In the morning we repaired to Ooty station where we took a train to the little town of Coonoor, where Anthony our driver picked us up and drove us on to Palakkad – another long drive, this time downhill.

The railway was fun and had a lot of very typical Indian signage which we photographed avidly. There was a section that had been washed away in the previous monsoon, and which the train went over at a snail’s pace with much whistle-blowing and creaking and groaning. From the window we got our first glimpse of a tea plantation – more later.

We entered Kerala, the third and final state of the trip, and arrived at Palakkad.

Palakkad was HOT! It was one of the hottest places in India that day, and touched 39°C. And very humid, so it was pretty unpleasant.

We stayed at a traditional house run by a man in whose family it had been for several generations. The owner is called Bhagawaldas Kandath, rather unbecomingly abbreviated to Bhag, pronounced “Bug”.

It was an interesting and unusual experience, though uncomfortable because of the heat and lack of functioning air conditioning. We were shown some village pottery being made and walked around the village talking to the locals. Annabel had a long chat with two girls, their mother and grandmother, who obviously wanted to practice their English and asked Annabel what her “good name “ was. They were intrigued by her blonde hair and blue eyes.

The house was basic, even primitive, but with some nice original features and a traditional layout which included a courtyard-style living room with an open roof in the middle which becomes a waterfall during the monsoon!

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