Got stung by bee yesterday. Arm swelled up like Popeye. Swelling reducing but arm quite sore.
Went back to rooftop restaurant for breakfast. Too windy & cold. E has tantrum over wind in hair & refuses to be photographed with “Perky” from school. I lose temper & nearly kick her down stairwell. Take girls back to hotel for breakfast in sheltered garden
C starts with diarrhoea. Inconvenient as have checked out of hotel & have no facilities + no spare knickers. Manage to find unused room to clean her up. Have to put her into E’s used knickers from previous day. Oops, another bout, now we have to pack knickers with loo roll
Event coincides with Vladimir Putin who puts in a visit to Taj Mahal. That’s where we are going today…or not. Putin wins. Streets are closed off & we are locked into hotel compound for security (ours presumably) until his visit is over. Spend 2 hours teaching girls card tricks & keeping a wary eye on C
1pm – we are released! Rush to Taj Mahal. MG is refused entry due to penknife. Rushes back to hotel to deposit. Returns hurriedly, gets thorough frisking from guards. Nothing compares with that first view, framed by the archway as you approach. My heart stops, I feel quite emotional. It is a labour of love. I see the bench where Diana was photographed and feel the irony of that picture. It is truly the most beautiful building I have ever seen.
Due to Putin’s visit the monument is not crowded so we get inside mausoleum easily. Have to wear covers on our shoes. Get great photos, also of river beside the Taj. Fantastic views along the valley. The drought is evident, water levels very low & the bathing ghats fully exposed. You can probably walk across the riverbed. E regards the bees nests nervously
Great view of the Red Fort further along, saves us a tuk tuk trip – we can photograph it from here! We are cultural philistines!
Back to hotel for lunch. In view of C’s condition we stick around taking it easy. I teach the girls knock-out whist (trumps). This is highly amusing & keeps them diverted for 2 hours – toilet humour never fails. MG gets haircut & changes money. Sun is hot
Last dinner on rooftop restaurant – tuk tuk ride to station. Train leaves on time. C has another accident. Toilet facilities disgusting (as ever). E’s best pink knickers go down the loo & onto the track. We are “knicker free” I cross fingers – 3 hours to go!
C sleeps. Me & E discuss pollution in India, how to save the planet, greenhouses, growing our own veg & the new toilet rules at school. Thoroughly enjoyable. Takes my mind off man in seat in front. His seat is broken so his head is practically in my lap – don’t mind too much – is quite good looking!
Make E take off her knickers so I have “options” in the event of further accidents. Luckily C keeps it in all the way home & promptly vomits on hotel floor on arrival. Nothing to do with d&v, just bad driving by taxi driver!
Everyone keeps asking us where we’re from. They seem not to recognise accents. Get to bed at 1am. I have 6 blankets – I am freezing