Published: January 1st 2009January 1st 2009
breakfast by candle light!
We had more times with power off than on!
Christmas at the fruit farm 2008-12-30
Thank you to everyone who sent Christmas messages. We had a much better Christmas than I thought but missed our family and friends a lot and needed tissues at times!
We came to a place called Renala Khurd, where 2 other VSO volunteers are based. They live in one of the guest houses located at Mitchell’s Fruit Farm , a well established business that has been around for years hence the feeling of old colonial times!! The guest house has 4 big en-suite bedrooms, a lounge, huge entrance hall and a kitchen with a 2 burner gas stove and 1 electric ring! A fridge and a sink! And a beautiful veranda and a garden with a lawn and roses!
Most of the volunteers who came out with us in October came so there were 6 of us to celebrate together.
Everyone had managed to make or find treats to bring so we had crackers with hats and jokes and gifts! We had sparklers, balloons , a Christmas plant ,After Eight Mints and half a bottle of vodka!! Geoff brought his guitar so we spent quite a lot of time sitting on the veranda singing
doesnt it look nice!
[well sort of!] Christmas songs by candle light as the power went off a lot!
We had Christmas tree pancakes with honey for breakfast [by me!] and everyone was wearing their best clothes! For lunch we had fried chicken, fried stuffing , sauté potatoes, peas and carrots and gravy—not a chilli in sight!! We had cake and birds instant custard for pudding!! And as Mitchell’s also make chocolates a lot of chocolate to make up for the lack of alcohol!
Secret Santa was good providing exciting gifts like a beautiful toothpick holder, a pair of candles[that proved must useful!] a beautiful shawl, a bird book, a book about Pakistan, a mobile phone holder and a dart board which provided Boxing day fun with a darts match out on the lawn!! I won!!
Much of Christmas had a Victorian feel to it, with tea and cake in the rose garden, carols by candle light and brisk walks! It was a bitter/sweet experience but a good memory to have when back in good old blighty!
I think the most surreal time was the evening of the 28th---Kalid, the manager of the factory [I think] said had we got a movie we wanted to watch, and as my children had sent me Mama Mia for Christmas we said yes please. So, out into the dark, foggy night we go and follow Kalid to the factory, unlock all the doors and walk down dark corridors to the board room with large wooden table, big comfy swivel chairs -and a system for showing DVDs on a big screen!! So, there we were, 6 English VSOs and 1 Pakistani watching [and singing] Mama Mia in the board room of one of the biggest and most successful business in Pakistan!
One of the things I enjoyed about our visit was the fact that you can walk down through the farm and out into the town of Renala Kurd and go to the shops and the market---a treat that is not possible from Sydenwalla.
The whole Mitchell’s farm set up is rather like the Bourneville set up, with staff quarters, a cricket/hockey pitch, And a no drinking policy!!!
The farm gates are guarded by old soldiers who stand and salute as you leave or enter! I do enjoy being called Mam or even Memsaib!!! Many older Pakistanis seem to have some quite good English and a military bearing
-a left over from the time ‘we belong to you’ as quoted by one old gentleman we met!
carols by candle light
We were singing Deck the Halls
We are in Lahore now to spend New Year with Mary, another volunteer who has been here for 18months. Yesterday Geoff and I went to the old walled part of Lahore and it was amazing---a jumble of narrow streets each one specialising in a single product. Stainless steel row was good ,and rubbish Chinese plastic imports disturbing!
Hope you like the photos of our colonial Christmas and that everyone has a good, peaceful and happy new year!
As ever, looking forward to getting comments and messages from you all. [This blog written by torch light!]
There are more photos below