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Well, that wasn’t the day I was expecting! Much of the morning (from the early hours) was taken up with looking after a poorly Moggie. ‘Jet’ is 19 going on 20. I’d say he’s getting long in the tooth if it wasn’t for the fact he’s only got two left! For the past few days we’ve been aware that there’s been something wrong with the old boy so he’s already had one trip to the vets for what we thought was an ear infection, only it turns out the problem is likely to lie with his mouth, which explains why he’s refused to take his tablets, despite hiding them in food – which normally works a treat. So back to the vet he went and he’s been there all day and remains overnight tonight as they rehydrate him and top up his meds. We thought we might lose him but – despite his age – he’s not ready to go yet and still has life left in him.

To add to the fun the weather’s been crap all day. The snow’s turned to slush as persistent rain’s arrived to make conditions underfoot unpleasant and treacherous, so my usual walks have been curtailed to the bare minimum, which has chafed a bit.

On the bright side, today’s day 31 of my ‘dry’ January as I didn’t start until January 3rd. I thought with the arrival of the Brexitshambles trying to cut out alcohol on January 1st might have been a bridge too far! Despite these testing times I’ve made it through the whole 31 days without once reaching for the bottle, which I consider a bit of an achievement! I’ve not wanted to mention it before as I’m not a great one for ‘virtue signalling’ so I’ve just got on with it without fanfare, although I have to acknowledge the support of Dawn – and also Adnams alcohol-free ‘Ghost Ship’ and Erdinger’s Wiessbier, without whom the journey would have been a lot less fun! Oh, I’ve also lost 8 pounds in weight! Not that I needed to as my BMI is fine, but I feel more comfortable at the lower end of my band than the higher. This wasn’t just due to sobriety, I’ve upped my exercise by 50% and also adjusted my diet to ingest less carbohydrates. Now the challenge is to keep up the adjustments to my lifestyle, although I am looking forward to savoring a ‘proper’ beer tomorrow!

Right, on to the picture of the day. The slide scanning marathon’s taken a bit of a backseat recently as I’ve had other work to do. However, I have started a new selection of travel shots taken in India in 2000. So, here’s a real contrast to all those snow scenes I’ve been publishing recently…

I took this shot of the little beach and freshwater lake in Arambol, North Goa on the 31st January 2000.

I first got to know this place in December 1985 during my first trip to India. As a penniless backpacker in those days I ended up living on this beach for six weeks. I made some local friends in the village who looked after my passport and valuables whilst day to day stuff I kept buried in a huge old biscuit tin under some rocks at the back of the beach. My bed was a pit in the sand which I’d dig each night before lining it with a mat and covering myself with a sarong. In those days the beach was largely a nudist beach, so in the morning you’d just rise out of your pit (literally) and walk straight into the sea for a play in the waves before washing the salt off in the freshwater lagoon at the back of the beach. Happy days! Sadly, those days are long gone and the beach has changed dramatically because of the growth of tourism, new roads making travel easier and also the expansion of business as both Goans and Indians from other states cash in on opportunities.

I’ve not been back since 2004. Part of me really wants to as I had many friends their in both the local and expat communities, but part of me wants to remember it as it was – like this – and doesn’t want those memories tarnished. One thing’s for certain, until this pandemic is resolved, I can’t see me being in a position to have to angst about making the decision…

I’ve a favour to ask…
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