Out and About Jodhpur

Wake to a another beautiful day ….. daily early morning swim taken, followed by some earl grey and with a tingle of excitement and hope of what lies ahead, knowing the suppliers we plan to visit, the day takes hold and we begin a further adventure. Our regular driver (now seemingly Russ’s carer ..) arrive on time and we take another journey through the everyday of local life, with it’s rhythm’s, sounds (horns … to the fore), colour, with a sense of an interconnected circle of life.

Following getting lost a few times (easy to mistake one desert track to another), we reconnect with a regular supplier whose stock did not disappoint. A range of charming old teak items, alongside trunks, cabinets, bedsides, hand painted pieces, plenty of blue’s and a number of stunning hand carved panels were bought. The stock, mostly stacked to the rafters, left you sometimes squeezing down an aisle where on one occasion, I looked back only to see nobody else was able to get through ….

We then took to the road again and made our way to his other ‘showroom’, filled with their hand-made finished items. Here we were able to pick up a range of our favoured ‘Buddha’ furniture pieces, including four-sided coffee tables, sideboards, cabinets, bedsides, plaques, trunks et al. Alongside these quality items is one of my favourite and stand-out pieces which they make; a ‘retro’ curved block 4-door, 4-cupboard sideboard… stunning. We were able to continue and find chest of drawers (reclaimed) that Kristy had asked us specially to find (and so far, so good). Extremely happy with our purchases from our supplier, we headed off again into the midday heat (with Russ’s helper always on hand).

Making good time we went further out into the country, into an area not previously visited and over very bumpy terrain – with small family groups scattered under canvas living among the shrubland of the desert. We finally arrived to a new supplier, young and personable, with as ever, a highly skilled team of crafts-people. Initially, mirrors were to the fore (our collection is exponentially growing and growing …), before we were able to purchase a mix of beautiful trunks, bookcases and a particularly majestic hand carved sideboard. Outside in the ‘bone yard’, a mix of old hand carved panels were found that will be turned into multi hook pieces and a collection of old windows (to become mirrors). A range of hand carving and painting was all the while taking place around us, before finishing with a host of hand carved marble chapati plates and pestle and mortars were bought. A worthwhile trip out into the hinterland and a new contact and hopefully friendship forged.

We took the long drive back into the hustle and bustle of the everyday, before stopping for a late lunch, enabling a catch up of what we had bought and importantly working out our current container’s cbm (later finding we still had more to find). My ‘protein salad’ was sadly missing the expected protein of lentils and pulses and remained a salad without … apologies were made. In the grounds were a series of remarkable shaped topiary hedges and lawns cut like a cricket square, with neat straight lines of alternate shades of green. Russ’s helper continued to be at his every side, even when going to the bathroom …

I had completed this little ramble the night before, only to find I touched a ‘wrong’ button and all was lost and without Kristy … unable to retrieve it. A little drop of Scottish nectar was poured to pacify my disappointment and Russ and I pursued an evening of reflection and thoughts beginning to turn to home …

Anyhow, returning to the previous day, we left the cool, air-conditioned restaurant and ventured again into the heat, dust and dry day to find a further previous supplier. As with earlier meetings, it’s comforting to find our suppliers have managed to come through these most difficult and challenging times, maintaining staff, and keeping their business afloat – and I’m always minded that it is you, our loyal customers, that enable much of this to continue with every purchase you make …. so thank-you from us all at JUGs.

This blog continues to challenge too, as my charger is now failing to work and I’m down to 8% .. so here goes. We bought only a few items, but all have a wonderful finish with the stand-out piece being a breathtaking glass and vintage tiled sideboard with rail; gorgeous. After a catch up and reminiscing of times past, it was time to press on to what would be our last supplier of the day (which was by now catching up with dusk).

What a reunion and what finds were discovered. This particular supplier (again like many, a father and son) had some of the most stunning old teak pieces of furniture and of the highest quality that we come across and we were so very pleased to be able to purchase an array of extraordinary bookcases, cabinets, windows, chest of drawers …. on and on – simply beautiful (mind, I do have a penchant for old teak). Always on the look out for old signs, finally we came across, having pulled out many old doors and other items in the bone yard, a number of transport and goods carrier signs …. at last! They are so difficult and rarely found that we were delighted to purchase a number of these large, old, aged, hand painted and original signs … very excited. A whole range of extraordinary stone niches were then uncovered, adding to this excellent stop, while finally (what will be), a stunning teak screen was to be our final purchase, and hopefully squeezes in on the container. A final photo all together, gifts kindly received (Russ had taken to sitting on a pillar-stand in the yard, having his customary cigarette), made up of a number of beautifully and intricately hand carved soapstone ‘ash-trays’…. the supplier recognising his father in Russ. A glorious finish to a wonderful day on the road, finding such a range of items, we could only feel a deep sense gratitude, warmth and blessed to have such long relationships and connections with all our suppliers, place and people …… to Rajasthan, thank-you.

A gentle night spent, chewing the cud together, (sharing the single malt), reviewing the day with a joint excitement to have gathered such an extraordinary mix of items and look forward to their arrival back in the UK and Brighton & Hove . Thank-you for reading and keep well.