Saturday, 2 February 2013

Saturday 2nd - Day out in Ooty

This really is a very pleasant part of the world. Early morning temperatures are fresh and the air is very clear. We are in no hurry this morning and after a leisurely breakfast we admire the views and do a bit of birdwatching in the garden. A red whiskered bulbul poses most obligingly. D sorts out tomorrow's car hire to get us to our next train as well as an auto to take us into town today. In the nick of time he remembers to order a couple of beers for suppertime. Just as we are leaving the power goes down - our timing is perfect.

Regular readers of Radinblogs will have noticed a severe lack of Botanical Gardens in this edition. Now you can rest easy as our first target is Ooty's BG. Our guidebook says that these are very popular and there is no arguing with this pearl of wisdom. There are Cub packs, school outings, groups of noisy young men and a fair few families. We head uphill looking for somewhere a bit quieter and slowly the volume subsides.

Right at the top of the gardens we find a summer house where we take a seat. It is peaceful enough for some birdwatching and we see bulbuls, drongos and sparrows a plenty. After a while a grey wagtail appears and allows D to get quite close with his camera. We are also pretty certain that we see a Nilgiri flycatcher, not a common bird, but it refuses to pose for a good photo.

These gardens are really well cared for even if they do contain one or two odd features like plaster crocodiles and mid 19th century artillery pieces. A popular feature is a planted map of the Indian States using stone roses to mark the borders. The sun is quite strong but a breeze keeps the temperature pleasant as we stroll around.

By accident we stumble into an area full of schoolchildren who demand that their photo be taken. We oblige, then beat a hasty retreat to the auto stand. Next on our list is the Lake. This reminds D greatly of Peasholm Park in Scarborough although the scale model naval battle is missing. R is rather hoping for a tranquil loch and more birds to watch. Lots of people are having fun but it isn't really our scene.

We take another auto ride up onto the ridge above the town where St Peter's church can be found. This is also immaculately maintained and contains memorials to worthies out of Ooty's past,  many of whom met their ends in fox-hunting accidents. We decide to stroll down the hill into the town centre and treat ourselves to a well earned refreshment. The bars are shut due to a power cut so we cut our losses and head back to the Sherlock where there is no power either.

We pack in the last of the afternoon sunshine in case we have a power free night but just as we finish stuffing dirty socks into the rucsack the lights come on. We make tea and all is well with the world. There is a minor wobble at dinner when there is no sign of the pre-ordered beer in the fridge. After some tense moments it is produced from elsewhere and we can settle down to enjoy Chicken lahore style with rice and naan bread. Yummy!  This place gets our vote.

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