Category Archives: Family


UntitledOne of the stranger items that Son1 decided he wanted to pack for our recent holiday to Cornwall and Dorset was my copy of Teach Yourself Bengali.

Given his sometimes vocal opposition to learning the language – particularly pronounced when he was only three years old but still recognised he wasn’t being talked to in English – it certainly felt like a step forward.

The book was to help him learn how to write his name in Bengali, though he’s also recently been willing to sit and learn some vocabulary with me. Continue reading

Running in Mumbai

Marine Drive

This morning was cold. Cold enough that, aided by something I wanted to forget, I ran my fastest ever time for that particular route.

It was a short 23 min run, but I still managed to shave more than two minutes off the time I clocked up on the previous Monday. It’s funny how temperatures that are around 0 degrees can motivate you.

It all stood in stark contrast to my two holiday runs in Mumbai (Kolkata’s pollution quickly dissuaded me of putting my running shoes on in that city). Continue reading

Linguistic reflections, or a practical application of Bengali

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Our recent trip to India was the first time in six years, and first time since starting this blog, that we’d been back.

Consequently I’d like to think my Bengali was better than the last time I visited Kolkata.

Continue reading

Back from India

We’re back from India and the two weeks there flew by.

I left wishing I could have stayed longer (though with an unaccountable urge for a full English breakfast) and, now back to a cold, dark and wet UK, I’m definitely missing the 30 degree ‘winter’ of Mumbai.

Suddenly I understand why people jet off for some winter sun, not that we’re likely to repeat this trip for another five or six years.

There’s plenty to write here about the trip but there will have to wait until Son2’s jet lag passes (a three year old who keeps waking up at the wrong end of 5am is liable to be a *little* grouchy) and Mrs T (far less inclined to grouch but exhausted after suffering from a fever while we were away) recovers.

The joy of Indian visas

I’m halfway there with our visas for India and now just have to wait for the kids’ ones to arrive, having waited today at the Victoria office.

The queuing in the visa office, with its difficult to follow three-track system, may be designed to keep your nerves on edge as you strain your ears to work out if they called your number, but at least the system works in the end.

I still can’t quite believe that my kids’ visas require: their passports, photocopies of ours, declaration letter, letter from us to say we authorise their visas plus the actual visa form itself.

Nonetheless, visas can now leave my list of things to sort out double-quick, with their place taken by which relatives to visit, cars (from airports and then for aforementioned visiting) and the usual packing and holiday stuff (including Bengali cramming).

But there’s a whole week and a half left to do all that.

The other Teach Yourself Bengali

William Radice’s Teach Yourself Bengali is, essentially, the Bengali text book, though it’s not of course overwhelmed with competition.

But there’s a lessor-known predecessor to Radice’s book, and an earlier entrant in the Teach Yourself series, and it’s this Teach Yourself Bengali, by DF Hudson, that I’m working my way through at the moment in preparation for our forthcoming trip to Kolkata.

I was given a copy by my father in law, though as a native Bengali speaker I was never sure why he’d have a first edition copy of the book, from 1965 no less, though it occurs to me now, for the first time, that it was probably bought for his (English) first wife. Continue reading

A music powered best

Last week I ran another 10k, my third race so far, second this year and fastest time to date.

I’m always glad just to be able to finish a race, so was pleased to get a personal best.

But, despite missing a couple of training runs in the last couple of weeks, I had been hoping to get my first sub-50 minute time. Continue reading