Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Want to join us?

Ok - so is anyone up for a challenge? Want to do without electricity for the times we're also without it? (You are allowed to cheat - we do....)
The new load-shedding schedule was published at the start of this week. Load-shedding is scheduled electricity cutting, so that it's conserved for industry rather than used up domestically.
Here it is. We're in Group 4:-

So, on the plus side, we know (well pretty much) when we'll be without power. And we're not entirely withour power as we have an invertor - something that uses a car battery to store up electricity when it's available, so that we can have a few lights and one working plug socket during load-shedding (which, obviously, for anyone who knows Harvey!, runs the TV, DVD player, and charges laptops).
But, cheating aside, during load-shedding, we have very little light in the house; just a few energy-saving bulbs, and no bathroom with light, so the littles often have a candle-lit bath, which is really rather lovely.
It also means no oven, no washing machine, no fridge (there's not much point running a freezer here), and if we're unlucky / disorganised, it might mean no water until the power's back on, as Nepali houses all have a storage tank on the roof for water, which needs to be filled using an electric pump. We still have hot water as we have solar panels on the roof, so we can have a shower or bath - but to be honest, I've hardly ever run enough through the kitchen taps for it to become barely luke warm - we wash up with cold water, or boil the kettle.
Some of the lovely people I know online have recently been using only candles or other forms of low key lighting after dark - a really lovely approach to winter - I just wonder how my own little family's going to cope as the winter progresses and the load-shedding hours expand. Apparently it'll be up to 18 hours or so a day without electricity by March - eeeep!! Any of you electricity-frugal mamas have any tips for us? My main issues are 1) No - the kids are not going to watch DVDs the whole time we have load-shedding - what else can we do with very limited light because 2) Thom + candles = dangerous mayhem. And finally, 3) When there is a LOT of load-shedding our invertor might not keep up - so we might not have any light or a working plug socket.
We enjoyed listening to Roald Dahl's Witches this evening, then they had a candle lit bath, and a story before bed.

And onto sunnier thoughts........

I love these swing pictures of my happy, sunny boys.

Evidence that Evie-Chops is getting good and autonomous with her spelling. I only spotted this long after she'd made it :-

Don't even let me start talking about the rubbish / waste / pollution issues here. But - here's not-even-the-tiniest-tip-of-of-the-rubbish-iceberg made into art:

And - look! Noah-Boots running home from school with Eve, NOT sitting in the pushchair - whoop!! (He still moaned a bit about getting sand in his crocs but we can live with that....)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

On the Beach, Nepali Style

So, Nepal is a landlocked country. So, we went to the beach anyway - about two hours drive away, up over the rim of the Kathmandu valley, and down the other side, sharing switchbacks with heavily laden tourist buses, with crowds surfing the top of them, the ubiquitous and prolific motorbikes, and various pretty large trucks. The roads were fairly quiet though, because of the Tihar holiday.
We drove our new jeep across a river (well, Harv did, I grimaced and the Littles bounced on their seats, squeaking with excitement). It wasn't quite as impressive as the shot below (neither the jeep, nor the water level), but it was quite an achievement, I thought. Then we got ferried across the next (deeper, faster) river by some friends with a bigger jeep.
We picnicked on sandy sanwishes and homemade cheesey crackers and carrot cake, swam, sunbathed, collected a few beautiful stones - a super-duper day out. And Noah was a very happy boy as he got to spend almost the entire day naked - that's very high on his list of priorities at the moment..... So that's why he's absent from these photos.......

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Hattiban Photofest

Does anyone elase find it hard sometimes, that what would be a ten minute walk for an adult takes the entire afternnon and a picnic to do with Littles?

But this afternoon, Harv and I didn't find it hard at all. We pottered, picnicked, daydreamed in the sunbeams, stopped to look at bugs and birds, and over-filled the rucksack with pine cones to play with in the garden.

Our new (to us) red jeep is just visible through the trees in one shot. She needs a name apparently, to make sure we look after her - any ideas??

Tihar Celebrations

Tihar is the second biggest festival in Nepal - and definitely the prettiest since we have been here. Beautiful pictures are made at the entrances to homes and shops with salt and tikka powder, marigold garlands are hung around doors and windows, and flags, strings of lights and garlands are liberally strewn.
There is an intricate system of puja (worship) over several days, including the goddess Laxmi, cows, crows, and - my personal favourite because it's quite aesthetically weird - dogs. All the street dogs were dressed in garlands, given tikkas and something nice to eat. I took a photo of one just chillin at lunch time.
Cosilla decorated the house and porch for us and we lit the candles at six o' clock on Friday. I would love to report that the beautiful flower picture lasted until the end of Tihar at dawn on Monday, but, um, Thom got involved...what 20 month old rascal wouldn't, eh......