Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


View from Jaipur Hilton
IWFS Delhi, Agra and Jaipur Day Eight - Monday 6th March 2017 - drive to New Delhi Airport and home

Not much to say here. Packed ahead of breakfast, same deal as the day before, checked out at reception, bags got loaded into the car at 9am for an uneventful five hour (make that six with lunch) drive to the airport. More chit chat with driver, passed the time, had a forgettable chapati and dhall lunch at some roadside air conditioned place on the way.  The aim was to get there ahead of the expected jam that would kick in around 4pm which would apparently add another two hours to the drive time. Which I could quite believe. The advice of our friends to fly everywhere came to mind at this point. So it goes. In the unlikely event that there will be a next time, this is what will be done. 

Boy trying to sell pots at a toll booth
The downside is that one spends an inordinate amount of time sitting around and waiting for check in gates to open. And there is not much to see and do at New Delhi airport. There are some hotels in the Aerocity complex, but then the hassle of getting the bags onto a cab to get there and then to get back in time for the flight - couldn't be arsed. So we parked near a coffee stand and shared a sandwich of something and idled the time. I walked around the Hall a few times just to exercise. Couple of shops, two Elephant statues that lorded over all, loads of people of all colours and backgrounds. 

Eventually the gate opened, all got checked in (no memory) through and onto the plane (no memory) flight and landing at KLIA (no memory) and into the KLIA Limo and home (no memory). 


Camels also got... 
India (well, the Golden Triangle of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) is hot, dusty and demanding, and I pity anyone having to live there in the squalor and dilapidated conditions we saw in the towns outside of (and sometimes inside of) the cities we visited or passed through on the bus or in the car. The roads and traffic seem to demand constant attention, though perhaps this is something that one can acclimate to since there were was only one minor accident I saw throughout all the hours on the roads. The constant blaring of horns to either tell people you were near or to remind them to get out of the way was headache inducing - noise pollution at its absolute worst. The congestion is desperate, though traffic somehow seemed to keep moving albeit at a dreadfully slow pace - rarely was there an absolute stop. 

The corner shop
I think it was the cows that got to me. Taking their own sweet time to cross or amble along the middle of the road in search of a mosquito free space seemed….  inconsiderate. I know that the cow is holy and that the middle of the road is the best place to sit so that mosquitoes are prevented from getting there due to the pollution generated by all the millions of cars. But it somehow seemed to summarize one of the prevalent attitudes of many of the nation. We are happy to sit on our arse and be free of mosquitoes and be worshipped. And we will beg. And people will give to us. Yes and thank you. Hmmm....

Let's MOOOOOOOO-ve it ladies!!
The frequent and seemingly random changes of rules I got hit with at some occasions also rankled - limits on payment in cash at the Leela, can't take in cameras to the President's House, can't have your walking chair (oh, maybe you can) - annoying and irritating. Incredible India? More like Incredibly Irrititating India…

Our lunch destination
And the poverty is…   wrenching. Families parked together at the roadsides and traffic lights, hands outstretched for any scraps that might be dropped from any white skin visitor who is clearly light years distant in terms of wealth and income. Though in contrast there were signs of enterprise and survival in this harsh and unforgiving roadside environment. I remember on the ride back to the airport, one (he must have been) eight year old at a toll gate in the blazing sun going from truck to truck trying to sell clay fired pots. There seems to be an occasional grit in the people, that no matter how poor, somehow they will make something out of what they have. Though the easy way is to beg from the massively wealthy visitor who is clearly light years away in terms of wealth and income. 

So that was India. Been there, done it, got the t-shirt and the photos, no desire to return if the rest of India is the same (I am assured it is not - the South is much more relaxed, doing the House Boats in Kerala). Having been there, when you come back there are some things you take so much for granted at home that get thrown into complete relief. For me, it was so good to be able to clean teeth with tap water and not have see the darn cows in the middle of the road and no horns blaring - despite the occasional road rage from the Mat Bikers, in comparison to India, driving in Malaysia is a breeze.

Inside lunch - bread and dhall as I recall, maybe some chicken...
It was also nice to come home to some Char Siew Rice - the tastes of the world are wonderful but there ain't no food like the soul food. If anything, that is what all these overseas jollies reinforce time and again. Treasure the local delight but your belly always knows where its spiritual home is. Cheers!!


<<back to start 

The Road to Delhi
The  Elephants at New Delhi Airport



Hawa Mahal Jaipur
IWFS Delhi, Agra and Jaipur Day Seven - Sunday 5th March 2017 - Tour of Jaipur

Up and packed and down for a hugely decent breakfast of breads, curries, thosai, fruits and yoghurt and coffee at the buffet. Lenglui tried an omelette which got good praise. Service was swift and friendly in a large and airily cool ambience. Surprisingly and unexpectedly pleasant. 

The car was bang on time and swiftly drove us to our main destination for the day, the Amber Fort. 

Wikipedia: Jaipur is the capital and the largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan in Northern India. It was founded on 18 November 1727 by Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer after whom the city is named. As of 2011, the city has a population of 3.1 million, making it the tenth most populous city in the country. Jaipur is also known as the Pink City of India. It is located 280 km (174 miles) from the Indian capital New Delhi. Jaipur is a popular tourist destination in India and forms a part of the west Golden Triangle tourist circuit along with Delhi and Agra (240 km, 149 mi).  Jaipur is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Jantar Mantar and the Amer Fort.

Lenglui and the Amber Fort
We figured to do the Amber (or Amer - the names seem to be used interchangeably) Fort since it seemed to be the must see and do thing so off we drove northwards through the bustle and heat of a Sunday morning. The Fort could be seen in the distance so we stopped for a photo opp before diving headfirst into a maelstrom of traffic looking to either park or escape. The driver took us up some backlane looking road that went uphill and suddenly arrived at a back door entrance with very few people. He negotiated the entrance rate, took our money and paid and said "see you back here at noon". Fair enough - nowhere to park so he would presumably go find some shady area and chat with his mates. 

Temple near the Amber Fort Gate
Wikipedia: Amer Fort is located in Amer, Rajasthan, a town with an area of 4 square kilometres located 11 kilometres from Jaipur. Located high on a hill, it is the principal tourist attraction in Jaipur. The town of Amer was originally built by Meenas, and later it was ruled by Raja Man Singh I(December 21, 1550 – July 6, 1614). Amer Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace.

Wikipedia: Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-i-Aam, or "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-i-Khas, or "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the Amer Palace. The palace was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and their families. 

Lenglui survives elephant charge
Wikipedia: This palace, along with Jaigarh Fort, is located immediately above on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the same Aravalli range of hills. The palace and Jaigarh Fort are considered one complex, as the two are connected by a subterranean passage. This passage was meant as an escape route in times of war to enable the royal family members and others in the Amer Fort to shift to the more redoubtable Jaigarh Fort. Annual tourist visitation to the Amer Palace was reported by the Superintendent of the Department of Archaeology and Museums as 5000 visitors a day, with 1.4 million visitors during 2007. At the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2013, Amer Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan. 

View from Amber Fort Gate
The Fort proved surprisingly delightful, with lots of visual diversions and crowds of people all seeking shade or escape from the people trying to sell fridge magnets, hats, or elephant rides. Richard failed to escape and bought himself a bush hat. Lenglui and I were suitably prepared and had brought our own headgear. And my portable umbrella proved most welcome as a screen against the merciless rays of the sun. It was pretty brutal. The sunblock was praised a few times on this day. Lots of buildings filled with ornate tilings or intricate stonework, and startlingly bright - the sunglasses never got taken off for pretty much all of the time here. My main memory is of Lenglui looking to get a closer photo of one of the elephants and needing to move smartly to avoid one who had unexpectedly been turned toward her by the mahout. I think she got the photo. Lenglui was also taking lots of photos of ladies wearing the sari. Some of the colours were indeed stunning. Have to see if I can source some of them for inclusion here.

Inside the Amber Fort

Richard enjoying lunch

We got back to our rendezvous and driver and a few last minute fridge magnet sellers. We ambled downhill to where the car was parked and headed off back toward town. On the way, we stopped at a lakeside area in which a hotel had been planted for photos and lunch at a small eatery that had been mentioned in one of the books and which driver also recommended as pretty good. Both turned out to be correct. The beer was ice cold and we downed three between us ahead of the lunch and three more during. Garlic naan and vegetable curry and beer and some ice cream to finish off - simple and perfect and just right.

Back into town for an aborted visit to a market (deemed too hot) though one scarf shop was found and defiled by Lenglui. I snagged some more t-shirts. Then back in the car for a whistle stop around the main sights of Jaipur town - City Palace, Hawa Mahal were the main photo opps. Then back to the hotel at about 4pm for Richard to pack and get driven to Agra airport to meet his flight home in Delhi. He originally was going to get the train back to Delhi but apparently could not get a seat and, fearful of not making connections, decided to fly. Fair enough. 

Hotel in the Lake
Seems he also was unsure as to whether the local ATM would give him money, so I passed him some rupee just in case his fears would not prove unfounded. As it was, the ATM behaved to expectations and he left the rupee in an envelope at the desk for me. 

Lenglui and friend
We were pretty pooped by this time so decided to order room service. Think I had a lamb burger or something. The St Francis Zinfandel drank beautifully. A most relaxing evening and perfect way to end the trip. 



Amber Fort Lake

More inside the Amber Fort

Inside Amber Fort Jaipur

Hotel on the Lake (nearly booked this one but opted for Hilton)

Jaipur Market entrance - I think...

City Palace

Sikh Temple Jaipur


IWFS Delhi Agra and Jaipur Day Six
Saturday 4th March 2017 - Drive to Jaipur

Can't seem to find any photos for this day. Remember taking some, though also recall they were pretty naff. Maybe they got binned. So it goes. Maybe they will show.

Having packed the night before, rose quite early to a bright sunshine day. Lenglui and I would be spending quite a few hours in a car driving to Jaipur with new friend Richard who would join and share the costs. Car had been organised by new friend and tour organiser Arun Varma - well recommended if you find yourself in Delhi or Agra and in need of tours being organised 
(arunallways@gmail.com, arun@allwaystravels.com, mobile +91-99100-23342, office +91-11-45666999)

We lugged the cases to breakfast and parked them near reception. Got some nonsense email purportedly from Paypal about password change which generated a massive panic and me trying unsuccessfully to call Singapore to block it. It looked totally genuine, phone and all,  though I could not access the email from which it came. Ultimately turned out to be a phish scam. Bloody good one though. Cost a damn fortune in phone calls, though. Hope the bastard emailer's next shit is a fucking durian. 

The organisers had kindly arranged for framed photos of shots taken at the Taj Mahal to be given to all the members, which was most thoughtful. Thought it seems there was one ingrate who had decided that the photo was not a nice one and consequently determined not to take it. So, closing an eye to the weight, I souvenired it for the homeward trip as a gift for someone. 

We said our farewells to friends who were going back to Delhi and onwards. Found organiser Arun talking to our driver and settled with him in cash (we needed to unload some of the rupee). Bags got loaded and then off for a five hour drive to Jaipur which went pleasantly fast thanks to Richard being a good storyteller and talking about his travels and life. Also our driver was quite a talker and knowledgeable about Delhi and Agra and Jaipur and the roads between them. Lunch was halfway at the appropriately named Halfway Hotel which was a wooden style cafeteria with chairs and tables, a fridge for drinks and a cashier and toilet area. Food was more bread, though I seem to recall we had snagged some of the lunch boxes from the bus and scoffed them with a cup of instant powder coffee. There was a shop attached which was pretty grim and expensive and which we left undefiled by not buying anything. Then it was back in the car for the last stretch to Jaipur.

The day was bright and the roads were dusty from the fine orange misty grit that got churned up by the cars. Occasional massive trucks coming at you from the wrong side of the road caused occasional panic attacks, but they seemed to turn off way before any smash. And the cows - young, old, crotchety, dumb - and mostly in the middle of the road between oncoming traffic on both sides. Our driver told us the reason for this was that the cows have learned they do not get bitten by mosquitoes when they are between two way traffic. The mozzies cannot get to them because of the dust and air turmoil. Maybe the moo is not so dumb…

It was about three pm when we reached Jaipur. We seemed to have bypassed the central part and heading south. I was trying to follow a map in the guidebook that pinpointed our destination, the Jaipur Hilton. The roads were much longer than they looked on the map. Eventually we got to the hotel (which looked like a fortress of concrete and walls) and unloaded the bags through the hotel scanner and through to reception. Our driver advised that he would go get something to eat and come back later and help us "do" Jaipur by night. Swiftly through reception, got the wifi password, and up to the room to shower off the long drive. 

Pleasant enough room, though can't remember much about it now. Had a view over the back part of the town - pretty low rise as I recall. Working town.

We figured to have something to eat before Jaipur By Night so as not to have to stop somewhere that perhaps might be a bit dodgy, so we went to the bar and ordered beer and pizza and some sandwich thing and scoffed down the bar chips and pretzels. Very pleasant bar area, though service could have been better - the barman seemed to have wandered off when I needed a refill and one of his colleagues eventually came to my aid and rescue.

Our driver arrived and it was off into the urban jungle of Jaipur. Got a few stories from him on the way which were interesting at the time but now lost in their mists. He drove us to a scarf shop which was pretty poor quality and a bit overpriced compared to the friend in Delhi. We bought some T-Shirts to be sociable but not as big a spend as I think our driver had hoped. Then it was a drive through the streets where we came across a wedding - all noise and bangs and the bride on a white horse being led by the groom. We also stopped at a place to buy some Chana Chow, recommended by driver who said he was buying for his son. They proved very tasty - good fire with low salt. We bought up various types to pass as souvenir giveaways to friends back in KL. Jaipur by night is pretty dark but hugely alive with humanity and cars. Again, the intensity of it all eventually got to me and I was glad when we got back to the hotel and the silence of the TV. Sleep came quickly. 




Agra Pharmacy
IWFS Delhi Agra and Jaipur Day Five - Friday 3rd March 2017 

Excursion to Fatehpur Sikri
8.30am | Casual
"After breakfast, we depart for the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri – a city in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India, founded in 1569 by the Emperor Akbar. This city, well known for the red sandstone buildings that adorn its centre, served as the capital of the Mughal Empire during 1571 to 1585."

I seem to recall a cool morning of grey and light rain and looking from the room onto a wooded area full of birds and squirrels and feeling quite pacified by it all. Think I sat with a Cafe 21 coffee (our standby instant sachet packed brought from Malaysia) and took it all in whilst Lenglui showered and did make up. Very pleasant way to greet the new day.

Packed all for the day and went to breakfast. which was pretty meagre and thin compared to previous experience. Dry toast, coffee, some grim looking eggs (I think) and other totally forgettables. I stuck with coffee and bananas and dried toast with butter and jam. Stick with the safe and the staples - didn't fancy a dose of the Delhi belly on the bus and this breakfast fare did not totally inspire confidence against such a possibility.

Toilets at Fatehpur Sikri - not unpleasant
We all piled onto the bus for a one hour ish drive to our destination for the day. The photos recall a request for an early stop at a Pharmacy by Joyless and Dippy (what a surprise…) to stock up on some apparently necessary bits. Which I thought was quite courageous - chomping down on foreign manufactured meds; bit like drinking the water to my mind and something to be avoided. I seem to recall handing Joyless a bandage for Dippy's arm from my backpack first aid kit somewhere during one of the bus trips. Don't recall a thank you. So it goes. Always look to be the bigger person. 

Inside the Fatehpur Sikri
We arrived at the Fatehpur Sikri and got dropped off near the entrance to get divvied up into smaller groups for the tours. Some of us naturally headed to the washroom, figuring it might be some time before we saw another.  I seem to remember getting told it was a huge complex in its day and we drove past the outer walls on the way back which were indeed a fair distance from the central complex. Must have been most impressive in its day. 

Well kept gardens and walkways
From Wikipedia: Fatehpur Sikri is a town in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city itself was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar, who served in this role from 1571 to 1585, after which Akbar abandoned it due to a campaign in the Punjab. It was later completely abandoned in 1610. The name of the city derives from the village called Sikri which occupied the spot before. An Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavation from 1999-2000 indicated that there was a habitation here before Akbar built his capital. It was also a much-loved place of Babur who called it Shukri (meaning "thanks") for its beautiful lake of water. He used it both for relaxation and for watering his armies. The khanqah of Sheikh Salim existed earlier at this place. Akbar's son Jahangir was born at the village of Sikri in 1569 at which point Akbar constructed a religious compound to commemorate the Sheikh who had predicted the birth. After Jahangir's second birthday, he began the construction of a walled city and imperial palace. The city came to be known as Fatehpur Sikri, the "City of Victory", after Akbar's victorious Gujarat campaign in 1573.

Sunshine and shade
I bought the book about the place but frankly have not yet got arsed enough to read about it. Old buildings don't quite do it for me. They are mostly about the dead and how they lived in the heat and slavery of being bounden to the Mughal or whoever was cracking the whip at the time. Good to serve as a memory of not wishing to return to such servitude, but the romance of how life was lived in the past has always left me cold. Give me life and the living! Give me what can be rather than what was! Having said this, there was some lovely stonework gone into the construction of the complex. Lots of space for living and serving and getting served. The pilgrims meandered around and took the photos and listened to the guide. I found a workers gang on the far side laying some foundation for some addition to the complex. Now THIS was probably how it was centuries ago - labouring under the sun to build something for future generations to ogle at and wonder what it is all for…

Little Piggies!!
Returning to the bus, got greeted by a dozen or so little piglets that were running quite wild and free behind the toilet section. Also a couple of obligatory dogs lolling in the shade. A final pee before back on the bus and back to the "stunning Oberoi Villas for an international themed lunch." Which felt similar to the one we had had the day before (I think - don't remember much about it). They still could not find my notebook. Bastard. 

Took some photos, some nice ones of Lenglui. Can't remember much about the food or wine - too long ago and still pissed about my missing notebook.

Buffet lunch at Oberoi Amarvilas
Lenglui at the Buffet
Yum yum!!
Red Fort/Agra Fort Tour 2.30pm | Casual
"This tour will take us to this 11th century UNESCO World Heritage site, that was once home to the Mughal Dynasty. Agra Fort is a beautiful red stone fortress which wraps around a former imperial city of Mughal rulers. Behind its walls, you will find several stunning palaces and mosques."

Red Fort. Of course.
Well, and yes, and again hot in the sun and cool in the shade. Quite an impressive walk through the gate and up the cobblestones, then along through pretty gardens into the fort complex itself. The red sandstone brick does make for an impressive mass of impassive wall against the hordes of whoever might want to throw themselves at it for conquering purposes. But apart from that, again I don't remember much about it. Maybe also getting a bit tired of all the touristing and in need of a day off to recharge. Maybe.

We took the photos and ambled around the lots of rooms where the old idle rich pleasured themselves, The one memory was seeing the Taj Mahal from a distance and seeing it surrounded by…   nothing. It rose out of the ground, a silver white temple surrounded by dark murky earth and bush. An oddly strange sight, all that wealth and prestige in the apparent middle of nowhere. 
Inside the Red Fort complex

Think someone said this was the Harem...
The Taj Mahal, oddly isolated
Visit To ‘M/S Kohinoor Jewellers’, Museum Of Zari Exclusive Panels
"We will visit ‘M/s Kohinoor Jewellers’ and the museum of Zari exclusive panels. Kohinoor Jewellers is home to the Good Shepherd, an embroidery masterpiece which took 18 years to complete."

En route back to Agra, we got unloaded at a pretty non descript doorway which led into the Koh I Noor jewellery store. Whether they are related to the famous diamond itself was not made clear, but there were some stunning visuals on display. From the website www.kohinoorjewellers.com: Launched by (Late) Mr. Brij Gopal Mathur in 1862, Kohinoor Jewellers claim to draw "inspiration from the antiquity of the Indus Valley civilization or the great Himalayan mountain range and is also a truly global collection with influences of impressionism and modern art."

Inside the Kohinoor showroom
Entrance to Oberoi Amarvilas
The flagship 3-storey store of Kohinoor Jewellers in Agra "is not just an experiential store but also a museum. Exhibiting an alluring selection of needle and thread, three-dimensional handcrafted embroidery and precious artifacts that are passionately preserved and showcased to connoisseurs from all over the world. The Kohinoor Museum in an extravaganza of art with sound and light presentation and is a must-see for all those with an eye for tasteful art and heritage." 

The museum was some wonderful theatre and showcased some seriously stunning embroidery pieces. Peacocks, sheep with Jesus, and a huge Taj Mahal were unveiled from behind a glass partition in a darkened viewing room. Photos don't do it justice. 

We got a private viewing of some of the apparently more famous works before being shuttled back to the showroom for a final attempt to get sold on some bling and then back on the bus for return to the hotel and a get dressed for dinner. Certainly well worth a stop if en route from Delhi to Agra - just make sure to keep the ladies away from the bling. Though Lenglui was surprisingly restrained on this blingfest and bought nothing. I asked if she was feeling all right and she morosely said "nothing to buy…" 

Entrance to Oberoi Amarvilas
Between here and dinner, my memory got burned with an image beyond description. I was chatting with one of the fellow pilgrims en route back to the room when one of the doors opened and I got a sight of Joyless dressed in nothing more than some purple sheer wrap around her mid section that barely covered the sagging chest and belly and asking what time was the dinner tonight. And looking like she had come directly out of the shower to find out. Lord, I can see it still - a face once fair but now ragged and ravaged by time, baggy eyes shining with the dim fire of lost purpose and growing dementia - clearly had forgotten that I was the focal point of her ire the previous day. And the shapeless purple mass - a dead spit for Ursula from The Little Mermaid. I think I said Yes to her question and the door closed with what I surmise was a smile. Me and the pilgrim looked at each other, in disbelief and shock at what had just transpired. "Did we just see that?" I asked. He nodded. In some strange grim silence we walked on down the hall to our separate doors, knowing that somehow we would be forever connected by this… it is beyond a name. Scarred am I, as is he. 

Jag getting turbanned
Dinner at The Oberoi Amarvilas
7.00pm | Smart Casual (Return to hotel by 10.30pm)
"With stunning views of the Taj Mahal, and being one of the best hotels in India and the world, we return to the Oberoi Amarvilas for another stunning dinner, but this time the menu will feature coastal Indian cuisine."

At dinner we found that our friend had sorted out his overstaying and was happy and grateful for the support he had received from our hosts and organisers. Still true - it isn't what you know, is always who. A delightful walk through the stonework of the Oberoi to our Champagne reception and more small talk whilst sipping the fizz in the darkling night.  

Dinner found us sat on the same table and with the same people as I recall - so it goes, but usually I understand it is normal to mix it up a bit. Maybe just got overlooked. Either that or I have pissed off someone senior somewhere along the way. So it goes. Supposedly Coastal cuisine, it was more curry and breads and all very tasty. Though I cannot distinguish any of the individual dishes, except that those with yoghurt were smoother and creamier. Naturally. The endless Garlic Naan to soak up the curry was delightful. The wines all pleasant and plentiful, though again the reds a bit too powerful for the curries. I recall seeing a number of half to three quarter full bottles of the delightfully full bodied St Francis Zinfandel remaining near the table and figuring to souvenir a couple for Jaipur. Also as a memory of Lenglul and I having visited this vineyard circa 2004. Waste not, want not. It would prove a tasty addition to the room service we would order in the Jaipur Hilton. There were more Turban opportunities, which I declined on this occasion - they do cause headaches and the booze does enough of this on its own without any help from anything way too tightly wound around the skull. 

Rajiv Kehr getting a gong from Yvonne, Hotel Manager looking hopeful for similar...
And that was it. Rajiv got gonged by Yvonne for his organising of the Festival, a couple of speeches followed, more chit chat around the table and then pile back on the bus and back to our hotel. I do recall singing "What A Wonderful World" on the bus back to our hotel and getting warm praise from everyone. Joyless made a particular point to commend my "luvley voice you 'ave" - I just smiled Sphinx like through it all. On arrival, there was a beautiful red Mustang parked outside the reception which got new friend Richard and me off on a chorus of Mustang Sally (he remembered it from the movie The Commitments [he is of Irish descent] whilst I knew it from earlier Wilson Pickett) and got a couple of photos. Back to the room, packed the souvenired bottles into the wine bags for the journey on the morrow and fell into bed. Good night.


Chefs and Dessert
The Wines and Sommeliers
Mustang Sally, dunka dunka doombahb...dunka dunka doombahb...
Take me to Delhi...