Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Global Warming?

27th November and this little daffodil has sprung up amongst the autumn leaves. They have been flowering earlier every year, but not this early. Usually appear towards the end of February or early March.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Fun at the park

A cold day at the park but the children enjoyed it. Stuart doesn't like the swings but he enjoyed pushing Jakob and Jasmine.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Street children

Whilst shopping in Rawalakot I came across a group of 5 children begging. I gave them some money and as I tried to take a photo of them a shop keeper came out and chased then away. I just manage to catch these 2 girls with bare feet.

There are always children begging everywhere in Pakistan and kashmir. Whenever you stop in the car at traffic lights they knock on the car window asking for money. Even late at night in the shopping centres they follow you around. Some pretend to have injuries and fold their arm inside shirt sleeves to make you think they have lost it. Mothers with young babies also beg for money for milk. I have seen several with bandages wrapped round their babies heads with blood stains on them. Whether they really have an injury is anybody's guess. The disabled are also more or less forced to beg as I don't think there are any benefits for them there. It is not unusually to see legless men sitting on boards with small wheels on them reaching up from the road to knock on the car windows. I am sure many of them receive even more injuries from the traffic.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Solar Powered Dishwasher

My SIL is just having her kitchen extended and it will have cupboards and a sink with hot and cold running water. This is Muzzer her hired help doing the washing up. The green drum is filled with water which heats up in the sun. I'm sure he will find it great to have a proper kitchen at last, especially as the winter is coming and it does become rather cold.

Baffled Bird

The house windows are made of oneway glass with mirror on the outside. The poor birds weren't sure whether to be amorous or aggressive to their reflections. It was easy to photograph them as they couldn't see me.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Pakistani Art

Art is not confined to buildings. My favourite are the decorated lorries that can be found everywhere in Pakistan. It is said that the drivers think more of their trucks than they so their wives. They are painted with flowers, birds and animals and even some very profound Urdu poetry is found on many of them. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you will be able to see in more detail.

They also like to decorate their tractors.

They come in all colours, some brighter than others. Many have elaborately carved wooden doors too.

The metal fringe at the bottom of this one jingles very loudly as it drives along.

Pakistani Art

Many mosques and other buildings in Pakistan are intricately adorned with coloured tiles, paintings and mirrors.

A mosque in Islamabad

A decorated well

The ceiling of a mosque in Lahore


Next traffic down the lane was a group of gypsies migrating for the winter. There were about 20 horses carrying children and bedding. They didn't appear to have many belongings. They stopped for a while to adjust their horses saddles so I had chance to take photos of some of the children.

Goat Trail

The metalled road to the village ends where our family houses are and becomes a cobbled dirt track. This means there is little traffic apart from the occasional jeep or tractor. One day whilst eating breakfast on the veranda it became very busy. A large herd of about 300 goats passed us by. There were several men and dogs herding them along but not before they sampled all the trees along the road.

Eating at the drive-thru!

Oblivious to their fate

On arriving at my sister in law's place we were greeted by two goats who were nonchalantly grazing at the front of her house. No she hadn't acquired new pets or living lawn mowers. ;-(

It is customary in Islam to sacrifice a goat and give the meat to the poor people as a way of thanking Allah when something good happens or at a marriage or when somebody is ill and you want His help. My sister in law decided to thank Allah for the completion of our house by buying 2 goats for sacrifice. The poor of the village ate well that day. We had mutton biryani a couple of days later!
I didn't dare ask!

Duboo and Kaloo with Bashir the butcher.

Kashmir Nights

The sky at night is so full of stars that are never seen here in UK due to light pollution. There are thousands or even millions of them to be seen on a clear night.

It is so dark there that a torch is a must when you go to bed. Once the lights are out it is pitch dark. The windows of my sister in law's house are very small with frosted glass and not a sliver of light can be seen. They also have a slight problem with the electricity. The supply is switched of for a period every day to conserve energy. We always went to bed with a very low wattage bulb left on in case we needed to get up in the night as we wouldn't be able to find the light switch otherwise. Only problem being if the electricity went off in the middle of the night. That is when a torch was needed.