Saturday, June 23, 2007

Good Vibrations

There is much buzz this week in India about the newly introduced contraversial vibrating condom. Not only are protestors angry that it purports to bring 'pleasure' to the act and is therefore a sex toy, they are also angry that a government owned company has produced it and somehow sneeked it onto store shelves. In a country where nearly 6 million people are HIV positive one would think that anything that creates interest in and promotes use of condoms would be a good thing. But of course, common sense does not always prevail. Perhaps given previous reports that 60% of Indian men don't measure up in the trouser department, they're just worried that the vibrating condoms don't come in a size small!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Venus and the Moon

On Monday, I was witness to quite a nice sight in the sky... but didn't realise it at the time given that a friend and I had already drunk copious amounts of Indian wine that had left our eyesight and judgment slightly impaired! I don't have a picture of it, but here's one from another website... we just thought it was a cute starry sky, but it turns out it was Venus close to the crescent moon, a phenomenon known as “Lunar occultation of Venus.” It's all happening here...

A Very Public Convenience

A Very Public Convenience
Originally uploaded by The McGuires

I am acutely aware that a lot of my postings relate to toilets, or lack thereof in Bangalore. This picture proves me wrong. There ARE public toilets in Bangalore - albeit maybe a little too public for most people's likings!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Calm After the Storm

No, this is not a reference to the monsoon, but more to my calmed state after the end of Equest 2007, the recent South India Equestrian Association show held at my riding school in Bangalore. It's strange but true that the whole competition sent me into a frenzy of stress and anxiety that I can only equate to my early days of doing client presentations at work - I loved it after the fact but got so nervous beforehand that I was terrible when rehearsing (some may say it didn't get any better during the real thing!) At the show, I was worried that in the amateur dressage, my horse wouldn't canter, but he did; a co-rider was worried her horse wouldn't stop cantering, and sadly, he didn't, even in the parts of the tests that were meant to be walk or trot! Poor thing. It all got me wondering, why do I do it? It's not that I'm getting paid for it (I will never be that good!) so that rules out the reason that I had to suffer such stress at work. A couple of weeks after the competition, I can now answer that question. Because I love it. I love the grace and strength of the horse, the excitement of taking part, the joy of learning something new, and of course, the medals! I often feel my riding is two steps forward, one step back, but this week was many steps forward with much cantering with no hands or no stirrups, more dressage, and my first 'real' jumping on new horse, Royal Majesty. Terrifying and exciting at the same time, jumping is completely exhilirating but I have to remember not to squeal over the jump and frighten the horse! Luckily he is much more experienced than me and carries me along for the ride quite confidently. I guess we all have good and bad days at whatever we do, and I only hope that this streak of stress-free riding continues up to and through the next competition!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Monsoon Madness

So, after much anticipation, the monsoon arrived in Bangalore a week ago yesterday. Heavy rains started just after 10pm and were accompanied by crashing thunder and continous lightning. Over the course of the last week, the storms have become worse, with the torrential rainfall lasting a few minutes, but causing enough damage to wash away homes and people! The worst came mid-week at 3am; we were woken by winds howling through the apartment and doors slamming. We quickly ran around closing windows before any damage was done. It was like a scene from the Wizard of Oz! Now the days are a little cooler in Bangalore, with temperatures peaking in the mid 80's, some overcast, some sunny, but up north is a different story. To date, 59 people have died up north (Rajasthan, Delhi, etc.) where temperatures are blazing at around 45 degrees centigrade (115 fahrenheit or so!) We shall be heading up there in a few weeks and will no doubt be yearning for the relative cool of Bangalore! Bangalore was always a cool spot - known as pensioners' paradise - and we have friends who tell us stories of how the temperature was in the mid 60's just 10 years ago, but how the arrival of hundreds of thousands of new people, cars, office blocks, and apartments, changed all that. It seems we have a long way to go til we reach the temperatures of Delhi, but at that rate, it could just be a few years away!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

More Ginger Nuts!

Yes indeed, following the programme, "F*** Off, I'm Ginger," they're going 'ginger nuts' in the UK right now, with this piece on the BBC website entitled "Is Gingerism as Bad as Racism?" I wouldn't take it so far, but do feel that there is a prejudice in Britain that doesn't surface anywhere else in the world. I had occasion at school to be called 'coppernob' (referencing a clothes store, not a metallic sexual device...) or 'duracell' but this was as a result of excessive orange hair dye, versus naturally ginger genes (although there is a hint of red in my hair, and I do have freckles... I often think that there may a latent ginger gene that will surface in offspring...) After reading the article, I can't say I'm convinced that redheads should be treated as victims of racism, but I had to feel for a journalist quoted in the piece. Sharon Jaffa. I needn't say more, but she does: "Growing up as a redhead I was lucky enough to escape with just the occasional name-calling - having the surname Jaffa was no doubt a double-whammy." Orange you just glad you're not ginger!

Stop Press!

So, to date, my mum's fab fundraising team has raised over 900 GBP (nearly $2,000)! That's great news all round! Well done!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Medals for Mum

While I was off winning medals for horse riding this weekend, the girls from Clinton Cards in Darley Mall, Bradford, were winning medals - and raising money - for someone very dear to our heart - my Mum!! The girls took part in the Cancer Research UK 'Race for Life' and to date have raised over $500. We are very pround and honoured that they chose to do this for mum. She is currently half way through her chemo and doing very well indeed, due to this kind of wonderful support. Thank you all so much!!!

Royal Majesty At Home

Royal Majesty At Home
Originally uploaded by The McGuires

Thought this was cute... not sure if the tongue is aimed at me, or his new fly mask!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Back Page News

After 20 years of getting my clients into the news, I finally got myself in! Picture shows Vika on Architect, me on Royal Majesty, Cathy on Cadbury, and Eva on Royal Secret, as we enter the arena for the Pas de Quatre competition at the South India Equestrian Association Equest 2007. The Pas de Quatre is basically four horses (and riders!) doing co-ordinated dressage moves, hoping that the horses get along nicely with each other and that we vaguely do things in sync! It seemed to work - we scooped first place and made the back page of the Vijay Times here in Bangalore.

Horsing Around

Royal Majesty and Me
Originally uploaded by The McGuires

So, I'm back in Bangalore and it's that time of year for the South India Equestrian Association Equest 2007. This year, I was competing for the first time, on my newly 'adopted' horse, Royal Majesty. I'm glad to say that for first timers we didn't shame ourselves... we got a first place in the 'Pas de Quatre' with our friends Eva, Vika, and Cathy; a second place in the 'Pas de Deux' with Cathy, and a fourth place/honourable mention in the Amateur Dressage. So not bad to say we have just become partners (a week or so ago) and I'm not good at handling the pressure of competition! I'm sure it will get easier?!?!