Britain

Frisky Border Collies and Cornish Byres

The weekend has started on a yellow note in the early hours of the morning. Getting up at 4am and witnessing dawn is Early for me. My father would faint (with delight) if he saw such changes in a daughter who has always nursed a penchant for sleeping like Kumbhakarna. Who might you ask, with a frown? K is a rakshasa straight out of the Indian epic Ramayana. If you have not heard of him, he is part of a saga that runs through the ream of bedtime stories reserved for every Indian child. A rakshasa is a man-eater. What I have in common with K, I am relieved to say, is just a passion for sleep. He used to shut eye for 6 months at a stretch – nothing could rouse him – and the legend will have you know that his snores could send tremors through the belly of the earth. When he did wake up, K would devour every living creature within his line of vision.

Post sessions of heavy partying on Saturday nights in Delhi, I would wake up on Sunday well past midday. I was the only young individual in an old building, its exteriors peeling off with the years since partition when the landlord’s family had moved in as refugees. The other occupants were a family of three on another level. The latter colluded with my parents (when they would visit me from Calcutta) to get me married off. A girl in her mid-20s living on her own and single is the neighbour’s alarm. The wife would often bang on my door to deliver the food she had cooked (which was extremely sweet but a bit of a test for someone nursing a ferocious hangover almost every weekend). This was followed by incessant banging on the door by the cleaning lady. She indulged in it with as impressive a ferocity as the hangover and, Saroja, I am convinced, enjoyed this routine. So there I was, your quintessential Kumbhakarna.

That is but the long and short of it.

Back to my lush surroundings in the Cornish wooded valley of Lostwithiel where we are staying for the long weekend, with a few extra days bunged in. I stood with my back to the door of our byre – old English for cowshed – busy loading up the fridge with our haul of groceries, when a huff and a puff and then patters on the flagstone floors startled me into a low scream. I almost felt back upon an enthusiastic border collie called Meg.

We had just arrived at the byre, a converted detached accommodation at a farm.

The strange dog turned over. I decided to do what I do when a four-legged boy/girl does that. Administer vigorous belly rubs till she had stopped whining and cooing, ‘Ooh yeah, don’t stop!’

A bit abrupt but the succulent chicken kebabs barbecued by Adi have just arrived on the table and I think I shall have to abandon this incessant chatter. Bless Adi for saving you from all of that.

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Rapeseed fields in the Cotswolds as dawn breaks over a silent countryside. Courtesy: Aditya Varma
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Searching for the byre in Lostwithiel
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Wooded valleys of Lostwithiel
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Our nest for the next week
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Snuggling can be a serious preoccupation
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Cream tea put out thoughtfully by Ed and his wife
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Clotted cream without blackberry & strawberry preserves made in-house? Good heavens!
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Meg and Gizzie (the Jack Russell terrier in the foreground) 
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Adi’s smoky, spicy handiwork for this nippy evening along with some jacket potatoes. Bliss.

Till tomorrow then, toodles.

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