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


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.

Halfway home

Moving day came and went on Tuesday without a serious hitch, though naturally there was a succession of relatively minor irritations.

The four-hour wait for our buyers’ money to start the chain off (after we’d left our old house) didn’t help our nerves. Then, once we had the keys to our new house, the side gate that wouldn’t open and the turn in the stairs that kept some of the furniture downstairs were awkward.

But such things have been quickly forgotten as I attacked the boxes at a rate of knots to ensure my week off work was best used. (I shall not be opening boxes at 6am next week, that’s for sure.) Continue reading

India and the joy of planning

Kolkata bus and streetWhoever said getting there was half the fun had clearly not reckoned with the unbridled joy that is (for me at least) planning a holiday.

Particularly, when it’s too India.

And even more so since it’s the first time in six years that we’re going there. Continue reading

আলী বাবা চল্লীশ চোর – or, using cartoons to teach the kids Bengali

One of the comments to this post from earlier this year has stayed with me and, simple though the equation may be: kids + Bengali cartoons = kids who don’t moan about learning Bengali (thanks Daisy!).

The above version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (আলী বাবা চল্লীশ চোর) has so far proved popular with my nine year old son. We’ve watched about a third of the full cartoon and he made me promise not to watch the rest of it without him (so I think it works).