I am sitting in Tirumangalam, Tamil Nadu, India. Its early morning, the heat hasn’t yet built to intense levels and a handsome peacock with his harem of hens in tow, is strutting around the gardens. The guest house is tranquil and we are being brilliantly looked after by Muthupandi and his helper Karthi. Today we start to work; the charity has taken in about 100 new children recently and they all need to be processed in, documented and photographed. I will be behind my camera for the duration and will try to figure out how to add photos – I’m working from a geriatric HP/Microsoft computer and I seem to have forgotten how to use one of these things – Apple girl!

The reason I started with “Struggling” is because I still haven’t gotten into the rhythm of my travels. I was quite of of sync with Rome – for the very first time since I started coming here. I just don’t seem to be abe to get my feet under me – with one exception which I will talk about a bit later. Minor irritations and the usual travails of travelling are taking on much too great a significance – I normally get cranky and get over it. I’m still struggling to set aside things which I shouldn’t even remember now. To add to it, I managed to leave an important bag with all my medictions etc. behnd in Rome – its not permenantly lost of course but this is the first time in a very long time that I’ve done anything like that!

So I am hoping that I’ll settle down while here in Tamil Nadu and regain my balance – I surely don’t enjoy feeling like a novice tourist!

The one delightful, lovely exception to my whinging is the long weekend I spent near Spoleto for my friend Mirella’s 60th birthday party. Mirella is one of those great hearted women you sometimes have the good fortune to meet – actually I have the great good fortune to have quite a number of women like that in my life! She rented an entire – gorgeous villa on the outskirts of town and people came from all over the world to celebrate with her. I confess to having had some concerns – I knew a couple of the people who would be there but maybe three out of the 26/28 total! Need NOT have worried – I met some absolutely delightful people, everyone got on smashingly – we had intellectual, far ranging conversations in – not by the pool, song fests after dinner – quite a surprising number of people had serious chops musically and lots and lots of sillyness! Meals were taken under a grape arbour in the garden, the moon was waxing full and Spoleto twinkled in the background. There was lots of prosecco, entirely too much good food and definitely too much cognac – in otherwords a perfect weekend house party!

The pictures will come eventually….

Time to get to work and I will be back soon – promise!