What a year!

This year has been a rollercoaster of sorts, hasn’t it? Never would I have thought that it would have so much packed in one year.

A friend of mine wants a refund on this year 😀 I don’t blame him. It has not been smooth sailing.

We were supposed to travel to India in April which was put on hold for a month without having any clue as to whether we would even get a refund or a credit note for the flight tickets we had paid for six months ahead of our travel date. We got our credit note finally after 3 months of our travel date. Now we don’t know if we will be in a position to use it before the deadline which is next year May. One can only hope.

The decision to move our teaching online which threw a spanner in the works making us work 8 hours per day just creating the necessary materials and videos for our delivery. I almost lost my voice doing those and then delivering the lectures as usual over online platforms. It was a double whammy, but at least the students were happy and we did very well with our third semester where everything was completely online.

I have had the experience of Working From Home (WFH) during my days working as software engineer, so the switch was quite easy for me and I found myself being very productive too. We also delivered three weeks of summer school online which concluded recently and it was also a huge success. Never would I have thought that I will be teaching a 100+ kids on Zoom about the basics of wireless networks 🙂

Mr M who has never worked from home absolutely loves it now. He would be a very happy person if he has to never set foot in his office again 😀 He loves his work, but he loves working from home more than working from office.

We did the whole bake during lockdown thing too, not as much as others seemed to do it. We couldn’t get enough flour to start with during the peak lockdown time. We also didn’t understand the whole toilet roll drama that happened. But at least we now know what people’s priorities are in case of any calamities or disasters.

We kept ourselves busy by going for regular walks around the block, trying my hand at Bingo for a Cancer charity (where I won a round too! yay!!!), have Zoom calls with friends, what not! We have managed to work well with each other in the same room without having the urge to kill each other 😉 and keeping clear of each other during the Zoom sessions (we have witnessed enough Zoom video disasters).

After working non-stop (Mr M had his three month break where he was furloughed), I took a week off and we decided to go on a mini trip in and around Swansea. We decided to do the St Thomas Way tour/pilgrimage. It was a much needed break and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Things elsewhere has not been going good has it?, the wide spread of the virus in India where my parents, siblings, and friends are, the wide spread fires and riots close to where my friends are in the US, the politicisation of the epidemic, the stupidity of the people who party as if there is no tomorrow, the sheer lack of common sense… I should say we are lucky to be in good health doing what we like to do (touch wood) and may it continue. But it is also important to realise that we can never go back to what was “normal” for us all. A new “normal” is going to take time and it is OK to have a new normal. This is one of the changes that we didn’t want but cannot ignore. We might as well wisen up and learn to adapt. We have done so for so many ages, so why not now? It is going to be hard and there will be people who will take advantage of it, but those are the ones who have always put their own prosperity before the general goodness anyway. That has never changed. What we can do is take care of our own in our own small way and hope for the best.

Stay safe and Keep smiling 🙂

Snowdonia Murder Mysteries

We did a North Wales tour last year and it was brilliant. The places are so gorgeous and beautiful. We did not cover the whole of it, but enough to know the various places when someone mentions it. I stumbled upon this Snowdonia Murder Mystery series by Simon McCleave. They were available on Kindle Unlimited and I managed to rent all the three available books and finished them one after the other.

All three of them get 4/5 stars from me. They were very good. I enjoyed the pace, the description of places, the characters (most of them flawed), the speed of the narrative etc. It was very enjoyable during these trying times. Since I could picture most of the places mentioned, it helped me imagine the whole flow very easily.

Also, for Agatha Christie fans, I recently found a few books available on Kindle Unlimited. I read “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” recently and I have got “Murder on the Orient Express” next. I am very much enjoying reading these fictions now more than ever.

Happy New Year

May the angel of happiness and cheer guide us gently through the New Year.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and cheerful New Year.

Staying Alive – 85 – Wk 2

For people who are wondering about the title, it is the effect of watching the programme called “The Chase” sponsored the Gala Bingo. I love those bingo calls that is shown in those adverts. It is also very relevant to the current post.

Week 2 of my swimming lessons went well. Nothing too dramatic, sadly. One of the best investments I have ever made in my life is 20£ which I spent on a silicone based ear plugs and a very good pair of swimming goggles. Saved my life to be honest. I went in a little early for my lessons so that I can get a bit more familiar with the water and make sure it knows who I am. There were other lessons going on for kids, but I stayed on the other patch and tried to remember to float. Didn’t get very far, I should say, but at least I did not cry for help.

I got a noodle and tried to hold on to the edge of the pool and float on my back. It was good, I was getting comfy, but I couldn’t get myself to get back in the water and stand. I still have to practice it a bit more on my own to identify the small trick that will help me do that. Thanks to all the efforts of hitting myself on the pool edge to get back up, I have got a shiny bruise on my wrist. I am OK with it as long as I get somewhere with floating.

Since the sectioned part of the pool was open to everyone, three young kids decided to show off and annoy me a bit. This has happened in the past and I am sure it will happen again. But thanks to the super cool ear plug I didn’t hear what they said, even though one kid did come to me and said something in Welsh which I decided to ignore because I don’t think he said anything nice anyway. An instructor came around and asked them to behave because they were mucking about in the water dragging each other down. They were just being kids, may be a bit mean, but kids nonetheless.

When my lesson started I was still not able to float on my back and I was still not able to get my leg up to kick, but at least I tried very hard without panicking and was able to put my face inside the water and breathe out. I did drink and inhale a few pints of it in the process which has triggered my sinus to go berserk, but it is part of the process I guess. The funny part was when my instructor came around to remove my goggles. I was wondering why. Well, I had worn it the wrong way around. 😀 I didn’t even realise that. I didn’t place it correctly and I realised that when I went into the water. I have got a red eye to show for my mistake.

But hey, at the end of the day, I survived even though she made try the kick so much that I was exhausted and started looking at the clock and counting the minutes. I didn’t panic, I didn’t feel like bawling my eyes out, I was able to feel the water, see the water and came out alive with some bruises and red eye to show for my efforts. Not too bad, I should say. I ain’t gonna cross the English Channel any time soon, but at I am trying to keep up the effort to learn.

Languages – Funny things they are…

I have started to learn Welsh (as part of work, we get to do a course for free) and I just finished learning numbers. I cannot help but see the similarities between the pronunciation of those numbers in Welsh and Hindi (even though Hindi ain’t my native language). Here is a table where I list the way the numbers are pronounced in Welsh and Hindi. In Welsh, the vowels are different from English and the actual pronunciation is in the brackets.

NumberWelsh (pronounced as)Hindi
1un (een)ek
2dau (dai)dho
3tri theen
4pedwarchaar
5pump (pim)paanch
6chewch (quekh)che
7saithsaath
8wyth (aith)aat
9naw (nau)nau
10degdhus

Not much different are they? Wonder how they got to be this similar in pronunciation of the numbers. Will I find any more similarities the more I learn the language?