Jane Wilson-Howarth

Blog

 
 

    Pontifications
    Travel
    Wildlife
    Writing
#righttobreathe / 100 word story / 100-word story / 50 Camels / 50 Camels and She's Yours / A Glimpse of Eternal Snows / A Wide Woman on a Narrow Boat / Aberdeen / Active Fairness System / age concern / air pollution / air quality / alcoholism / Alicia Ostriker / ANM / Annapurna / anthology / author / Author from Hull / author interview / Auxiliary Nurse Midwife / Baglung / Bagmati / Bajaj / Bajaj Pulsar / Bajura / banknotes / BBC Radio Cambridgeshire / bear precautions / Bertrand Russell / Bhotang / bike trip / birdlife / birds / black bear / black kites / black pine forest / Blue sheep / book launch / border guards / Boreal Wildlife Centre / Bradt / Bradt Travel Guides / Brahmin / breakfast / bridge / brown bear / buckwheat / buckwheat bird / buffalo cart / bulbul / camaraderie / Cambridge / Cambridge writers / camping hazards / canals / carcinogens / caste / catastrophe / celtic / chaite-dhan / Chele / childbirth / children's books / Chirang / Chisapaani / Chisapani / Chobhar / Chobhar Hill / Chough / climate change / clinics / cold desert / colourful hat / comfort / cows / cyclist / dal bhat / dangerous wildlife / demonstration / Department of Roads / desert / development / development work / Dhading / Dhading besi / Dhaulagiri / Dhee / dhulomandu / Dolpa / Dolpo / domestic violence / Dr. Katrina Butterworth / dragon / dragons / Drakmar / droppings / Dunai / dust / early marriage / earthquake / earthquake alarm / earthquake damage / earthquake today / East Anglia / eco-resort / eco-tourism / Edinburgh / embankments / emergency / English journey / English language / environmental crisis / Eräkeskus / eternal snows / evacuation / Ewell / exploitation / Fagu Purnima / Falgun / feelgood read / festival / festival of colour / festivals in March / fiction / Finland / fire-tailed sunbird / fishing / fishtail / flash fiction / flash literature / flash prose / flood protection / floods / footbridge / footpath / forest / Gai Tihar / Ganesh himal / Gangestic Plain / Gangetic Plain / Ghami / Ghemi / ghoral / giant crab spider / giving birth / global warming / goodread / goral / gorge / Gorkha / GP writer / grey-headed canary-flycatcher / hangry / happiness / happyness / hare / health assistant / Heffers / Heffers bookshop / Hell's Grannies / himal / Himalaya / Himalayan Black Bear / Himalayan Goral / Himalayan griffon vulture / Himalayan Hostages / Himalayan Kidnap / Himalayan serow / Himalayan Sunrise / Himalayan woolly hare / Himalayas / himals / Hindu festival / Hindu kingdom / Holi / Holi Purnima / home delivery / honey buzzard / hoopoe / hot springs / Hotel Deep of Worldtop / Hotel Peace Palace / house crows / human kind / human spirit / idyllic childhood / Indra Jatra / Ireland / irrigation / jackal / Janajibika Hotel / Jane Wilson-Howarth / Jomosom / Jomsom / jungle / Juphal / Kaag Beni / Kag Beni / Kali Gandaki / Kali Gandaki gorge / Kalopani / Kalunki / Karnali River / Kashigaon / Kashigoan / Kathmandu / Kathmandu Valley / Katrina Butterworth / khana / Khartoum / kickstart / kidnap / kindness / Kolkata / Krishna / Kumari / Kurentar / Kusma / labour / lama / Lamjung himal / lammergeier / lammergeyer / landscape / landslide / landslides / largest tribuary of the Ganges / Laxmi Puja / leave no one behind / leave no-one behind / life lessons / living goddess / LoMantang / London pigeon / loneliness / Lord Ganesh / Lord Krishna / loss and recovery / love / Lukhu river / Machhapuchare / Makwanpur / Manbu / mani wall / Martinselkosen / Mary Kingsley / masala tea / maskmandu / maternal mortality / Maya and the Dragon / medical emergency / medical evacuation / medical Students / Melamchi / Michael Rosenberg / microfiction / Middle Hills / mineral water bottles / morning mist / Moth Snowstorm / motorbike / motorbike trip / motorbikes / motorcycle / mountain medicine / mountains / mouse hare / mouse-hare / Muktinath / Mukwanpur / mulberries / Mustang / nag puja / narrow boat / nature / Naubisi / neighbours / Nepal / Nepal Communitere / Nepal road trip / Nepal roadtrip / Nepal Valley / Nepal wildlife / Nepali / Nepali food / Nepali tea / Nepali topi / Nepali wildlife / Nigiri himal / Nilgiri / Nilgiri South / non-fiction / Nonsuch Palace / Nonsuch Park / Northumberland / novel / nuthatch / Nuwakot / obstetrics / orb spider / ox-cart / parenting / Passer montanus / passing places / passive pleasure / Patan / Patan Durbar Square / payer / People in Need charity / percussion / PHASE / PHASE Nepal / PHASENepal / Phewa Tal / Philippines / Phoksundo / phonetics / photoktm2016 / pigeons / pika / pike / pilgrims / plastic waste / pleasure / Pokhara / Police My Friend / pollution / polytunnel / pony trekking / post earthquake recovery / powder / pregnancy / Pul Chowk / Pulsar / Pungmo / Purnima programme / Pyncnonotus cafer / rabies / Rajapur / Rajapur bazaar / Rajapur Island / Rajapur market / rat snake / Real Fairness for Real men / reconstructed dialogue / Red Dawn Rising / red-vented bulbul / relief work / Remover of obstacles / rhododendron / ricefields / Richard Mabey / Ringmo / risk takers / river crossing / river island / river-crossing / road trip / roadtrip / Rock Doves / rock shelters / Roe Deer / Royal Enfield Riders Club / Royle's pika / rubbish / Rufus-breasted Niltava / rupees / Russian border / Sally Haiselden / samosa / Sarengkot / sarus cranes / scorpion / Seeta Siriwardena / self-harm / serow / Shangri La / Shangri-la / Shey-Phoksundo National Park / Shivapuri / Shivapuri Nagajung National Park / Shivapuri National Park / Shivapuri Village / Shivapuri Village Resort / short story / shrikes / Simon Howarth / Sindhupalchowk / Sinhala / Sinhalese / skipper butterflies / skippers / snow leopard / Snowfed Waters / solid waste disposal / Soti / South Sudan / sparrows / Speaking Tiger / spider venom / Spiny babblers / spotted owlet / squirrel / Sri Lanka / Sri Lankan author / Stephanie Green / stink bug / street art / street dogs / Subsistence agriculture / Sudan / Suli Gad Khola / Suli Gad river / Summit Air / sunbird / sunrise / Surrey / suspended bridge / Sussex / Suttee / Tahr / tar tattoo / tato pani / Tatopani / tea / tea shop / teacher / teashop / Teku / Teku infectious diseases hospital / terai / Thamel / Thankot / Tharu / Tharu people / The Lonely Cat / time / To be blessed / traffic jam / traffic rules / traffic uncles / transHimalaya / transHimalayan / travel anthology / travel writing / travelling with children / tree sparrows / trekking / trust / Tsirang / Twin Otter / Uganda / unplanned pregnancy / Upper Mustang / urban life / urban pollution / urban water supply / vegetarian / velvet-fronted nuthatch / Viiksimontie / Village dogs / village life / vulture / Wai / Wanderlust / water supplies / water tankers / West Sussex / western Nepal / widower / wild goat / wild places / wildlife / winter madness / winter Wheat / Women Travellers / wordsmith / World Environment Day / world's deepest gorge / writers group / writing / writing about writing / writing for children / writing group / year fives / young mother / young motherhood / Your Child Abroad

Beyond the Ringroad

Saturday, 10 February 2018
I live in what used to be called the Nepal Valley – the 28km-wide basin that contains at least four ancient kingdoms. There’s Kathmandu, then across the holy Bagmati River is Patan, which these days is contiguous with Kathmandu. Both kings were Hindu. Then 16km east is the Malla (Buddhist) capital of Baktapur, which like the two Hindu capitals has its own Durbar (royal) square. Other settlements boasting fine architecture and superb temples especially Kiritpur and Thimi in particular also claim once to have been kingdoms and the Valley is dotted with place names ending in kot – meaning fortified town. The Valley wasn’t always a tranquil place.
Around the now settled cities towns and villages there is still room ricefields, and temples are still surrounded by forests so that outside the Kathmandu/Patan ring road can still feel quite rural.
On Sunday S and I pedalled west, took our lives in our hands to negotiate the traffic chaos to cross the ringroad and continued on our bicycles until we registered the characteristic and unappetising wafts of the holy Bagmati River.
At the beginning of the twentieth century hereditary prime minister …. Chandra Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana (aka Chandra SSJB Rana) made a visit to the UK and was impressed enough with British Engineering to buy some dozen steel suspension bridges and had them shipped out from Aberdeen. They were all erected around 1903 (there's more about these at Harper Bridges). They were only ever intended for pedestrians and wobble and bounce quite a bit as we discovered when we cycled across one en route for our destination, Chobhar. This allowed us to do some of the seven kilometre route off road.
At the bottom of Chobhar Hill we abandoned the bicycles and started up the stone steps to the Adinath temple. Some of stone steps were decorated with carved lotus flowers and several with figures suggesting perhaps that the faithful should be prostrating themselves as they climbed. There were little shines at regular intervals, places for butter lamps to light the way, and half way up a vast pipal / peepul tree over-saw a lovely shady spot where we sat that listen to the sounds of the forest. The tree itself had threads encircling its trunk which I’ve been told is from the clothes of ill people – a sacred request for the return to health.
A pair of black kites were wheeling and flying in perfect synchrony close to their new nest, and at one point locked claws and tumbled spinning together downwards only to swoop up again to continue their courtship. It was such a rich spot for birdlife. There were barbets, bulbuls, drongos, parakeets, magpie robins and a host of difficult-to-identify small twittering finches and warblers. Then a startlingly yellow hyperactive flycatcher came close, and through making hunting forays and returning to the same perch, I managed to photograph it, and put a name to it: the grey-headed canary-flycatcher.
A little further up we paused to watch goats snaffling rice offerings from a shrine. Than an unfamiliar call shifted my attention back to the trees. I clocked movement in one of the massive pines and eventually managed to focus on two huge eyes and an endearing bundle of grey and white feathers.
And here we were only part way through our outing. There were yet more delights in store when we reached the temple.
 
Footbridge over the Bagmati River at Sundari built in Aberdeen and erected around 1903; the T-piece is to stop motocyclists driving across
 
Plaque on the footbridge at Sundari - erected around 1903 and still in use
 
Lotus and prostrated pilgrims on the steps leading to Chobhar
 
Family walking past the huge pipal tree on their way to Chobhar
 
Goat snaffling rice offerings on Chobhar Hill
 
The hyperactive grey-headed canary-flycatcher
 
Spotted owlet