I simply can't tell you how lovely it was to stay in bed until 7.30am. In fact I had even stayed asleep until one of my room mates turned the light on. Oh to joy of not being in the first car to the school.
We are dropping into a good pattern with the school day of arriving, eating breakfast and then joining in classes and helping the children with their English reading and writing. When I visited the school last January I brought home with me letters from all the children to the children in Elmhurst School. During the course of the year the children in Elmhurst School wrote replies so the Strode students worked with the children to write back again and I shall once more play postman.
After break time it was Bengali class, where the teacher is tantalising us by withholding the other 8 months of the year so as yet I am unable to tell people when my birthday is in Bengali - a travesty really but one I hope to remedy before the end of the trip.
Tabla class was followed by the lunchtime concert where our students did some singing and dancing. Although many of us have managed to learn to ask for one (not two) helpings of dinner the hosts who are serving us simply don't want to hear that and take great delight and trying to convince us all to eat more. It has to be said that Chris and Orla are doing sterling service in keeping the hosts happy, I have explained that in England we would describe them as having hollow legs.
Having bought all the plants earlier in the week we went to a garden centre that was really the equivalent of Dobbies or Oaklands Nursery but with miles and miles and miles of palm trees. This time, although we purchased one or two plants we spent the rest of our garden budget on tools, watering cans and compost. The purchasing process in India can never be rushed, but sometimes can feel quite like everyone involved doesn't all have the same information. However eventually a decision is made a fee is agreed on and the bill is paid. This time we loaded 20x25kg sacks of compost and 25 palm trees into a little truck and headed back to the school. Dan tells me that the name of these trucks is the Bengali word for Little Elephant, which makes a lot of sense as they are small and strong - I just hope they don't behave like the baby elephant on blue Peter did for John Noakes all those years ago.
On arrival back at the school we had tea and cake, the tea is often very very sweet and milky and sometimes it is hard to tell whether it is tea or coffee - it may even have been a mix of the two, Coftea. We also had Pakora's and cake? Served in the cutest little banana leaf bowls held together with a bamboo stick.
Ange and I left Revd Rachel and Anup chatting to find out why it had all gone so quiet. We discovered a hive of activity in the class rooms with reading, homework and conversation going on.
Dan has got very excited over an owl which he says is a 'goddess owl' - apparently it was too dark to take photographs but it flew over his head - twice!
Although our day isn't yet over I have posted this early as tomorrow is a big day out visiting cultural sites in Kolkata so I wanted to get right up to date