessly clean and incredibly cheap – it is the one redeeming feature that makes city life just that little bit easier.
Anyway here’s a glimpse of my encounters around the city and all its many faces…
So after exploring every corner of Delhi, rummaging through mountains of fabrics, meeting suppliers and drinking endless cups of sweet tea, I nipped off to Jaipur in search of some Rajasthani treasure and came across these master craftsmen working at the back of their house. They are one of the few remaining families in the old city still producing Lahariya tie dye in the traditional way. What a joy to witness them at work – every stage of the process is done by hand from mixing the dyes to tying the cloth and drying it in the sun.
And finally some of my favourite images of the beautiful Pink City…
I can’t believe how quickly the summer’s flying by. It’s already the end of August and I’ve only got one month left until I leave for India again. It’s been the most amazing 4 months – Britain has been showing her finest colours and I’ve loved spending time with so many wonderful friends adventuring and exploring our little island.
I suddenly realised, however, that I’d hardly spent any time in London and have barely set foot in my old hood or done anything cultural. I’ve also been dreaming of dancing again and was totally inspired by a film I watched recently in which Emily Blunt (a big favourite) plays a contemporary ballet dancer finding love in New York. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was really her doing the dance scenes but apparently she trained for 3 months to do that part and made it look so beautiful so I decided it was time for action and I should look for a class in London. Perfect timing, being August and the holidays, as there’s plenty of summer intensives and I found a course at my favourite dance studios in Clerkenwell (the Place) to learn Cunningham – basically a form of contemporary ballet. Luckily I’ve got some experience in classical ballet and over the years have tried everything from Argentine tango to salsa, samba, African, etc but this was a whole new language for me and a wonderful experience and challenge – especially as most of the class were dancers or at least looked like it. By the end of the week I was loving it and began to feel like a dancer again, but my poor body was broken!
Here’s a little glimpse of the studios..there were even dancers from the Calcutta Tanusree Shankar Dance Company in the class on a scholarship in London..amazing…next stop Calcutta!
In between dancing, I had a lovely time exploring London on my bike and rediscovering all my old cycle paths and cafés along the canal. I do love London in the summer..what a totally different place it becomes and what a wonderful little adventure in the city.
along the tow path in Angel
the Towpath Cafe..my favourite hangout in Shoreditch
on the towpath heading to Victoria Park
love this..’words on the water’ in Mile End
around Victoria Park
pop-up cafe in London Fields
oh look..it’s my car in red!
trompe d’oeil on Southbank
views of the City from Southbank
gotta love the London bus
sunset across the roof tops
Another wonderful week of sunshine and we’ve been travelling around the country with the amazing team from Mara Sculpture who’ve been exhibiting at Hampton Court flower show and Ragley Hall. It’s been fascinating learning about this unique stone sculpture from Zimbabwe and a privilege to work with them on the stand. I love the mix of textures and stone from the deep green shades of opal to the polished black of springstone and crystal white dolomite. All the sculptures are carved and polished by hand in Zimbabwe and then shipped over…a massive feat in itself. Huge respect to owner, Bernard Mavunga, for supporting these amazing artists and increasing the exposure of this unique and beautiful art form. For more information go to www.marasculpture.com or join them at the Tatton Park Flower Show this weekend.