Outlook Issue 27 Spring 2019
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Travels with Tommy
It took a couple of years after my amputation and a practice flight to Ireland to prove that our usual winter trip to India was again possible. Following a stop- over in Dubai to see our granddaughter, we arrived in Fort-Cochin, our favourite Indian city. Nine enjoyable days later we spent a week in each of ‘Tea Country’ in the mountains near Munnar; Spice Village, next Perriyar Game-Park; and a Homestay next the Backwaters at Katayam, before a final couple of nights back in Cochin and flying home. This time in Cochin, with the help of the splendid Tuk-Tuk men, who could be hired for about a tenner a day, we visited the Basilica of Santa-Cruz, the oldest church in India, dating from Elizabethan times; and the palaces of the ancient Keralan Kings, where we joined a tour with hundreds of local schoolchildren, all of whom wanted to practise their English on us. It was a day full of fun and laughter. Tucked away in the back streets was the ancient ginger market where we watched tens of tons of ginger being washed in lime, and then dried, and packed for export, all by hand. The market shared its huge warehouse with the local Women's Co-operative, who sold dozens of special teas, coffees and the spices they put into them. I was roped in to be their resident tea taster; we learnt a great deal! Munnar, with its miles of wonderfully manicured tea bushes clinging to the mountain slopes (pictured right), interspersed with trees to provide shade for the workers and trunks for the pepper vines to cling to, is scenery to die for, but picking tea on a 70 degree