Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chotu and Motu go to Peak District (Part 1)

With the monkey of course. If monkey is going to be standard fixture in Chotu - Motu household, then we reckon that it might as well get used to the travel. Ten weeks seems like a good starting point. Especially since it will have to go to three different continents by end of year. We picked a relatively harmless national park to make its life easier. It ended up not being such a big deal. Monkeys are just like backpacks except that once in a while, you have to nourish them instead of the other way around.

Anyway. So on what was the hottest weekend of the year, we drove up from the fens through the midlands to the Peak District.

"Hey. According to guidebooks, there are a number of English homes in the park"

"Yeah, it always surprises me all national parks within this country are inhabited and are privately owned. Though one understands why"

"Yeah but that is not what I was referring to"

"What were you referring to then?"

"Large English country homes"

"Like Henry James types?"

"Think so. Like the seat of the Duke of Devonshire or something"

"Ah. Prime American tourists territory. Is that how they make money?"

"Must be only. There is this place called Chatsworth Hall which seems to be the most famous of them all. Major gardens and a maze and stuff"

"Hmm. Interesting"

"Should we go?"

"Have you gone mad?"

"Well, you do realise we might only be able to do one walk, say 4-5 hours a day. The monkey will create ruckus otherwise"

"Hmm. It has been unusually quiet for a while now"

"You have gone deaf. It has been growling like some tiger for a while now"

"Oh. And here I thought it was exhibiting more human characteristics lately"

"That it has. I have no doubt it will one day be a humanitarian monkey"

"Or a simian human, you never know"

"Is there a difference?"

"Who the fuck cares?"

"True enough. About these houses..."

"Dude, this sounds like some proper tourist trap"

"I know but there's this other house that's not that famous and won't be crowded at all. Maybe we can go there"

"What house is this?"

"Place called Lyme Hall. On the Cheshire side of the park. Nice and all"

"Who used to live there?"

"Nobody we know. Some Venetian architect did some work on it in the 18th century. Seems worth going to"


"If we have time, why not?"

"What is the catch?"

"What catch?"

"Dude, monkey or not, you don't ever want to go visit some English country home. What is the deal?"

"Nothing really. There is one other place called Haddon Hall. But it doesn't sound like family entertainment place"

"How come?"

"This weekend, there is a special programme in the Lord and Ladyship's chambers"

"You are kidding"

"No. True"

"These English!"

"I know. So Lyme Hall it is then?"

"Dude. You do want to go to this place, don't you?"


"Hang on, let me guess. Which Henry James was shot there?"

"I have no idea. And Henry James heroes? Come on now"

"Hmm. Newland Archer didn't go to England, did he?"

"I don't think he did. But why are you thinking Americans when talking of England?"

"Oh wait. Of course. Austen?"

"Yeah. Darcy's home"

"I didn't think you like Mr Darcy very much"

"I don't. But you don't remember this scene in the BBC version where a brooding, most delicious Colin Firth jumps into this lake which has a reflection of the house and then dripping wet, he walks towards the house"

"I can assure you that I am absolutely certain that I do not remember this particular scene"

"I know you don't. So shall we go there?"

"You do realise that there will be no delicious Colin Firth around?"

"Yeah, but one can't have everything, you know"

No, we didn't go to Lyme house. Turned out that monkey can handle long walks pretty well. More in Chotu and Motu get lost in the Derbyshire Dales.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Monkey Business



"What are you up to?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why are you hiding here?"

"Who is hiding? I am just getting a bit of quiet time"

"Yeah? I thought you were feeding monkey"

"Done with that. I am here to get some quiet as I said. Otherwise I can't read or anything"

"What are you reading?"

"Oh, a bunch of things"

"I don't see any books around"

"They are in the other room"

"But you are in this room"

"Yeah, I know"

"So you are not reading now?"

"I guess not"

"What's that?"

"What? Oh this?"


"Some drink"

"Looks like a gin and tonic to me"

"Well, it is. Gin & tonic is also drink na?"

"I see. I thought you were on some wine-only course"

"That was when thing was inside"

"Ah, makes sense"

"Really? If you say so"

"But wait, why are you drinking here?"

"Dude. Can't I drink in my own home? I might be on leave but I still pay rent on this place you know"

"Yeah yeah. But why are you hiding and drinking?"

"Who is hiding?"

"You only"

"Just because I feel like sitting in the guest room doesn't mean I am hiding"

"What does it mean then?"

"It just means I feel like sitting in the guest room"

"Oh right"


"Does amma know about this?"

"Know about what?"

"Sneaking into guest room for gin & tonic"

"How old do you think I am?"

"Question for your mum. Let us ask her, shall we?"

"Go away"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Done with Indecision

If you haven't heard, we finally have a Prime Minister in this country. Actually, turns out he has a deputy as well. Two for the price of one. I am sure these two public school boys will be all paly-paly but one wonders what the backbenchers might get up to. While the Tory backbenchers will prove to be a handful for Cameron, think Clegg will have a bigger problem in this regard - by definition, the Lib Dems are more inclusive, opinionated, have a healthy disregard for authority, more prone to activism and therefore indecisive as a group. Interesting times ahead. But for now, to round off these random posts, here are a few random thoughts:

1. Does anyone remember Devi Lal, 1989? When I heard that Clegg was Deputy PM, that was the first thing that came to mind. However, I later remembered (and made a mention to my ultra-conservative big boss who was extremely scornful of the coalition) that after all, the low key chap who went on to trounce the country's most popular PM and oversee the disintegration of the British Raj was a deputy PM in the war time coalition government. Who knows where this current comedy will lead to?

2. In Chronicles of Westminsteria - the New Hope, the Clunking Fist and the Boy who looks good on TV, the BBC adaptation of current comedy, the only person who should be playing himself (as there is no actor who can do justice to this role) is Peter Mandelson. Those of you used to thinking of Rove, Cheney or say, Kissinger as the ultimate evil puppet masters, please to see Lord Mandelson in action. He is too cool.

3. BBC should decide who its audience is. For the 10 or so minutes it took the new PM to travel in his Jag from Buckingham Palace to Downing St weaving through London evening traffic, I heard over 15 times that "unlike the States, we do not have a transition period in Britain". Huh? The Brit people already know how their system works, one would have thought.

4. Watching Brown make his farewell speech, one couldn't help thinking that this guy never had a chance. The post-Blair era in this country has turned parliamentary politics into a popularity contest and even if Brown had been the most efficient of PMs, he would never really look or sound good on TV. He is an old school politician, one very much out of times in this age of reality television.

5. Plagiarist Cameron. Not even a good one at that. "And I want to help try and build a more responsible society here in Britain. One where we don't just ask what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities. One where we don't ask what am I just owed, but more what can I give."

6. Socialist Cameron. (As those of you across the pond no doubt will recognize.) "And a guide for that society - that those that can should, and those who can't we will always help."

Friday, May 07, 2010

Indecision, what else?

As expected, the country has decided to be indecisive leaving Parliament hanging. Fun, no? Entertainment guaranteed for the next few days. But for now, here are a bunch of things one discovered on election night:

1. Where TV license money goes. Specifically, there is a chap called Jeremy Vine who does all sorts of comedy - for instance, he walks around in a virtual Downing Street setup overturning blocks or stones or something to find out who can walk into No 10. He also has this other set he walks around in which tops CNN's holographic reporters (that Jon Stewart makes so much fun of). Even the American people don't seem to appreciate such nonsense, so I am not sure what makes the BBC think they can use our money to come up with this naatak. Oh, and who exactly stays up all night in front of Big Ben to watch the election results being projected on it?

2. Glenda Jackson holds Hampstead & Kilburn. The margin was 42 votes. Yes, 42. I told you we voted in the wrong constituency. And well, Clegg's last minute call to Beckett did not have any effect.

3. I know. The answer is 650. Yes, small island, 65 million give or take. I discovered that only China has more seats than the UK. So yeah, 42 votes is not that uncommon.

4. Vindicated. Cleggmania was pretty much made up. All people discovered was that the man exists and he looks good on TV.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Still more Indecision

My immediate reaction to this piece (also echoed by random commenter) was "What? Is Hampstead a marginal?"

Turns out that it is indeed a marginal. Can't really say the same for the constituency one is going to vote in. Shucks. So much for being diligent and letting councils know we have moved.

ps: I know. Beckett of all people. Godot jokes abound.

pps: Can't believe its British election time and one hasn't made a Yes, Minister reference. So this seems like a good post as any. Sir Humphrey on "arts" in Patron of the Arts: People don't go to church, but they feel better that it's there.